The German Environment Agency celebrates its 50-year anniversary

The German Environment Agency celebrates its 50-year anniversary

Grafik mit dem Jubiläumslogo des Umweltbundesamtes. Eine 50 mit dem Symbol des Blauen Engels. Auf der Grafik stehen alle wichtigen Daten zum Jubiläumsfest am 15.06.2024 in Dessau-Roßlau für alle interessierten Bürgerinnen und Bürger.Click to enlarge
Celebrate with us 50 years of commitment to people and the environment!
Source: Umweltbundesamt

Over 50 years ago, the social-liberal coalition under chancellor Willy Brandt breathed new life into environmental protection. With the launch of the Federal Government’s first environmental programme and the appointment of the first German Environment Minister in 1971, environmental policy initially took root within the Federal Ministry. Shortly thereafter, the Federal Republic of Germany became the first European country to establish a scientific environmental protection agency: On the 22nd June 1974 the German Environment Agency (UBA) began work in west Berlin with around 170 employees. Environmental issues were becoming increasingly more prominent on political agendas in Germany and Europe. Since relocating its headquarters to Dessau-Roßlau in May 2005, the UBA has seen significant growth, not only in the number of employees, which now exceeds 1,800 across 16 locations in Germany, but also in the range of topics it covers. In 2024, the UBA will mark its 50th anniversary with a new exhibition at its headquarters and a virtual time travel experience for visitors. These events will highlight the challenges, initiatives, and successes of the UBA over the past five decades. To celebrate these significant achievements in environmental protection, a public anniversary celebration is scheduled for June 15, 2024, in Dessau.

Since its foundation, the UBA has been tasked with recognising and assessing potential future adverse effects on people and the environment at an early stage and to propose achievable solutions to both politicians and society. To achieve this the UBA collects comprehensive data on the state of the environment and uses this knowledge to advise the whole federal government. It conducts research in its own laboratories or awards research contracts to scientific organisations and institutes in Germany and abroad. In addition, the UBA enforces environmental laws, for example for emissions trading or the authorisation of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, or pesticides. Since 1974, they have also been tasked with informing the public about environmental issues.

A quick glance at the range of topics shows just how multifaceted the work of the UBA is: Employees work, research and provide information on the various aspects of the coexistence of humans and the environment: from protecting the world’s oceans, waste prevention and resource conservation, to the effects of different chemicals on human health and the future development of mobility and nutrition. The protection of people and the environment always remains the central focus of their work.

The UBA today: As of June 2023, the UBA has 1,837 employees across 16 locations. The headquarters have been located in Dessau-Roßlau (Saxony-Anhalt) since 2005. The UBA also has other offices in Berlin, Bad Elster (Saxony), Langen (Hesse), Merseburg (Saxony-Anhalt), Salzgitter (Lower Saxony) und Cottbus (Brandenburg). Furthermore, the UBA operates a monitoring network with seven monitoring stations from Zingst to the Zugspitze.

Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency stated: “In all modesty, we can proudly say that a lot has been achieved over the years in environmental protection thanks to the dedication and persistence of our colleagues. We haven’t just initiated changes, but also actively helped to shape and implement them – from a ban on Abestos and CFCs to the launch of emissions trading. Despite these successes, we are focusing on new socio-political challenges in our anniversary year. Increased interdisciplinary cooperation on national and international levels is necessary to promote environment and climate protection and to continue to enable prosperity within the limits of ecosystems. This requires a comprehensive view of climate change mitigation and the work that protects people and the environment – for example consistent economic and social transformation or the promotion of a circular economy, without which we cannot achieve socially just and successful climate change mitigation now or in the future. The 50-year anniversary marks a milestone and gives us the opportunity to strengthen partnerships and to work together with other organisations to achieve global environmental goals. Foremost among these are the goals set out by the European Green Deal of 2019, including climate neutrality by 2045 and creating a sustainable future, that we, as a society, are eager to embrace with optimism and collective transformation work.”

Anniversary celebration on the 15th June 2024: On June 15, 2024, the UBA will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a special event at its headquarters in Dessau-Roßlau, inviting visitors to explore the challenges, milestones, successes and lessons of the past 50 years. The celebration will feature informative activities and exhibits by various experts and UBA colleagues, highlighting current priorities and future issues. There is something for all ages at the various stands and hands-on activities from 10:00 until 17:00. There will also be a musical, cultural and culinary programme. Admission is free, and pre-booking is not required.

UBA walk in Dessau-Roßlau on the 26th April 2024 In addition to the exhibition and the virtual journey through time on, the event series “UBA walks for humankind and the environment in Dessau-Roßlau”, which starts on the 26/04/2024, will mark the beginning of the anniversary year. The UBA is hosting a guided walk offering historical insights from 15:00 around the main building area of the former Wörlitz train station. Following the walk, the UBA President Dirk Messner and the mayor of Dessau-Roßlau, Robert Reck, will welcome attendees to a lecture and discussion in the UBA lecture theatre.

Further information:

The exhibition “50 years of the German Environment Agency” is located in the UBA’s headquarters. Wörlitzer Platz 1, 06844 Dessau-Roßlau. Further information here. 

The content of the exhibition and further interesting anecdotes and information can be found as a virtual journey through time here.

The walking tour “UBA walk for humankind and the environment in Dessau-Roßlau” starts on the 26/04/2024 at 15:00 in Dessau. Registration is required for participation, which is subject to a fee. 

Further information on registration, meeting point and programme here.

The anniversary celebration takes place on the 15/06/2024 between the hours 10:00 - 17:00 at the headquarters in Dessau-Roßlau. Admission is free. Pre-booking is not required. Further information here. Programme details will be published shortly.

Umweltbundesamt Headquarters

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

Das Hauptgebäude des Umweltbundesamtes in Dessau-Roßlau
1974 nahm das Umweltbundesamt seine Arbeit auf - als erste nationale Umweltbehörde in Deutschland!
Source: Susanne Kambor / UBA
Foto mit den neuen UBA-Ausstellungstalfen in Dessau-Roßlau. Zu sehen ist ein Teil der Ausstellung mit Menschen hinter den Tafeln.
Neugierig, welche Themen uns in den vergangenen Jahren bewegt haben? Besuchen Sie die Ausstellung!
Source: Susanne Kambor / UBA
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