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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 Stakeholders discuss requirements for water reuse

irrigation of a field

The use of treated wastewater, e.g. for agricultural irrigation, can alleviate pressures on water resources. At the same time it poses risks as treated wastewater can contain pathogens and chemicals. By May 2018 the European Commission wants to publish a regulatory proposal for requirements. UBA President Krautzberger and EU Parliamentarian Wölken invited for a discussion on 22 March in Brussels. read more

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Recognition of environmental and nature protection associations

Logo of the competent authority for environmental and nature conservation associations

Environmental and nature conservation associations can gain recognition pursuant to art. 3 Environmental Appeals Act (Umwelt-Rechtsbehelfsgesetz, UmwRG) and thereby acquire special participation and litigation rights. The German Environment Agency (UBA) and the competent authorities at federal state (Länder) level are responsible for granting recognition. read more

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WEEE: EU-wide enforcement of producer responsibility

used electrical and electronic equipment like computers and mobile phones

The agencies from nearly 20 EU countries responsible for the enforcement of the European WEEE Directive have formed a network. UBA initiated the constitutional meeting on 7-8 September 2017. The representatives from all participating EU-countries agreed to cooperate more closely in the future in order to prosecute non-compliant producers who trade across borders more effectively. read more

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International action for more protection in a hazardous incident

firemen with boats on a river

UBA is engaged in transboundary efforts to improve the protection of man and the environment, for example in the case of fires at industrial facilities or oil spills. In September 2017 UBA launched a joint emergency exercise with the German and Polish fire brigade and organised a seminar on how to prevent transboundary pollution by contaminated fire-water. read more

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Waste management in Russia and other CIS countries

participants of the workshop repairing computers

The Advisory Assistance Programme of UBA has been supporting the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States for many years in the development of effective waste management structures. Seminars and workshops held in May and June 2017 provided targeted information and training for stakeholders from government, industry and non-governmental organizations. read more

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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment