Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie

[ The Federation of German Industries ]

The success of Germany in transforming themselves into a leader in renewable technologies in less than a decade is testament to the fact that proper policies play a more fundamental role than an ample resource base: long-term commitments, consistent policies, the use of gradually declining subsidies, an emphasis on government Research and development as well as market penetration are all elements to creating a greener, and more efficient world economy.

Representing Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie [BDI – Federation of Germany Industries ] was a very unique experience for me over the week of the International Labor Conference Committee in the BIMUN conference in Bonn. Naturally I garnered a better understanding of the importance of German industry in the world economy, but also the complications that arise with such large world economies and the disagreements that arise between the industry/workers and their domestic governments as well as the incorporation of these relations into global markets. Almost one half of Germany’s GNP comes from exports exemplifying the struggles that the international financial crisis has created for the nation. The BDI understands the importance of trade for Germany and supports increased trade in these trying times and sees the best way to ensure positive competition in global markets is to emphasize free trade provisions at the global level.

I am incorporating direct quotes from my position papers [research documents] as well as statements that I made within heated debates in my committee to best address the role that I played and experienced in a very intimate way. Our first topic of discussion was how to promote green technologies while also addressing the dire need to increase employment on the global spectrum in present day’s economic crisis. Many developing nations pointed fingers that the complex environmental state of our world is a product of modernized, capitalist economies [partially true, as we learned from a speaker that capitalism and promoting big business with huge output was a natural defense mechanism against communist regimes in the cold war] and therefore the damages created should be the responsibility of modernized nations.

With the economic crisis upon us, the BDI has observed the tendency for environmental concerns becoming overshadowed in the rapid actions being taken to ensure economic wellbeing and therefore the federation stresses that climate policy issues cannot be delegated over separately from economic policy issues. Germany has served as a leader in climate protection projects in Europe and German industry has been an exemplary figure in the European Union’s (EU) collaboration to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 [with 1990 as a base year]. Addressing the “need for a level playing field,” with statistics from the World Energy Council projecting energy consumption to have doubled by 2050, BDI has made great efforts to ensure that German industries would be leaders in modern commodity trading and consumption.

BDI stressed the importance of promoting green technologies since it had a direct correlation with improved employment, however noting that the costs that turn away many other competitive modernized nations can be recovered if a proper and fair global collaboration takes place [therefore promoting that BDI is separate from these accused “modern nations” and a direct request of the other modernized nations in the room to follow suit as a solution since if there is an imbalance, than the concept of creating the new fair trading market with green solutions in mind would fail. ]

Complicated enough? I was having a field day, ravenously surfing the web to find better facts to push my supporting views and finding faults in the statements of other nations to hopefully promote the fairest solutions possible. Issues that divided modernized, developing and “threshold” nations brought out the sharpest differences in debate. Of course each nation or industry sector was trying to promote their self interests for their nation or employers, but we were in the committee to compile a global solution that was favorable to everyone – a task that made the 5 – 7 hours of debating each day fly by.

The Federation of German industry takes climate protection seriously. We are convinced that Climate protection succeeds only with the economy. Our main mission is to convince countries of other world regions through our example, that climate precaution and economic growth supplement themselves, and under this philosophy, together we can garner a worldwide solution. For effective climate protection, we need not only reduction exertions in industrialized countries, but rather a limitation of the climb of emissions in developed countries and growing economies as well.

[ One of the coffee breaks to come together and gossip about the present debates, as well as read the newspaper that was actually reported on by student journalists as well - an example found here - to catch up on the big events taking place in our little simulated world at the conference - truly an addicting, exciting experience! ]

The other topics included promoting woman’s rights and protection in the work force as well a solutions to promoting quality education for all – and every topic had connections back to the theme of the conference of “going green”.

The BDI believes in promoting investment in education, striving for international frameworks to provide increased opportunities for young women, and directing funding to early education and teachers/staff since the BDI stresses that education, especially in MINT [Math, Information sciences, Natural sciences, Technology] subjects, is the only answer for a sustainable future in global markets and cooperation.

During unmoderated debates, it was very fun and interesting to break away from formal speeches and collaborate with other delegates in “voting blocks” to discuss and prepare the best sentences to promote our ideas in the solutions. The entire week had me learning very specific traits of different nations and industry sectors and how that affects Germany [ and also the US - I had a great time checking in with the foreign students that represented America in the committees as well to see how they interpreted their research.] Not only was I learning more about Germany and its role in world politics, but also the mind frame to best promote understanding and cooperation in the complicated relations of national security and global politics.

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