Through its decision to phase out nuclear power, Germany has become a global trailblazer in making the transition to an energy supply based completely on renewable energy sources. If this ambitious plan proves successful, this can facilitate efforts to achieve the ecological transformation of economic systems throughout the world.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation is actively involved in this process, both nationally and internationally. We develop and support projects that will push this transition: through forward-looking mobility concepts, the renewal of our urban centers, and the sustainable use of scarce resources. We support people who are working to counteract misguided policies and who advocate alternatives – in agriculture, in the mining industry, and in the energy sector.
Europe is being shaken by a persistent financial and debt crisis that poses powerful challenges both to individual member states and to European institutions. While financial markets react to developments with great speed and volatility, transnational decision-making processes tend to be complicated and time-consuming. What can we do to enhance the European Union’s capacity to act while simultaneously improving the transparency of European policymaking? “More Europe” must go hand-in-hand with more democratic participation. This is also the best antidote to populist movements that are turning against European integration and the rights of minorities.
This is reason enough for us to intensify our activities and commitment to foster a united, democratic Europe. The upheavals in the Arab world – including in Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt – represent a historic turning point. These changes have significant ramifications for these countries’ internal sociopolitical systems, for international cooperation, and for relations between the Arab countries themselves. The mass demonstrations in Tunis and Cairo swept away the old regimes and opened the gates to democratization throughout the region. At the same time, ensuing events have made clear that the political, social, and economic modernization of the Arab world will be a long and complicated process. Current developments in these countries are having a major impact on our work in the region and in Germany. We deliver information through analyses and reports from and on the Arab region, and we provide support to local democratic forces. In addition, we are expanding our presence in the region by establishing offices in Tunisia and Morocco.
Discrimination based on gender and sexuality remains a crucial issue on the international political agenda. In Germany and in many regions around the world, we work together with courageous partners to build societies that are characterized by gender justice and to protect sexual minorities. We pool capacities, expand existing networks, and build new ones.
This year’s Annual Report also highlights our activities in this important area. The knowledge and dedication of our staff form the essential foundation for our successful work. Their efforts are further enriched by the extensive voluntary support provided by our expert advisory boards, expert commissioners, women’s council, supervisory board, membership meeting, and the Green Academy.
We would like to express our great thanks to all of those who contribute to the effectiveness of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s work.
Berlin, April 2012
Ralf Fücks / Barbara Unmüßig Presidents, Heinrich Böll Foundation