Joint press release by the German Environment Agency, Federal Environment Ministry and State Chancellery of Saxony-Anhalt

Structural change in the central German coal-mining district – establishment of environmental information centre in Merseburg

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The National Centre for Environmental Information to be launched in Merseburg.
Source: wechselbalg /

The federal government, the federal states and the region have agreed to cooperate closely in setting up the "National Centre for Environmental Information (". This is the result of a working meeting in Merseburg today involving the Federal Ministry for the Environment, the German Environmental Agency, the State Chancellery of Saxony-Anhalt, Merseburg University of Applied Sciences, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, the Saale District, the City of Merseburg and representatives of the state administration from the fields of science and the environment.

Dirk Meyer, Director-General at the Federal Environment Ministry, said, “We see the National Environmental Information Centre as one of the most important projects in the German government’s data strategy. Starting next year, environmental data from the whole of Germany will be compiled and processed in Merseburg. This will benefit citizens, science and research, businesses and industry in the region and throughout the country and, ultimately, our environment, nature and the climate.”

Wolfgang Scheremet, Head of the Central Office Division at the German Environment Agency, added, “The national portal for environmental information is a joint effort in Merseburg to lay the foundation for access to environmental information and data. We will build a modern and technically innovative portal. Artificial intelligence methods, among others, will also be used in the evaluation of data. We will create attractive jobs in Merseburg in the field of digitalisation and look forward to working together with the region and all the stakeholders involved.”

“The central German coal-mining district and its higher education institutions and research organisations provide the best preconditions for the environmental information centre to work well. The centre will be able to build on existing research priorities in the areas of digitalisation, data management and environmental and biodiversity research, to name just a few," says Franziska Krüger, Head of the Structural Change Unit at the Saxony-Anhalt State Chancellery.

As part of the structural transformation of coal-mining regions, the federal government and the state of Saxony-Anhalt decided in June 2021 to establish the National Centre for Environmental and Nature Conservation Information ( in Merseburg.
Possible sites in Merseburg are now being inspected and evaluated. Today's working meeting also marked the start of close cooperation between the federal government, the federal state and the region.


Access to all German environmental information and data through a single platform – that is the goal of the new National Environmental Information Centre which the Federal Environment Ministry is locating in Merseburg. Over the next few years, 85 million euros are to be invested to establish a national environmental information access point that will pool all the information available in Germany on environment-related topics in one place. The information and data are to be prepared in a way that is appropriate for the target group and made accessible to all citizens, science and research, business and industry, and administration. Cooperation between the Federal Government and the federal states is an essential prerequisite for this.

The portal enables environmental information to be better found, easily accessible, openly provided and also available in the long term. In future, citizens, science and research, companies and industry will find an information and service offer with real added value at ''. The new data centre will also be networked with the 'Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory for Sustainability Solutions', which is currently being set up and will use AI methods to evaluate environmental data and thus provide even better support for environmental policy.

Science, research, environmental associations and other non-governmental organisations will be able to use the portal to find the right data sets and information to address key issues of the future. Companies will be able to develop new business models that promote environmental protection. It will becomes easier for them to integrate aspects relevant to the environment and sustainability into their offers, to comply with environmental regulations and to find information about authorisations. In addition, data provides the basis for the use of digital technologies and innovative applications to protect the environment, climate and resources.

Standardised interfaces can also be used to feed data needed for the management of environmental infrastructures, for example in water management, and from these networked systems back into the environmental databases. Politics and administration also benefit from better processing, provision, linking and evaluation of environmental data.

The drive to collect environmental information and make it available to third parties (especially interested citizens) has been a strong incentive in the field of environmental management for many decades. Access to this environmental information is highly fragmented in Germany. The European Commission has criticised this fragmentation and suggested that a central national access point to environmental information be established. Technological progress has meant that data on the state of nature and the environment is no longer collected exclusively by the public sector. Private households, individuals or companies also consciously or unconsciously collect environmental data that could contribute to an improvement of environmental information. Thus, a very large and extensive amount of data on the environment is created. The task of the new Environmental Information Centre is therefore also to investigate, together with other offices at UBA, which measures (e.g. the use of artificial intelligence (AI)) can be implemented to make this large amount of information and data manageable and, above all, more accessible.

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