Helpful hints on gaining recognition

Useful information for environmental associations seeking recognition pursuant to the Environmental Appeals Act (Umwelt-Rechtsbehelfsgesetz, 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 (German Länder) and for all foreign associations. Domestic associations whose scope of activity does not reach beyond the territory of a federal state are granted recognition by the 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 the responsible recognition authority examines the association's bylaws or articles of incorporation and the documentation regarding its actual field of activity. The recognition procedure concludes with the administrative decision on the application for recognition. If recognition is granted the responsible authority stipulates in its notification of recognition the areas of activity for which the recognition applies, as stated in the association’s bylaws.

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 additional rights in the field of nature conservation pursuant to Articles 63-64 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act).

The following information will provide orientation to associations which seek recognition pursuant to the UmwRG when compiling the required documentation:

  • An informal application with the contact details of the association's authorised representative (name, address, phone number, email)
  • The bylaws or articles of incorporation of the association which seeks recognition must clearly state:
  1. Distinctive purpose;
  2. Membership and membership rights;
  • In the case of umbrella organizations: the bylaws of its member organizations;
  • If available: indication of current membership count;
  • 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);
  • Documents which give evidence of the association's activities over the previous three years (e.g. annual reports, member periodicals, newsletters, leaflets, press releases).
  • A copy of the notification of recognition if the association has already gained partial 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.