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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).

Rebound effects

Efficiency increase oftentimes reduces product or service costs, which can in turn ramp up consumption (due to reduced prices), thus partly canceling out the original savings. This is known as the rebound effect. read more

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English-language Guide to the German Environmental Administration

Arial photo of a city with a river

The environmental administration in Germany is deeply rooted in the German tradition of federalism. Due to this specific tradition, German environmental administration might seem rather complex from an outside view. Therefore the German Environment Agency has developed a guide in English to provide a concise introduction to the German environmental administration for an international readership. read more

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Federal Environment Ministry's Advisory Assistance Programme

Map of EECCA and Central/Eastern European states

Since the year 2000 the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) runs the Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) to support projects aiming for environmental protection in the countries covered by the programme. The target regions of the programme are the states of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasian countries and Central Asia. read more

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Aligning EU Climate Policy with the Paris Agreement

Planet Earth

According to the IPCC, global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to mitigate the risks. An UBA position paper outlines how the EU climate policy could be aligned with this goal. Already by 2020, the parties to the Paris Agreement are to submit their updated national climate contribution to limit global warming. Up to now, far less has been promised than would be necessary. read more

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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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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment