France and Germany are cooperating to develop visions of the future that strike a balance between environmental, societal, and economic considerations with a view to improving quality of life in the two countries. This goal is a central element of the Treaty of Aachen signed by President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel in January 2019. Together, the two governments have established the German-French Forum for the Future, with a joint secretariat at the French government institute France Stratégie and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS).
The Forum for the Future, which brings together representatives from civil society, science, and policymaking, will work to progress transformation processes in our societies and seeks to create spaces for dialogue between innovative local and regional initiatives in both countries. Its activities will facilitate cross-border peer dialogue to improve our understanding of processes of societal transformation as well as our collective capacity to steer them towards a sustainable future.
The French and German governments have appointed two Secretaries to lead the Forum's work: Gilles de Margerie, Commissioner-General of the government institute France Stratégie, and Patrizia Nanz, Scientific Director at the IASS. The duo have established a joint Secretariat, which is advised by a Steering Committee. The latter will convene twice yearly and comprises 16 members, including government officials, members of parliament, and representatives from civil society, the economy, and science.
Every 12 to 18 months, the Forum will issue policy recommendations on a theme related to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These recommendations will subsequently be presented to the Franco-German Ministerial Council and the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly.
Grounding visions of the future in local and regional innovations
The visions and policy recommendations will be developed in close cooperation with local and regional initiatives in France and Germany that work to steer major social, economic, ecological or technological transitions in their region. Researchers from the Forum for the Future will observe these project partners, engage in dialogue, and conduct action research to gain insights into the perspectives and approaches applied by these initiatives. Their findings will be analyzed by the team at the Secretariat and disseminated to policymakers. This work will be complemented by peer dialogues among the participating initiatives as well as transdisciplinary workshops organized by the Secretariat at which experts and political decision-makers can learn about the experiences, perspectives and proposals of French and German practitioners.
Developing policy recommendations for the French and German governments together
The policy recommendations issued by the Forum will address specific themes selected by the Steering Committee from suggestions submitted by local and regional initiatives and based on the political priorities of the French and German governments. The recommendations will be developed in a collaborative process within a so-called "Resonance Space" (Resonanzraum) by 40 relevant actors selected by the Secretariat. At the end of this process, the policy recommendations will be presented at the Forum for the Future Conference. The two Secretaries will then present the recommendations to the Franco-German Ministerial Council and the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly.