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Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2623-2641; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6052623

“Sustainability State” in the Making? Institutionalization of Sustainability in German Federal Policy Making

Institute for Sustainability Governance, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Scharnhorststraße 1, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 24 April 2014 / Accepted: 24 April 2014 / Published: 5 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
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Abstract

More than two decades after the Rio-conference on environment and development in 1992, sustainable development remains a big challenge. Politics and administration, especially in democratic societies, have a specific responsibility in coordinating sustainable development. In order to fulfill this role, the regulative idea of sustainability needs to be integrated into decision-making in politics and administration at all levels, from local to global. Taking this into account, we have analyzed the institutionalization of sustainability as a crosscutting and long-term challenge at the federal level in Germany. Based on a theoretical-conceptual framework deriving from democracy, bureaucracy and political steering/governance theory, we have employed qualitative methods to understand, in depth, how sustainability is integrated into political-administrative practice. In the present paper, we present key results and show that sustainability is not a routine practice at the federal level in Germany. We will conclude by giving an outlook on the structural and procedural options and argue for the need to develop a “sustainability state”. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability state; democracy; bureaucracy; governance; institution; qualitative research sustainability state; democracy; bureaucracy; governance; institution; qualitative research
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Heinrichs, H.; Laws, N. “Sustainability State” in the Making? Institutionalization of Sustainability in German Federal Policy Making. Sustainability 2014, 6, 2623-2641.

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