Last changed: 6/10/11
Sustainability strategies and instruments, climate protection and energy, transport and noise abatement - Division I deals with a wide range of issues. Of these, strategies for sustainable development, aimed at transforming significantly less raw materials and energy into pollutants in future, are becoming increasingly important.
Climate protection is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. This challenge can only be met if energy supply in industrialised countries such as Germany relies more strongly on renewable energy sources and uses all energy more efficiently. A department has therefore been set up in Division I to deal with these issues. Main areas of work include the further development of international climate protection agreements, long-term energy supply scenarios, promotion of renewable energy sources, possibilities for saving energy in the area of electrical and electronic equipment and in buildings, and processing of energy and emissions data in Germany.
Motorised road transport is one of the great environmental challenges of our time. For many people, a private car is not just a means of transport, but above all a lifestyle statement. Thus, alongside technological options for reducing the environmental impact of motor vehicles, Division I is also studying ways of reaching people's hearts and minds, to persuade them to switch to more environmentally sound transport solutions. The aim is that future motorised transport in Germany should be quieter, consume less raw materials and produce less waste and exhaust gas, thereby reducing the overall environmental burden, for example in order to reach air quality targets. This applies not only to road transport, but also to air, water and off-road vehicles.
In order to achieve environmental protection objectives, suitable instruments must be in place. Their design from the legal, economic and social points of view forms another priority in the work of the Division. In concrete terms, this means for example the development of instruments for protecting the climate, improving air quality control, reducing land-take and protecting resources. The consolidation and simplification of environmental law through an Environmental Code or other regulatory approaches also continues to figure on the agenda.
The work in Division I on Environmental impact assessment for environmentally relevant plans and projects focuses on legal, methodological and substantive aspects. This includes examining and issuing permission for any activities in the Antarctic which originate in Germany.
Effective environmental protection needs reliable data. Division I gathers this data from all over Germany, summarises it in meaningful charts and statistics, publishing it regularly in publications such as Data on the Environment. Documentary databases and factual databases are another important field of activity of Division I. This comprises the Umweltportal Deutschland (PortalU), the Environmental Data Catalogue (UDK), the Environment Geographical Information System (GISU), the Environmental Research Database (UFORDAT), the Environmental Literature Database and the Environmental Thesaurus (UMTHES).
International cooperation on the environment has become increasingly important in the last two decades. Important partners in this cooperation are the institutions of the European Union and the United Nations, the OECD, and the countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The Federal Environment Agency is also the German Focal Point for the European Environment Agency.
The Federal Environment Agency also supports candidates for EU membership in Central and Eastern Europe, for example with the twinning programme. The projects aim to help countries willing to join the EU in implementing EU environmental policy. Experts from authorities in member states are sent to future EU partner states to provide assistance in introducing community law.
The Advisory Assistance Programme for Environmental Protection in Central and Eastern European, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and certain countries in the Caucasus region and Central Asia aims to play an active role in transferring ambitious environmental standards. Projects adapted to the situation in each country provide support from Germany for the Environment for Europe process and the environmental action plan agreed for these countries at the conference of ministers in Lucerne in 1993. The Federal Environment Agency implements the advice programme on behalf of the Federal Environment Ministry.
Careful use of environmental resources is the most important goal of environmental and spatial planning. The issues and tasks range from sustainable regional development, through residential development, to environmental building projects and the Local Agenda 21.