Joint press release by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) and the German Environment Agency (UBA)

Citizens call for more urban greening and depaving to combat heat

Citizen delegates present their recommendations on climate protection to State Secretary for the Environment Christiane Rohleder

Das Foto zeigt einen Tisch mit mehreren Menschen, von denen eine Teilnehmerin Notizen macht.Click to enlarge
At the regional dialogue on climate adaptation in Dessau, participants outlined initial proposal
Source: Jan Kopetzky / UBA

Citizens expect the Federal Government to take decisive action against the consequences of climate change. This is the key outcome of the five regional dialogue events on climate adaptation, which were handed over to State Secretary Christiane Rohleder at the Federal Environment Ministry today. The citizens are calling for more inner-city greenery to combat the heat and for areas to be depaved (also referred to as desealing) so that rainwater can return to the ground. They also want the extraction of groundwater to be clearly regulated to protect resources and for them to be able to work, learn and do business protected from extreme weather conditions in order to maintain their performance and health. The transport infrastructure, especially public transport and railways, must also function reliably during extreme weather events and heat.

State Secretary for the Environment Christiane Rohleder commented: “The climate crisis is becoming more and more noticeable in Germany. This is demonstrated by the increase in extreme weather events such as droughts, heatwaves and ⁠ heavy rain ⁠in recent years. Citizens are showing us how to minimise ⁠ climate impacts ⁠and maintain quality of life in the future with their visions of the future and are making concrete proposals for policymakers. The results will help in the further development of the new climate adaptation strategy, in which we will take into account the perspectives and suggestions from the population.”

Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency stated: “The five dialogue events have confirmed that people feel affected by the consequences of climate change and want to contribute to solutions. For example, the citizens involved attach importance to ensuring that people can stay healthy and better protect themselves and others during climate change.⁠ To achieve this, they want cooled public spaces in hot weather, for example, but also better information about the risks. Alongside the demand for a green, lively living environment and climate-adapted buildings, there is also a recognisable willingness for community involvement. This is a great opportunity to implement climate adaptation locally.”

When it comes to the supply of water, energy and raw materials, citizens are also calling for the extraction of groundwater to be clearly regulated and energy supply to be decentralised in order to secure supply. Access to climate-adapted public spaces without long journeys must be made possible for everyone, especially those population groups particularly affected by heat. Overall, they would like the topic of climate adaptation to become better known among the population and the necessary measures to be better accepted. For this reason, education, communication and participation should be increased.


Last autumn, the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the German Environment Agency Environment Agency invited randomly selected citizens to take part in five dialogue events in the regions affected to varying degrees by climate change: the Baltic Sea coast in Wismar, the Middle Elbe in Dessau-Roßlau, the Rhine-Ruhr in Duisburg, the Rhine-Main in Worms and the Bavarian Forest in Zwiesel. For two days in each region, a total of 331 people developed ideas and recommendations on how to shape a future worth living in the face of climate change. Today, citizen delegates from the various regions presented the recommendations to the Federal Ministry for the Environment.

The German government is currently further developing the German ⁠Adaptation Strategy⁠ from 2008 and intends to present a new, precautionary climate change ⁠ adaptation strategy⁠  by the end of 2024. This strategy is enshrined in the new Climate Adaptation Act, which was passed by the German Parliament, the Bundestag, in November 2023. The results of the participation process with citizens and experts will be incorporated into the work on the federal government's new climate adaptation strategy.

Umweltbundesamt Headquarters

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

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 climate change  citizen participation  climate adaptation