Goal 3: Develop society and the economy – good living conditions throughout the country
The 2030 Agenda addresses the issue of a sustainable and decent life for all people regardless of their place of residence and social background through a number of SDGs. The challenges of achieving this also exist in Germany. There are considerable regional differences in terms of economic performance and innovative strength. Strong economic areas stand in contrast to regions – both rural and urban – with lower income and employment opportunities. About 40 per cent of the population in Germany lives in structurally weak regions. These include old industrial centres, rural areas and numerous border and coastal regions in the east and west.
There are also significant urban–rural disparities and inequalities between and within regions in terms of economic and social structure. While economically weak regions are often particularly affected by population decline, strong regions usually face challenges such as congested infrastructure, unaffordable housing, traffic-induced noise and air pollution, and lack of space.
Current developments such as demographic change, digital transformation and climate change pose challenges for all regions of Germany. At the same time, they open up the possibility of breaking new ground and developing new solutions – for instance, for sustainable mobility or the structural transformation of former coal-mining areas.
The creation of equivalent living conditions is a declared goal of the Federal Government. In 2018 it therefore appointed a commission of the same name to develop proposals on how resources and opportunities can be fairly distributed in future for all people living in Germany. On the basis of their findings, initiatives have been launched in various areas such as public services, infrastructure, the economy and innovation. Through FONA, we want to activate regional potentials, initiate processes of change and create sustainable perspectives, also on a social level, thus contributing to the achievement of national and international sustainable development goals.