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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).

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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New blog: Corona Sustainability Compass (CSC)

People on a square

The coronavirus crisis is presenting our healthcare system with some huge challenges: those who have fallen prey to the virus have to be helped to prevent the virus from spreading, and vaccines and medicinal products need to be developed. The economy and public life are practically at a standstill. Businesses are facing a huge squeeze on their liquidity. Many companies are asking their employees t... read more

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Youth study: Climate action and environmental protection are popular among young people

junge Frauen am Laptop

Protecting the environment and climate action are hot topics for young people in Germany. A clear majority of the young population is interested in politics, willing to take action and places their trust in democracy. They expect policy makers to do more for the climate and environment and to be mindful of social justice. They also perceive potential in each and every person to do more. read more

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German Sustainable Building Award launched

moderner Holzbau mit Flachdach im Grünen

The new award for sustainable buildings, neighbourhoods and ecological innovation will be awarded in 2020 for the first time and aims to distinguish projects that are exemplary role models of sustainability, not only in the classic areas of building stock and new build, but also in five further categories. All stakeholders in the building sector are eligible to enter. read more

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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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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment