MGG offers a platform for expert dialogues and the production of practice-oriented knowledge with reference to key topics of international politics: e.g. the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the G20’s responsibility in the field of global development; sustainability standards; as well as South-South and triangular cooperation. Researchers and experts from the public sector, civil society and private-sector organisations work on joint projects in order to shed new light on current global challenges and to explore innovative problem-solving approaches at the national, regional and international level. What links these activities is a consistent orientation towards the requirements of decision-makers in governments and public administration.
Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS)
The MGG project on voluntary sustainability standards for certain products – such as food and textiles - has played a catalysing role in transnational cooperation, with a strong focus on knowledge creation and policy dialogue. It started 2015 as research collaboration by the MGG Alumni. As work got underway, participants became aware that attitudes in their countries had completely turned around. Until then, policy-makers in the South had rejected voluntary standards as protectionist measures favouring advanced economies. In a remarkable change of mind, MGG partner countries opted for a course of proactive engagement with the intent to become rule-makers rather than reactive rule-takers.
Within a span of little more than a year, China, Brazil and India established multi-stakeholder platforms for sustainability standards in order to foster better understanding and adoption of VSS to domestic conditions. Other countries are likely to follow. MGG scholars have undertaken research on the relevance of sustainability standards for small and medium enterprises. These studies were used for a report to the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, under Germany’s G20 presidency. The DIE staff member Christoph Sommer has edited country studies that go into the detail work in regard to VSS in the partner countries and can be accessed here. Additionally the relevance and meaning of VSS is being presented in his discussion paper here.
Training the trainers
2018 will see the introduction of yet another innovative MGG course; this one addressed to mid-career professionals charged with capacity development for the public sector. It will focus on the specific skills and competencies which civil servants need for domestic implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Brazilian School of Public Administration (ENAP) will host representatives of similar institutions from all MGG countries and Germany, as well as other MGG partners responsible for training public employees.