Helpful hints on gaining recognition

Useful information for environmental associations seeking recognition according to the Environmental Appeals Act (UmwRG)

The German Environment Agency is responsible for the recognition of domestic associations whose scope of activity reaches beyond the territory of a federal state and for foreign associations in general. Domestic associations whose scope of activity does not reach beyond the territory of a federal state are granted recognition by a competent authority at federal state level.

In order to determine if the requirements for recognition are fulfilled in accordance with Article 3 (1) Sentence 2 No. 1-5 UmwRG, the competent authority at UBA needs informative data and documentation from the applicant association. Documentation is reviewed and concludes with issuance of an administrative decision. If official recognition is granted, the competent authority stipulates in its notification of recognition the statutory tasks of the association and the geographic area for which the recognition applies. The notification of recognition also indicates whether an association has a main emphasis on encouraging the objectives of nature conservation and landscape preservation (cf. Article 3 (1) sentence 3 clause 2 UmwRG). This information confers the additional rights in the field of nature conservation pursuant to Articles 63-64 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act).

The following provides guidance on the required information for a review of eligibility for recognition as an environmental association:

  1. An informal application with the contact details of association's authorised representative (name, address, phone number, email)
  2. The bylaws or articles of incorporation of the association, or other form of regulations. These statutes must identify at least the following:
    o    Name and place of business
    o    Distinctive purpose and/or mandate of the association
    o    Information on membership and member rights
    o    Organs and internal decision-making processes
  3. Date of association's incorporation
  4. Records of association's activities in the three years prior to filing the application (in particular the logs of the annual meetings of the members, annual reports, activity reports, opinions in licensing and legislative procedures, as well as position papers, member magazines, newsletters, leaflets, press articles)
  5. Evidence of existence of a field of activity whose scope reaches beyond the borders of a federal state (cf. Article 3 Para 2 Sentence 1 UmwRG)
  6. Membership details, in particular total number of members and number of active members
  7. Information on the association's performance, in particular its financial situation (current financial reports, profit and loss accounts, assets) and the organisation of its activities
  8. In the case of registered associations: an up-to-date extract from the official register of societies and associations or commercial register reflecting the last amendment to the articles of association/bylaws;
  9. Proof of promotion of public-benefit purposes (e.g. current notice of non-liability for tax due on the grounds of promotion of public-benefit purposes) or documents which give evidence of its non-profit nature and advancement of the public good in material, spiritual, or ethical terms;
  10. In the case of umbrella organisations: the bylaws of its member organisations
  11. A copy of the recognition notification if the association has already been granted recognition as an environmental or nature conservation association.


The competent authority at UBA (Anerkennungsstelle Umwelt-Rechtsbehelfsgesetz) is happy to answer questions and provide any further information you may need.

Regulations