Sustainability! Orchestrate and plan public action

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“Sustainability”: definition and instructions for use

In early 2020, France Stratégie launched a seminar entitled “Sustainability”, the ambition of which was to build a framework for the development and implementation of public policies, which will take into account the challenges of long-term sustainability, and be they environmental, social, economic, democratic, technological and short-term imperatives. The notion has been deliberately included in the plural to take into account these different dimensions, and the work done is part of a multidisciplinary approach, which brings together economists, political scientists, geographers, sociologists, historians, philosophers, civil society actors, officials elected. , public, social partners, etc.

Change method to change course

It is no coincidence that it was after the Yellow Jackets movement that the Sustainability seminar began. This crisis has highlighted the difficulty of thinking together about the “end of the world” and the “end of the month.” He revealed that the public authorities were not well equipped to succeed in the policy of ecological transition in a socially just way and recognized as democratically legitimate.

In fact, public officials face multiple challenges simultaneously: global warming, biodiversity loss, the difficulties of our social protection model, democratic fatigue, demographic disruption, technological challenges … They can only face it all together and get organized. that. The policy of combating global warming is urgent and requires large-scale action, large investments, changes in habits in our daily lives. It is structuring. But it will fail if it is not accompanied by justice and social progress. And it will also fail if citizens feel that they have no real choice, they have no chance to comment on the options that bind their future: the policies to be pursued must be developed democratically. The challenge is to articulate the struggle for the preservation of the environment with our other collective preferences.

Orchestrate and plan: a new frame of reference for public action

The report recommends that public authorities take a broad-based approach: ” orchestrate »; and who sees far: plan To achieve this, the report proposes a new benchmark for public action : a long-term vision, which responds to current needs without forgetting the interests of future generations, which goes beyond the traditional divisions of public action in silos (environmental, health, social, educational, economic, industrial, agrarian, etc.), and which, at each stage, ensures the proper coordination of all forms of democracy. A sustainable, systemic and legitimate approach.

For the implementation to be successful, new tools, organizational and decision-making methods are needed to enable it. The report recommends:

  • The definition ofa national sustainability strategy reconciling the protection of the planet, social progress and economic development;
  • The democratic strengthening of the fabric of public policies. It is about establishing a deliberative continuum that is based on both citizen participation, in the improvement of parliamentary work (impact studies, etc.) and in better coordination between the two;
  • The creation, under the Prime Minister, of an “orchestrator” of sustainability. He would be responsible the development of national strategy, expertise and foresight, advice and arbitration, the coordination of sectoral and territorial roadmaps, evaluation, the animation of public debate and the establishment of a center of resources. These functions are not intended to be performed operationally by a single organization, but must be coordinated and articulated by a clearly identified leader.

The origins of the report: on the Sustainability seminar

An analysis and forecasting organization, inherited from the Planning Commission, France Strategy has the resources to ask long-term questions and gather multidisciplinary knowledge. Many of his works had already dealt with sustainability issues, but did not always take into account their plural and systemic dimension. From here, the “Sustainability” project: two years of work, thousands of participants in the conferences organized since February 2020, three cycles of reflectionpodcasts, five Sustainability Reports published in November 2021, a platform forum, a call for contributions “For a sustainable sequel” and a summary of the 450 contributions received.

The views expressed in this report are binding on the authors.
and are not intended to reflect the government’s position

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