Federal Environment Ministry's Advisory Assistance Programme

Since the year 2000, the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB) has been using funding from the Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) to support projects aimed at strengthening environmental protection in the countries covered by the programme. The target regions of the programme are the states of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasian countries and Central Asia.

Since 2015, further countries neighbouring the EU in the Mediterranean Region have also been added.

Within the scope of the programme, new EU member states and EU accession candidates are provided with technical advice on transfer, implementation and enactment of the EU environmental acquis. The other states within the target region receive support in pursuing development that is aligned towards European environmental standards. The purpose of the programme is the exchange and transfer of knowledge and experience to the target region in order to strengthen environmental administration bodies, raise environmental standards and prepare for environmental investments. The outcomes achieved within the scope of the projects comprise educational materials, guidelines or policy recommendations relating to possible instruments, measures and institutional arrangements in the target countries. The resulting enhancement in the levels of expertise and knowledge of the recipients of advice make a major contribution towards improving the environmental situation at a local level and aim to create the prerequisites for sustainable development. An annual budget of €2.74 million is available for the projects.

Programme topics

Depending on political priority, the main topics of the Advisory Assistance Programme focus on the establishment of expertise, on sewage treatment, on water pollution control, on recycling management, on air pollution or on nature protection. Considerable significance is also attached to measures which relate to the thematic area of “climate protection and climate change mitigation” or which enable preparations to be made for the deployment of modern environmental technologies.
Project examples may be found in the project database of the Advisory Assistance Programme on the website of the Federal Environment Agency.

The contents or objectives of the advisory services measures should include the following:

  • Ratification and implementation of agreements and obligations entered into at an international level, particularly within the scope of the UNECE;
  • Development of national or regional environmental policy programmes, strategies and plans, e.g. via the consolidation of the current national legal framework;
  • Development of pilot projects and best practice with regard to the introduction of environmentally friendly technologies;
  • Fostering transnational cooperation, e.g. via the staging of international workshops or study trips;
  • Formation of networks and communication structures, e.g. by establishing round tables or working groups;
  • Development of tools to assist with the autonomous implementation of legal obligations and standards;
  • Establishment of educational and continuing training structures, e.g. via the introduction of train-the-trainer courses;
  • Improvement of environmental awareness and development of civil societies, e.g. by supporting non-governmental organisations (NGOs);
  • Increasing the robustness of national, regional and local authorities, e.g. via the analysis of actual and target status and the derivation of specific recommendations for action;
  • Preparation, support or follow-up measures for administrative partnerships (TWINNING projects).

A Project Service Unit at the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) acts as a contact partner for advice recipients and for the organisations implementing the projects as well as coordinating the necessary arrangements between the parties involved. Technical support for the projects is provided by the higher federal authority with responsibility in the respective area.

Development of advisory assistance projects and evaluation criteria

Advisory assistance projects arise as a result of enquiries from countries covered by the programme. The government organs and further institutions of such countries may approach Germany with a verbal or written request for advice (project outline). This process mostly emerges from within the work context of the BMUB and its authorities. Situational analyses (e.g. progress reports from the EU Commission, environmental monitoring reports produced by the UNECE) or the OECD Environmental Action Programme may, however, also trigger the need for advice for EECCA states. Advisory services to meet requirements identified in this way are commissioned by UBA.

Invitations to tender for the commissioning of advisory services are published by the Federal Environment Agency on: Ausschreibungen und Zuwendungen (German only)

Alongside the commissioning of advisory services, the AAP is also able to offer grants for projects conducted by Federal Government or federal state organisations, non-governmental organisations, private sector companies, institutes of higher education, research institutions and international organisations and institutions if certain criteria are fulfilled. Applicants need to demonstrate, for example, that there is a national desire for the project in the target country. Alongside providing a long-term beneficial effect for the environment, the project idea should display effective policy and be a recognisable pilot initiative.
Further evaluation criteria are stated in the “Information for applicants”. They may be requested from the Project Service Unit at UBA together with the further application documentation (Email: AAP-info [at] uba [dot] de).