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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).

Deep sea mining: Germany lobbying for high environmental standards

black manganese nodule

The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) and the Germany Environment Agency (UBA) are campaigning for systematic environmental protection in deep sea mining. At an expert workshop event in Berlin, the two authorities made an appeal for a comprehensive assessment of both the chances and risks of future deep sea mining. read more


Convincing design, not short-lived disposable goods

Grafik mit grünem Hintergrund. Darauf ein weißer Papierflieger.

Waste screening systems for marine litter, breathing building facades or bionic partition walls in airplanes: The German Federal Ecodesign Award is once again looking for daring pioneers of design and inventors of sustainable products for the award in 2017. The deadline for submission of entries to the competition is 10 April. read more


Mining in Mongolia to become more environmentally friendly

Spoil from the Erdenet copper mine is dumped outside the mining town.

Mongolia is one of the richest countries worldwide in terms of raw materials. Mining is a major industry but mining activities, increasing steadily since the 1990s, are causing environmental problems. An advisory assistance project organized by UBA is answering a call from the Mongolian Ministry for Environment & Tourism to exchange experience and to deepen German-Mongolian cooperation. read more


13th German-Russian Environmental Day 2016 in Kaliningrad Region

Participants of the German-Russian Environmental Day 2016 in Kaliningrad Region

The German Environment Agency organized a joint event with the German Federal Environment Ministry and the Agency for International and Interregional Relations of the Government of the Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation on 27 October 2016 in Kaliningrad. More than 130 participants attended the event. read more


UBA heads the set-up of an European Human Biomonitoring system

a blood sample is taken from a woman

The EU Commission is providing funding worth more than 74 million euros to the “European Human Biomonitoring Initiative – HBM4EU” project to harmonize and align the database on human biomonitoring in the EU Member States and to enhance our understanding of the health impact of exposure to pollution. The aim is to consolidate existing data and to implement joint research projects. read more


New Urban Agenda – Toolkit for modern cities

city of Quito

Presenting the global roadmap for sustainable urban development over the next twenty years: the New Urban Agenda. It is the key outcome of the UN Habitat III Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development which ended on 20 October 2016 in the Ecuadorean capital Quito. read more


The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment