How ecological Value Chains Can Help Societies Tackle the Coronavirus Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has cast a spotlight on the vulnerability of global value chains. Sustainable value chains at the regional level could bring more stability to the post-pandemic world. A team of researchers at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) has developed a typology of climate win-win strategies that can be used to identify sustainable regional value chains.

As part of the EU-funded Green-Win research project, the team focussed on three fields of action:

  • coastal management
  • rural energy poverty
  • and urban transformations towards sustainability.

Read more here

GCF @ European Week of Regions and Cities „Trusted Policy-Making in the Digital Era”, Brussels (07.-10.10.2019)

On 8 October 2019, Dr. Sarah Wolf, senior researcher in GCF’s Green Growth process, presented the „Decision Theatre – a process for communication, research, and decision support“ at the European Week of Regions and Cities, organized by the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels from 7-10 October. The seminar titled „Trusted Policy-Making in the Digital Era – Smarter citizens engagement and decision processes“ was organized by the Piedmont Region in partnership with TOP-IX Consortium. Data-driven based solutions are widely emerging in our regional governments, presenting an opportunity to design effective local strategies. The seminar explored how policy decisions can be based on sound evidence, presenting and discussing: – the benefits for decision-makers in using smart data platforms and interconnected services, such as spatial planning or social network modeling, – innovative EU-funded projects solutions and other best practices.


UNECE Sustainability Energy Week, Geneva (25.-27.09.2019)

As part of UNECE’s 28th session of the Committee on Sustainable Energy GCF has been invited to present an interactive session on its mobile Decision Theatre. Within an interactive session partners from…

CSH Workshop, Vienna (12.-13.09.2019)

At the CSH Sustainability and Complexity workshop in Vienna GCF Chairman, Prof. Carlo Jaeger, spoke on the need of a major transition in the evolution of global institutions regarding sustainability in his talk: „Sustainability – a complex challenge. Beyond the wrong kind of complexity.“ GCF vice-chairman, Prof. Manfred Laubichler spoke on the design of “Sustainable Pathways. Why sustainability is a complex problem“. See the videos of their talks and the panel discussion below.

The workshop was organized by Guido Caniglia, Manfred Laubichler, and Stefan Thurner and took place at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Klosterneuburg close to Vienna and was co-organized together with the project Complexity or Control? Paradigms of Sustainable Development (CCP at Leuphana University of Lueneburg) and the Complexity Science Hub (CSH in Vienna).

The workshop departed from the idea that sustainability is a problem of complexity and that a sustainability science that aspires to realize more sustainable futures needs to be grounded in complex adaptive systems theories, co-evolutionary perspectives, and transdisciplinary methodologies that can help addressing ongoing societal, ecological, economical, technological, cultural and political transformations (e.g. AI, biotechnologies) so as to contribute moving our societies towards sustainability. The focus of the workshop was on epistemological and institutional dimensions of sustainability science in relation to complexity. The goal was to develop a shared vision for a sustainability science (and for research institutions in sustainability science) grounded in complex adaptive systems theories, co-evolutionary perspectives, and transdisciplinary methodologies.

Videos of the talks:

The IPCC new special report “The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate” warns of the dramatic consequences of sea-level rise

In its new special report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of the dramatic consequences of sea-level rise.

PD Dr. Jochen Hinkel, head of the GCF research process “Adaptation and Social Learning“, is one of the 100 coauthors from 30 countries of the IPCC special report “The ocean and the cryosphere”, that synthesizes the findings of more than 7,000 research articles.

The Full Report is accessible here:

See a corresponding article (in German) in the Berliner Zeitung HERE.


PRESS RELEASE (in German see PDF here)

GCF – Global Climate Forum e.V., 25th of September 2019

In its new special report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of the dramatic consequences of sea-level rise. According to the report “The Ocean and the Cryopsphere in a changing climate” published today (Wednesday), sea levels could rise by one metre by the end of the century and by several metres by 2300. “The expected rise in sea levels poses enormous challenges to coastal areas around the world, but the risks are unevenly distributed,” says Dr Jochen Hinkel, co-author of the new IPCC report and scientist at the Berlin Global Climate Forum.
“In areas where there are few tides – for example in the tropics or inland seas – changes in mean sea levels are much more likely to result in more frequent flooding, because there are few and often no protective measures against higher water levels,” emphasizes Hinkel. “Conversely, there are dikes on the North Sea coast that are up to eight metres high and that offer protection even at slightly higher sea levels and can be raised if necessary.”

The expected rise in sea levels therefore poses not only immense technical but also economic and social challenges. According to the IPCC report, in which more than 100 scientists from 30 countries participated, rich urban areas can still be effectively protected from sea-level rise in the 21st century.

“Many metropolitan regions are located in river deltas and, by extracting groundwater and other resources, are experiencing a much faster rise in local sea levels than the rest of the world’s coastlines,” says Hinkel. “Some of these regions, such as the Japanese capital Tokyo or the Dutch cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, have shown that it is possible to successfully adapt to the high and rapid local sea-level rise.” The greatest risk posed by sea-level rise is for poorer and rural regions worldwide, the scientist stresses, where access to the necessary resources and effective protection measures are limited. “For these areas and their inhabitants, the situation during the 21st century could pose a threat to their livelihoods,” warns Hinkel.

But even more prosperous coastal cities will find it increasingly difficult to cope with the long-term sea-level rise of several metres that awaits us with continuing high greenhouse gas emissions. “The only way to protect ourselves from such disaster scenarios is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rapidly and substantially. This could limit long-term sea-level rise to less than one metre,” says Hinkel.

1 The IPCC report “The Ocean and the Cryosphere in a changing climate” can be downloaded from from the end of the blocking period. 100 scientists from 30 countries participated in the special report. They examined around 7,000 scientific articles.
2 The Global Climate Forum is a research institution in Berlin for climate impact research. Based on the global socio-ecological systems they have developed, GCF scientists provide stakeholders, companies and civil society organisations with solutions for addressing climate change. One of the focal points is research on adaptation strategies to rising sea levels.

Further information:
Dr. Jochen Hinkel, Global Climate Forum e.V. (GCF), Neue Promenade 6, 10178 Berlin, Germany, Tel: +49 30-2060738-20, email: hinkel(at), web:


GeSI publishes landmark report “Digital with Purpose: Delivering a SMARTer2030”

The Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), an institutional member of GCF, and Deloitte have launched a landmark report on “Digital with Purpose: Delivering a SMARTer2030” with the help from an international Expert Panel including Jeffrey Sachs, Christiana Figueres, and GCF chairperson Prof. Carlo Jaeger, among others.

The report finds that digital technologies, if deployed with positive societal impact in mind, will help accelerate progress toward the SDGs by 22% and mitigate downward trends by 23% on average. The report further finds that by 2030, digital technologies will deliver reductions in carbon emissions equivalent to nearly seven times the size of the growth in the ICT sector emissions footprint over the same period.

Access the Full Report here: Digital with Purpose: Delivering a SMARTer2030

Access GeSI’s interactive website Digital with Puropse here:

See a corresponding Wall Street Journal article here:




ASU Global Futures Laboratory response to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land

The IPCC special report on Climate Change and Land has been published in August 2019. The report was written by 107 leading scientists from 52 countries, who synthesized more than 7,000 scientific papers to draw carefully crafted conclusions based on our current state of knowledge.

ASU Global Futures Laboratory, a GCF member organization, just published a response to the Special Report – read more.

Global Futures Laboratory is dedicated to develop and rapidly deploy response options for proactive planetary management to maintain habitability and improve human well-being.

Many of the response options discussed in this report focus on new approaches to policy, governance and institutions. Such reforms can enable climate-adaptive development pathways to manage resources more sustainably, enhance social resilience and facilitate collaboration among stakeholders. They also lead to more sustainable economic growth.




With 60 other participants in a Decision Theater conducted by the Global Climate Forum (GCF) in Potsdam, Jack was able to explore and discuss the complex decisions people make when they decide which mobility type to use…

GCF has been awarded the Ralf-Dahrendorf-Prize for the European Research Area by Minister Karliczek

GCF has been awarded the Ralf-Dahrendorf-Prize for the European Research Area by Minister Karliczek

Global Sustainability Strategy Forum 2019

From Knowledge to Action: Recommendations to Advance the Transformation Towards Sustainability

The first meeting of the project Global Sustainability Strategy Forum (GSSF), organised by the IASS and Arizona State University, and sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation, brought together fifteen renowned experts in the field of sustainable development from around the world, among them GCF chairperson Carlo Jaeger. The scientists gathered in Potsdam for one week to discuss the state of play and the need for action to support the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals around the world. Their deliberations have resulted in new insights and recommendations to improve policymaking for sustainable development.

For more information please visit IASS‘ news entry here.

For audio-visual impressions of the Forum there is a short video available on youtube.