Nature commentary: Bioeconomy important for SDGs

© United Nations

20.07.2016 -

The bioeconomy is central to the achievement of climate protection and sustainable development goals. Experts from the Bioeconomy Council recommend cornerstones for international policy.

In a commentary in the renowned scientific journal “Nature” (2016, Bd. 535, S. 221), experts from the German Bioeconomy Council and the OECD outline how the bioeconomy will contribute to the health and nutrition of a growing world population, the sustainable supply of energy, water and raw materials and to the protection of soil, climate and environment. The paper builds on the results of the first Global Bioeconomy Summit 2015, at which more than 700 experts from 82 nations met in Berlin last November. The summit has triggered new policy and research initiatives for the bioeconomy in many countries. 
“The vision of the bioeconomy is to reconcile humanity and nature,” said Joachim von Braun co-chair of the Bioeconomy Council. The central message of the authors in “Nature”: bio-based industries such as agricultural and forestry, the food industry, biotechnology, the bioenergy sector or green chemistry are particularly important for the achievement of the climate and sustainability goals. “In the future, the bioeconomy should be considered as a whole, and therefore more comprehensively than in the past, in global political processes," stresses Christine Lang, co-chair of the Bioeconomy Council.
Bioeconomy policy strategies and developments vary across the world. An adaptation to local circumstances and regional specialization make good sense and are important. However, what works in one country can cause problems in another. “Dialogue is needed, as well as coordinated global priorities and common approaches to prevent such adverse impacts,” emphasizes Daniel Barben, a co-author and member of the Council.
The authors define five key elements of an international policy agenda to pave the way to a sustainable bio-based economy:

1. Strengthen international cooperation between governments and public and private research in the field of bioeconomy

2. Make the bioeconomy’s contributions measurable with the sustainable development goals

3. Consider the bioeconomy in the implementation of the COP 21 climate agreement, the sustainable development goals and in the negotiations of international trade agreements.

4. Promote cooperation in bioeconomy education, international dialogue and collaborative learning

5. Promote joint innovation flagship projects of the bioeconomy that develop solutions to global problems