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Sustainability | Strategies | International matters

Inasmuch as most problems related to the environment and sustainable development are multi-facetted and cross-border in nature, solutions and strategies need to be found not only here in Germany but internationally as well. The 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro addressed the issue of sustainable development at the international level, largely influencing the debate in the intervening years. The numerous treaties and institutions, as well as German and European strategies, that have come into being since then, today form a key basis for sustainable development strategizing.

We simply cannot pillage the earth’s resources in perpetuity. There are natural limits to what the ecosphere can tolerate, and we need to observe these limits. Hence at the UBA we use the metaphor of a river waterway containing buoys, whereby ships represent socioeconomic development and buoys the limits that ships are not allowed to venture beyond. In other words, the ships can move freely within the limits set by the buoys, but cannot venture outside the confines of the waterway. Against this backdrop, our national sustainable development strategy, which defines sustainable development objectives and indicators, is a pivotal component of German sustainable development policy.

The UBA elaborates strategies aimed at exercising long term influence over social trends in a predictive manner that factors in all relevant processes and resources. Our aim in doing this is no less than to successfully catalyze the process of change and enable change to be incorporated at all social and political levels, whether the issue in question is governance, citizen participation or futures studies. We develop and use economic, legal, investigative, planning, informational and institutional instruments in the interest of fostering socioeconomic change that will bring us closer to a world where sustainable development and ecological justice reign.

Because problems in the sustainable development and environmental spheres are usually multi-facetted and attributable to cross-border factors, we need to find solutions with an international reach. International cooperation in the field of environmental protection has taken on ever growing importance over the past two decades. In this arena, we mainly work with EU and UN institutions, the OECD, and Central and Eastern European governments. The UBA also acts as the liaison with the European Environmental Agency (EEA).

EU Plastics Strategy needs to consider environmental issues

plastic waste in the water

Plastic waste is a major threat to the marine environment. But how to tackle this problem? The EU Plastics Strategy that is being discussed in the upcoming months can help reduce the input of plastics to the environment if it follows seven recommendations of the European environment agencies. read more

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The Alpine region towards more sustainability

Picture of a plant

The Alpine region wants to become a model region of resource-efficient and climate-friendly economy. The sixth Report on the State of the Alps, which was introduced at an Alpine-wide conference on 11 May 2017 in Rosenheim, shows how it can be done. read more

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Extending the service life of electrical appliances

Two women in front of a washing machine

The service life of most electrical appliances and equipment is becoming ever shorter – at the expense of the environment. The production of new models requires the consumption of valuable precious metals and energy which are not compensated by innovations such as lower energy use. UBA has drafted policy recommendations that will be fed into the European debate about the Circular Economy Package. read more

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Land take: Make goals binding

Aerial view of a small town

An area of 66 hectares of new land is consumed every day in Germany, with severe negative effects on the environment. UBA recommends a fixed quota regime for land and a certificate trading system. read more

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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment