Commitment to the sustainable common good (ENGAGE)

The project examines the conditions under which different forms of participation contribute to "sustainable public welfare". It works with an understanding of a "sustainable common good" that takes into account both the well-being of people in the "here and now" and in the "there and later", i.e., the safeguarding of the ecological, social, and economic conditions of creating a common good in future. The project is based on the assumption that the (sustainable) common good cannot be defined a priori, but is constantly redefined in the course of social negotiation processes.

In order to create a "sustainable common good", the participation of various civil society actors is crucial. However, new forms of participation are often accused of involving only a certain section of citizens and potentially serving their interests. In such contexts, participation could cement inequality rather than promote the common good. Against this background, ENGAGE pursues the question: Under which conditions does participation contribute to a sustainable common good?

To answer this question, ENGAGE is investigating various forms of participation (citizen participation at national and local level, through associations and self-organized initiatives) with regard to aspects such as process design, inclusion strategies, framework conditions and impact. A close involvement of practice partners and the special weighting of knowledge transfer guarantees practical relevance.

Oeko-Institut's partners in the ENGAGE project are the University of Münster (ZIN), the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and the Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE). Up-to date information about the project is available at