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Franco-German Forum for the Future

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The Franco-German Forum for the Future was founded in 2020. It serves to implement Article 22 of the Aachen Treaty, which was signed in January 2019 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to strengthen Franco-German cooperation. Mandated by both governments to develop visions that respond to major societal challenges and balance environmental, social, technological and economic considerations it seeks to improve the quality of life in both countries..[1]


The approach of the Forum is to learn from the processes of social change already taking place in Germany and France and, building on this, to define visions and concrete goals and to develop measures for individual policy areas. This accompaniment of transformation processes is achieved by the Forum through:

  • conducting action research,
  • bringing together people involved in innovative, local initiatives in dialogue formats, and
  • developing bottom-up recommendations for action and presenting them to the governments of both countries.[2]

The Forum’s work process is based on a bottom-up approach where it seeks to identify, make visible and strengthen answers that are available through the knowledge and experience of local actors, and to enable political decision-makers to effectively incorporate these into their policies in order to enable mutual strengthening of the federal and local levels.

During the first cycle, the steering committee of the Forum, including representatives of governments, parliaments, and civil society, focused on the themes of "Ecological Transformation" and "Economic and Social Resilience". For each thematic cycle, local and regional initiatives from both countries are selected by in order to interact through the Forum.[3]


The Franco-German Forum for the Future is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). On the German side, it is based at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies e.V. (IASS) under the direction of Patrizia Nanz (2019-2022), and in France at the think tank France Stratégie under Gilles de Margerie.[4] Since April 2022, the German Secretariat is under the direction of Frank Baasner.[5]

Peer-to-peer dialogues[edit]

The visions and policy recommendations are developed in close cooperation with 4 to 6 local/regional initiatives in France and Germany that are committed to social, economic, or ecological structural transformation in their region. At the same time, the process should enable the development of practical competences, for example through peer-to-peer dialogues as well as through close needs-oriented support by the team of the Forum, which is to be agreed upon depending on the individual context. The aim of the peer dialogues is to allow the various initiatives to start an exchange in order to discuss and jointly reflect on knowledge and experiences. The Forum benefits from the peer dialogues by deepening its knowledge about the partner initiatives, gaining new insights into innovative local knowledge and recognising patterns in challenges and approaches to solutions. The aim is to identify challenges to societal transformation and pass them on to political decision-makers[6]

Resonance space[edit]

The findings from the cooperation with the local/regional partner initiatives are compiled in a so-called resonance space. It consists of 40 non-permanent members of relevant actors (practitioners, NGOs, public institutions, experts, associations, federations and parliamentarians). Within this framework, the material produced serves as a basis for the creation of political recommendations for action. This takes place in repeated feedback with the local initiatives or, if interested, representatives of the local initiatives themselves can participate in the resonance space.[7]

Steering Committee[edit]

The Steering Committee consists of 16 members, equally divided between Germany and France. They meet twice a year and determine the thematic cycles. They also adopt the recommendations for action developed in the resonance space and forward them to the Franco-German Council of Ministers and the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly. The Steering Committee is decisive for the quality and visibility of the Franco-German Forum for the Future.[8]


In the 2020/21 thematic cycle, the Forum is working with three German and three French initiatives. Among them:

Marburg with a focus on the implementation of the climate goals by 2030 and the cooperation between civil society actors and the city administration required for reaching those goals[9], Nebelschütz with the intention of counteracting trends such as rural exodus, but also to promote sustainable development (this is done in cooperation with the project "Living in sustainable villages" (Global Ecovillage Network Europe))[10] and the Burgenlandkreis (Zeitz and Hohenmölsen) with the thematic focus of the coal phase-out still to be managed and increased citizen participation.[11]

The expertise of Loos-en-Gohelle is particularly valuable in exchange with the Burgenlandkreis, as the coal phase-out had to be managed as early as the 1980s and the municipality was able to implement the transformation of the region and the revaluing of the mining heritage under strong citizenparticipation[12], Mouans-Sartoux with a focus on food supply and sustainable construction and Dunkirk with expertise on industrial ecology and the regional association of local and regional actors[13].


  1. "Franco-German Forum for the Future". Missions Publiques. Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  2. "Strategic advisory for the German-French Forum for the Future". The Impact Lab. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  3. "Franco-German Forum for the Future | Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies". Retrieved 2021-11-01. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. "Franco-German Forum for the Future | Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies". Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  5. "Franco-German Forum for the Future | Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies". Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  6. "Franco-German Forum for the Future | Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies". Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  7. Holler, Doris. "Deutsch-Französisches Zukunftswerk: Handlungsempfehlungen für ökologischen Wandel, wirtschaftliche und soziale Resilienz". (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  8. "Franco-German Forum for the Future | Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies". Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  9. Marburg, Stadt (2021-02-16). "Kooperation für mehr Klimaschutz mit dem Deutsch-Französisches Zukunftswerk". Stadt Marburg (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  10. "Local differences are an incredible source of prosperity!". Missions Publiques. 2022-03-10. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  11. Wékel, Julian (2021). 7. Hochschultage der Nationalen Stadtentwicklungspolitik "planning for future - Transformation gestalten". p. 15. ISBN 978-3-9816204-9-8. Search this book on
  12. "Loos-en-Gohelle". Deutsch-Französisches Zukunftswerk (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  13. "Deutsch-Französischer Erfahrungsaustausch über Transformationsprozesse | Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies". (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2022-06-20.

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