Our leitmotif and objectives
We strengthen participation and transparency for sustainable solutions of societal challenges.
The HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform promotes democratic processes and thought-through governance strategies in Germany, Europe and worldwide. The cornerstone for us here is to strengthen the legitimacy and sustainability of democratic procedures and decisions to contribute to finding solutions for societal challenges. We are convinced that decisions that are relevant for society can only be strong and legitimate, if the discourse between politics, business and civil society is improved.
Based on this conviction we develop governance concepts and projects for sustainable solutions that are guided towards the common good and include as many perspectives as possible.
The HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform focuses on the two good governance principles of transparency and participation. Both principles play a prominent role as identity-building, trust-building and community-promoting elements. They influence the interaction of all actors.
Only when all stakeholders and those affected can disclose their interests (transparency) and participate in a deliberative decision-making process for a particular social problem (participation), is it at all possible to identify a sustainable consensus between these interests.
With innovative participatory methods, such as the Trialogs developed by us or multi-stakeholder partnerships, we do not, however, create a transparency of the arguments through the exchange of different perspectives; participation also requires transparency. Without access to relevant and necessary information for decision-making, the actors cannot participate efficiently in the participatory processes. This is not an easy task, especially due to the often high complexity of social challenges. However, it is a clear prerequisite to enable a cooperation between politics, business and civil society guided towards the common good.
Participation and transparency are therefore interrelated and are a prerequisite for the sustainable solution of societal challenges.
Our activities are therefore based on the approach of actively bringing together politics, business, civil society, science and the media in different formats, with the aim of raising awareness, presenting relevant information transparently, identifying consensus and developing creative solutions together.
The HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform is committed to the promotion of good governance. The cornerstone for us is strengthening the legitimacy and sustainability of democratic procedures and decisions.
It is on this basis that we develop concepts and projects in line with our conviction that processes that promote democracy need to be based on multiple perspectives and partnerships on equal footing. Sustainable solutions guided towards the common good must be found in cooperation with a multitude of stakeholders.
For policy guided towards the common good
|In a democracy, government politics are legitimized through elections to take decisions that are binding for the whole society. One of their major challenges is to find the balance between different social interests and power potentials and to integrate them into policies. Currently however, there is a growing level of distrust in governmental decisions. Most citizens do not believe that their interests, positions or even fears and worries are adequately heard – or answered in public policies. Quite the contrary: governmental policy is often accused of catering to the interests of lobbying groups. Moreover, global dependencies and interdependencies in many policy fields as well as growing individualization of societies further complicate and limit the state’s capacity to act
We offer multi-stakeholder-formats that aim to strengthen decision-making processes through transparency and the participation of all relevant stakeholder groups. In these formats, numerous and, also contrasting, perspectives have a say. Positions need to be justified and linked to other points of view. This allows us to identify overlapping position, levels of consensus between these different positions and outline implications. This approach is helpful to prepare and convey political and societal decisions that are oriented towards the common good.
For responsible business
|The business sector is not legitimized through elections. However, it has central social importance and power. The sector is characterized by the right of business to its interest in economic success and by its legitimate interest in reliable and favorable market conditions. The economy needs governmental politics to provide protection and security, so that companies can operate in a market of fair competition. On the other hand, businesses strive to be as independent from government as possible. There are reasons for both conflict and cooperation with state politics.
We actively approach business representatives and invite them to contribute their perspective in our multi-stakeholder formats. By addressing different positions and views, we give this sector the opportunity for a deeper understanding of the business environment (e.g. the expectations of civil society towards business). This can improve insights into the market development for successful investment and risk management.
For participatory civil society
|Organized civil society plays an important role in society. As an advocate for specific topics, watchdog, mediator or political co-creator, civil society drives social and political innovations. The organized civil society does not depend on elections, but works on a voluntary and self-empowered basis. Therefore, civil society does not need to compromise for power in its activities and enjoys high levels of social trust – if it acts charitably and transparently. Organized civil society is often perceived as putting a spanner in the works of political or entrepreneurial decisions. It points out defects and potential improvements. This broadens the sociopolitical discourse and can elevate levels of transparency.
We see organized civil society as an essential element of a democratic and participatory society and offer multi-stakeholder formats to ensure their systematic and timely participation in the run-up to sociopolitical decisions. As a result, organized civil society can increase its influence on the private and public sector.
For transdisciplinary science
|The global society is currently facing major transformations, for example through climate change, globalization, digitalization and scarcity of resources. The subsequent technical, social, ecological, cultural and economic challenges need scientific expertise and analysis. However, academia alone cannot work out concepts and solutions for societal problems out of its own power and logic – different knowledge types, knowledge bearers and knowledge forms are necessary and can only come from other social groups.
We support a methodically thought-through participation of society in academic research with our transdisciplinary multi-stakeholder formats. In this context, transdisciplinarity is more than the combination of different scientific disciplines: here, perspectives that lie beyond the scientific field are included in research processes. This helps to determine socially relevant research questions and fields of action. Furthermore, scientists receive feedback on their research areas through social actors, who are also bearers of knowledge. Creating a common understanding of problems lays the foundation for transdisciplinary research.