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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN GERMANY


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Federal Government (Bundesregierung) consists of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministries. The Federal Chancellor determines the general policy guidelines. Within the limits set by these guidelines the Federal Ministers conduct the affairs of the departments on their own responsibility in close coordination with other Federal Ministers involved. The BMU and BMZ are jointly in charge of coordination of the Rio follow-up, particularly the implementation of Agenda 21.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

There is highly developed planning legislation in Germany that also prescribes sparing use of land and soil as well as consideration of nature conservation concerns. Compensation measures are to be taken in the event of unavoidable interventions. In addition, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are used for projects with particular environmental relevance as contained in the European Union (EU) EIA Directive. Germany contributes to overcoming threats to the global environment by strengthening international cooperation in the areas of environment and development and by constantly evolving and adapting its National environmental policy. Germany's policy on the care of the environment, which has been developed over the past fourteen years, is fully consistent with Agenda 21.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

As early as 1994 the Federal Government adopted the strategy Environment 1994 for the implementation of Agenda 21. Upon the occasion of the Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1997 this strategy was updated once again.

This Federal Government report "Towards Sustainable Development in Germany", which describes the National Strategy of Sustainable Development in Germany was adopted by the Federal Cabinet on 19 February 1997.

Furthermore, the Agenda 21 process in Germany operates on all levels:

  1. The Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) dialogue process "Steps Towards Sustainable Development" firmly establishes sustainable development as a task for society as a whole.
  2. In 1995 the German Bundestag set up a study commission (Enquetekommission) on the "Protection of Humanity and the Environment - Objectives and Framework for Sustainable Development", which submitted an interim report in April 1997.
  3. Environmental associations (e.g. BUND) and economic associations (e.g. VCI) have taken the issue of "sustainable development" on board and organize discussion fora on the subject.
  4. The environmental association BUND and the episcopal charity Misereor commissioned a study on Germany's viability for the future from the Wuppertal Institute for the Climate, the Environment and Energy. This study is being widely discussed.

The implementation of the Agenda 21 since Rio 1992 is marked by the following documents:

In 1995 the German Bundestag set up a study commission (Enquetekommission) on the "Protection of Humanity and the Environment - Objectives and Framework for Sustainable Development", which submitted its report in July 1998.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

See under Status.

Programmes and Projects 

See under Status.

Status 

National Decision-Making Structure

1. National Sustainable Development Coordination Body: Yes
2. National Sustainable Development Policy: Yes
3. National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD Yes
4. Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21: Yes
5. Environmental Impact Assessment Law: Yes
6. Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making: Yes

National Instruments and Programmes

1. Sustainable. Dev. or environmental education incorporated into school curricula: Yes
2. Sustainable Development Indicators Program: Yes
3. Ecolabel Regulations: Yes
4. Recycle/Reuse Programs: Yes
5. Green Accounting Program: Yes
6. Access to Internet: Yes
7. Access to World Wide Web: Yes
8. National World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Development or State of the Environment: Yes

http://www.bmu.de

Policies, Programmes and Legislation

1. Combatting poverty: Yes
2. Changing consumption and production patterns: Yes
3. Atmosphere: Yes
4. Land Use Planning: Yes
5. Forest and Deforestation: Yes
6. Desertification and Drought: No
7. Sustainable Mountain Development: Yes
8. Sustainable Agriculture: Yes
9. Biological Diversity: Yes
10. Biotechnology: Yes
11. Oceans and Coastal Areas: Yes
12. Freshwater Management: Yes
13. Toxic Chemicals: Yes
14. Hazardous Wastes: Yes
15. Solid Wastes: Yes
16. Radioactive Wastes: Yes
17. Energy: Yes
18. Transport: Yes
19. Sustainable Tourism: Yes

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

In signing and ratifying international agreements, there is an established administrative and legal process that considers the relationships and overlaps between such agreements. In order to simplify negotiations at the international level, Germany contributes actively to the ongoing discussion on the reform of the UN system.

The German Government has started to check all its instruments and fields of work under development cooperation as to their relevance for achieving the objectives of sustainable development and to orient them accordingly. Already today, the protection of the environment and natural resources in the narrower sense is, like poverty alleviation, a cross-sectoral task of German development policy and, at the same time, a sectoral priority. The integration of environmental aspects in development planning is pursued in the following ways: inclusion of the issue "sustainable development" in the policy dialogue and stronger orientation of Germany's development policy to this guiding principle, for example in the preparation of country concepts and through measures to enhance policy coherence; support for partner countries in adjusting to the requirements of sustainable development, the preparation and implementation of their own National environment policies and the implementation of Agenda 21; sponsoring of programmes and projects of partner countries which primarily serve to protect the environment and natural resources; environment-friendly formulation of all development co-operation projects (environmental impact assessment); additional support programmes for particularly endangered eco-systems (for example, the tropical forests) and participation in pertinent international initiatives; and contributions to regional endeavors aiming to achieve sustainable development and the reduction of key global dangers to the environment.

The Federal Republic of Germany belongs (inter alia) to the following regional or sub-regional organizations: Bonn Agreement for Cooperation in Dealing with Pollution of the North Sea by Oil and other Harmful Substances; Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS); Council of Europe; European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); EuropeanUnion (EU); Helsinki Commission (HELCOM); North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); OSPAR Commission (OSPAR); UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE); and Western European Union (WEU).

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This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth, sixth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: November 1998.

To access Germany's Sustainable Development Home Page, click here.
For a virtual visit to an exhibition on sustainable development, click here.
For information on Germany's "eco-audit," click here.
For information on environmental protection as a State Objective, click here.
For a chronology of environmental protection in Germany, click here.
For information on Germany's "eco-label," click here.
For Germany's Environmental Statute Book, click here.
For the Federal Emissions Control Act, click here.
For information on public participation, click here.
For information on Environmental Law around the World, click here:

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In Germany. the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was signed on 17th July 1980 and ratified on 10th July 1985.

In the legislative sector, there have been decisive advances in the equal rights of women and men in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Second Act on Equal Rights of Men and Women, the constitutional obligation to actively promote equal rights, the framework structure and institutional preconditions for the achievement of de facto equal rights have been substantially improved and disadvantages have continued to be purposefully removed.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

 Policies and strategies are being drawn up to achieve equality in all aspects of society including issuing a strategy by year 2000 to eliminate obstacles to full participation of women in sustainable development. Mechanisms are in place to assess the implication and impact of development and environmental policies and programmes on women in development cooperation.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

Strategies for the implementation of the platform for action of the Fourth World Conference of Women (Beijing 1995) were elaborated in 1996. A host of recommendations made at the World Conference on Women have already been achieved in Germany. From 1992 to 1996, the percentage of women in parliament increased from 20.5% to 26.3%. 

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Curricula and educational material already promote gender relevant knowledge and are being revised. 

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For information on WomenWatch in different countries, click here:
For information on national plans of action in the follow-up to the Beijing Conference, click here:

 

CHILDREN AND YOUTH

No information available.

* * *

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

This issue does not apply to the country.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In order to strengthen contributions of major groups to sustainable development at local, regional, National, and international levels, the Government has been applying the cooperation principle as a basis for action on environmental policy since the beginning of the 1980s. This principle promotes the optimum level of participation by social groups in the formulation and assertion of environmental goals and measures and the environmental responsibility of citizens, industry, and major groups. Given the far reaching ecological structural change going on in the economy and in society at large, the principle of cooperation is gaining in significance.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

In Germany, mechanisms already exist that allow NGOs to play their partnership role in sustainable development responsibly and effectively. NGO inputs are regarded as important. 

Programmes and Projects 

Major organizations also participate in National and local environmental impact assessment projects, the implementation of National sustainable development projects, and occasionally in the design of National sustainable development projects and policies. 

Status 

The activities of NGOs in the Rio follow-up process are coordinated by the German NGO Forum on Environment & Development. The Forum's main task is to monitor and promote the implementation of Agenda 21 at National and international levels. It also follows the implementation and development of the adopted conventions (climate change, biodiversity, and desertification). Substantive issues are dealt with in the Forum through eleven task forces: biodiversity, desertification, women, trade, youth issues, climate, lifestyle, sustainable development, sustainable agriculture, urban and regional development, and forests. Some of the Forum's main publications in 1995 were "The 95 Climate Summit in Berlin - a guide from the focal point of environment and development," Bonn 1995; "Ten core demands - German NGOs on the 1995 Climate Summit," Bonn 1995; "Desertification - a global challenge, media map produced by the Task Force on Desertification, Forum on Environment and Development," Bonn 1995; "Three years after Rio," Bonn 1995; "The Fourth World Conference on Women in Peking - a guide".

One important NGO contribution in the spirit of Agenda 21 is provided jointly by BUND (Bund fuer Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland) and MISEREOR. The study addresses the issues related to life in a Germany which is viable for the future in terms of the environmental aspects of development. 

The German Government included representatives from major groups in the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, in the World Summit on Social Development (WSSD) in Copenhagen, in the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW), and in the 1996 delegation to the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

In Germany there is a strong associative movement which is independent in its work and funded largely from its own resources. Due to their commitment and initiative, these groups have an important stimulating effect on sustainable and environmentally sound development. 

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  g 

As part of its educational work on development policy, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development supports school and non-school projects of German NGOs that serve to raise awareness of problems of environment and development either in Germany or abroad.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

See under Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-Raising. 

Cooperation

Within its development cooperation programme, the Federal Government collaborates with the Climate Action Network, Earth Action, Earth Times, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the Woodstock Research Center, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and the World Resources Institute (WRI). In addition to direct grants, measures have been taken to integrate international NGOs, and scientific and technological communities more closely in the implementation of bilateral technical cooperation projects (for example, IUCN: land use planning in Ecuador; WWF: nature conversation in Cote d'Ivoire). The Federal State of Brandenburg is carrying out the following model projects: measurement of wind power potential in Cuba; assessment of the risk to the environment of contaminated sites in Russia; protection of species in Mongolia; and protection of the rain forests in the Philippines.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

A number of efforts are underway to develop partnerships among educators, scientists, Governments, NGOs, business and industry, youth, the media and other major groups to communicate the key messages of sustainable development. For example, the "Environmental Ethics" working party in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety is made up of representatives from industry, trade unions, science, the administration, media and churches as well as consumer and environmental associations, with plans to support, among other projects, a Local Agenda 21 project in Bremen.

Programmes and Projects 

The Association of German Cities and Towns (Deutscher Staedtetag - DST) carried out an action programme on Local Agenda, and it has produced guidelines for this purpose of sustainability. Over 90 % of local authorities deal with the task "sustainable development" in their areas.

Status

There are at least 300 Local Agendas 21s in Germany. They involve 25% of the population, and 90% involve representation of women and/or youth. All local authorities in Germany (18.000) work for "sustainable development" actions. 

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

The research and development project "Initiatives for sustainable development: New communications styles in association with Agenda 21" supports and analyzes Local Agenda 21 processes and investigates efforts for cooperation within the framework of these processes.

Financing 

The Government supports local Agenda 21 initiatives. 

Cooperation

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1998.

 

WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

In Germany, International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions have been ratified. The Government and trade unions disagree over workers taking some part in National Agenda 21 discussion and implementation.

In accordance with the Works Constitution Act, the Works Council has numerous rights in decision making that are relevant from an ecological point of view including: monitoring compliance with environmental protection laws that may also have beneficial effects on employees (various provisions contained in the Chemicals Act, the Hazardous Incident Ordinance, and the Federal Emissions Control Act); co-determination with regard to the working regulations on environmentally compatible behavior by the employees (waste avoidance and disposal); inclusion of ecological aspects in the planning of buildings, technical installations, working methods, work processes, and the workplace; and intervention in favor of environment-friendly products and manufacturing processes.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

As a result of the German system of autonomy in collective bargaining, the collective bargaining partners conclude collective agreements on their own responsibility without any government intervention. They are free to take into account the defined objectives of sustainable development.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

See under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status

As part of its precautionary environmental policy the Federal Government has, in cooperation with German industry, embarked on a new approach to exploit the potential for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the industry sector.

In March 1995 German industry presented a declaration of intent on climate damage prevention, which was further specified in March 1996. Industry thereby undertakes to make special efforts to reduce its specific CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by the year 2005 against the reference year 1990. At the same time a comprehensive monitoring system was drawn up.

The pledge means that over 71 percent of industry's final energy consumption, more than 99 percent of public electricity supplies and part of the private households and small-scale users are now covered by the industry declaration of voluntary commitment. According to industry estimates, an absolute CO2 reduction potential of 120 million tons will be achieved in manufacturing industry, in the electricity supply industry and in the district-heating sector over the period 1990 to 2005. On top of this come the contributions of the gas and mineral oil industries, which primarily derive from improvements in the private household and small-scale user sectors and should add up to approx. 50 million tons of CO2 by the year 2005 (base 1990).

Industry's progress in fulfilling its voluntary commitment is monitored by the Rheinisch-Westfaelisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI). According to the first monitoring report, the CO2 emissions of the participating enterprises was lowered by 42 million tons between 1990 and 1996. This indicates that the commitment has started out successfully. The Federal Government will take these results as a basis for in-depth examination and a continuation of its talks with industry.

The German automobile producers have pledged to reduce the average fuel consumption of the cars they sell by 25 per cent by 2005 (reference year 1990). Indeed, they have since discussed the prospect of raising this reduction target to a third.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available.

Financing

German expenditure on environmental protection by industry and government amounted to DM 43 billion in 1995 in the old Laender (former West Germany + Berlin) alone. For all of Germany this figure is estimated to be above DM 60 billion. That makes Germany one of the biggest markets for environmental protection in the world. This overall expenditure covers both investment in plant and equipment as well as environmental protection services and research and development. Compared with other economic sectors the environmental technology industry has unusually high levels of research spending, testifying to a strong innovative drive. At present the emerging trend in the environmental technology sector is towards production-integrated and product-integrated solutions.

Cooperation

No information is available.

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This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1998.

For company environmental representatives, click here.

 

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COMMUNITY

No information available.

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FARMERS

No information available.

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SCIENCE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Research on global change and sustainability in Germany is undertaken with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology (BMBF) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG-German Research Association). In addition, some research institutions and projects receive funding from other Ministries such as the Federal Ministry of the Environment (BMU), via the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (UBA), the Federal Ministry of Transport (BMV), via the German Meteorological Service (DWD), among others. The Laender also support (in some cases in co-operation with the Federal Government) research projects and research establishments dealing with global change and sustainability.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Science is incorporated into decision-making for sustainable development, through both institutionalized and ad hoc manners.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The National Committee for Global Change Research facilitates dialogue among the scientific community, the Government and the public at large with respect to issues related to sustainable development. 

Programmes and Projects 

The Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology and the Federal Ministry for the Environment initiated a new research concept on sustainable production, which was issued in 1997 as part of the National Environmental Research Program. In this concept on "Modellprojekte Nachhaltiges Wirtschaften" (Model projects of sustainable economic activity) national research policy pays special attention to three core themes:

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Research grants are intended to fund studies on existing pioneering examples of sustainable consumption in an industrial society, to analyze their ecological compatibility, to analyze the prerequisites for their success as well as limiting aspects, and to find ways to apply the experience of small pioneering groups to broader parts of the population. Studies are planned to start in 1998.

A demonstration program ("Demonstrationsvorhaben zur Fundierung und Evaluierung nachhaltiger Konsummuster und Verhaltensethik 1997 - 1999") was launched in 1997 as part of the UFO Plan (Environmental Research Plan). It consists of four parts: Instruments and strategies for the promotion of sustainable consumption; Study about households; Priorities and trends of environment-related consumption patterns; and discussion among relevant social groups with the aim of establishing a consensus about principles and steps for the promotion of sustainable consumption patterns.

Information

Several panels of experts have been set up to define the current state of the art and the research priorities in connection with global change and sustainability. In the past, there were the "Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag on Protecting the Earth's Atmosphere" and the Climate Advisory Council. The German Advisory Council of Environmental Experts (within the purview of BMU) publishes a report at two year intervals. Of particular relevance to the topic of global change and sustainability are the annual reports of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). These reports have in recent years been entitled: "Ways towards Global Environmental Solutions" (1995), "The Threat to Soils" (1994), and "Basic Structure of Global Human-Environment Interactions" (1993). The implications of the problem of global change for German science are the subject of the WBGU's annual report for 1996, which is entitled "The Research Challenge".

Research and Technologies 

Ecological research makes available the necessary information to show where and when the regeneration and development capacity of natural ecosystems are jeopardized by human intervention. The foci of ecological research in Germany are studies of "urban ecology" (including topics such as sustainable municipal water management, possibilities of steering ecologically compatible mobility in urban regions), the rehabilitation of landscapes spoilt by lignite mining in the new Laender, and forest ecosystems and agricultural landscapes research including the naturalization of running waters. Furthermore, there is a priority entitled "Biotope and species protection".

Research on more sustainable consumption patterns has been incorporated in studies on urban ecology, especially on sustainable mobility in cities. Citizens in selected urban districts are interviewed on their social and economic status, their household patterns and preferences for mobility types. Researchers look for ways to provide the desired mobility in a way that is more compatible with ecological goals as well as users' preferences. Special attention is given to ensuring mobility for private household purposes and to the situation of women.

Support for innovative environmental protection technologies pursues the goal of developing methods and processes designed to avoid future environmental damage from the outset by means of integrated technologies, or to reduce contamination by means of integrated technologies, or by means of remedial measures. The relevant funding concept on clean production (PIUS) was presented in 1994. Other research activities deal, for example, with the avoidance and utilization of waste (for example in construction and paper-making) and the rehabilitation of abandoned hazardous sites.

Climate and atmospheric research in Germany is particularly concerned with the problems of global change which are assumed to result from anthropogenic influences on climate. The focus has so far been on the investigation of the physical basis of climate change, and less on climate research. Climate impact research currently focuses on only a few research activities for the purpose of testing methodological approaches and clarifying newly emerging issues of interdisciplinary cooperation. The pilot project undertaken jointly by BMBF and the five German coastal L?der ("Climate change and the coast") studies the German coastal regions for possible climate impacts including potential socioeconomic consequences.

Financing

Federal Government R & D expenditure on environmental and climate research amounted to DM 1,030 million in 1994, of which DM 435 million went to ecological research, DM 345 million to support innovative environmental protection technologies, and 249 million to climate and atmospheric research. Research is funded at the level of individual projects and within larger programs, mainly by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology (BMBF). Some of the sources of funding for the research are either state funding or funding from foundations. The results of research are published and are used as a basis for political decisions. See also under Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies.

Cooperation

Within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) Committee on the Challenges for Modern Society, Germany is a pilot country together with the United States of America for a study on "Environment and Security in an International Context". This project examines the interrelationship between environmental degradation (pollution, resource scarcity) and military conflict with the aim of developing recommendations for security and environmental policy.

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This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1998.

For information from the Federation Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology, click here.
For the environmental specimen bank, click here.

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Government ministries/ agencies responsible for decision-making at the ministerial and national levels, in terms of collection, analysis, management, and dissemination of information and data related to sustainable development are: the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, and the Federal Environmental Agency. There is close cooperation and coordination between the ministries and the federal agencies.

In line with the federal structure of Germany, each level (Bund, 16 Länder, municipal authorities) has its own competences and responsibilities.

On every level, reporting on sustainable development including environmental reporting – which is aimed at both the information for decision makers as well as information for the public – plays an important role.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Laws, regulations, or policy instruments address the flow and management of information for decision-making are:

- Environmental Information Act 1994, and

- Art. 21 a of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz)

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Organisation of the development of a set of national sustainability indicators in Germany

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear safety is in charge of the political co-ordination of the development of national sustainability indicators. The organisation comprises several institutional components:

Co-ordination within the Federal government

An Interministerial Working Group (IMA), consisting of representatives from all German Federal Ministries, has already been set up for the CSD testing phase, under the auspices of the Federal Environment Ministry. This IMA is very significant in view of the challenge presented by sustainable development in comprising not only environmental but also economic and social aspects.

The Federal Environmental Agency and the Federal Statistical Office support the organisational co-ordination concerning data collection and processing as well as methodological questions. It is planned to revitalise the IMA for the development of the national indicator set .

In the area of agro-environmental indicators there is close cooperation between the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the Federal Agricultural Research Centre, the Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, the Federal Environmental Agency and the Federal Statistical Office.

With regard to forests, the 36 member countries of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe followed a regional approach early after UNCED to harmonize national and regional use of and data collection on criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management. Moreover, data related to the European indicators were partly integrated into FAO’s global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2000).

Dialogue with groups in society

In order to achieve a broad social acceptance of sustainability indicators it is important to include the interests of the various stakeholders in society. Therefore, a National Indicator Committee (which has already been set up for the testing phase), with more than 20 representatives of all relevant groups in society: environmental and development NGOs, business associations, including environmentally orientated business associations, trade unions, churches, charitable organisations, scientific advisory boards, and the Federal States and local communities will continue the dialogue on sustainability indicators. The Federal Environment Ministry in agreement with the other government ministries nominated the members of the National Indicator Commission. To be able to ensure high-level, expert dialogue, the appointed representatives are already experienced in the development of sustainability indicators or have been involved in the sustainability debate for a longer period of time.

An informal working group, consisting of representatives of federal research agencies, farmers associations and environmental organisations is discussing actual developments in the area of agro-environmental indicators on national and international level.

Scientific Advice

An expert team of around 20 scientists from a range of disciplines has been set up as well during the CSD testing phase. This will give an opinion on the range of priority issues and indicators and be a forum for discussing the conceptual and methodological development of indicators.

In addition, the Federal Environmental Agency, the Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL), the Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA) and the Centre for Agricultural Landscapes and Land Use Research (ZALF) are carrying out supporting research projects on the further development of indicators.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The Environmental Statistic Act (Umweltstatistikgesetz) names the different groups which are obliged to give environmental data. Another source of environmental information are the voluntary measures in accordance with the Eco-Audit Act. Data related to forests are collected in the framework of national and sub-national inventories by scientific institutions with the help of the forest service or through specific expert studies.

In the process of voluntary reporting of private companies information is forwarded to the Federal Environmental Agency. Private business umbrella associations collect data of their member entities as an instrument of their environmental public relations policy.

The most important lesson learned in the CSD testing phase is that the process of awareness raising at all levels for the objectives of sustainable development is most important and not the indicator itself or the set of indicators. The instrument "discussing indicators" helps to foster the sustainability dialogue in society at large.

Programmes and Projects 

Programmes or projects aimed at improving the current design of the national information network include:

- National Sustainability Indicators;

- Environmental Barometer/German Environmental Index; 

- Environmental Accounting; and

- The new GEIN system (German Environmental Information Network) will provide the public with access to all data and information on environmental issues that exists on the national and Lander level.

Status 

Information on sustainable development is provided by "Daten zur Umwelt" and "Umweltbericht der Bundesregierung", which are broadly discussed by Parliament and amongst the public. See also question 3

The planned national set of sustainability indicators serves mainly as an information and communication instrument (national and international reporting).

It provides results on the effectiveness of the steps towards a sustainable development in Germany. Monitoring this process supports decision making for sustainability policies.

The availability and quality of sustainable development information at the national level can be summarized as follows:

Agenda 21 Chapters

Very good

Good

Some good data but many gaps

Poor

Remarks

2. International cooperation and trade  

x

     
3. Combating poverty  

x

     
4. Changing consumption patterns  

x

     
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability

x

       
6. Human health  

x

     
7. Human settlements  

x

     
8. Integrating E & D in decision-making  

x

     
9. Protection of the atmosphere

x

       
10. Integrated planning and management of land resources  

x

     
11. Combating deforestation

x

       
12. Combating desertification and drought          
13. Sustainable mountain development  

x

     
14. Sustainable agriculture and rural development  

x

     
15. Conservation of biological diversity  

x

     
16. Biotechnology

x

       
17. Oceans, seas, coastal areas and their living resources  

x

     
18. Freshwater resources  

x

     
19. Toxic chemicals  

x

     
20. Hazardous wastes  

x

     
21. Solid wastes  

x

     
22. Radioactive wastes

x

       
24. Women in sustainable development  

x

     
25. Children and youth  

x

     
26. Indigenous people          
27. Non-governmental organizations  

x

     
28. Local authorities  

x

     
29. Workers and trade unions  

x

     
30. Business and industry  

x

     
31. Scientific and technological community  

x

     
32. Farmers  

x

     
33. Financial resources and mechanisms  

x

     
34. Technology, cooperation and capacity-building  

x

     
35. Science for sustainable development  

x

     
36. Education, public awareness and training  

x

     
37. International cooperation for capacity-building

x

       
38. International institutional arrangements

x

       
39. International legal instruments

x

       
40. Information for decision-making  

x

     

Since 1996 Germany has been a voluntary participant in the CSD sustainability indicators testing phase. The entire CSD concept has been evaluated against the background of Germany's specific situation, thereby taking the opportunity to introduce the testing experiences of an industrialised country. The results of the German testing phase were submitted to the CSD in December 1999.

In a follow-up process until 2002 Germany is currently developing a national set of sustainability indicators for national and international sustainability reporting. The indicator system will support the national communication on (and monitoring of) the national sustainability strategy.

The "German Environmental Barometer", a headline indicator instrument, which helps to monitor the effectiveness of environmental policy. The indicators of the Environmental Barometer are included in the yearly governmental economic performance report ("Jahreswirtschaftsbericht").

Development of environmental accounting (national statistical office).

A period report on the state of the environment "Daten zur Umwelt" covers a wide range of topics concerning sustainable development. The report is further developed on the basis of a system of indicators.

On this basis, the Federal government elaborates the environmental report with goals and targets on sustainable development. The report is submitted to the Parliament.

The Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture in close cooperation with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety is preparing a national set of agro-environmental indicators as well as indicators to monitor economic and social sustainable development in agriculture and rural areas, taking into consideration the proposals on OECD and EU level.

With regard to forests, use is being made of the criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management elaborated in 1994 at European level then tested and finally agreed upon at the Third Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe in Lisbon, Portugal in 1998. The results of the test applications carried out will form the basis for further improvements during the ongoing process.

The system of indicators for the evaluation and monitoring of the programmes for rural development is a first basis for a stronger orientation of the policy towards the economical, ecological and sociological aspects of sustainability.

Challenges

Issue areas of sustainable development that require the most immediate attention in improving the flow and management of information are:

- Climate protection

- Nature and landscape conservation

- Closed substance cycle management

- eco-efficiency

- viability of rural areas

One of the major challenges is communication. Therefore a small set of indicators, which is comprehensive and communicative has to be elaborated. Only with this prerequisite, there is a chance to get the necessary broad acceptance of the indicators within the political as well as the public arena. In particular the media have to be attracted by using indicators for the communication of sustainable development. Having this general goal in mind it is important to safeguard positive cross-relations between the set of general sustainability indicators and the more specific indicators being elaborated for certain sectors.

Another issue which needs continuous attention is to keep a sound balance in quantity and quality of indicators between the different chapters of the set of overall sustainability indicators.

Additionally within the CSD-Testing it became obvious, that there are still problems in data availability for some indicators. To introduce a set of "ideal indicators" in the mid-term an improvement of the data basis is necessary.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

On an international scale, environmental awareness in Germany is very high. Environmental education and awareness-raising is an important task of the Government and the Länder and there are numerous initiatives with this goal.

The institutional prerequisites for effective environmental reporting were created at the beginning of the seventies. The structure of Government-Länder cooperation will be further developed.

Information

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Federal Environmental Agency in Berlin, and the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden are involved in work on indicators for sustainable development. There is an informal "network" of experts of different Ministries and research institutes established by the BMU for information exchange and the development of indicators for sustainable development at the National level. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety is drawing up a plan for the use of satellite remote sensing for environmental policy and environmental research and for an environmental observation programme.

The following databases are available for sustainable development: STATIS- BUND (statistical information system); UGRIS (partly to be developed); UMPLIS (environmental planning and information system); and LANIS (special information on nature conservation). Work is in progress for an Environmental Economic Accounting System. Important information on trends in the environment are set out in the German Government's reports on the state of the environment. The constant flow of statistics gathered and published by the State and Federal Statistical Offices also play a significant role.

Potential users of information on sustainable development can locate relevant data at: www.umweltbundesamt.de

Research and Technologies  

Satellite based information collection is being carried out in the European programme "CORINE Landcover" in order to create a ground cover map.

The use of internet technology – by using German Environmental Information Network (GEIN) - makes it possible to connect data from about 70 different federal institutions and the Länder. GEIN also is provided with information from the Länder via the environmental data sources catalogue in which meta-information of existing environmental data is collected. Related to forests nationwide inventories based on permanent plots constitute the most important data basis. Methods have been adjusted to accommodate new data requirements of the forest related indicator process

CORINE Land cover uses among others a geographic information system. GEIN is a public expert system of different interlinked data bases and other environmental information sources.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

Germany cooperates with:

- EU (EPRG Expert Group on Indicators (sectoral integration indicators; EU environmental headline indicators)

- EEA (Environmental Signals 2000 and 2001),

- EUROSTAT (Towards Environmental Pressure Indicators; sectoral indicators),

- OECD (Environmental, sectoral and sustainability indicators),

- UN /CSD (testing phase; production and consumption indicators; institutional indicators)

There is close cooperation between the Federal government and the Länder. Germany participates in initiatives on EU, OECD and UN (CSD) level.

Germany shared experiences and results of the work on indicators with other countries in several international workshops and conferences especially in the context of the testing phase of the CSD Indicators for sustainable development. 

In the context of the Alpine Convention, special indicators are being planned for sustainable mountain development. Germany also participates in the development of indicators for sustainable forest management. The Government is participating in the creation of the European Earth Observation System, in the development of the Centre for Earth Observation and in several more European Union (EU) initiatives. It also participates in the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), and the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: August 2001.

For the Environmental Information Act in Germany, click here.
Click here for links to statistical agencies in the UN ECE Region.

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

No information is available.

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