Interdisciplinary Approach: Policy-Economy-Technology-Society

What is it? An attempt to reconcile and synchronize the current trends. This interdisciplinary approach in combination with the micro-multilateralism approach (Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook and Daniele Haarhuis) could be a new model of international cooperation. The focus is on the sectors of politics, economy, technology (science) and society. They will be integrated into foreign policy. Politics because foreign policy is always a part of domestic politics and that is getting bigger with the increasingly networked world. Economy, globalization requires it. Technology is the driver of development, the driver of economy, science develops technology. And society has to be taken along, it has to understand, support and above all profit. Because the ultimate goal is wealthy, healthy citizens. The human being is at the center and it should be.

Who are the actors in this system? Sovereign states, independent regions, smart cities, city hubs, NGOs. They all interact in this international system. Components of their interactions are (international) politics, economy and finance, technology and also the societies, the people.

The predominant topics of interaction, cooperation and coordination are sustainability and climate change, digitization, security, longevity, among other things, topics that especially require supranational coordination and cooperation .   

The vision , therefore, is that progressive countries form industrial clusters, create innovative ecosystems, and develop legislative and industrial infrastructures, flexible progressive legal frameworks, while receiving government support for fast and practical applications of innovations (digitization, AI, sustainable technologies) of advanced technologies.

The actors involved here are industrial players , investors, shareholders, politicians and scientists. Strategies are developed as instruments that contain political components, such as diplomacy in the external relationship with other nations, organizations etc., and internally the information and activation of society. Of course, it also includes economic components that promote the sustainability or longevity etc. industry and finance with regard to the relevant rules, technological components play a role, the promotion of technological development and this is where scientific cooperation comes into play.

The aim is to integrate all sub-sectors of the multifaceted industries in order to create an optimized ecosystem for the preservation of the prosperity and health of the citizens. 

The special feature is the interdisciplinary and international connectivity.

If we add the micro-multimalism approach here, we could focus on cities. It provides for the cooperation of the cities in different areas: sustainability, climate change, longevity, security….

Why cities? 75% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities in 2050. Due to their population density, cities are particularly affected by migration, climate change, terror, pandemics and an aging population 

How? Cities can set up their own transnational networks (examples so far C40, European Conference Cities for Human Rights, …)

They can support the population in the various sectors: technology (smart cities), peer-to-peer exchange, communication, lobbying, research and knowledge management, finance and business. (Example: Longevity.org)

What? In this way question-specific networks can be created and concrete actions can be carried out faster and more effectively. This creates support internally, among the population (competition between cities) and from outside. In its paper on the Green Deal, for example, the EU highlights cities. The UN also supports the development of safe, inclusive, sustainable and prosperous cities. (UN Habitat). It can also force international organizations to listen. Powerful urban networks can be a buffer against national withdrawals from international contracts.

The example of sustainability shows how the look can look like:

We are sketching a city ​​hub with its own sustainability infrastructure supported by an advanced smart government.      

The national component is as follows: A smart government is a government that has a strong scientific basis in technology for renewable energies, sustainable industry, sustainable mobility and that integrates AI into its economic, financial and political systems. The components of the countries’ sustainability strategies include social policy, financial reform and socio-economic factors. In the coalition agreement in March 2018, the government parties in Germany committed themselves to the ambitious implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda with its 17 global sustainability goals and to promoting sustainable development as a yardstick for government action. The strategy development takes place with a broad interdisciplinary participation. As part of the State Secretary Committee, the public and the stakeholders involved in the “Sustainability Forum”. Further development is planned for 2020.   

It is made clear: “Sustainability does not mean living from yield on substance”.

“Everyone decides for themselves about sustainability. Whoever invests, produces and consumes. It’s not about the ethics of giving up. Rather, it is about imagination, creativity and technical know-how, in order to advance environmentally friendly and resource-saving production and consumption patterns. ” So the statement in the government paper.

The following applies to the political component: structural change must be actively shaped. Guidelines are intergenerational equity, quality of life, social cohesion and international responsibility. To this end, the strategies set indicators with medium-term and long-term targets. The German sustainability strategy 2018 is much more international than the previous one. It is comprehensive in terms of content, not conclusive, the basis for political reforms as well as for a changed behaviour of companies and consumers.

“Far beyond the ecological tasks, the concept serves as a guide for a comprehensive, future-proof policy. It is about overarching responsibility for economic, ecological and socially sustainable development for all generations. ”

The economic component is aimed at the sustainability industry: It consists of technologies for renewable energies, sustainable industry and mobility as well as financial systems. In order to be able to predict opportunities and risks or to evaluate results , a relevant, quantitative analytical framework must be formulated. Big data analysis companies are used for this. The financial industry must develop new financial systems that monetize sustainability. Insurance companies, banks and investment firms must reform their business models, open up new opportunities around sustainability and the associated technologies to increase new financial derivatives. For sustainable finance , this means supporting the restructuring of the economy towards more sustainability. To do this, capital flows (investment and financing) must be redirected, the underwriting policy changed, and ESG factors (environment, social and good governance) must be integrated. The ESG factors should be placed at the center of the financial system so that the transformation of the European economy into a more environmentally friendly, resilient and closed system can take place. They should be taken into account in the investment decision-making process and integrated into the internal process of the financial institutions. Customers should be informed about this (transparency is important). For comparability, new categories of benchmarks for reduced or positive CO2 emissions should apply. That means a change in investment advice and insurance. It is necessary to create standards and labels for financial products , to create an EU green bond standard . For this purpose, BaFin has defined sustainability in December 2019 with regard to the ESG factors. Institutional investors and asset management are to implement sustainability criteria in the investment process, and sustainability risks are worked out for the end customer. There is currently a lot of interest in the investment of infrastructure: possible vehicles are an infrastructure hub “sustainability”, public-private partnerships (mobilization, capital, quality, feasibility) with the role of development banks. 

The concepts of the EU are included nationwide: The Green Deal of Europe is a growth strategy with the goal of climate neutrality by 2050. The aim is to be the global leader in the green economy to improve the well-being and health of citizens. As a means of diplomacy, trade policy, development cooperation to utilize the standards for sustainable growth in global value chains set. 40% of global climate finance (support, InvestEU “Just Transition”) is provided by the EU. Support will be given to Member States, carbon-intensive regions and those with the most employment in fossil fuel industries, companies and sectors with carbon-intensive industries, people. The focus is on clean energy (a network of energy systems is planned), sustainable industry (gyroscope management, resource-intensive sectors of textiles, construction, electronics, plastics), digital sector (surveillance), sustainable mobility (digitization, automated mobility, intelligent traffic management systems). 7th Environment Action Program (EAP), runs until 2020 and contains, among other things, innovation and finance: NER 300 (program for technologies for renewable technologies and carbon storage, Horizon 2020 (research and investment fund). A special point here are sustainable cities “living well, within the limits af the planet. ” 75% of people in Europe live in cities consume 60-80% of total energy, emit the same amount of CO2. This is a challenge to the quality of urban life, health and biodiversity. The aim is it be ensured by environmental legislation that residents in European cities have clean air and water, are not exposed to excessive noise, handle waste properly and protect their nature and biodiversity.) Energy agreements with non-EU countries must be in accordance with EU law. So far, country cooperation has taken place with Canada, China, India, Japan, Norway, Russia, Turkey, USA. Cooperation with Eastern partners “The Eastern Partnership”, EU4 Energy Program and southern partners. There are also initiatives with international organizations: Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation, International Renewable Energy Agency, International Energy Agency, Energy Community, G7 and G20, Gulf Cooperation Council, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Energy Charter, International Atomic Energy Agency.       

 The UN acts internationally through the UNFCCC and other international for a bilateral relations with non-EU countries, policies and initiatives at EU and international level, financial support to help developing countries in their efforts to deal with climate change. With its 17 goals, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it sets ambitious goals for sustainable development. They are intended to support the securing of sustainable development on an economic, social and ecological level worldwide. The UN also addresses the topic of cities in the context of the UN Habitat (it is the central organization in the UN system for the coordination of the areas of urban development, settlement, housing supply in developing and transition countries). To this end, instruments of political advice, capacity building and knowledge management are used, and partnerships between governments, NGOS cities and the private sector are supported. Cities should be inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.   

What does an interdisciplinary and internationally connecting strategy ultimately look like? It contains elements of social policy, financial reform, socio-economic factors. Guidelines for structural change are intergenerational equity, quality of life, social cohesion and international responsibility. To do this, indicators with medium-term and long-term targets must be defined. The gross national product alone is not enough. According to the 17 points of the UN Agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals, other factors are part of a decent life. The German Sustainability Strategy 2018, for example, is aligned with these goals and is therefore significantly more international. It is the basis for political reforms as well as for changing behaviour by companies and consumers. In the economic and financial sector, technologies relating to renewable energies, sustainable industry and mobility as well as financial systems are recorded. Big data analysis companies are used so that a relevant, quantitative analytical framework can be formulated. To be able to predict opportunities and risks. The financial industry must develop new financial systems that monetize sustainability. For sustainable finance, this means supporting the restructuring of the economy towards more sustainability. Capital flows (investment and financing) must be redirected, the underwriting policy changed, and ESG factors (environment, social and good governance) must be integrated. It has to be a growth strategy with the goal of climate neutrality by 2050. External means are government, diplomacy, trade policy, development cooperation. They are used to set standards for sustainable growth in the global value chains. But cooperation at various levels is also very important. Between cities, hubs, industries, science, NGOs etc. The rules within these areas are synchronized. In the case of sustainability, the focus is on clean energy (a network of energy systems is planned), sustainable industry (gyroscope management, resource-intensive sectors of textiles, construction, electronics, plastics), digital sector (monitoring), sustainable mobility (digitization, automated mobility, intelligent traffic management systems). These include the instruments of policy advice, capacity building and knowledge management. The decision-making process in politics and business must be facilitated and all these components must be taken into account and included. It must be interdisciplinary and international. Emphasize connectivity and coordination.