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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).

Climate protection and clean air: Polish-German city cooperation

modern tramway in the city

Climate protection and better air quality are important issues in cities in both Poland and Germany. In an advisory assistance project of the German Federal Environment Ministry and the UBA, the exchange of experiences and collaboration between municipalities in Germany and Poland as well as other key stakeholders was intensified for the transition to a low-emissions economy. read more

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Environmental impact of software is now measurable

Binärer Code auf einem Bildschirm.

Software has a significant impact on the resource efficiency of IT hardware and on how long it is used. Programs which execute the same functions can have very different levels of energy consumption depending on how they are programmed. The German Environment Agency (UBA) has developed criteria to assess the environmental impact of software products. read more

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International Mountain Day 2018: Sustainable Alps

A lake with mountains around it and blue sky.

December 11th is the designated International Mountain Day. The day was designated by the UN to show the important role of mountain regions for sustainable development. In line with this, UBA has published a background paper describing the Alpine region on its way to becoming a model region for green economy. read more

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Another toy awarded with the Blue Angel

Bioblo-bausteine vor einem Logo des Blauen Engel

The Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and the German Environment Agency (UBA) awarded the Blue Angel ecolabel to the Bioblos children's construction blocks from Austria at a ceremony in Berlin today. It is the second toy to be awarded the Blue Angel. read more

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Federal Government strengthens relations between urban and rural areas

Kind auf einem Feld schau auf die entfernte Stadt.

The city and the countryside are closely interlinked, for example through daily flows of traffic and goods. In everyday practice, however, problems are common. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is now launching the “Stadt-Land-Plus” funding measure and already providing support for twelve collaborative projects between science and practice across Germany to implement new ideas. read more

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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment