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).

Global Initiative on “A Digital Planet for Sustainability”

Die Erdkugel mit der blauen Atmosphäre vor dem schwarzen Weltall

UBA together with UNDP, UNEP, Future Earth and ISC started the initiative A Digital Planet for Sustainability, which brings together science community, governmental institutions, UN Bodies, tech companies, and civil society. Because digitalization creates new opportunities for implementing the 2030 agenda and the UN's sustainability goals - and thus also for environmental and climate protection. read more


Plant-based meat substitute with best environmental performance

A burger with plant based meat substitute.

Meat substitute products such as vegetarian sausage, schnitzel or meatballs are becoming increasingly popular in Germany. A study entitled "Meat of the Future" by the German Environment Agency examines the effects which meat substitutes have on the environment and health and what role they could play in a future diet. read more


From Science to Policy: UBA Exhibition in the European Parliament

UBA-Building in Dessau

The German Environment Agency's "From Science to Policy" exhibition was due to open in the European Parliament in Brussels on 29 June. Due to the corona pandemic the exhibition is now being held digitally. UBA President Dirk Messner invites you to take a virtual tour of the exhibition. All posters and interviews with UBA experts on the exhibition topics can also be found in the online exhibition. read more



Raul Walch. Laborant’s Pause, 2018. Inkjet-Print. Copyright: Raul Walch

Waste is everywhere: in the Great Pacific garbage patch, as fine particular matter in the air, or as microplastics in the food chain. The group exhibition Zero Waste showcases international positions in contemporary art that point out the urgency to save resources, consume less, and live more sustainably. Zero Waste is on display at the MdBK Museum of fine arts in Leipzig from Jun 25 til Nov 8. read more


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


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


The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment