Overline: RIFS Policy Brief
Headline: Making Lusatia a Model Region for Transformation

On 10 March 2023, a select committee will be convened at Brandenburg’s state assembly to examine sustainable development and structural change in the former mining region of Lusatia. In a policy brief by the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS), authors David Löw Beer and Konrad Gürtler set out three actionable and cost-effective recommendations to improve the sustainability of regional processes of structural transformation.

Solar panels installed over a green roof system.
Solar panels installed over a green roof system. Optigrün

The Coal Regions Investment Act (InvKG) stipulates that projects funded in former lignite mining regions must be aligned with the goals of Germany’s National Sustainable Development Strategy. To ensure this, project proposals submitted in Brandenburg must be accompanied by a sustainability statement. The statement must address all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and explain how the project will make a positive contribution to two SDGs - one of which must be an environmental development goal. However, if a project has a broader sustainability claim, this does not improve the funding conditions, the authors say.  

In their policy brief, Löw Beer and Gürtler call for the establishment of a monitoring framework to track the sustainability of funded projects. This would make it possible to measure the contribution of structural change to sustainable development. “These insights could be used to highlight the model character of the structural change or to take corrective action where deficits occur,” says RIFS scientist Löw Beer.The policy brief also recommends that the broader funding conditions be modified so that more funding can be allocated to especially sustainable projects. As well as making two positive contributions, the authors argue, projects should not have a serious negative impact on any of the other 17 SDGs.

The policy brief’s third recommendation is based on research conducted in the field, which revealed that applicants are often unaware of funding opportunities for ambitious sustainability measures. This could be addressed by expanding outreach and consulting services, such as those currently provided by the economic development agency Wirtschaftsregion Lausitz (WRL). Checklists and blueprints should be made available to potential applicants to help guide them through the process, the authors suggest. The researchers also recommend that a mandatory consultation process be established to help project developers tap into suitable funding and support options.


Download the RIFS Policy Brief "Nachhaltigkeit im Brandenburger Strukturwandel" here (PDF)

Löw Beer, D., Gürtler, K.: Nachhaltigkeit im Brandenburger Strukturwandel. Wie die Lausitz zu einer Modellregion für die Transformation werden könnte, RIFS Policy Brief, March 2023, Potsdam. DOI: 10.48481/rifs.2023.007