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Sustainability | Strategies | International matters

Inasmuch as most problems related to the environment and sustainable development are multi-facetted and cross-border in nature, solutions and strategies need to be found not only here in Germany but internationally as well. The 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro addressed the issue of sustainable development at the international level, largely influencing the debate in the intervening years. The numerous treaties and institutions, as well as German and European strategies, that have come into being since then, today form a key basis for sustainable development strategizing.

We simply cannot pillage the earth’s resources in perpetuity. There are natural limits to what the ecosphere can tolerate, and we need to observe these limits. Hence at the UBA we use the metaphor of a river waterway containing buoys, whereby ships represent socioeconomic development and buoys the limits that ships are not allowed to venture beyond. In other words, the ships can move freely within the limits set by the buoys, but cannot venture outside the confines of the waterway. Against this backdrop, our national sustainable development strategy, which defines sustainable development objectives and indicators, is a pivotal component of German sustainable development policy.

The UBA elaborates strategies aimed at exercising long term influence over social trends in a predictive manner that factors in all relevant processes and resources. Our aim in doing this is no less than to successfully catalyze the process of change and enable change to be incorporated at all social and political levels, whether the issue in question is governance, citizen participation or futures studies. We develop and use economic, legal, investigative, planning, informational and institutional instruments in the interest of fostering socioeconomic change that will bring us closer to a world where sustainable development and ecological justice reign.

Because problems in the sustainable development and environmental spheres are usually multi-facetted and attributable to cross-border factors, we need to find solutions with an international reach. International cooperation in the field of environmental protection has taken on ever growing importance over the past two decades. In this arena, we mainly work with EU and UN institutions, the OECD, and Central and Eastern European governments. The UBA also acts as the liaison with the European Environmental Agency (EEA).

Global soil protection – What law protects effectively?

asphaltic street and paved footway, in the background new houses

Fertile soils are essential for life. Their preservation is set to become one of the United Nations’ global sustainability goals, under the heading “land degradation neutral world”. A legal study commissioned by UBA looked into how this goal could be implemented at international level. read more

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Directors of the EPA Network met Frans Timmermans

Meeting with EU COM First Vice-President Timmermans

A delegation of directors from Environmental Protection Agencies across Europe (EPA Network) met with the First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans to discuss a paper with recommendations compiled by the group. read more

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German-Polish exchange on sewage sludge management

Group of people with yellow hard hats looking at technical installation

What can be done with the sewage sludge which is generated during waste water treatment? How can valuable materials be recovered and pollutants prevented from entering the environment? The German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) invited a Polish delegation on a study tour to promote exchange between the two countries. The group visited exemplary sewage sludge utilisation plants in Germany. read more

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Moving forward with the 7th Environment Action Programme

EU flags

The 2013 adopted 7th EU Environment Action Programme defines objectives for addressing persistent environmental problems of our time. The Programme should receive heightened attention atop the EU Agenda and its implementation should be goal-oriented and ambitious. This is the key message of a paper penned under UBA’s lead by 22 European environmental authorities as members of the EPA Network. read more

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Rebound effects

Efficiency increase oftentimes reduces product or service costs, which can in turn ramp up consumption (due to reduced prices), thus partly canceling out the original savings. This is known as the rebound effect. read more

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Geo-Engineering: Proposals for international governance

atmosphere of the Earth

A number of schemes have been developed in recent years to combat global warming through intervention into the climate system. What these geo-engineering measures have in common is the risks they harbour for man and the environment which can have an impact worldwide and should therefore be subject to global governance. A study done on behalf of the UBA presents appropriate proposals. read more

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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment