Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 69–88 | Cite as

Institutions for a sustainable development—experiences from EU-countries

  • Edgar Göll
  • Sie Liong ThioEmail author
Original Paper


This article is based on an international comparative study analysing innovations in national administrative institutions. Results of that research are presented and discussed here. Against the background of the institutionalising process of political institutions the study focused on innovations initiated or introduced by governments or parliaments by example of policies and politics supporting sustainable development. The countries involved in the original study were Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Three general lessons can be drawn: (1) Countries with a long tradition of integrated environmental policy-making are more open to the concept of sustainability. (2) A (institutional) “cure-all” solution does not seem to exist. It seems necessary to diffuse the concept of sustainability into all spheres of politics and society. Reaching this strategic goal requires a specific policy and polity mix. (3) Strong and well-equipped institutions result from specific policies and politics: they play a central role in promoting and intensifying sustainable development. Successful innovations integrating SD into everyday politics and policies are only a very first step though. Further improvements with regard to effective participation and public debate, global orientation of policies and the measurability of achieved progress are necessary.


Sustainable development Institutions Institutionalising procedures Experiences in EU-countries Tradition Shared values National frameworks 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT)BerlinGermany

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