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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

In Germany, the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry is responsible for sustainable agriculture and is a member of the National Coordination Mechanism for Sustainable Development. The implementation of coherent measures is primarily in the responsibility of the Laender (federal states).

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Rules and principles of "good agricultural practice" have been incorporated into agricultural law, such as the Federal Fertilizer Act and the Federal Plant Protection Act and environmental Law as the Soil Protection Act. They follow the line of using habitat-appropriate measures by making use of integrated methods for controlling harmful organisms or minimising human impact on soil cultivation. The basis for maximum uniformity in the approaches taken is provided by the 1987 Principles of Good Agricultural Practice, which were supplemented in 1993. Legislation related to agriculture is comprehensive and most acts have been amended in recent years, inter alia, to implement provisions of Good Agricultural Practice. Besides national legislation, there are also many European Union regulations and directives related to agriculture and environmental protection.

The Federal Soil Conservation Act, designed to sustainably ensure or restore soil functions, has been in force since 1 March 1999. Requirements for protection against adverse soil changes and prevention of hazards were laid down in this respect. In agriculture, the principles of good professional practice for agricultural soil use, described in some detail in the Act, fulfill the obligation for precautionary action. These relate essentially to precautionary aspects regarding the physical composition of soils. Because of these measures the German law on soil protection also promotes sequestration of CO2 into soils. The requirements for protection against adverse soil changes caused by substance inputs through fertilizers and plant protection products are laid down in the Fertilizer Act and Fertilizer Ordinance and in the Plant Protection Act.

There are different instruments for addressing sustainable agriculture concerns. One main instrument is public regulations like laws and ordinances. Since as far back as the early 1970s in Germany and in the other EU member states, many environmental aspects have been implemented through agricultural legislation, which has been harmonised at EU level on a large scale (for details see in particular No. 12 –18).

In addition, the German Laender in particular offer some economic incentives to agriculture to implement environmental protection and nature conservation measures, which go beyond common good agricultural practice.

In plant protection matters Germany pursues a policy of risk reduction. The elements of this strategy include the risk reduction through legal regulations governing plant protection products.

The Plant Protection Act provides the legal basis for the authorisation of plant protection products. The authorisation and marketing of plant protection products are subject to very strict regulations. They may only be marketed once they have been authorised by the Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry. The authorisation needs the agreement of the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Institute for Health Protection of Consumers and Veterinary Medicine which are responsible for human health and the environment. Elements to be taken into account within the authorisation procedure include: 

Integrated pest management has been an important part of the German Plant Protection Act since as far back as 1987.

German agricultural policy has introduced regulations which it is expected will result in a key reduction of inputs of nutrients and plant protection products from agricultural sources in the long run. This includes above all the Federal Fertilizer Act and Federal Fertilizer Ordinance as well as the Federal Plant Protection Act prescribing a site-appropriate fertilisation meeting plant requirements and an integrated application of plant protection products authorised according to strict criteria. These national regulations are to implement and supplement the EU Directives concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market (91/414/EEC) and concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources (91/676/EEC).

Legal and administrative measures e.g. Council Regulation (EEC) No 2078/92 of 30 June 1992 on Agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements of the protection of the environment and the maintenance of the countryside have been taken to improve framework conditions for site-appropriate, ecologically sound production including ecological farming. In 1997, a total of almost 3 million hectares were incorporated in this promotion scheme. This corresponds to 17% of the total farmland area in Germany. 2% of that area was being managed according to the rules for ecological farming. This also applies to the growing and using of renewable raw materials.

The high requirements for the authorization of plant protection products under the revised Plant Protection Act of 14 May 1999 restrict the availability of selective instruments in the small fields of use of fruit cultivation and horticulture, in particular, so that problems arise in the provision of plant protection products suitable for IPM.

The Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act introduced the use of sewage sludge and biowaste as organic fertilizers. To secure the sustainability of land use and soil protection, special ordinances on sewage sludge, biowaste and soil protection impose restrictive regulations on the amount of sludge and biowaste used on agricultural land and their maximum content of certain pollutants such as heavy metals.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Principles and objectives for sustainable agriculture were already been taken into account by German authorities and the European Community before the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Existing legislation has been adjusted and new laws and legal regulations have been enacted to satisfy changed demands. The model of German agricultural policy is the farm enterprise managed in a sustainable way with respect to ecological, economic and social aspects.

Strategies are being implemented to reduce fertilizer application rates by extension programmes, and through the new Ordinance on Fertilisation in force since 6 February 1996. The Ordinance defines in concrete terms the principles of good agricultural practice with respect to fertilisation and, for the first time in Germany, provides for uniform fertilizer practices. The principles aim at an application of fertilizers according to site conditions and the nutrient demand of crops. The ordinance includes rules governing the incorporation of organic fertilizers, the prohibition of slurry spreading during winter- time, the limitations on the amount of nitrogen derived from manure, regular soil testing and the keeping of nutrient balances. They give legal stability to the farmers and are likewise aimed at improved environment and water protection.

The principles of good professional practice are laid down in detail in a publication of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Federal Gazette of 21 November 1998. As a result, the requirements of good professional practice in plant protection were formulated for the first time as a basic strategy in plant protection. Great stress was also laid on the fact that integrated pest management (IPM) sets higher requirements and serves as a model with which practical plant protection is to be gradually aligned.

The Institute for Integrated Plant Protection and the Institute for Impact Assessment in Plant Protection, founded at the Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry in 1992, both located in Kleinmachnow, address the conceptual and strategic questions of IPM, problems relating to its implementation and the ecological and economic assessment of IPM. To obtain a uniform standard of assessment for the IPM principles and to be able to measure the progress towards good professional practice, the principles of integrated plant protection are currently being formulated. These principles are to be published in the year 2000.

In Germany the use of water in agriculture is subject to the principles of water management based on the Federal Water Act. The principal aim is to manage German waters so as to preserve them as parts of the ecosystem and as habitats for fauna and flora. Forms of utilisation are only admissible if they meet this aim and if any avoidable impairment of the ecological function of waters is refrained from.

The establishment of a special plan geared exclusively to agriculture is not necessary. The precautionary principle, the polluter-pays principle and the co-operation principle form an integral part of German water policy. In the process, the protection of surface and ground waters from contaminants and the conservation of existing water resources through abstraction adapted to the natural regeneration rate fulfill key functions also pursued by German agricultural policy.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

German Farmers association (Deutscher Bauernverband, DBV) is the leading agricultural association within Germany serving as an umbrella organisation for 18 state farmers` unions and various ag-related interest groups on the national level. Although membership is strictly voluntary, more than 90 per cent of all 500.000 German farmers are members of DBV. DBV represents farmers and agriculture’s interests in all policy areas including economics, environment, taxes, education, and social affairs and co-ordinates the activities of its member organisations in all relevant fields.

The federal system in Germany stipulates that the implementation of plant protection, including inspection and extension. falls under the sovereignty of the Laender and that, therefore, the Integrated Pest Management implementation is mainly promoted by the political and technical framework conditions in the Laender. However, other national organizations also contribute decisively to implementing IPM in the Laender, e.g. the Association for the Promotion of Integrated Cropping which issued guidelines for integrated plant cultivation in 1993, for example. The Central Association of Horticulturists is particularly active in this field. Its sections for fruit and vegetable cultivation, forming part of the Federal Committee for Fruit and Vegetables, set national standards for IPM by issuing guidelines on integrated cultivation.

IPM has been successfully incorporated in schemes of controlled integrated production in the process. On the basis of the guidelines issued by the Central Association of Horticulturists, the local cultivation organizations elaborate, implement and inspect these schemes, involving the official plant protection service of the Laender.

The rural youth organisations are amongst the most important social groups in rural areas. The four rural youth organisations in Germany are working together on fundamental issues. Their activities have long been based on the principles of sustainable land use management in horticulture, agriculture and forestry. By choosing special topics, annual priorities are set by these organisations for their work. In 1999, the German Rural Youth Association (Bund der Deutschen Landjugend) is dealing with energy policy and renewable resources, the Catholic rural youth movement (Katholische Landjugendbewegung) with Agenda 21 and sustainable agriculture. Topics of sustainable production were also at the focus of meetings and educational seminars of the Working Party of Protestant Rural Youth (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Evangelischer Landjugend) and of the Working Party of German Young Horticulturists (Arbeitsgemeinschaft deutscher Jungg?tner).

The structural change in agriculture will have a lasting effect on the working and living situation of women in rural areas. In many holdings with insufficient development possibilities there are farmers' wives who develop new income sources with the help of manifold initiatives, contributing to the operational viability of the agricultural holdings. The Federal Government welcomes and supports these entrepreneurial initiatives. In addition to the agricultural promotion programme it also organizes model projects.

The associations of rural women aim at improving the situation of their members and their families in rural areas with the aid of a great number of activities, e.g. practical help on the spot or information events. In 1998 the Federal Government earmarked DM 260,000 for central information events organised by the organisations of rural women.

The German countrywomen's association (Deutscher Landfrauenverband, DLV), as a lobby for farmer's wives and women in rural areas, also feels responsible for the future of rural areas. Rapid economic and technical globalisation and its consequences for rural areas above all require critical attention and efficient action. DLV would like to find answers to following questions and encourage action to be taken on them: What working and living conditions are offered to the inhabitants of rural areas? Will we be successful in maintaining attractive infrastructures? How can we secure agriculture all over the country?

The German NGO Forum for Environment and Development founded a working group on sustainable agriculture with some 40 representatives from environment, development, and farmers' and rural population organisations. Several conferences have been held and a study carried out on the "Implications of Agenda 21 for Revision of the German Plant Protection Act". The working group also presented an action plan on Designing Agricultural Policy in Germany.

Programmes and Projects 

Since October 1998 Germany has been developing and implementing a National Programme for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The following measures are to be incorporated into the programme:

              - crop plants, especially a study on in situ and on-farm preservation and simplification of the provisions for registering seeds of genetic resources (traditional seeds and farmers' varieties),

            - farm animals,

            - forest genetic resources,

            - fishes, and

            - microorganisms (pathogens, biological pest agents, food processing and preservation).

The program which refers to the promotion of keeping endangered breeds of farm animals covers approx. 11,200 livestock units, essentially breeds of the species cattle, sheep, goats (which on account of low milk or carcass yields are economically unattractive to farmers), as well as horses. Without such promotion these breeds would become extinct. Many of them show genetic characteristics worth being preserved, such as endurance and vigor under certain extreme conditions, longevity, high fertility, special meat condition, and specific meat flavor or excellent suitability for certain uses or locations, for example, in mountain areas. These breeds also have genetic traits whose importance has not yet been fully recognised.

The federal government has launched a "concept for the promotion of research, development and demonstration projects 1996 - 2000 in the field of renewable resources", for which the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry is responsible and which is administered by the Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe. Since 1993, the budget for this programme has been more than DM 50 million per year. The promotion of bioenergy purposes is one of the most important parts of this programme. From 1990 to 1997, around DM 70 million have been spent on bioenergy research, development and demonstration projects.

The Market Incentive Programme for Renewable Energy Sources of the Federal Ministry of Economics is designed to promote biomass combustion plants and biogas facilities both for heat and power supply. A total of 1341 projects with grants amounting to around DM 19 million and an investment volume of around DM 45 million in this area were sponsored from 1995 to 1997. This represents 19% of the total budget of the programme. This programme has been prolonged from 2000 to 2003 and the amount of financial funds is about DM 200 million per year. DM 70 million of this are earmarked for bioenergy projects.

The model project "Improving the income situation of women in agricultural holdings and in rural areas with the help of centralised marketing of regional products" which was concluded in April 1999 was to show how rural women could be supported in the marketing of their home-made products in conurbations.

The model project "Self-help for rural women by rural women - Women organize structural development of rural areas (SELF)" is to help women to take part in income-orientated job creation projects offered by the organisations of rural women in the new Laender and to show them ways of achieving economic independence. Going beyond that, the model project is to create new jobs for women in rural areas, too, making use of the existing potential and initiatives. Furthermore, it supports the setting up of new businesses by rural women is and initiating a supra-regional transfer of know-how.

The German section of WWF together with the "Green League" founded a project on "sustainable regional development in rural areas" to discuss questions of social sustainability.


Agriculture is of great importance in Germany. Over 80% of the land surface is devoted to agriculture and forestry. 54% of Germany's total area is agricultural land; of this, 68% is arable land. Therefore, agriculture plays a crucial role for sustainable development. Around 12% of all jobs in Germany are to be found in agriculture and related economic areas. Thus agriculture contributes significantly to the economic viability of rural areas. About 1.26 million people were occupied full-time or part-time on-farm in approximately 544,000 farms in 1998.

Agriculture and fishery are regarded as producers of food in line with high quality standards. In densely populated Germany, the function of producing food and renewable raw materials cannot be separated from other functions. Agriculture is therefore expected not only to produce in a sustainable way but also to achieve additional ecological targets, e.g. protection of air, soil and water, preserving biodiversity and conserving the cultural landscape.

The further development and the widespread implementation of integrated plant protection are accorded high priority in the Federal Republic of Germany. A variety of programmes and activities by the Federal Government, the Laender and other organisations serves to promote and implement integrated plant protection. Moreover, there are initiatives by various cultivation organisations (e.g. fruit, vegetables, wine, hops) to have the application by their members of integrated plant protection procedures checked by the organisation.

In Germany, over 80% of the farmland is currently being cultivated in line with the guidelines of IPM or controlled integrated production. This share, mainly accounted for by apple cultivation, has remained constant since 1992. Such a representative statement can be made about horticulture, too. The share of enterprises meeting IPM minimum requirements in greenhouses is estimated at over 80% and at almost 60% in field vegetable cultivation. The shares are even higher in some Laender (Brandenburg, Thuringia).

Due to economic and other framework conditions, the regional organization of controlled integrated production has only prevailed to a limited degree in arable farming. The share of farmland, the cultivation of which meets minimum requirements of integrated plant protection, is less than 20%. Yet, status-quo analyses show that most of the enterprises have already implemented individual methods and processes of integrated plant protection.

The implementation of IPM turned out to be a long-term process requiring large technical and political support in arable farming especially. Over the past few years, great headway has been made in implementing IPM in fruit cultivation, greenhouse cropping, field vegetable farming, viticulture and hop growing. The experience of the past few years has shown that permanent crops not only ensure market benefits, but also provide particularly favorable conditions for the establishment and use of natural regulatory mechanisms, giving additional impetus to IPM. These conditions are clearly less advantageous in the case of annual arable crops, with only a few instruments of integrated plant protection being available. Therefore, the introduction of practical elements such as the cultivation of less susceptible varieties or the use of threshold levels plays a far greater role in arable farming currently than the implementation of the overall IPM concept.

Due to the fact that Germany has sufficient precipitation rates for climatic reasons, a sufficient supply of water is, as a rule, always available; thus water conservation focuses on improving the water quality. Agriculture and forestry actually exert a positive effect on securing groundwater levels, as land used by agriculture and forestry shows a far higher infiltration rate than sealed areas. The irrigation of utilised agricultural areas is, due to the favourable climatic conditions, only confined to specific regions in Germany as an additional water supply on cultivated areas for vegetable and special crops, which generally does not pose any problems for water resources. In spite of this, German agriculture also uses irrigation techniques conserving as much water as possible such as sprinkler irrigation systems and partly also drip irrigation.

According to the latest estimates of 1995, the irrigation area in Germany accounted for around 531,000 ha or 3.1% of utilised agricultural areas. From 1976 to 1987 the irrigation area in Germany steadily increased to over 800,000 ha to drop again to around 531, 000 ha by 1994, which is primarily due to the set-aside of many large irrigation areas in the new Laender.

The nutrient discharges from agriculture into waters are playing an increasingly important role as the major polluting sources from municipalities and industrial enterprises have now been eliminated. Around 50-55% of nitrogen inputs and 40-45% of phosporus inputs into waters come from utilised agricultural areas. But due to a better education and training of farmers and effective regulations, the total amount of nutrient effluents from agriculture is declining. Residues of plant protection products in groundwater also pose a problem. The threshold value for these chemicals, based on the precautionary principle, is very low. But the available results of groundwater control show that they do not affect groundwater in general and in some cases a decrease in inputs is being detected. A better training of farmers will help to prevent contamination.

Fig.1 Commercial fertilizer consumption in agriculture in 1000 t of nutrient substance

(The figures are based on reports by producer firms and importers on the sale of commercial fertilizer to trade and co-operatives for domestic consumption. In the absence of other indicators, these figures are equated with the quantities consumed by agriculture.)

  1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 1997/98
N 1786.1 1769.2 1758.0 1788.4
P2 05 449.6 401.7 415.1 409.6
K2 0 667.1 652.2 645.8 658.9

Domestic consumption of cereal seeds (in 1000 t)

1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97
1028 1008 1042 1066
  1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 1997/98
N 1786.1 1769.2 1758.0 1788.4
P2 05 449.6 401.7 415.1 409.6
K2 0 667.1 652.2 645.8 658.9

The utilisation of biomass for energy production has a long tradition. In recent years, the interest in biomass for energy has increased. Some of the reasons are:

Bioenergy covers nearly 1% of total energy consumption in Germany. However, all in all, around 8 - 9% of the German final energy consumption could theoretically be covered by biomass. The main environmental effect of this would be to curb Germany's CO2 emissions by up to 7%. Comparing the energy potential of biomass with its current use, the following picture emerges:

Utilisation of renewable feedstocks in the energy sector:

Raw material Current use
(1000 ha)
Solid biomass for heat and electricity production 100,6 837 -
  • Residual and waste materials
97.0 407 -
Straw 0.5 108 1,500
Forest/wood residues, landscape conser- vation wood 96.5 218 -
Biogas substrates (animal wastes) 0.1 81 -
  • Energy crops
3.6 430 2,000
Rapeseed oil for biodiesel (1997) in 1000 t 70 200 200

Source: Bericht des BML 5 Jahre Nachwachsende Rohstoffe, 1998

There are different reasons for the low share of renewable energy carriers in the German energy mixture:

On the other hand, biomass has several advantages as a solid, gaseous or liquid energy source:

In relation to the economic efficiency of biomass, four areas may be differentiated:

  1. The use of residues and wastes from biomass is most economically efficient. In particular waste wood from wood-working and wood-processing industries is being used for heat and electricity generation.
  2. By-products from agriculture and forestry are profitable under certain conditions. Fuelwood, for example, is offered as a special product range arising in thinning and final use operations. Profitability is further improved in cases where wood acquisition and work for own account eliminate labour and raw material costs from the calculation. Biogas facilities could operate profitably especially if disposal costs are avoided in this way or investment costs lowered by work on own account. Cofermentation will gain importance in this context.
  3. Under changed framework conditions, biomass specially cultivated could become economically efficient for heat and electricity generation. This includes:
  4. - fast growing species plantations, such as poplars,

    - the use of mass cereals, and

    - the combustion of liquid bioenergy carriers such as rapeseed oil.

  5. The frequently discussed reed species and foreign grasses such as miscanthus are clearly still far from profitability and from being introduced into practice.

Studies have been conducted, and are still in progress (e.g. ecological audits) to assess the value of renewable raw materials from an environmental point of view. Results are promising with regard to the contribution of biogenic fuels in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the use of vegetable oil as lubricants and in hydraulic systems, reducing soil and water contamination, and of biodegradable packaging materials and ingredients of detergents. In 1997, a total of DM 56 million is available for this sphere. The government contributes substantially to the development of biomass as an energy carrier:


In view of the high intensity levels in crop and animal production (in terms of mechanisation and chemical inputs), and of output-oriented and yield-oriented practices, much had and has to be done to bring about better harmony between the agricultural sector and environmental protection, nature conservation, nutritional and health demands of consumers, and animal welfare. 

Since the 1950s, technical developments and the development of general economic conditions have led to higher pressure on the environment from agriculture. During the last few years an important change towards ecologically sustainable agriculture was initiated by farmers themselves as well as by the government which led, for example, to a reduced input of nutrients from mineral fertilizer and to a reduction of risks to the environment resulting from the use of plant protection products.

The need for actions aimed at environmentally sound production practices has arisen from various influencing factors, for example:

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

According to the principle of subsidiarity, farmers are invited to participate in special Laender programmes for the agricultural sector, which combine both environmental concerns and economic requirements. Today, nearly 30 per cent of the agricultural landscape in Germany is covered by these programmes. The assistance of official or private extension services which give advice to farmers has a long tradition in Germany and is generally accepted. The combination of economic incentives and voluntary efforts guarantees an environmental surplus, conservation of natural resources and sustainable agricultural development.

An important approach to raising awareness of sustainable agriculture practices is the inclusion and emphasis of professional training and of problem-oriented and action-oriented environmental education in professional training. The provision of qualifications for ecologically sound agricultural and forestry production geared to the principles of sustainability is therefore an integral part of all regulations on training and education in agriculture, home economics and forestry in Germany. In addition to imparting knowledge, it is also important to build up an understanding of sound and sustainable management of natural resources. All those involved in the German education system show great commitment to that issue and cooperate closely with each other in this respect. Laender, chambers, professional and trade union establishments on the one hand and non-governmental environment organisations, environment foundations and institutions on the other offer a wide range of environmental education for the further education of staff and senior staff engaged in agricultural, forestry and home economics activities as well as for entrepreneurial extension. Because of the great importance of sustainable management, these extension services will also in future be provided free by public agencies.

Intensive advisory services for farmers regarding questions relating to the use of plant protection products, training in integrated pest management and modern application techniques at agricultural schools as well as in special adult education courses additionally reduces application risks on farm level. All users of plant protection products have to prove their knowledge of integrated pest management and application techniques to get a state plant protection certificate.

In the last few years, limited income capacities on farms have intensified the interest of agricultural families in other income possibilities offered by non-agricultural activities. In addition to traditional activities in the sectors of salaried labor and machine leasing, tourism and direct marketing, particularly activities in the services sector have become more important, e.g. landscape and grassland management, household services or assisting the elderly and/or people needing special care.

The plant protection services of the Laender further expanded the inspection of plant stands for the occurrence of harmful organisms with the aim of informing the enterprises about the most suitable plant protection measures respectively, providing advice, if necessary, and progressively implementing IPM in the process. In this context, a tight network of weather and climate stations has been established over the past few years in the southern German Laender, in particular, designed to inspect the occurrence of harmful organisms in arable farming (cereals, potatoes) as well as to give guidance in decision-making with respect to prevention and control measures in fruit cultivation and hop growing especially. The research and testing facilities of the Laender have been primarily geared to developing integrated crop farming systems, in which IPM plays a central role. The establishment of monitoring for diseases and pests in arable farming (Bavaria, Saxony) as well as the setting-up of a valuation model for ecologically-sound agriculture (Thuringia) constitute key developments in the process.

There are no statistical data on the implementation of IPM training measures. The official plant protection service in the Laender and the cultivation associations offer practitioners subscription of newsletters, educational and further training seminars, methodical instruction and increasingly online information on plant protection. IPM is particularly taken into account in fruit cultivation, viticulture and horticulture. Most of the practitioners producing fruit, field vegetables and vegetables in greenhouses regularly attend training seminars on IPM held by integrated production organizations. This attendance is compulsory if the enterprises want to use an IPM label. This also applies to further training seminars on IPM. In arable farming, where controlled integrated production is still poorly organized, farmers are trained in the context of general provision of information by the German plant protection establishments on selected focuses of the integrated concept, e.g. monitoring and threshold levels or "cultural control" of harmful organisms. The first eleven pilot enterprises for IPM in arable farming have been set up in Baden W?ttemberg. In the context of agricultural and horticultural vocational training, IPM has become an integral part of curricula. In the years since 1992, 1,400 and 2000 graduates annually in Bavaria alone have successfully completed corresponding training courses.


Information about issues of sustainable agriculture in the fields of education, further education and extension is provided by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry in the framework of publications and press releases ( and in the Agricultural Information Network ( At the federal level, the Evaluation and Information Service of German Agriculture (Auswertungs- und Informationsdienst der Deutschen Landwirtschaft - aid) offers a wide range of information in all media (e.g. Moreover, all institutions of the Laender, the professional groups and the trade unions concerned with education and extension issues have their own information and internet services.

There is a German Centre for Documentation and Information in Agriculture, ZADI ( ZADI is the main scientific information institution of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry (BML). It gives advice and support in all questions of information management for the BML and for the federal research centres associated with the ministry. The ZADI coordinates the activities of the Information System on Food, Agriculture and Forestry (FIS-ELF). Furthermore the ZADI fulfils the tasks of centralised documentation, information and coordination in the field of genetic resources for food, agriculture and forestry.

ZADI has a special information system on genetic resources, Genres ( Genres provides information about national, European and international activities on conservation and sustainable utilisation of genetic resources for food, agriculture and forestry.

Linked to that, a Federal Information System Genetic Resources (BIG) is under development (http:/// The BIG project aims at developing an integrated information system on plant genetic resources that covers a wide range of taxonomic, genetic, biological, ecological and geographical information. It will permit complex searches in heterogeneous, decentralised databases, and thus facilitate access to the actual germplasm.

Sustainable agriculture is also one focus of the brochure "Germany's position as an agricultural location", which was published by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry in 1998. Some of the issues dealt with are: soil conservation, plant protection, fertilisation, livestock farming, organic farming and renewable resources.

The German Meteorological Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD) collects the data of importance to agriculture within the framework of its network for weather forecasts. Furthermore, data are collected in the climate network and in the phenological monitoring network. The data are accessible to the general public in the shape of monthly and annual reports, for example, of the agro-meteorological weekly report, climate atlases and phenological maps. Apart from this, there are agro-meteorological monitoring stations within the framework of the development and application of computer-based decision models, e.g. in the field of fertilisation.

In Germany, there is in general no risk of a lack of food supplies. Nevertheless, the growing harvest is observed as part of an institutionalised reporting system ("Ernteberichterstattung"), the results of which are used for purposes of market analysis and forecasts. In addition, a system of emergency measures is established, comprising analysis of regional production and consumption, public stockholding and further preparations targeted for cases of food shortages caused by either civilian or political and military crises. 

Germany is participating in international activities to develop indicators for sustainable agriculture, including:

These activities comprise a huge set of primarily environment-related indicators, which have to be tested during the next few years. Indicators which are related to the economic and social dimensions of sustainable agriculture have not yet been developed. These indicators must include the economic situation of farms and of rural areas. Statistical data on the economic situation of farmers are available.

Moreover there are some other activities to create indicators for measuring the sustainability of agriculture (Laender, scientific institutes, private organisations). A main problem is the availability and quality of data.

Research and Technologies   

The principles of good professional practice for agricultural soil use encompass, in particular, that

The principles have meanwhile been elaborated in more detail and recommendations for action regarding good professional practice in agricultural soil use have been derived. Agriculture must comply with them in the preparation and carrying out of measures on soil use and they should be imparted by the agricultural extension establishments competent under Land law in their extension activities.

Risks are not only to be reduced in the application of plant protection products but also in other areas such as non-chemical measures, e.g.:

In fruit and vegetable growing, a large number of farmers operate according to the principles of integrated plant protection. Roughly 80 per cent of vegetables are produced according to supervised integrated plant protection procedures. Success in field cultivation through the introduction of integrated plant protection has already been visible for a long time. The use of damage thresholds, especially in the control of weeds and certain harmful organisms, is now widespread, and a large percentage of farmers reduce the use of plant protection products, depending on the degree of infestation. The use of herbicides can be reduced by 25 to 30 per cent, with the level of safety remaining the same, through the use of damage thresholds and situationally adjusted amounts.

Computer-assisted forecast and decision models are becoming increasingly important for a well-timed use of plant protection measures. At present in Germany, there are several extensive forecast systems either already in use or about to be introduced. Through optimal use of this procedure, the amount of plant protection products used in specific crops can be reduced by anywhere from one quarter to one third without increasing plant cultivation risks. The frequency of usage can also be reduced in some cultures. As far as the reduction of exposure is concerned, such forecast procedures, therefore, deserve high marks. The development and optimisation of computer-assisted forecast procedures will continue to be promoted for a long time.

In order to promote environmentally sound livestock farming, management techniques are being developed to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus emissions, and new technologies have been developed for the storage and placement of liquid manure.

For over 15 years now the Federal Government has been promoting renewable resources with diverse measures. Bioenergy has always been an important part of this programme. In 1983, the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry submitted the first global concept for renewable resources and bioenergy.

Integrated plant cultivation aims at gearing all management measures to the site conditions, with the emphasis on precautionary measures and measures promoting soil fertility. As far as possible, this model is being implemented in the field of fertilisation by the Fertiliser Ordinance, for example (see programme area J, Nos.16 and 17) through extension activities in the Laender and various research activities.

Analyses of the overall effects of technical innovations and incentives on farm households are made within projects of technology assessment.

The agricultural research system comprises several universities – which fall within the responsibility of the Laender -, Federal Research Institutions and institutions financed cooperatively by the Federation and the Laender. 

Factors, affecting food demand, are primarily raised within publicly-funded and private research.

Within the Research Framework Programme ("Forschungsrahmenplan") of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry priorities are defined for the work of the Federal Research Institutions. These priorities also comprise scientific information on various production systems and technologies.

In Germany there are several research activities dealing with the effects of increased ultraviolet radiation on plants and animals. Among others, the following research institutions are active in this field.

Name of institution Place Field Remarks
GSF-Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit Oberschleissheim close to Munich Several projects on the effects of ultraviolet radiation on animals and plants. Sun simulation with increased ultraviolet radiation in climate chambers

National and international co-operation

BayFOR-UV Forschungsverbund Bayern

(co-ordinator: Institut für Botanik II, Universitaet Würzburg)

State of Bavaria

(co-ordinator: Institut für Botanik II, Würzburg)

Numerous multi-annual projects on increased ultraviolet radiation in Bavaria: consequences and measures. Extensive ultraviolet measuring net

Numerous scientific co-operation projects

Institut für Botanik II,

Universitaet Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe Numerous research projects on ultraviolet radiation and genotype interaction concerning crops Quantification of growth and yield of maize, beans, barley, rye
Fraunhofer Institut für Atmosphaerische Umweltforschung Garmisch-


Multi-annual research on ultraviolet radiation on the development and growth of crops and forest plants Use of solar domes "(greenhouses with filter glass) in lowland and mountain areas (1000 metres and - in future - 2000 metres)


Within the framework of the Joint Task for the Improvement of Agricultural Structures and Coastal Protection (Gemeinschaftsaufgabe "Verbesserung der Agrarstruktur und des K?tenschutzes", GAK), the agricultural investment promotion programme (Agrarinvestitionsf?derungsprogramm, AFP) promotes individual investment to make use of additional income sources. This applies e.g. to the possibility of converting former agricultural buildings. The model projects which are promoted by loans given by the agricultural bank, the Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank, are to contribute to the implementation of the new promotion for the conversion of agricultural buildings, ensuring that the former agricultural buildings are used in a useful and effective way. Other tasks to be fulfilled by government agencies are to inform agricultural families about the numerous possibilities regarding income combinations. Case studies can support the economic reorientation and reduce the initial doubts about a start in new areas of business.

A number of Laender also provide financial aid for integrated production and thus for IPM. The focus lies on fruit and vegetable cultivation, some Laender have also included arable farming, viticulture or hop growing in their support. Within the framework of integrated production requirements and restrictions going beyond good professional practice in plant protection, in particular regarding the use of plant protection products, are laid down in the variously shaped programmes of promotion. Yet, promotion also focuses on modern plant protection technology, aids for pest prognosis and inspection as well as alternative or biological plant protection measures.

In spite of several long-term studies uniform statements regarding the costs and benefits involved in IPM cannot be made for fruit cultivation, viticulture as well as for horticulture and arable farming. Fruit cultivation, viticulture and horticulture show that the necessary aids, extension and plant protection products, which are expensive but conserve beneficial organisms, as well as biological methods frequently offset the actual cuts in the number of applications. Controlled integration production is on balance frequently more expensive than conventional production and does not guarantee higher proceeds on the market. Apart from higher expenditure for the inspection and control decision as well as for more cost-intensive plant protection measures, a gradually increased risk to the quantity and quality of production can also be expected. The benefits lie in the safety and stability of the marketing of products derived from integrated production and labeled as such. The introduction of labels of origin and quality has proved its worth in most of the Laender to ensure the compliance with the guidelines of integrated and controlled cultivation, and also includes arable farming in isolated cases (Baden-Wüttemberg). The cuts in plant protection products achieved on the basis of IPM are considerable.

A sewage sludge compensation fund was established to provide for residual risks resulting from agricultural utilisation of sewage sludge. It is expected that increased use of sewage sludge in agriculture will contribute to better closed nutrient cycles. Limit values for toxic agents in sewage sludge and waste have been implemented and certain applications of these wastes in agriculture as fertilizers have been banned.


The reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy in 1992 initiated a radical change in market organisation intended to lower output levels in the farming sector. Environmental protection back-up measures were approved. New regulations provide for programmes encouraging farmers to adopt environmentally sound agricultural practices. In addition to these efforts, higher productivity has led to a more efficient use of factors. Community regulations also refer to the afforestation of agricultural land. The approach taken by the 1992 reform was further developed by the "Agenda 2000" reform package, which was finalised in spring 1999.

The reform continues the process of stronger market orientation of agriculture and will strengthen the competitiveness of the agricultural economy in international markets. The development of the policy for rural areas and a more stringent consideration of environmental concerns are among the central elements of the reform. Nevertheless, in some areas there might be conflicts between the two goals of agricultural market policy on the one hand and agricultural environmental policy on the other. The future challenge will be to comply with ecological, economic and social aspects of sustainability simultaneously.

To create alternative employment opportunities in rural areas and to back structural change in agriculture, the federal government will pursue an integrated strategy with elements of regional, structural, and environmental policy.

The Joint Task of Agrarian Structure and Coastal Protection caters to requirements of nature conservation and landscape management and promotes marketing of agricultural products from ecological farming. EU regulations also refer to labeling of products from ecological farming. They were extended to livestock production in 1999.

German development cooperation to promote sustainable agriculture covers a broad spectrum and embraces all sub-sectors of agriculture and rural development. The cooperation aims at creating an incentive-based political framework through policy advice, and works at the institutional level through capacity building on input and output markets. It supports the establishing and strengthening of extension and research institutions as essential elements of a sustainable agriculture strategy. Such sustainable development programmes depend on an appropriate infrastructure system, health care services, and training and education capacities. Sustainable agriculture is the backbone of food security and thus of social development, especially in rural areas.

Some 40 per cent of German net disbursements on bilateral and multilateral official development assistance (ODA) (1997 US $ 5,856.8 million) benefit rural development and food security.

Through food aid totaling US $ 244.5 million in 1997 (including Germany's share in EU food aid) as well as through development-oriented food security measures, Germany contributes to overcoming hunger and emergency situations caused by natural disasters or wars.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth, sixth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 2000.

For the Federal Soil Protection Act, click here.
For the Federal Fertilizers Act, click here.
For country reports on Plant Genetic Resources, click here.
To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here.
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The following government ministries/ agencies are responsible for making decisions for protecting the atmosphere:

There is a duty for cooperation within the Federal Government. All Federal Ministries have to agree on federal laws, ordinances and administrative regulations as well as on official reports.

a) Climate protection:

By decision of 13 June 1990, the Federal Government established the Interministerial Working Group "CO2 Reduction", which is charged with identifying the potential for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (especially CO2 but also the six Kyoto gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, H-CFC and CFC). Within this Interministerial Working Group "CO2 Reduction" under the chairmanship of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, working parties were established for the following topic areas:

For additional information see answer to question 2 in Questionnaire III.

b) Ozone depletion:

The following federal ministries are involved in any regulation or decision-making with respect to ODS:

c) Air Quality Control:

All Federal Ministries mentioned in the answer to question I.1 are involved in national and EC regulations concerning air quality including the monitoring of forests in respect to atmospheric pollution.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

a) air quality control:
National regulations:

Federal Imission Control Act as the central instrument of air pollution control and 30 implementing ordinances with regulations for central sectors (commercial/industrial plants, traffic, households), air quality and products/substances, i.a.:

-         Ordinance on Large Combustion Plants (1983)

-         Waste Incineration Plant Ordinance (1990)

-         Hazardous Incident Ordinance (1988)

-         Technical Instruction on Air Quality Control (for plants; 1974, amended 1986)

-         Lead Petrol Act (since 1987); tax reduction for unleaded petrol (since 1991)

-         Act on Transport of Hazardous goods (1990)

-         Road Traffic Licensing Ordinance (1988)

-         Ordinance on the Sulphur Content in Heating Oils (liquid fuels; last revision 2001)

European Community (EC):
Directives on

-         vehicle-related measures (mainly exhaust-gas limit values > introduction of catalytic converters)

-         product-related measures (i.a. quality of fuels for vehicles and heating oil)

-         national emissions ceilings (with the aim to combat acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone; adoption expected in 2001)

-         large combustion plants (adoption expected in 2001)

-         ground-level ozone (i.a. defining interim/long-term objectives, information and alert thresholds; adoption expected in 2001)

-         protection of forests in the community against atmospheric pollution

Development of reference documents for the definition of  the best available technologies ("Sevilla process"). Concerning traffic-related regulations in the EC see answers in the chapter on legislation in the questionnaire part IV.

b) ozone depletion:

-         CFC/Halon Prohibition Ordinance of 6 May 1991, Regulation (EC) No 2037/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 June 2000 on substances that deplete the ozone layer

-         Fourth Ordinance on the Implementation of the Federal Emission Control Act (on industrial installations)

-         Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

Fiscal and financial regulatory and incentive measures to promote the protection of the atmosphere include:

- Ecological tax reform

- Renewable Energy Sources Act

- Tax incentive for the introduction of low sulphur and sulphur-free fuels: From 1 November 2001, fuels with more than 50 ppm sulphur will have an additional tax of 3 Pfennigs/liter. From the beginning of 2003 this tax is transferred to fuels with less than 10 ppm sulphur

- Emission-based motor vehicle tax

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There is an overall strategy for protecting the atmosphere. This strategy is composed of three national programmes: on Climate Protection, on the Protection of the Ozone Layer and on Air Quality Control (see answers to question 7 below). There is a close linkage between these programmes. The reduction of greenhouse gases based on the climate protection programme and on the ozone layer contributes significantly to the reduction of air pollutants.

For many years, air quality control has been a high priority in Germany. The general strategy in the field of air quality is to reach in the long term the WHO Standards. The emission reduction is reached by means of national and EU regulations. There is a wide-ranging number of regulations on air quality standards, installations and products as well as on administration (see question 4). The Federal Emission Control Act (amended since 1974) establishes the overall aim of protecting human health, as well as the biological, physical and cultural environment, from the harmful effects of air pollution. A comprehensive set of regulations is in place to facilitate implementation of the Act, covering aspects of air quality management ranging from ambient air quality monitoring to requirements for fuel quality, plant safety and hazard prevention. Uniform federal regulations for vast sectors (industry, households, smaller companies, traffic) are established. The basic principles of the Act are the polluter pays principle and the precautionary principle.

The implementation of the demanding regulatory measures to reduce emissions has shown very positive effects. End of-pipe measures have dramatically reduced air emissions from a range of source categories, particularly industry, power production; vehicle standards and economic incentives (see question 5) have reduced the conventional emissions from passenger vehicles.

In May 2000, the Federal Government of Germany passed a national programme for the reduction of ground-level ozone. This programme contains 17 measures (mainly in the fields of traffic and solvent usage) and will achieve a permanent and significant further reduction in the ozone precursor substances. The main measures relate to:

-         emissions-related vehicle tax for passenger cars, heavy commercial vehicles, light commercial vehicles (combination of weight-related and emissions-related taxation, motor bikes)

-         introduction of a distance-based motorway charge for commercial vehicles (toll) with emissions-related components

-         initiative for the EU-wide introduction of a denitrifying catalytic converter or equivalent technology for diesel-run passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles

-         stronger regulation aiming at further reducing VOC emissions in vehicle refuelling at service stations

-         rapid implementation of the EU VOC Directive into national law, with more stringent national requirements

-         initiative for the EU-wide introduction of ambitious exhaust gas limit values for motorcycles

-         initiative for the EU-wide introduction of emissions-related landing charges

-         initiative within the EU on the labeling and limitation of VOC content in products used, e.g. in the trade industries or small plants (where these are not covered by the Solvents Directive).
Because of the transboundary dimension of air pollution and the geographical situation in central Europe, Germany strongly depends on common measures within the EU and the UN ECE to improve air quality.

In fact, EU regulations are becoming more and more important, especially on air quality standards, vehicles and fuels (they have for example pushed the introduction of the catalytic converters). The following EU directives have an overriding role in improving air quality:

-         EU Directive on ambient air quality assessment and management (1996) and its ¡°daughter directives¡±; definition of concrete air quality standards for a variety of substances: SO2, NOx, particulates, lead, ground-level ozone, benzene, CO, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons and some heavy metals

-         forthcoming EU Directive on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants (NOx, SO2, VOC, NH3) with the aim to combat the three problems acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone in an integrated manner.


UN/ECE level:

goals of the 6 UN/ECE Protocols to the 1979 Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution:







- 63 %

- 41 %

- 41 %

- 17 %


- 75 %

- 49 %

- 57 %

- 15 %


- 90 %

- 60 %

- 69 %

- 28 %


EU level:

The long-term goals of EU  policy is now being developed within the "Clean Air for Europe" (CAFE) Programme which is a long-term, strategic and integrated programme for measures to improve EU air quality.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The German Basic Law grants that all relevant social groups and individuals can participate in the decision-making process (see answer to question 3).  

The Federal Republic of Germany is a federally organised state, i.e. state duties are distributed between central Government (Bund) and the Federal States (Länder). The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany guarantees the regional/local authorities (municipalities, communities and rural districts) the power of self-government, i.e. the authority to regulate local community matters on their own responsibility within the limits possible in law. This also includes shaping the local environment.

Moreover, the Länder have conferred powers to enforce many local aspects of national and parliamentary legislation upon the municipalities and rural districts. The Basic Law also governs the confines of legislative power between Federal Government and Länder as well as the execution of Federal law. According to the Basic Law, the Federal Government has the concurrent legislative competence for waste management, air pollution control and noise abatement. As far as the planning of legislation is concerned in areas where the Federal Government enjoys concurrent legislative power, the Länder are incorporated in the Federal lawmaking process through the Bundesrat.

The Länder are in all cases responsible for enforcing Federal legislation and thus also for executing the state powers incumbent on them in the field of environmental protection. The Land and local environment administrations are therefore responsible for implementing environmental protection in the Federal Republic of Germany.

In enforcing Government and Länder environmental legislation, the local authorities are required to perform important tasks of environmental protection, particularly within their role of self-government as embodied in the Basic Law. The decisions they take shape local surroundings and change social and natural environment. Areas of local-authority responsibility include (with respect to the protection of the atmosphere):

The public must be involved in many licensing proceedings. The responsible authority must then publish the project  and state the period of time within which the application documents can be examined by the public. The citizens are then given the opportunity, within the specified time, to provide the respective authority with suggestions, concerns, and objections regarding a project in writing or by statements for the record. Such comments are then considered in a public hearing under the chairmanship of the responsible authority.

For specific private and public projects the environmental impact assessment is required. At the beginning of the licensing procedure, the project sponsor must submit documents indicating those impacts which the intended project will have on the environment. This procedure involves the general public, the relevant competent authorities as well as the corresponding authorities of the neighboring counties.

Environmental protection in Germany is of high standard and should therefore provide adequate protection from environmental problems even if production increases. Especially the strict Federal Imission Control Act and its implementation ensures that combustion plants are in a sufficient condition. So there is no need for compensation of atmospheric pollution.

Germany is part of the Central European suboceanic climate zone. Up to now there is no very significant trend to more dry or wet climate conditions.

Programmes and Projects   

National research on global change is supported in particular by BMBF, DFG and in some detailed questions by BMU in research programmes and plans. The main contents of these research programmes are focused on a better understanding of  the atmospheric processes, their impacts and adaptation options especially in direct connection with measures for the protection of earth's atmosphere.

The most ambitious programme will be the BMBF research programme Atmospheric Research 2000 (AFO 2000). More than 150 research groups will cooperate to improve our understanding of basic atmospheric processes and to develop and supply instruments for environmental policy use.

The new German Climate Research Programme DEKLIM is an example of an integrative approach to study the climate-determining interactions between the various spheres.120 groups of scientists will be funded in the fields of climate variability on global and regional scales, climate impact research, and promotion of young scientists. Projects dealing with the consequences of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect are of interdisciplinary design and combine natural scientific research with aspects of economic and social research.

In general there exists a variety of institutes at universities and research centres engaged in atmospheric research and climate research, which are funded by BMBF and/or the German Federal States (Länder).

Environmental monitoring in forestry has been developed to record and evaluate the state of forests with the aid of various indicators, to deduce possible measures from these activities and to be able to assess their effects especially in respect to atmospheric pollution. By integrating information from various surveys conducted within the framework of environmental monitoring in forestry, sound findings regarding cause-effect relations as well as measures against new types of forest damage shall be achieved.


Climate change due the changes in the atmosphere in general is expected to cause some adverse impacts to natural and human systems. The Federal Government of Germany pays attention to possible impacts of climate change and has extensive programmes for climate and climate impact research as well as for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Though Germany will not be seriously disturbed by climate change impacts compared to other parts of the earth, there are some sectors with a need for further attention:

Human health:

At the dawn of the twenty-first century the population of Germany is generally in good health conditions, thanks to well developed sanitation systems, a high standard of nutrition and an effective public health system. Nevertheless there are some potential risks of adverse effects to human health due to direct or indirect impacts from climate change.

 direct effects:

indirect effects:

The German Government recognizes a considerable demand for research work to identify the risk potentials for health effects and to develop a health care programme to counteract adverse effects of climate change.  


Near coast settlements and some settlements in flooding areas of river basins in Germany are at limited risk by sea level rise and increasing likelihood of storm surges and river flooding. Due to the high concentration of buildings and equipment in some threatened areas there is a risk of loss. Thanks to a well developed infrastructure and rescue services, human beings are less endangered.

Economic Activities:

A serious disturbance of the German economy by climate change is judged to be relatively unlikely, because there is a sufficient supply of (undisturbed) energy and water. Changing patterns of precipitation may effect the water availability  for agriculture. Particularly in regions with poor soil this could cause problems for productivity.


In Germany, research into the impacts of climate change has focused in recent years on climate-sensitive regions (the coast, mountains) and on ecologically and economically sensitive areas (agriculture and silviculture, hydrology of groundwater and inland bodies of water). During the growing season, natural and agricultural plants need an even distribution of precipitation to meet their evapo-transpiration requirements. Seasonal shifts of precipitation, or unusually intense or long dry periods, could cause significant changes in plant cover in affected regions of Germany. Lack of precipitation during main vegetation periods could reduce harvests and cause ecological damage in forests and in wetlands.

All predictions indicate that coastal regions, among the natural areas and habitats, will be particularly strongly affected by climatically caused changes. The sea level rise for the German coastal areas is expected to be between 50 and 60 cm.

This estimate does not take account of other expected changes. The most important of these would be changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme events in coastal areas, especially storms and storm floods, in the final analysis, the maximum water levels occurring during extreme weather conditions, rather than the average sea-level rise, are what threaten coastal ecosystems. Therefore a potential threat must be expected - a threat reinforced through coastal erosion.

In addition, changes in species composition and bio productivity must be expected in coastal ecosystems, as a consequence of these and other influences (precipitation and temperature patterns, tidal lifting etc.).

 Germany has a number of central mountain ranges; in its extreme south, it is touched by the northern edge of the Alps. These mountain regions contain a majority of the natural and semi-natural ecosystems in Germany that are still intact. Many of these ecosystems are extremely sensitive; all tend to be particularly vulnerable to climate changes. Ecological stresses would be caused in Alpine regions especially by temperature increases, which would tend to move the existing elevation ranges of the various vegetation types to higher elevations. If the speed at which this occurs, due to rapid climate shifts, is greater than species-specific (but low) migration speeds, lasting ecological instabilities, tendencies toward lower biodiversity and threats to certain species could result. Such instabilities would be intensified by changes in precipitation distribution, in conjunction with increasing evapo-transpiration in summer. Lasting ecological instabilities for forest ecosystems in Alpine areas would go hand-in-hand with increasing soil erosion and avalanche frequency.

Agricultural ecosystems are used intensively in Germany as sources of raw materials and income. A large share of Agricultural ecosystems is used intensively in Germany to produce food  and renewable raw materials.

Only more frequent occurrence of extreme situations would bring about major changes - i.e. structural ones. Human management of such ecosystems can override and compensate impacts of climate and weather. Possible impacts of climate changes would be expected:

Studies to date have shown that in Germany, the negative effects on plant physiology of reduced precipitation, or of seasonally unfavourable distribution of precipitation, would be greater than the negative effects of changes in typical temperature cycles.

If the frequency of prolonged periods of warm/hot - dry weather during the main growing season increased, major ecological and economic impacts would have to be expected in the agricultural sector. On the other hand, it is not possible to determine the probability of the occurrence of such weather situations.

The ability of existing forests to adapt, especially of forest areas along the ecological boundaries of tree-species distribution, could be overwhelmed by the speed of possible climate changes. This applies especially to all-conifer stands in areas at risk, such as drier areas of northern  and north-eastern Germany. The risk is also greater for forests that have already been damaged by air and soil pollution.  Further reduction of emissions are therefore a continuing task of care for our environment. Extreme events that could occur more frequently as a result of climate change, such as storms, droughts, forest fires or pest epidemics, could exacerbate the damage in such forests. Complete collapses of ecosystems in extremely polluted and sensitive regions (for example, regions with nutrient-poor soils and insufficient water) could not be ruled out. A particularly serious factor in this context would be the danger that protective forests could be impaired or could lose all of their protective function.

In general: emissions are decreasing while CO2 concentration is increasing.  

Emissions of CFCs and Halons in Germany 1990-1999

(in kilotons)





















data for 1996-1999: preliminary;

Source: "Daten zur Umwelt 2000" of the Federal Environment Agency

Data for methylbromide is not available.

Measures or changes that have been introduced to industrial and agricultural activities in order to reduce green house gas emissions and concentrations include:

the industrial activities:

-         Voluntary commitments like the Declaration by German industry on climate protection (reduction of further 10 million tones CO2 by 2005 and further 10 million tones of  CO2 equivalents by 2012 compared with the previous voluntary commitment).

the agricultural activities:

-         enforced use of biogas technology

-         extension of ecological agriculture

-         reducing the use of mineral fertilizer

The basis for the vision of sustainable development for German settlement policy is the Federal Regional Planning Act as amended in 1998. Settlement development should thus be geared towards the spatial concepts of a compact and mixed town as well as of decentralised concentrations. Prudent land management comprises the following goals: efficient land use, settlement development that gives due consideration to nature and soil conservation aspects, socially compatible land use, flexible and demand-oriented settlement development.

In the forest sector, the following measures contribute to protecting and enhancing terrestrial sinks for GHG emissions:

Natural silviculture enhances the resilience of forests against natural disturbances and protects and increases the carbon stocks in soils and biomass through practices such as:

The increased use of wood for energy and material substitution has a great potential for emission reduction. Therefore, wood is included in the programmes for renewable energies (see Part III for more information).

The use of wood is promoted through the "Timber Sales Promoting Fund". The new Act on the Timber Sales Promoting Fund (1999) has improved its financial basis and organisation structures. The resources of this fund are mainly used for advice on new wood construction techniques and for increasing public awareness, but also for research and development in the wood sector. 

Another measure concerns the amendment to the Federal Nature Conservation Act. A key point is the new regulation for creating a nationwide network of interlinked biotopes. The elements of this network are suitable central areas, whose components can be formed i.a. from existing suitable protected areas, as well as link areas or parts of these areas (e.g. river courses) and link elements (e.g. a church tower as a nesting place for common kestrels). The Federal States (Länder) should make available at least 10% of their land for this. The requisite areas are to be legally safeguarded using appropriate measures (e.g. protected areas, providing a legal foundation for planning, contract-based nature conservation) in order to protect the biotope network in the long term.  


Major air pollution challenges in urban and rural areas include:

The German government is striving to reverse the trend of the increase in land use in order to put a stop to the further urban sprawl of the landscape and thus to reduce the increase in traffic and the respective emissions (CO2, NOx, etc.) resulting from this growth in settlement areas. This poses a big challenge for resource-efficient and environmentally sound spatial planning. The increasing spatial division of areas for working and living, supply and leisure facilities that were once closely interlinked results in an increase in private motor traffic and industrial traffic with lorries. This in turn leads to an increase in traffic-related emissions and noise pollution.  

See also under Status.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

There are innumerable initiatives (reports, brochures, press releases, campaigns, Internet) of the Federal Government, the governments of the Federal States (Länder) and the local authorities as well as all relevant stakeholders promote public awareness of climate change and protection of the atmosphere.

In order to fulfill a task of the new National Climate Change Programme, the Federal Environment Ministry started a national campaign "Climate Protection in Households and in Small Consumption". The aim is to reduce the energy demand of  buildings (improved thermal insulation, heating and air condition), increased use of renewables, the use of efficient household as well as information and communication appliances, lights, change of consumption patterns etc.

On the web pages of the Federal Environment Ministry as well as of the Federal Environmental Agency there are numerous texts on all relevant atmospheric problems including  day-to-day information on ground-level ozone concentrations in the summer.

The background air pollution monitoring stations of the German Environmental Agency are active as regional focal points for information for the public on air quality.

Environment awareness and especially climate change related aspects are part of the education programs of all levels. It begins in Kindergarten/ nursery schools. In the year 2000, the model project "Education – 21" was launched for the period of five years. It includes all aspects of sustainable development  - also climate related issues.

Capacity building is mainly supported in the framework of national research programmes where part of the funds is used for support of scientists from developing countries. In addition, BMBF supports multilateral programs like START which are dedicated to the promotion of regional global change science and to the enhancement of the capacity of individuals, institutions, and developing regions to undertake such research.

A contribution to QA/SAC program in WMO-GAW is provided. This long term program is seen to be inevitably necessary in order to achieve the goals of GAW, that is to provide scientifically sound bases for early detection of anthropogenic climate change. The main objectives are QA/SAC measures for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, aerosols and atmospheric optical depth.

Whereas this QA/SAC program with results from monitoring, QA/SAC procedures have also recently been started for a long term education and training program. This latter contribution is aimed at improving and establishing QA/SAC at GAW sites in Africa and Europe. The greenhouse gases carbon monoxide, methane and nitrous oxide are dealt with in that program.


The Federal Environmental Agency maintains a database which collects all relevant air quality data of atmospheric pollutants. Air quality data of the Lander are regularly fed into that system which forms a basis of regular reporting in the framework of international guidelines and conventions.

Both emissions and air quality data are available at ; they are also published regularly in reports and are available on CDs. The German Lander provide a similar service.

Research and Technologies   

Air quality monitoring networks operated by the federal states, ca. 500 monitoring sites; monitoring network by Federal Environmental Agency to study long-range transported air pollution; operation of one global station and of two regional stations within WMO/UNEP program Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW).

Alternative fueled vehicles, fuel cells, photovoltaic generated electricity, wind technologies, biomass, advanced fuel technologies associated with natural gas as well as oil and coal, building systems – windows, insulation, appliance equipment, new transport technologies e.g. for railways etc.

Germany is a leading country in the development and production of goods which support environmental protection.

See also under Programmes and Projects.


In general, the German policy of environmental protection is geared towards the polluter-pays principle. Therefore the avoidance or elimination of pollution is primarily based on the polluter's financial and economic responsibility. On the other hand there are public investment programmes to support these measures and public  research programmes.

In 1997, industry spent DM 6.5 million on air quality control measures (that is 45% of all expenses for environmental protection of industry), the state 90 million.


The German Government, through the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, has the ambitious target to spend DM 200 million each year on renewable energy development and 250 Mio. DM on tropical forest protection in developing countries. Taking into account other climate change-related projects, an average annual amount of 650 Mio. DM has been spent for climate-related activities during the years 1997 to 1999. 

This number includes activities in capacity building, technology transfer, extension and concrete climate change-related projects in the field of mitigation in energy, transport, industry, forestry, agriculture and waste as well as in the field of adaptation to climate change (e.g. coastal zone management, watershed management etc.).

In addition to its bilateral programme, the German Government, through the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, supports developing countries and countries with economies in transition in atmosphere-related activities through the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Germany is the third largest donor to GEF with a share of around 12 percent of the total contributions.

The Federal Ministry for Education and Research actively supports the European research programme EUROTRAC which investigates different aspects of long-range transboundary transport of air pollutants. The International Scientific Secretariat of EUROTRAC is funded by the Ministry and a variety of German research groups participates in its different research foci.

Germany is Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Germany has signed the Kyoto Protocol but not yet ratified due to still missing decisions of the FCCC Conference of the Parties concerning the regulatory framework of the Kyoto Protocol. However, Germany reduced its greenhouse gas emissions during the last decade by 15.3 percent and will therefore fulfil the reduction commitments of the Protocol as well as the commitments of the internal EU burden sharing.

See also the tables on GHG emissions in the Annex and figure 1 in questionnaire III.

Germany has ratified the Montreal Protocol and has also ratified the four amendments/adjustments. The ratification process for the Beijing amendments is in progress.

Germany fully supports the UN ECE 1979 Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution (see answer to question 7 and 8) as well as HELCOM and PARCOM.

* * *

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: August 2001.

For information on acid rain, click here.
For the Federal Emissions Control Act, click here.
For information on air pollution from motor vehicle traffic, click here.
For information on carbon dioxide, click here.
For information on carbon monoxide, click here.
For national information on climate change, click here.
For information on the Framework Convention on Climate Change in Germany, click here.
For national information on emissions, click here.
For national information on greenhouse gas emissions, click here.
Click here for national information from the Web Site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
For the access to the Web Site of the Ozone Secretariat, click here:

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety is primarily responsible for biodiversity issues; while the Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forestry is responsible for genetic resources. They are both members of the National Sustainable Development Coordination Mechanism. In 1990, the Information Center for Genetic Resources was established in Bonn. In 1993, the Federal Nature Conservation Agency was created. It consists of working units previously belonging to a variety of institutions.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In Germany, the Convention on Biological Diversity was signed in 1992 and ratified in 1993. The latest report to the Secretariat was submitted in 1995. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was signed in 1975 and ratified in 1976. The latest report was submitted in 1995.

National legislation for biodiversity is being completed. Many aspects of biodiversity are also covered by European Union (EU) legislation. National policy for conserving biological diversity has been established and a country study has been published.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Work is in progress on a National strategy for the practical implementation of the Convention of Biodiversity. A plan for conserving forest genetic resources has existed since 1987. In 1990, a proposal for the conservation and use of plant genetic resources was published. In 1994, the Federal Agricultural Research Centre presented a proposal for the conservation of animal genetic resources. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

The Government is cooperating with NGOs on biodiversity issues. The German NGO Forum for Environment and Development established a working group on biodiversity that actively participates in international negotiations and carries out education and information activities. Since the Birdlife World Conference (August 1994, Rosenheim), the German Nature Conservation League (NABU) carries out a survey of Important Bird Areas as indicators and points of focus for biodiversity programmes.

Programmes and Projects   

See under Cooperation.


Habitat destruction and pollution are the most serious reasons for the loss of flora and fauna. Measures have been taken for in situ and ex situ conservation of biological and genetic resources such as the establishment of additional protected areas, preparation of new legislation, and support of institutions involved in this work.


No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.


A comprehensive survey including information on biodiversity ("Daten zur Umwelt" / "Data on the Environment") is published every two years.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.


No information is available.


Under the auspices of the Conference of Ministers on Protection of Forests in Europe, Germany participates in the implementation of the 1990 Strasbourg resolution on "Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources" and the 1993 Helsinki resolution "General Guidelines for the conservation of the Biodiversity of European Forests". Germany also takes part in the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and in the creation of a pan-European system of protected areas, NATURA 2000.

In the context of development cooperation, Germany supports countries in their efforts to conserve biological diversity, with particular emphasis on the protection and management of relevant ecosystems such as tropical forests and other threatened natural habitats of biodiversity. Special attention is paid to integration of local people and other affected actors. New instruments have been developed and used within projects, such as supporting networks for better coordination of individual activities and donors, identification and testing of indicators, and improved methods for evaluating biological diversity. Future activities will be concerned with analysis of the relationships between ecological and economic causes of biodiversity loss, capacity building and transfer of know-how, integration of ex situ and in situ measures, and increased participation of NGOs. In 1996, Germany hosted the International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources. A first Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture resulted from this conference.

* * *

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 national information on biosphere reserves, click here.
For information on the Convention on Biological Diversity in Germany, click here.
For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:
For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In Germany, the International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa was signed in 1994 and ratified in 1996.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

German NGOs have focused their activities in the field of desertification by forming a working group within the Forum for Environment and Development. The working group has followed the international negotiations on the Desertification Convention and undertaken intensive information work in Germany to present desertification as a worldwide problem. The group has, for example, produced a media folder for education work.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.


Combating desertification and drought is not relevant in Germany, as there are no deserts or areas in danger of becoming deserts. However, it is an important issue in German development cooperation.


No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.


No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.


No information is available.


At the signatory conference of the International Convention on Combating Desertification, the Federal Government pledged DM 5 million for immediate measures to combat desertification in Africa. In 1996, the volume of bilateral projects in progress for combating desertification was more than DM 2 billion.

German development cooperation provides assistance for the implementation of National action programmes to combat desertification and financial and technical support for appropriate programmes and projects. This development cooperation has undergone changes in recent years. The focus is now on strengthening endogenous capacity in integrated land management including local organizational structures. Herdsmen are now seen as experts in sustainable resource management and in sparing utilization of the environment. Unlike large-scale agriculture and stationary livestock farming, herdsmen ensure environmentally and economically appropriate food production. Projects in this field include: assuring access to resources for herdsmen; advising them in land use rights and including them in planning; land use arrangements that permit the necessary flexibility depending on rainfall and vegetation situation; strengthening the role of herdsmen and farmers in institutions with a view to settling land use conflicts; and improving formal education for herdsmen.

Another promising new approach is that of integrating rural development and food security measures in one and the same project. Further areas playing an important role in projects to combat desertification include land use planning with special regard to land legislation and measures for the conservation of soil and water. Such projects are being implemented in many countries, especially in Africa and South America.

* * *

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 access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The following government ministries/agencies are responsible for making decisions concerning energy issues in general and energy-related aspects of atmosphere and transportation:

-         Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology

-         Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety 

         / Federal   Environmental Agency

-         Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing

-         Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture

-         Federal Ministry of Education and Research

-         Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

-         Federal Ministry of Finance

-         Länder Ministries

-         Municipalities

By decision of 13 June 1990, the Federal Government established the Interministerial Working Group "CO2 Reduction", which is charged with identifying the potential for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (especially CO2). Within this Interministerial Working Group "CO2 Reduction" under the chairmanship of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, working parties were established for the following topic areas: energy supply (chaired by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology), transport (chaired by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Housing), buildings (chaired by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Housing), new technologies (chaired by: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology) and agriculture and forestry (chaired by: Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food, and Agriculture ).

The German Government's objective is further supported by the Bundesrat decision of 31 March 1995 confirming that climate protection measures are necessary in order to achieve the reduction target and calling on the German Government to continue pursuing a consistent course of action.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The following laws, regulations, or directives concern energy and energy related aspects of atmosphere and transportation:

-         Act on Granting Priority to Renewable Energy Sources

-         Act on Protection of Combined Heat and Power Generation

-         Energy Saving Act

-         Thermal Insulation Ordinance

-          Heating Systems Ordinance

-         Energy Consumption Labelling Act

-         Energy Consumption Labelling Ordinance

-         Act on Phasing out Nuclear Power

The following regulations, incentive mechanisms, and subsidies promote sustainable energy and environmentally sound consumption patterns:

-         The ecological tax reform, which envisages a gradual, economically and socially  acceptable increase in energy prices in all segments in order to create incentives for the development and market launch of new technologies, coupled with the rational and economical use of energy.

-         Reduced rates for local public transport and all track transport.

-         The Renewable Energy Act, which promotes the conversion of renewable energy sources into electricity

-         The market launch programme for renewable energy sources, which particularly benefits the use of solar panels, as well as rational energy use.

-         The "100,000 roofs" programme, which supports investments in photovoltaic systems.

-         The promotion of low-sulphur and sulphur-free fuels through a tax differentiation also helps to achieve a breakthrough in fuel-efficient, low-emission engine technology.

-         Emission-based motor vehicle tax: Motor vehicle tax has taken greater account of pollutant emissions. In addition, so-called 5-litre consuming cars will receive a one-off tax exemption of DM 500 if registered for the first time before 1 January 2000, whilst so-called 3-litres consuming cars will receive tax exemption of DM 1,000, irrespective of first-time registration.

-         Favourable framework conditions for gas-powered vehicles to be launched on the market: the mineral oil tax for natural and liquid petroleum gas was lowered to the EU minimum tax rate and set until 2009. Criteria for a Blue Angel for low-noise gas-powered commercial vehicles and buses were adopted. In the area of commercial business, all types of gas-powered vehicles and gas filling stations are being subsidised with favourable loan terms.

-         Support Programme for Renewable Energies under the Federal Ministry of Economics (Capital subsidies in the form of investment grants for the purchase and installation of renewable energy systems).

-         KfW subsidy programmes to save energy in old buildings (programme to subsidise energy renovation of building stock via loans from the Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW -Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) at subsidised interest rates. Renovation of energy-inefficient multi-family buildings as identified by "heating surveys" (see answer to question 8) The Federal Government will spend DM 2 billion in the years 2001 – 2005 to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 kg per square meter and year in buildings constructed before 1979.

-         In individual cases, tax law provides incentives to purchase environmentally friendly products. Tax law thus reinforces demand for products that lower pollution and save resources. Examples of tax benefits related to energy include the following:

-         Mineral oil and gas used for cogeneration of power and heat enjoys a lower petroleum tax rate; if an efficiency of at least 70% is achieved, even this tax is abolished,

-         Mineral oil and gas used in combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) with an efficiency of at least 57.5% is exempt from the entire mineral oil tax under certain conditions to provide for a level playing field with coal and nuclear fired plants,

-         Lower petroleum tax rate for unleaded petrol,

-         Exemption from petroleum tax for pure biofuels,

-         Motor vehicle tax exemption for buses used in public transport,

-         Reduced turnover tax for short-range passenger transport and lower petroleum tax rates on natural gas and liquefied gas for public transport vehicles,

-         Exemption from motor vehicle tax - during the first five years - for electrically powered vehicles,

-         Graduated motor vehicle tax rates for low-polluting and non-low-polluting passenger cars and trucks, and 

-     Tax incentives for installation and thus manufacture of energy-saving equipment and designs.

-         Act on the Income Tax Law, where the fiscal provision favouring commuting by car was replaced by a level playing field for all means of transport, a distance-related compensation. In principle this gives incentives to switch from the use of private cars to means of public transport. In this context, the use of public transport systems and non-motorized forms of transport should be encouraged.

-         Furthermore in response to the increased oil world prices a single heat cost grant was paid in the winter 2000/2001 for low-income households.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Short-term and long-term goals concerning energy include:

The Federal Government has responded to the major environmental challenge faced by mankind as a result of global climate change with a new climate protection programme, adopted on 18 October 2000 at the proposal of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The world's leading climate research scientists unanimously agree that the process of global climate change has already begun. The likelihood of storms and flooding, and the risk of shifting vegetation zones, continues to rise as a result of global warming. The Federal Government's targets are extremely ambitious:

Furthermore, for the first time the Federal Government has also set specific targets relating to technology and energy resources:

Although the previous Federal Government set ambitious climate protection targets, it failed to take effective action, which would have enabled it to meet these targets.

Forecasts at the time of the change of government in 1998 were based on the assumption that the measures resolved thus far would fall far short of the climate protection targets. The forecast for 2005 anticipated a reduction in CO2 of just 15 – 17 %, suggesting that the measures contained in the previous government's four climate reports were way short of the mark. Not only did it lack the willingness to take effective action; what is more, those measures which were taken were only adopted very sluggishly.

- Impacts of the package of measures adopted prior to the change of government (i.e. between 1990 and 1998):

- Impacts of the measures adopted by the "Red-Green" (i.e. Social Democrat/Green Party) coalition since taking power (ecological tax reform, Renewable Energy Act, DM 200 million market launch programme for renewable energy sources, "100,000 roofs" programme to promote solar power, introduction of low-sulphur and sulphur-free fuels, promoting cogeneration):

- Remaining shortfall between now and the year 2005:

- Breakdown of the shortfall into individual sectors by establishing sectoral targets:

Should one sector prove incapable of reaching its reduction target, this must be compensated by stepping up the efforts in other sectors.

Since 1990, the national climate protection strategy has been progressively developed according to the following steps:

The climate protection programme focuses on all relevant areas: private households, small-scale consumers, industry, transport, the energy industry. It includes the waste management sector and is geared towards both the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and the reduction of other greenhouse gases. The main focus is on saving energy and increasing energy efficiency as well as generating energy from renewable resources.

The achievement in the meantime of  more than 15.3  % reduction in CO2 emissions as well as 18.5 % of the six Kyoto gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, H-CFC and CFC) can be attributed to contributions from all areas of German society. From the beginning, the German Government stressed that not only Government itself, but all social actors must be involved in implementing climate protection measures. This reflects the fact that climate protection is a cross-sectoral task. Everyone is called on to participate.  

In the meantime, all the Federal Länder and over 500 municipalities have accepted their responsibilities in this respect and developed their own climate protection programmes. Some of the Länder, cities and municipalities have also set their own reduction targets. Bremen, for example, is aiming for a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to1987 levels by the year 2005. Berlin intends to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% per inhabitant (Tables 2 and 3).  

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany grants that all relevant social groups and individuals can participate in the decision-making process. They do in fact participate through several means and discussion rounds and very recently through the Council on Sustainable Development.

There is a liberalized market in the EU. In Germany, no restrictions for the access of the private sector to energy production and distribution exists. The private sector dominates the energy production and distribution. There is a special law, the Federal Energy Management Act. State agencies do not have to play an important coordinating role related to the private sector.  

On the municipal level there is considerable scope for reducing greenhouse gases, opportunities arising in part from the various functions a local authority fulfils: Executor of Federal and Länder laws, standard-setting public corporation, proprietor, agents or operators of community property. Furthermore, local authorities have plenty of scope for direct action, such as energy conservation in their own premises, taking into consideration climate protection targets by obtaining or employing economical vehicles in their vehicle fleet. With appropriate planning and acknowledgement of their responsibilities as public services, the cities and municipalities can make an excellent contribution to climate protection.  This includes, for example, the community power supply, the local public transport system and the development of energy conservation measures in the municipal waste treatment and waste water disposal. Information, consultation and public relations work can motivate the population to conserve energy by environmentally sound mobility and avoidance of waste.

Other vital actors are trade and industry. A central tool for co-ordinating the role of trade and industry in climate protection is the "Erklärung der deutschen Wirtschaft zur Klimavorsorge" (German trade and industry declaration on precautionary climate protection measures) from 1995 and 1996. In this declaration, German trade and industry pledged to reduce, by the year 2005, their specific CO2 emissions or their specific energy consumption by 20% compared to 1990 levels. To date, 19 business and industry associations have made this voluntary pledge. This covers over 71% of industrial energy consumers, more than 99% of the public power supply, and some households and small consumers. Annual monitoring checks that the voluntary commitment is met. An update was agreed upon at the end of 2000 when targets were strengthened and adopted to the Kyoto targets. Industry promised to reduce its CO2 emissions by 28 % by 2005 and its greenhouse gas emissions by 35% in the period 2008-2012. It is assumed that additional 10 million t CO2 by 2005 and further 10 million t. CO2 equivalents can be achieved as reduction.

In addition to this, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and scientific and policy advising institutions have also contributed considerably to climate protection in the past, especially in providing targeted impetus for the further shaping of the national climate protection programme. Environmental associations, unions, churches and consumer associations have been exemplary in this respect.

Climate protection can only be implemented in a sustainable way if all actors take full advantage of their opportunities: local authority administrations, trade and industry, research and science and relevant social groups. It is equally important that each individual, in both a professional and private sphere, should see energy conservation and improving energy efficiency as his or her own personal responsibility, and act accordingly. Experience has shown here that in many cases climate protection is not necessarily expensive, and can often lead to a saving of energy costs and other positive effects, leading to a win-win effect.

Programmes and Projects 

Low-income households get public (social) welfare which also covers the entire (possibly increasing) costs for heating. Furthermore, the general housing support has been increased and broadened substantially for low-income households from 2001 on. This more than offsets in most cases the increased oil prices during 2000. In addition, the fiscal provision favouring commuting by car was replaced by a level playing field for all means of transport, a distance-related compensation. Given that low-income households tend to use cars less than most other groups they benefit from that measure. Furthermore, for low-income households a single heat cost grant is paid in the winter 2000/2001.

There is a package of measures for the transport sector:

Anxious at the rise in CO2 emissions in the transport sector, in contrast to the overall trend, the Federal Government feels it is particularly important to make significant headway in this area. To this end, the following measures are being implemented:

New local actors (societies, branches of trade, youth groups etc.) can be encouraged to participate in joint climate protection activities. Many local authority activities are linked to "local Agenda 21 projects" developed on the basis of AGENDA 21 adopted in Rio de Janeiro. The local authorities receive support from their umbrella organisations the Deutscher Städtetag  (German Association of Cities) or the Deutscher Städte- und Gemeindebund (German Cities and Municipalities Association).  


There is no significant lack of the overall availability of the various types of energy resources in Germany. Germany is a major importer of energy resources. However, the dependency on energy resources from abroad has led to some concerns and problems during the last oil price crisis. Hence, there is limited availability (either in terms of quantity or in terms of very high prices) and this was recognised. There has not been any limitation of access to electricity.


Figure 1: Development of the CO2 emissions, the Gross National Products and the Primary Energy Consumption in Germany as well as Emission Portions of fossil Energy sources

Table 1: Gross Electricity Generation in Germany


1990 [Bill. KWh]


[Bill. KWh]


[Bill. KWh]










Water Power







Nuclear Power







Hard Coal














Natural Gas














Other Sources







- Part of Wind Power















Table 2: End Used Energy of other Renewable Sources (without Bio-Diesel and Geo Thermal Sources) in GWh





Biomass Heating




Biomass Electricity




Solar Thermal









Table 3: Average Primary Energy Consumption per Capita





PEC [Gigajoule]





In Germany there is no negative impact of the security of energy supply etc. In case of liberalization of the electricity market the prices decreased in short time. Energy demand depends in particular on the prices. As a consequence, the reduction of  the demand of energy requires higher prices. An important step in this context is the internalisation of externalities as well as environmental benefits, inter alia through energy taxes. It is expected that the increase of the share of  renewable sources, mentioned under points 4 – 7 above, will lead to an increase in prices. So does the support for cogeneration. However, the effect is very limited and so far the effects of the liberalization have more than offset price increases due to the newly introduced electricity tax in the framework of the ecological tax reform.


Environmental protection in Germany is of high standard and should therefore provide a good basis for adequate protection from environmental problems even if production increases. Especially the strict Federal Imission Control Act and its implementation ensures that combustion plants are in a sufficient condition.

However, the biggest challenge is climate change and how to cope with this. The German Government thus focuses on this area, e.g. by adopting a very ambitious climate protection programme on 18 October 2000.

There are some national institutional or structural barriers against development and usage of renewable energy sources and cleaner fossil fuel techniques such as the insufficient internalization of external environmental damage costs, and grid access problems and high costs.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

There are innumerable initiatives of the Federal Government, the governments of the German Länder and the local authorities as well as all relevant stakeholders.

In order to fulfill a task of the new National Climate Change Programme the Federal Environment Ministry started a national campaign "Climate Protection in Households and in Small Consumption". The aim is to reduce the energy demand of  buildings (improved thermal insulation, heating and air condition), increased use of "renewables", the use of efficient household as well as information and communication appliances, lights, change in consumption patterns etc.

Environmental awareness and especially climate and energy related aspects are part of the education programs of all levels. In the year 2000 the model project "Education – 21" was launched for the period of five years. It includes all aspects of sustainable development  - also energy related issues.

The technical requirements and requirements for admission of staff for supervisory bodies are incumbent of associations for technical guidelines and supervision like DIN or TÜV. They also carry out training programmes and support the entities and especially the companies in executing their own programmes they are in charge of. There is no lack of such programmes.

There are innumerable activities to improve environmental and especially climate and energy awareness.

One measure, not yet listed, is an acceptance-building campaign for the ecological tax reform and several media and advertisement efforts by several Ministries.


There is a wide variety of measures gathering the required information about energy and energy-related issues. These include:

-         Special Energy Statistic related to the Federal Statistic Law;

-         Industry's progress in fulfilling its voluntary commitment is monitored by the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung;

-         National Greenhouse Gas Inventory ;

-         Additional working party on "emission inventories" under the umbrella of the interministerial working group on CO2 reduction, reporting to the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, to co-ordinate the methodological/statistical requirements of emissions reporting as a result of international reporting obligations

-         Regular analysis of primary energy consumption by the Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.

On the national level, information about energy and energy-related issues is disseminated and shared by the responsible ministries of the Federal and the German Länder's Governments as well as by the local authorities. Also all relevant stakeholders e.g. environmental associations like B.A.U.M., companies etc. distribute information, held fora, are available for consultation and so on.

On the international level, the requirements of the various institutions (e.g. OECD) and organizations (e.g. UN) have been fulfilled.  

The five working parties within the Interministerial Working Group "CO2 Reduction" have each prepared their own reports. These reports have been coordinated within the Interministerial Working Group "CO2 Reduction" itself. 

The ministries of the Federal Government and the governments of the German Länder as well as their agencies have there own websites e.g.

Research and Technologies   

It has to be stressed that nuclear energy is no alternative technology and will be phased.

Alternative fueled vehicles, fuel cells, photovoltaic generated electricity, wind technologies, biomass, advanced fuel technologies associated with natural gas as well as oil and coal, building systems – windows, insulation, appliance equipment, new transport technologies e.g. for railways etc.

In addition there is special incentive programmes e.g. by the Federal Environment   Ministry for the use of natural gas fuel in vehicles. Furthermore a tax incentive is given to favour fuels with no or only a low content of sulphur.


There are also financial sources from the German Laender Governmetns as well as from the local authorities and the private sector. But there is no detailed information available.

Germany is a donor country and does not use external sources (apart from resources from the EU and other international organizations).

Especially the Act on Granting Priority to Renewable Energy Sources facilitates a sustainable development of energy supply. This Act deals with the purchase of, and the compensation to be paid for, electricity generated exclusively from hydrodynamic power, wind energy, geothermal energy, gas from sanitary landfills, sewage treatment plants, mines, or biomass.

But there is also a special certification of electricity generated from renewable sources that grants that higher prices for electricity have to be paid only from new power plants.

But also the Act on Protection of Combined Heat and Power Generation is important. A new Act on the Increase of Combined Heat and Power Generation is under consideration.


Germany has an export orientated industry. The efforts of the German industry have been supported by the Federal Government and the governments of the German Länder. Especially the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development supports the developing countries in developing a sustainable energy supply.

Especially large energy supply companies as well as street and rail traffic vehicle producers have a bilateral/multilateral cooperation in the research & development activities related to energy.

Germany plans to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in 2002 at the latest so that – 10 years after the UNCED Conference in Rio de Janeiro – the Kyoto Protocol can enter into force

Germany is involved in: OECD, IEA, EU, Energy Charter, UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, Montreal Protocol etc.


* * *


This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the 5th, 6th and 7th sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: November 1998.

For national information on energy conservation, click here.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

In Germany, primary responsibility for the forestry sector lies with the Federal States (Laender). At the federal level, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry (BML) is responsible for co-ordination. The Ministry is a member of the National Sustainable Development Coordination Mechanism. It co-ordinates and provides a framework, mainly in the field of forest legislation and promotion. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

A proven, wide and diverse body of legislation exists in this area. It has gradually developed over the last decades taking into account the experience of long-standing history of German forestry. The shared responsibilities in matters of forest conservation and forest management between the federal and regional level, as regulated by the German constitution, provide for the necessary adaptation to local circumstances and lead to a certain diversification.

Germany requires all forest owners under the Federal Forest Act (1975) to conserve forests because of their multifunctional importance, to expand them if required and to ensure their proper management on a sustainable basis. This principle of sustainability is accepted by all forest owners and by the public. Only in exceptional cases (e.g. forest reserves) is compensation granted to forest owners for the provision of non-market environmental benefits.

At present, two certification initiatives stand out from the others: the Forest Stewardship Council and the Pan-European Forest Certificate (PEFC). Both labels are being introduced onto the market. As the standards in both cases exceed the legal requirements (Federal Forest Act, forest laws of the Laender), they help to improve forest management.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In Germany, certification has become an important forest and environment policy issue. But its importance depends on whether the wood is tropical wood or domestic wood.

In the case of tropical forests, the focus of concern is forest conservation by responsible utilisation of wood. Certification is designed to keep access for tropical wood from sustainable management open to our market. As a supplier of tropical wood, the tropical forest has an important economic function which can protect it from alternative interferences such as land reclamation by shifting cultivation. The market for tropical wood now offers several systems allowing such proof. The system that is most well known worldwide is the initiative of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). In particular in building materials stores, products with an FSC label are increasingly offered for sale.

Recent policies and programs at federal level are, among others:

A National Forest Report – including measures to be taken - was elaborated in April 1994 and a Forest Policy Concept in 1996. For a long time now, planning in forestry has been part of an integrated land use planning process.

Due to the federal structure in Germany, strategies and concepts to support sustainable forest management were developed and applied at both national and regional level. These strategies are updated taking into account the recently developed nfp concept and the IPF Proposals for Action.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The tasks of the regional forest authorities include regional legislation and supervision of implementation, participation in planning procedures, giving advice, care and assistance for privately-owned forests, and managing state-owned forests.

Programmes and Projects 

The national forest programme concept calls for integrated approaches and accordingly the national forest programme which currently is being elaborated in Germany involves participants from outside the forest sector. The mechanisms applied at national and regional levels guarantee close co-operation between ministries and services of different sectors as well. This cross-sectoral approach has proven to be a suitable instrument for solving upcoming problems in a holistic way.

It is the task of the business community concerned to point out the benefits of their products. For this purpose they normally use suitable marketing organisations.

There are a variety of forest-related programmes in specific areas such as reduction of airborne pollution, conservation of genetic resources or promotion of renewable resources.

In 1983, the Federal Government initiated a "Save the Forest" campaign to combat new types of forest damage. It involved the reduction of harmful emissions. Through these measures, the emissions of several pollutants have been noticeably reduced. The National Programme on the Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources is currently being revised. The focal point of the programme is in-situ conservation through natural regeneration and protection of important resources. It is complemented by ex-situ measures such as conservation plantations and germ plasma banks. Since 1998 Germany has been a member of the European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN) and is actively working in all five species-related networks, which are developing recommendations for forestry.


The forest area in Germany stretches over 10.7 million hectares or around 30% of the national territory. Its management in accordance with the principle of sustainability has a long tradition.

There is no deforestation in Germany. Forestry has low priority in terms of GNP, but high priority in terms of improving rural living conditions and safeguarding the multiple functions of forests in the entire area under managed forest.

In the case of forests in Germany, sustainability began some time ago to include not only sustainable timber production but also the securing in a sustainable and optimal manner of the many other services rendered by forests for the benefit of present and future generations. The acceptance of forest management by society is gaining momentum.

Close to nature forest management is increasingly practiced in regional forest administrations. This form of forest management aims to create a forest close to natural conditions and achieve ecological and economic stability in the long term. It contributes to securing and maintaining biodiversity. The sustainable forest management of the whole forest area in Germany is completed by special protected forest areas which fulfill specific objectives.

The Government supports further development of the legal framework in this area taking the ecological advantages of wood as a renewable raw material and energy source into account.

The assessment of the IPF Proposals for Action started in Germany in the state of Baden-Wüttemberg (test phase in 1998; as part of the Six-Country Initiative). At present, a national forest programme (nfp) is being elaborated in close co-operation with the Laender (federal states), aiming at the assessment of the IPF Proposals for Action for the whole country in a participatory way in order to identify needs for country-specific action. The results of this nfp process are expected in autumn 2000.


Forestry needs assistance if it is to master upcoming structural changes. In this context and with the support of the European Union, the Federal Government and the Laender use their rural development policy to assist forestry in order to contribute to the maintenance and development of the economic, ecological and social functions of forests in rural areas, taking into account that any support for forestry should avoid distorting competition and should have a neutral impact on the market.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.


A Federal Forest Inventory was drawn up in 1987. Since it covers only the former West Germany, both regional and federal governments are currently planning a second Federal Forest Inventory to cover the whole country for 2002.

The Federal Government and the Laender report regularly on the state of their forests and their sustainable management. Information can be accessed via the internet e.g. from the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry ( and the German Centre for Documentation and Information in Agriculture (

Based on the UNCED decisions, the European countries agreed on an up-to-date international definition of sustainability in forestry at the 1993 Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe in Helsinki. Since then, 6 criteria and 20 indicators have been agreed on and the signatory states have committed themselves to apply them to their forest policy.

Germany has been an active partner in this pan-European process of assessing the above criteria at national level and reported on the results. Moreover, Germany takes account - as far as possible - of the criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in national survey and monitoring programmes.

The ecological benefits of timber use in particular can noticeably be proved and documented. This aspect is also gaining increasing public awareness. The Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry has established a specific focus of work at the Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products in Hamburg dealing with questions of natural resource accounting systems in the fields of forestry and forest and paper industries. No matter how much the substitution of products with a less favorable profile is desirable for ecological reasons, limits are set by the law on competition. Added to this is the fact that natural resource accounting systems which in individual cases could verify the excellence of a product or process are costly. Moreover, they are only valid for the accounting framework which has been chosen and can, therefore, not be generalized.

Research and Technologies 

In order to improve the general economic conditions for wood and wood products, the Government provides funding for research and development for new environmentally-compatible wood processing techniques, ecological audits, etc. and supports standardisation at national and international levels.

The utilisation of residual wood and recovered wood plays an important role in German forest and paper industries. In particleboard production, for example, the share of residual and recovered wood has for years exceeded that of raw wood. The tendency is further increasing. Recycled paper is the most important material used by the paper industry. At 61%, the rate of the use of recycled paper in 1998 reached a new peak level.

In view of the increasing importance of secondary raw materials, the classification of the basic material is of great importance. What is important is to keep harmful substances away from recycling. Converted assortments in energetic use for example also play an important role in forest and paper industries. As residual wood is available in different stages of conversion, it is difficult to record the volume in detail.


No information is available.


Germany has signed the International Tropical Timber Agreement. It supports the introduction of a carbon dioxide (CO2)/energy tax at the European level. The Government is also in favor of world-wide harmonised standards for a sustainable form of forest management and supports initiatives which strive for internationally recognised certificates of origin for wood from sustainable production. This would help remove competition distortions in the international timber market.

Within its international development co-operation, including support to multilateral programmes, the Federal Government encourages and supports partner countries to develop and implement strategies and programmes that make an effective contribution to halting the destruction of forests and make best use of national forest resources for sustainable development. Bilateral development co-operation in this field focuses on comprehensive and integrated approaches (national forest programmes) to combat deforestation and promote sound forest sector development, with due attention to external causes and linkages of the deforestation problem, necessary reforms of sector policy, legal and institutional frameworks, and effective application of relevant planning instruments such as environmental impact assessments (EIA).

Within its bilateral development co-operation Germany has for the last 10 years been committing between DM 250 and 300 million annually for forest-related programmes and projects. About DM 500 million were contributed to the Pilot Programme to Conserve the Brazilian Rain Forest (PPG7), carried out by Brazil with the support of the World Bank, the European Union and other G7 countries. Germany is also a major contributor to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the European Development Fund.

As future challenges in the further development of sustainable forest management cannot be solved at national level alone, Germany has been collaborating intensively with the international forest community in the IPF and the IFF and is working – in line with the European Union – towards an international agreement on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.

Germany participated actively in the IPF process in order to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forest and international co-operation in this field.

In 1998, Germany, together with Finland, Honduras, Indonesia, Uganda and the United Kingdom, undertook the government-led Six-Country Initiative "Putting the IPF Proposals for Action into Practice at the National Level". The objectives of this initiative of countries from the North and the South were to enhance implementation of the IPF Proposals for Action at national level and to develop guidance for consideration by the IFF partner countries.

The Six-Country Initiative culminated in an International Expert Consultation (Baden-Baden/Germany, 29 June - 3 July 1998) and led to the elaboration of a practitioner's guide for the implementation of the IPF Proposals for Action. A revised edition of this guide became available at the 3rd session of the IFF in May 1999.

Germany uses the national forest programme concept and the findings of the Six-Country Initiative for reviewing and, as appropriate, re-aligning German co-operation programmes in selected partner countries.

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This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 2000.

Clickhere for the UN ECE Timber Data Base.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety deals with basic questions of water resources management as well as with transboundary cooperation in the field of water resources management as a part of environmental policy.

The most important partners of the Federal Minister for the Environment with partly independent tasks in water resources management are:

The Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry, which deals with and promotes water resources management projects in the rural sector including measures for stream flow regulation and flood protection, and, in addition, coastal protection at the North Sea and the Baltic. It is also responsible for the law governing the water and soil boards and for fertilizer and plant protection legislation;
The Federal Ministry of Health, which is responsible for questions of drinking water supply, problems of drinking water quality as part of health protection being of first priority, and - together with the Federal Ministry for the Environment - for matters relating to the quality of bathing waters;
The Federal Ministry of Transport, which is responsible for the administration of federal waterways, all matters relating to navigation on maritime and inland waterways and is, together with the coastal regions, competent for combating pollution of coastal waters with oil and other contaminants. It is in charge of the waterways and navigation administration;
The Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology, which coordinates research promotion of the Federal Government and controls basic research, application-oriented research, technological development and innovation also in the field of water research and water technology; and
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation, which is responsible for basic problems and for the coordination of all bilateral and multilateral German development policies.

In executing its tasks in the field of water resources management, the Federal Ministry for the Environment is assisted by other Federal authorities and research institutions, including the Federal Environmental Agency in Berlin, the Federal Office for Nature Conservation in Bonn and the Federal Office for Radiation Protection in Salzgitter, all of which report to the Federal Ministry for the Environment. In addition, the Federal Institute for Hydrology at Koblenz, the Federal Institute for Navigation and Hydrography at Hamburg, the Federal Institute for Waterway Engineering at Karlsruhe and the German Meteorological Service at Offenbach report to the Federal Ministry of Transport. The Institute for Water, Soil and Air Hygiene of the Federal Health Office at Berlin, which is under the technical supervision of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, reports to the Federal Ministry of Health. The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources at Hanover reports to the Federal Ministry of Economics. The Federal Biological Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA) and the Federal Agricultural Research Center (FAL) report to the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry.

Furthermore the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA), Federal Statistical Office, Federal Office for Nature Conservation, German Association of Gas and Water Experts (DVGW), German Association for Water Resources and Land Improvement (DVWK) and the Joint Water Commission of the Federal States (LAWA) deal with water affairs.

Coordination takes place at Federal, state and district levels. Supreme authority lies with a Ministry with a water resources department and within the ministries for the environment. Mandates and functions include water management control and superior administrative procedures. Intermediate-level authority lies with the District government, offices of the presidents of the governments, and Federal State authorities. Mandates and functions include regional water resource management planning, important procedures under the water acts, administrative procedures. Furthermore, for the purpose of coordinating common problems and handling legislative instruments under the water acts, the supreme Federal State authorities working in the field of water resource management have pooled together to form the Joint Water Commission of the Federal States (LAWA).

Lower water authority lies with districts or large towns as well as technical authorities (e.g. water resource authorities). Mandates and functions include procedures under the water acts as well as technical advice, monitoring of waters and wastewater discharges.

At the river basin level, the Länder have working groups.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

It is responsible, inter alia, for the Federal Water Act, the Wastewater Charges Act, the Washing and Cleansing Agents Act and the Federal Nature Conservation Act. It is responsible under national law for provisions of the European Union concerning water protection, as well as for the protection of the marine environment and for the river basin commissions of waters crossing national borders. As regards bills on environmental protection, just as in the case of all bills of the Federal Government, there must be agreement between the different Federal ministries. Environmental projects, comments, and programmatic considerations are discussed with the Federal departments concerned.

There are national as well as European (EC) regulations affecting water resource management issues. Based upon the national decision by the Federal Constitutional Court in 1962, freshwater related issues are to be decided, in principle, by State Offices or Institutions (Länder). However, the principal national framework is given by the Federal Water Act (Wasserhaushaltsgesetz, last update: November 11, 1996). The latest European (EC) Framework Directive on Water Policy is expected to be adopted by the EU Council in the near future. For water resource protection the following instruments are used: effluent disposal plans, effluent load plans, surface water and groundwater protection regulations, and designation of flood-prone areas.

Comprehensive Regulations are reflected in both the Federal Water Act and in Länder legislation:

The Act on the Regulation of Matters Relating to Water of 1957 (Federal Water Act, WHG), last amended in 1996, as a framework law of the Federal Government, lays down basic provisions relating to water resource management measures (management of water quantity and quality). It stipulates that waters as an element of the natural balance are to be managed in such a way that they serve the public interest and that, in harmony with this, they are also to the benefit of individuals, and that every avoidable impairment is prevented (principle of precaution).

Waters, including groundwater and coastal waters, are fully subject to government control. All uses of water (e.g. discharges of substances or abstraction of water) are, in principle, subject to official authorization. Authorization is, in principle, granted at the discretion of the competent water boards (management discretion). In certain cases, that discretionary power is restricted in the interests of water protection. For instance, a permit for wastewater discharge may not be granted unless such discharge satisfies the minimum requirements (best available technology), which are to be met everywhere in Germany irrespective of the quality of the waters (uniform emission standards differentiated according to sectors of industry). The minimum requirements are laid down in the Wastewater Ordinance of 1997.

Special provisions are laid down in the Federal Water Act for pipeline systems transporting substances hazardous to water and facilities for handling substances hazardous to water. Included are also  provisions on the licensing, construction and operation of wastewater treatment plants and on water conservation officers, the development of waters and the designation of flood areas.

As a further important instrument for wastewater management, the Federal Water Act provides for the possibility of designating, in the interests of present and future water supply, water protection areas in which certain actions can be restricted or prohibited in the public interest.

The Federal Water Act, moreover, provides for a number of coordinated planning instruments, e.g., wastewater disposal plans, water pollution control regulations, management plans as well as water resource master plans.

Anyone who pollutes a body of water without authority is liable to punishment under the Criminal Code (StGB). Obligations for compensation, by contrast, are dealt with in the Federal Water Act.

The Wastewater Charges Act of 1976 (last amended in 1990) provides that a charge shall be payable when wastewater is discharged directly into a water body. The charge is the first ecotax levied at the federal level as a steering instrument. It ensures that the polluter-pays principle is applied in practice. The charge is determined according to the quantity and the harmfulness of specified constituents discharged into the water. The wastewater charges are payable to the Federal States (Länder). They are earmarked for measures preventing water pollution.

In addition, most of the Länder have regulations on the payment of a water abstraction charge of up to 0.6 DM/m3. The revenue is used to support special environmental measures like the economized use of water, to subsidize innovative techniques or to protect catchment areas, e.g. by payments to farmers for changing land use patterns. The municipal enterprises also have to pay this tax.

The Washing and Cleansing Agents Act of 1975 (last amended in 1986) postulates environmental compatibility of washing agents and detergents. The use of substances deleterious to water can be prohibited or restricted. Under this law the producers of washing and cleansing agents are obliged to notify the Federal Environmental Agency of the formulas of their products.

The decisive requirements for drinking water quality are laid down in Article 11 of the Federal Epidemics Act. It provides that the quality of drinking water as well as of water for plants in which foodstuffs are produced and treated or which put foodstuffs into circulation be such that any damage to human health by, in particular, pathogens as a result of its consumption or use need not be feared.

For the purpose of further defining these criteria, the Federal Epidemics Act empowers the Federal Government to issue, with the consent of the Bundesrat, an ordinance on drinking water. The Federal Government has made use of the power granted.

Special requirements for the quality of drinking water and of water for plants of the foodstuffs sector as well as for drinking water conditioning are laid down in the Drinking Water Ordinance, which in addition to the Federal Epidemics Act is also based on the Foodstuffs and Commodities Act. It contains provisions on drinking water quality, the obligations of the operator of a water supply facility and the monitoring of operators by the health authorities with respect to hygiene.

The Ordinance further contains limit values for substances detrimental to health (e.g. heavy metals, nitrates, organic compounds) and disease germs. The limit values for these substances correspond to the EC Directive on the quality of water for human use and are so fixed that no harmful effects are to be expected even in the case of lifelong consumption.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Pricing Policy

Pricing policy is established by the German Länder. As determined by the Basic Law, in the field of water policy the Federal Government only has the right to enact general provisions (framework competence). The Länder have their own water laws and are responsible for enforcement. The general principle of German water policy is to manage water in such a manner that the common good is served and that every avoidable harmful impact is prevented ( 1a of the Federal Water Act).

Related to drinking water there is common agreement about the principles to be applied to find the right price: (1) All costs have to be recovered by the price for drinking water (full cost recovery); (2) Splitting the payments of the consumer groups related to the costs they cause; (3) Consideration of the structure of the costs by laying down the connection (basic) price and the price for water used (DM/m3); (4) Attaining a proper interest from equity and loan capital; and (5) Consideration of the principle of preserving the substance.

The Federal Government is of the opinion that competition can play an important role in decreasing costs for the consumers. It supports activities of the private sector to carry out the public task of safeguarding drinking water supply. An example is the privatization of drinking water supply and wastewater treatment of the town Rostock by EURAWASSER. See also under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

See under Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies.

Programmes and Projects 

See under Information.


Water demand for public supply decreased by 8.3 percent between 1991 and 1995. There is no real environmental need to increase the percentage of cost recovery, e.g. for further decrease of water demand.

The German public water supply is high-quality and thoroughly monitored. In the new German States, water consumption has declined sharply owing to the fall in economic activity and a significant increase in water prices, among other factors. The installation of water meters in households has resulted in more conscientious use of water. Efficient utilization of irrigation water is achieved by means of water recycling systems, which were originally developed for horticultural operations.

Almost all citizens have a connection to public drinking water supply. Between 1991/95 there was a decrease of 18% in the water demand of the mining and manufacture trade and a decrease of 3.5% in the water demand of thermal power stations. As a result there are only local requirements for an augmentation.

One hundred percent of urban sewerage is treated. Normally, no urban sewerage is discharged untreated with the exception of a minor percentage during stormwater releases.

The statistics for both treating and recycling wastewater as given as follows:

a. Treating wastewater:
==> in 1991: more than 7.5 x 109 m3
==> in 1995: more than 8.1 x 109 m3
b. Recycling wastewater:
==> in 1995: 7.74 x 108 m3


One of the major constraints with respect to freshwater is the pollution of groundwater caused by nitrates of agricultural sources. To combat this pollution from diffuse sources the Fertilizer Ordinance entered into force on 7 February 1996.

Technologies are well developed but further improvement of purification technologies is needed to optimize treatment for wastewater containing hazardous substances. It is also necessary to further reduce the input of nutrients into watercourses. In order to protect resources for drinking water, only simple physical treatment is necessary to comply with the Drinking Water Ordinance, and disinfection when surface water is used. Approximately twenty-four percent of the delivered drinking water is not treated, but the main reason for the treatment of drinking water is to eliminate substances of natural origin like iron or magnesia.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Consumers must be informed about the most important constituents and the proper doses on the packaging. In 1993 the ecolabel award panel "Jury Umweltzeichen" awarded the Blue Angel to a component-system detergent for the first time, based on stringent criteria with respect to complete degradability as well as toxicity to fish, in order to effectively support consumers in environmentally sound housekeeping practices.


Information on water level and discharge data as well as physiographic data such as DEM etc., is available electronically. Under a Federal Research Project on the "Development of a Standard System for Measuring the Composition of Groundwater" an interstate measurement network is to be established for the new German Federal States. Uniform and/or comparable sampling and analytical methods have been devised and the laboratory equipment in the new German Federal States has been upgraded.

Research and Technologies   

No information available.


Related to drinking water the connection rate is near 100 %. In 1995 the investments for maintaining the equipment amounted to approx. DM 4,450 million, and the trend is increasing. With regard to external assistance, 7.3 % of total sectoral bilateral ODA (excluding Emergency Assistance and Commodity Aid) or 5.5 % of total bilateral ODA of 1996 is used for water and sanitation (excluding any other water-related resource management such as irrigation).

To ensure that the drinking water supplies in the new Federal States will also comply with European drinking water guidelines, some DM 21,7 billion will be needed to modernize the drinking water supply systems in the new States. The cost for eliminating pesticide pollution from potable water supplies alone has already reached DM 121 million. For the new States, the list of required modernizing and cleanup measures to safest pH values will incur costs of DM 1,17 billion. These costs are not exclusively for correcting the pH values; various other problem areas have been identified. According to a recently finalized study, investments for the improvement and modernization of drinking water plants and networks of some DM 850 million per year were made between 1992 and 1995, of which DM 450 million were invested in rural municipalities and DM 400 million in towns. Investments of the same amount are to be expected at least up to the year 2005.

During the International Drinking Water Decade (1981-1990), Germany more than doubled its financial contribution to water and sanitary engineering projects in the field of development cooperation. Germany takes first place among donor countries in this sector, sponsoring over 10% of such projects world-wide within the scope of bilateral development cooperation.


In the opinion of the German Government, water resource management projects are test cases for the development of self-sustaining administrative, economic, social, and participatory structures in developing countries. To increase the effectiveness of these projects, special attention is focused on ensuring that the target groups, especially women, are involved on the basis of co-responsibility. Examples of project-oriented implementation of Agenda 21 are:

People's Republic of China: wastewater disposal in Yen-t'ai: this project is aimed at reducing wastewater-induced pollution of water bodies and associated health risks for the population of this port city. By pre-treating industrial effluents, one of the principal goals is to reduce the release of heavy metals, phenols, and hydrocarbons;
Tunisia: wastewater disposal in the valley of Wadi Majardah: the project's goal is proper treatment and disposal of the sewage produced by six cities;
Brazil: water monitoring in Tiete: the Tiete River traverses the urban zone of Sao Paulo, absorbing in the process municipal sewage and industrial effluents from some 18 million people and 42,000 commercial operations. With the project's assistance, the National Environmental Agency will be able to implement a comprehensive cleanup programme for the river and ensure monitoring of its water quality. The project includes supply of measurement stations and training of technicians in systems operation.

Large scale integrated management of international water bodies is being performed in Germany within the context of international commissions. The work of the International Commission for the Protection of the River Rhine against Pollution to achieve a further reduction in pollutant discharges and improve the ecological structures of the Rhine is aimed at creating the ecological conditions needed for a return of salmon (the "Salmon 2000" Programme). After implementing the emergency programme 1992 - 1995, the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe drew up the long-term Action Programme for the River Elbe, which provides for a comprehensive cleanup of the river by the year 2010. The Programme was given additional political weight by a joint declaration adopted at a Ministerial Conference in December 1995. With the signature of the Treaty on the International Commission for the Protection of the Oder against Pollution on 11 April 1996, the Oder Commission was established. One of its priority tasks will be to draw up an Action Programme for the reduction of pollution. Under the Treaty on the International Commission for the Protection of the River Danube, signed on 29 June 1994, a catalogue of measures for the reduction of pollution is being completed based on the model of other river protection commissions.

In addition to the International Commission for the Protection of the River Rhine Against Pollution (IKSR), Germany also participates in the following agreements concerning the use of international watercourses, lakes or groundwater, including the following:

        International River Commissions:

        Bilateral and multilateral agreements:         International Conventions

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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 Germany's Waste Water Charges Act, click here.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies     

Implementation of land management is mainly under the authority of the Länder governments and local authorities or autonomous bodies, for example universities. Activities at the National level are limited to the setting of a normative and legal framework. In addition, the Federal Government is also involved in planning and finance within the framework of the Joint Task of Improving Agricultural Structures and Coastal Protection. Policies have been developed in cooperation with Länder governments. The Federal Ministry for Regional Planning, Building and Urban Planning is responsible for legislation and guidelines. It is a member of the National Coordination Mechanism for Sustainable Development.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

German policy-makers have traditionally had at their disposal a sophisticated range of instruments for the planning of land resources and the development of sustainable, environmentally-friendly land and settlement structures. The task of urban and regional planning is to weigh up in a just and reasonable manner the natural functions of land and the manifold claims on the use of limited space.

The Federal Regional Planning Act (Bundesraumordnungsgesetz), the Land Consolidation Act (Flurbereinigungsgesetz), the Federal Nature Conservation Act (Bundesnaturschutzgesetz, 21 September 1998) and the various corresponding state laws form the legal basis for these goals. The laws establish landscape planning as a fundamental planning instrument for nature protection and landscape management, in which landscape planning translates the requirements and measures into concrete terms.

The Federal Regional Planning Act (Bundesraumordnungsgesetz, 1 January1999) sets out principles that explicitly refer to environmental protection. These are:

Other important acts are: the Federal Building Code (Baugesetzbuch, 1 January 1999) and the Federal Nature Conservation Act. The Federal Mining Act (Bundesberggesetz) was revised in 1990 and environmental aspects were incorporated. In 1998/1999 the Federal Soil Protection Act (Bundesbodenschutzgesetz, 13 March 1998) and the Land Utilisation Ordinance (Bodenschutzverordnung, 12 July 1999) were finally decided.

Thus AEP is a planning basis for the consideration of agricultural and forestry concerns as well as for the co-ordination of projects aiming to maintain the functioning of rural areas and their villages. In addition to this, AEP can identify requirements and measures with regional effects that can be secured by applying the goals or principles of regional planning. This is why AEP is to be used at an early point in time in order to highlight the aspects which are important for the future of the area concerned, to identify key projects and to stop things from going off course.

The Federal Land Consolidation Act has many purposes. Land consolidation areas are to be reshaped with due regard for the respective structure of the landscape to serve the interests of the parties concerned as weighed against each other, to further the general use and development of the land and to benefit the general public. The area in question is to be rearranged, and scattered or uneconomically shaped parcels consolidated to meet modern managerial requirements and reshaped to obtain units of a more favorable location, shape and size; paths, roads, water bodies and other common facilities are to be provided, soil-conserving, soil-improving and landscaping measures are to be implemented as well as any other measures improving the basic conditions of the farming enterprises, reducing the amount of work and facilitating farm management. Village renewal measures may be taken; building plans and similar plans shall not prevent the built-up area of a village from being included in a Land Consolidation Plan. The legal situation is to be clarified.

In carrying out the measures, the consolidation authority shall safeguard public interests and especially take into account the requirements of physical planning on a federal Land level, of a controlled urban development, of the protections of the environment, of the conservation of nature and of landscape conservation.

Procedures pursuant to the Land Consolidation Act increasingly embrace the cause of integrated development of rural areas. In addition to production and working conditions in agriculture and forestry this increasingly involves the resolution of land use conflicts, the cross-community development of villages, the implementation of Agenda 21 and an integration of large-scale infrastructure projects into the cause-effect fabric of rural areas which is compatible with ownership and social and environmental concerns.

The Federal Nature Conservation Act provides for various categories of protected areas, which are designated by the Laender under their own jurisdiction. More than 5000 Nature Conservation Reserves comprise 1.9 per cent and around 6000 Landscape Conservation Areas approx. 25 per cent of the total federal territory. Large nature conservation reserves can be designated as Nationals Parks, in which interference from human economic activity is subject to tight restrictions. In Germany there are now 13 National Parks.

With the latest amendment to the Federal Nature Conservation Act "Biosphere Reserves" were introduced as a new protection category. They are areas in which nature conservation concerns and user interests are to be reconciled in such a way as to set an example for others.

Where impairment of the natural balance due to interventions in nature and landscape, e.g. urban development and transport projects, cannot be completely avoided, the Federal Nature Conservation Act demands that compensatory measures be implemented within an appropriate period. The main aim is to avoid further degradation and fragmentation of biotopes.

The process of nomination of protected areas under the European Union Flora Fauna Habitat (FFH) directive is not yet completed.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Rural regions and communities which – on the basis of this integrated development approach  (See under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations) – make use of rural development instruments have an edge in development and thus also an economic edge over other communities, as comparative surveys show. Therefore, rural development instruments are to be used in connection with other possible solutions as a service for the development of rural areas and their villages, in order to be more successful in competing for investment, new businesses and jobs.

A variety of planning procedures at different levels and carried out by different sectors are concerned with rural areas. Due to their integrated and cross-community approach, rural development instruments are particularly suited for use in a co-operative process with authorities, other institutions and citizens aiming to harmonise planning procedures and, above all, to implement them in such a way as to achieve consensus. Rural development instruments can best be used in the following situations:

Rural development instruments shall be applied when large-scale projects are implemented, the aim being to integrate these infrastructure measures into the cause-effect fabric of rural areas which is compatible with ownership, social and environmental concerns. Thus negative effects of large transport projects on the areas concerned can be reduced and the potential for positive impetus can be best fulfilled.

With the help of rural development instruments, competing sectoral plans, for instance by the transport, water management, agriculture and forestry sectors or by nature protection authorities, can be pooled in a combined planning authority and measures can be implemented in such a way as to achieve consensus.

Rural development must be offered in communities as an aid when establishing and implementing development planning. Municipal projects such as the drawing up of a "local Agenda 21", the improvement of the infrastructure or the designation of building sites can be effectively accompanied by land management.

From the range of the different types of procedures, those best suited to achieving the goals of rural development as efficiently, speedily and cost-effectively as possible must be chosen.

With the help of the flexible procedures laid down in the Land Consolidation Act, which is the legal basis for effectively implementing integrated rural development, competing sectoral plans can be pooled in a combined planning authority and measures can be implemented in such a way as to achieve consensus. Land management is one of the main tasks in fulfilling the comprehensive mandate for regulating land use.

As each sector is inextricably linked with and influenced by the other, the integrated development of rural areas with the local agricultural and forestry sectors is necessary. This rural development strategy secures the amenity of rural areas as autonomous places for living and economic activity and as natural, cultural and recreational areas. Therefore it must capitalise on the close interconnection between towns and the countryside, which is one of the assets of Germany as an industrial location.

Integrated sustainable rural development means:

Favourable development conditions for the multifaceted rural areas can only be achieved if individual projects are pooled to form a development approach combining all disciplines. This is why structural policy measures in the field of agriculture must, for instance, be closely linked to regional industrial and transport policies and to environmental and employment policies to form a regional strategic concept. It is only with the help of such an independent, integrated and sound policy that success in rural development can be achieved.

Preparatory structural development planning in agriculture is a particularly suitable introduction into regional and community activities, as it identifies the interconnection between plans and measures. In addition to this, these plans can also be drawn up in connection with regional development schemes, regional conferences and town networks. If they are handled freely and flexibly synergy effects can be used, frictional losses can be avoided and thus investment can be made at the right time and in the right place.

During the German presidency of the EU Council, the regional planning ministers of the European Union adopted a trend-setting paper entitled "Principles for a European Spatial Development Policy" with sustainable development as its principal strategy.

Agricultural policy involves a number of measures for the benefit of individual farms and farming communities that, taken together, amount to a major effort to strengthen the development of rural areas, to maintain the historical landscape and to foster structural change in agriculture. Efficient farming cannot on its own guarantee the functioning of rural areas. It is equally important to provide an efficient infrastructure and to create the prerequisites for more employment opportunities outside farming, e.g. in the field of nature conservation and tourism. This demands the close coordination of regional economic, transport, planning, infrastructural and agricultural policies.

Policy is now more than ever concerned with the major problem regions, i.e. those marginalised rural areas characterised by weak structures and low incomes. It is there that agriculture still constitutes a crucial economic factor, helping people living in these regions to maintain their local and regional economy and community.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

German law on regional planning and land and urban development provides for extensive participation of people and institutions concerned (publication of drafts, hearings, right to formally raise objections).

The Federal Land Consolidation Act, for example, includes instructions for the parties concerned as well as consultation and information bodies representing public interests. Before a decision on land consolidation can take effect, the envisaged land consolidation procedure and the prospective cost incurred are to be explained exhaustively and in an appropriate manner to the land owners who are likely to be affected.

Promoting development opportunities for rural areas is of high priority. In order to achieve an effective implementation of integrated development schemes, the combined efforts of all relevant stakeholders based on partnership and dialogue are necessary. Only through pooling financial and human resources, through co-ordinating different plans, launching and taking up initiatives of communities and citizens and through acting rapidly, efficiently and to the benefit of the citizens will rural development advance in the future.

Planning purely by professionals is to be replaced by open planning methods which actively involve citizens. The knowledge, experience and ideas of citizens with regard to the development of their immediate home environment must be utilised. Working groups, village and land workshops and discussions on models for regional and village development are designed to enable citizens to draw up development goals jointly with the planning authorities. Intelligible "top-down" decision-making processes lead to a high degree of acceptance and strengthen accountability. Along the lines of "help for self-help", this can mobilise regional resources and set off diverse initiatives.

A moderator has to be appointed to control the land development process. It is his/her task to moderate the concerns of all stakeholders and to facilitate a planning result which can achieve consensus, is geared towards implementation and has financial backing. The decision on who will assume the function of moderator during which period must be taken on the basis of the given conditions. By mutual agreement, this function can be assumed by politicians, representatives of the Laender (federal states), regional or municipal administrations.

The views of the Farmers' Association, the responsible physical planning authority of the Land, the communities and counties (Gemeinden und Gemeindeverb?de) as well as any other organisations and authorities responsible for agriculture are to be heard.

Partly private associations have the right to institute legal proceedings against decisions of public authorities in particular in specific environmental matters.

 Solutions which actively include all rural area stakeholders, closely involve citizens and are achieved by consensus are always preferable. Non-partisan behaviour and empathy are amongst the principles of co-operation with land owners, tenants and lessors, communities and other planning authorities, public institutions or associations. Rural development procedures offer a variety of compensatory options, which experience has shown succeed in achieving a high approval rating. Decision-making and enforcement powers, which are stipulated in the Land Consolidation Act for the final resolution of conflicts, are available when individual interests threaten to harm the community.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.


It is becoming increasingly clear that those regions which develop self-sustaining economic and financial cycles can best face up to transformed framework conditions. They are particularly important for agriculture and forestry, as they play a vital role in coping with changing agricultural structures.

The preservation and improvement of the site qualities of rural regions and their villages as autonomous places for living and economic activity must be at the heart of the support for these regions and their villages. As a prerequisite, communities which were previously competing with each other must identify areas of conflict, jointly plan possible solutions, co-ordinate their activities and implement cross-community measures. This applies to the jobs offered by trade, craft, industry and tourism as well as to the provision to investors of plots stretching over more than one municipality, and the joint utilisation of promotion programmes. It also applies to social institutions, cultural activities and to joint projects for the promotion of landscape and environmental quality. The speedy and efficient implementation of projects is part of a successful rural development strategy.

In order to improve site qualities and living conditions in rural areas the implementation of the following goals is a priority:

The agricultural and forestry sector makes one essential contribution to the economic performance of areas shaped by rural activity. Even in highly industrialised societies with small farm populations, agriculture remains an important force in sustaining the operation and development of the whole economy.

The concerns of area-related nature and landscape conservation are largely taken into account at the level of the Laender and local authorities. They are expressed in the instruments of spatial planning in the widest sense and landscape planning in particular. It is a question of reconciling the interests of competing uses arising from urban development, transport development, and agricultural and forestry, on the one hand, and those of nature conservation, on the other, and designating certain areas primarily for nature conservation.

Rural development committed to future generations must be geared to the implementation of measures aimed at protecting natural life-support systems and resources. Land consolidation, land organisation in the new Laender and village renewal are all highly suitable instruments for implementing the principle of sustainability as stipulated in Agenda 21. They give equal consideration to economic, ecological, social and cultural aspects. Part of their task of promoting regional culture is to preserve the functioning of the natural balance and to restore semi-natural habitats and landscape structures. In the interest of a lasting stabilisation of ecosystems we must make sure that projects in the fields of environmental protection, nature conservation and landscape management are carried out area-wide, taking into account the interests of owners and users and the need to secure their existence on a permanent basis. In the interests of sustainable protection of natural life-support systems, instruments must primarily be used in order to:

A major task of nature conservation is to safeguard existing natural and near-natural areas and protection-status biotopes, to look after them by taking appropriate measures and to link them together to form a network. Rural development committed to future generations must be geared to the implementation of measures aimed at protecting natural life-support systems and resources. Land consolidation, land organisation in the new Laender and village renewal are all highly suitable instruments for implementing the principle of sustainability as stipulated in Agenda 21. They give equal consideration to economic, ecological, social and cultural aspects. Part of their task of promoting regional culture is to preserve the functioning of the natural balance and to restore semi-natural habitats and landscape structures. In the interest of a lasting stabilisation of ecosystems we must make sure that projects in the fields of environmental protection, nature conservation and landscape management are carried out area-wide, taking into account the interests of owners and users and the need to secure their existence on a permanent basis. In the interests of sustainable protection of natural life-support systems, instruments must primarily be used in order to:

A major task of nature conservation is to safeguard existing natural and near-natural areas and protection-status biotopes, to look after them by taking appropriate measures and to link them together to form a network.


The high density of residential and industrial settlement in Germany places intensive demands on the soil. The development of the land use structure in the Federal Republic of Germany is characterised by a constant increase in the land used for settlements and transport networks. Although the land used for infrastructure purposes accounts for only 11.2% of the total area of the Federal Republic, locally the figure may reach 70% or even more. There is still a growing demand on land for various uses, especially in areas that are already densely settled.

The daily consumption of free land is currently over 70 ha. Core cities in conurbations often have residential land use of over 50%. The reason is the constant suburbanisation of the population and work places, which takes up free land. Overall, further settlement pressure is to be expected in many conurbations. This leads to major conflicts between the conservation of land resources on the one hand and the demands of use on the other (examples: land sealing, loss of ecological free land functions, fragmentation and indiscriminate settling of landscapes, impairment of site qualities by the consequences of use).

The overall societal framework conditions for rural areas are changing rapidly at national and international levels. Among the most significant developments are the reunification of Germany, the EU enlargement to include Eastern European countries, the globalisation of world markets, the continuing development of the EU's structural policy, a continuing change in agricultural structures as well as the establishment of the sustainability principle for regional development. Against this backdrop, rural development must face up to great challenges.

These challenges include:

Buttressing the economic strength of rural areas and securing and creating jobs are the decisive factors for the development of rural areas. This requires:

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.


Information on integrated land management and sustainable use of land are available to potential users under

Land resource information systems are traditionally well developed. It is planned to establish soil information systems.

Scientific understanding of land-resource systems is mainly covered by universities and research institutions. They also provide training in the integrated approach and have implemented pilot projects. Scientific guidance for land capability assessments is lacking.

A procedure is in place for the planning of dumping grounds which provides for publication of plans, comments from concerned agencies, hearings, public discussion.

Research and Technologies  

Farm production is supposed to meet the expectations and concerns of consumers regarding the quality and safety of food products and environmentally friendly production techniques including farm-animal welfare. Methods of good agricultural practice are considered as being essential for environmentally sound and resource-efficient production methods. But it should be kept in mind that profitability is essential for staying in business and complying with responsibilities in terms of sustainable development.

In the interests of supporting efficient, competitive, market-oriented and environmentally sound agriculture and forestry, Germany promotes, for example, attempts to overcome structural deficits, the use of farmland for non-food renewable commodities and methods of good agricultural practice and organic farming. Furthermore, programmes have been launched to foster the economic and social development of disadvantaged rural areas, especially those located in the eastern part of Germany, through improved infrastructures, promotion of economically viable farms, job procurement schemes and farm-income combinations, e.g. direct marketing, rural tourism, off-farm employment opportunities.


Making better use of scarce financial resources, encouraging investment is promoted through their synergy effects, rural development measures entail financial benefits for all stakeholders, in particular in times of limited resources. The institutions responsible for these measures often do not have the funds to realize their projects. The pooling of funding opportunities from different sources in a combined project execution allows deficits to be overcome. This secures and creates jobs in rural areas. At the same time private follow-up investment is boosted. See also under Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies.


Bilateral cooperation in the context of land management takes place with Germany's immediate neighbors, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and with developing countries in the context of development cooperation. Joint commissions have been established with several neighboring countries to coordinate individual regional development plans and to even develop joint land use plans. In the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS, numerous projects for local and regional development have been developed, aimed at promoting democratic and participatory regional planning structures. An ecologically oriented land use planning project is at present being implemented at Lake Baikal in Siberia in the Russian Federation.

The concept of participatory land use planning has been incorporated into German development cooperation since the late 1980s. Land use planning is an important instrument of bilateral development cooperation and is frequently combined with other instruments, such as geographical information systems, regional outline planning, and participatory rural appraisal. Successful participatory land use planning and management programmes have been supported in the Philippines, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Zambia, and other countries. Land use planning is also an important issue in national environmental and/or forestry programmes supported by Germany.

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This information was provided by the Government of Germany to the fifth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 2000.

For information on land use demand for transport, click here.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies      

Several Bavarian State Ministries, especially the Ministry for Regional Development and Environmental Affairs; the Ministry of Economy and Transport; the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry; and the Ministry of the Interior are responsible for sustainable development in the Alpine Region of Germany. They cooperate closely with local governments.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Germany is a party to the Convention on the Protection of the Alps (Alpine Convention, 1991); and the Alpine Convention Protocols on Mountain Farming, Regional Planning and Development, Nature Conservation and Landscape Management, and the Mountain Forest Protocol (1996).

Legislation was revised in 1994, when passing the Ordinance on the Bavarian State Development Programme. The following laws are also relevant to sustainable mountain development: the Regulation on the Alpine and National Park Berchtesgaden (1978); the

Law on the Protection of Alpine Pastures (1932, amended 1982); the Bavarian Forest Law (1975); and the Law on Forest Rights (1958).

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The following NGOs are involved in mountain development: the German Alpine Association; the Commission Internationale pour la Protection des Alpes (CIPRA); the Nature Conservation League; the Mountain Rescue Service; the Association for Hill Farming Problems; and the Alpine Farming Association. In 1992, the Bavarian government and NGOs carried out 82 activities in nature and National park management, waste management, air quality control, the implementation of the Noise and Vibration Act at a total cost of DM 96.9 million. State subsidies came to DM 16.4 million. NGOs are undertaking activities to inform the public on environmental issues in mountain areas.

Programmes and Projects   

The Bavarian State Forest Administration has implemented a rehabilitation programme for protective forests since 1986 in close co-operation with the water management authorities. This programme is aimed at the rehabilitation of ill-functioning protective forests. It is intended to last for some 25 years and covers a financial contribution of approximately 520 million DM from the State Forest Administration and 300 million DM from the Water Management Administration. The programme also provides for the reduction of excessive game populations and the settlement of harmful forest pasture rights. In addition, the owners of agricultural and forestry land receive substantial financial support in the form of government subsidies.


No information is available.


No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

The Federal Government has initiated public relations work to inform the public on environmental issues in mountain areas, and there are various incentive schemes available for the preservation and sustainable use of mountain areas (for example, the management of protected forests, alpine pastures, alpine landscapes, ecological farming practices, and infrastructure development). By order of the German Federal Environment Agency, the Alpine Research Institute Garmisch-Partenkirchen investigates aspects of sustainable development in the region. The programme for the conservation of forest genetic resources and the programme for the conservation of biological diversity also apply to mountain areas.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.


No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

See under Financing.


From 1985 to 1994, the Bavarian State Ministry for Regional Development and Environment Affairs spent DM 30 million to investigate causes of forest damages in the Alpine Region. The annual expenditure for wild torrent and avalanche control schemes is DM 35 to 40 million. The Bavarian State Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry spends annually DM 15 to 20 million on forest-related measures in the Alpine Region.


As one of the seven Alpine countries, Germany actively cooperates with the other signatories to the Alpine Convention in the interests of sustainable development in the Alpine Region. The German Alpine Region, including the foothill area, covers 11,153 km2 and is located in the State of Bavaria (the area of the German Alpine region proper is 5,300 km2). The most important rivers in the mountain area are the Inn, Isar, Lech, and Iller. The nature and intensity of utilization of the Alpine Region (increasing volume and concentration of traffic, tourist activities, progressive settlement) have resulted in considerable loss of conservation-worthy landscape elements, biotopes, and species over the past few decades.

In 1994, a draft study was presented, which defined sustainable development in the Alpine Region and included proposals for further action. The Alpine-Adriatic Working Group conducted a symposium on "Distribution and Effects of Photo-oxidants in the Alpine Region" (1988) and on "Input of Substances from the Atmosphere and Damage to Forest Soils in the Countries of the Alpine-Adriatic Working Group" (1993). Forest damages in the Alpine Region are rated significant/serious (damage levels 2-4 according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe classification). Mountain forests are endangered through atmospheric pollutants, abiotic factors (wind storm, snow, ice, frost, fires), biotic factors (insect pests, fungal damage, wildlife browsing), and stresses due to forestry and recreation uses. Of decisive importance for the sustainable development in the Bavarian Alpine region are (in addition to the work performed by farmers and forest owners) the services of the water management and forest administrations in terms of the care for and preservation of the mountain forests, the mountain torrent watersheds, and the protection against harmful effects of snow movements. It is this approach which allows the long-term settlement of mountain zones.

The German-Austrian Water Management Agreement is being implemented, covering the Alpine Region. The Federal Government participates in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/Economic Commission for Europe (FAO/ECE) Working Group on the Management of Mountain Watersheds and in the Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe that is dealing with mountain development. Sustainable mountain development is addressed within Germany's bi- and multilateral development co-operation in a wide range of projects dealing with land use planning, watershed management, afforestation, forest conservation and management, as well as rural development projects in mountain regions. Relevant regional institutions such as the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD/Nepal) and the Tropical Agronomic Centre for Research and Education (CATIE/Costa Rica) are also supported.

* * *

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.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Integrated coastal zone management, marine environmental protection, both from land-based activities and from sea-based activities, and sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources fall under the authority of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry, the Federal Ministry of Transport, and various coastal state ministries for the zone up to 12 nautical miles offshore.

The implementation of water resources management regulations in Germany, including integrated coastal area management, is exclusively a matter of the Federal States and their municipalities. Nature protection, spatial planning and partly fisheries fall into the responsibility of the coastal states. The water management administrations of the Federal States are predominantly integrated in the respective general Federal State administrations. The coastal states (Niedersachsen, Bremen, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg- Vorpommern) actively cooperate as well in the implementation of Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 and with respect to regional international agreements, e.g. Baltic 21, the Helsinki and the OSPAR Convention. Standing coordination takes place between the Federal Ministries and relevant authorities of the Federal States.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

Germany ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on 14 October 1994.

With respect to integrated coastal zone management and the sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources, Germany implements its legislative obligations according to the following international law or international agreements:

For matters related to the sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources, the following apply:

Codes of practice, standards and guidelines have been established by the Commission of the European Union and the Germany Government. The precautionary principle is one of the guiding principles in German environmental policy. An environmental impact assessment is mandatory for certain public and private projects.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Germany's National policy on oceans is integrated into the National Sustainable Development Strategy, and as far as it relates to fisheries within the Common Fisheries Policy of the EC. It has an integrated coastal area management programme to encompass all marine activities within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Policy address marine environmental protection and sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources as well. The Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation (Germany, Netherlands, and Denmark) is working to protect the fragile coastal intertidal mud flats.

All applicable topics of the Washington Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities are covered by the relevant regional conventions. Conventions to be mentioned in this context are: OSPAR, Helsinki, London Convention, Bukarest Convention, Black Sea convention, International Convention for the protection of the Rhine against pollution, International Convention for the protection of the Elbe, International Convention for the protection of the Oder and the Convention for the protection of the Danube. Regarding the sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources Germany takes due account of the EU Common Fisheries Policy and the FAO Code of Conduct. In the context of the International Conferences on the protection of the North Sea Germany is implementing the Statements of Conclusions from the various Ministerial Meetings and in particular on the Integration of Fisheries and Environmental Issues, Bergen, Norway, 1997.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement    

Major Groups are involved in decision-making in the area of protection of the marine environment through two means:

  1. Regular hearing of non-governmental organisations, business and industry, scientific and technological community organisations about all topics of the Protection of the marine environment; and
  2. Regular information and consultation in decision making for issues related to oceans and seas of the Federal States and their local authorities and of experts of non governmental organisations.

Programmes and Projects 

Among the major projects and activities underway or planned to address the issues cited above are the following:


The major current uses of the coastal areas in Germany include the following: tourism, agriculture, major population centres, industry, fishing, shipping and nature conservation areas. In 1996, agriculture, forestry and fishing together amounted to 1.1 percent of GNP.

Sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources is encouraged through Instruments of the EC Common Fisheries Policy, i.e. the Basic Fishing Regulation, the TAC and Quota Regulation, and the Regulation of Technical Measures.

Shipping impacts on sustainable management of coastal zones through illegal oil discharges, emissions to air, ship borne litter, introduction of alien species through ballast water, TBT antifoulings and accidents. Tourism also has an impact in some areas.

The primary sources of land-based pollution of the marine environment are industry (hazardous substances), agriculture nutrients, pesticides), and transport. The primary sources of sea-based pollution of the marine environment are legal and illegal oil discharges and dumping of contaminated dredged materials.


Among the constraints to implementing policies and programmes are fragmentation of competence (national and international); user conflicts; and long-lasting discussions and slow implementation of programs and measures in international conventions and agreements

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Capacity-building, education, training and awareness-raising are undertaken through Workshops, i.e. on the integration of fisheries and environmental issues; and the Round table of the Federal Government, the Federal States, industry and NGOs. Other means for awareness-raising include the following:


National information that is important for assisting both decision-makers and planners working in coastal areas include the following:

Sustainable management of fishery resources I

Marine Pollution

Living Resources Other Than Fish

Critical Uncertainties (e.g., climate change)

Germany uses a surveillance system to monitor implementation of relevant laws and regulations. Geographic Information Systems are used for these purposes in part.

Information on oceans in Germany may be accessed through the following World Wide Web sites:

Germany participates in a test run for sustainable development indicators and is working on the development of agri-environmental indicators in the OECD-framework.

Research and Technologies 

Among the technology issues on which Germany is working are (1) development of environmentally sound paints for ships, and (2) treatment of contaminated dredged materials. Technologies are chosen on the basis of BEP: Best environmental practice, and BAT: Best available technology.


Financing for programmes and activities in these areas is provided through the National budget.


Germany is a Party to the following international agreements of relevance to oceans and seas:

Other related agreements, particularly regional and sea-specific agreements, to which Germany is a Party include the following:

* * *

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

For national information on seas and coastal areas, click here.
To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The German Federal Government is responsible for the environmentally compatible management of toxic chemicals and the prevention of illegal international trade in toxic and hazardous products. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The main features of toxic waste management of Agenda 21 describe current European Union (EU) law and regulations, which have been fully implemented in Germany. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Following policies have been engaged in the management of toxic chemicals:

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information available.

Programmes and Projects   

For existing substances there is an institutionalised cooperation program between science, industry and government, which has been working on a program for existing substances since end of the seventies. This activity is supported by an Advisory Committee on Existing Chemicals (BUA), which consists of representatives of science, industry and government. 


No information is available.


No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.


No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.


Germany provides direct financial contributions to the following organizations: the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS): 200.000 DM per annum; the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS): more than 1,5 Million DM per annum; the Chemicals Group of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): 250.000 DM per annum; and to the existing chemicals work of the BUA: 1 Million DM per annum. Capacity Building is supported by 2,5 Million DM for three years and R and D with about 4,5 Million DM per annum.


In Germany the capacities for chemical safety are very highly developed. Germany is a donor country for about 10 projects which give capacity-building aid to several developing countries. Most of the projects fall within the area of pesticide management. The purpose of another project that started in 1997 is to adapt systematic chemicals management concepts to the conditions in developing countries and to test them on a pilot basis. The content of the project is based on the provisions of Agenda 21, chapter 19, on the environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals, program area C (exchange of information) and E (strengthening national capacities).

At the international level, the German Government is very involved in the implementation of the toxic waste provisions of Agenda 21, for example, through the work of the IPCS. IPCS elaborates the Concise International Chemicals Assessment Documents (CICAD) which is mainly supported by Germany as well as the Environmental Health Criteria documents and the Health and Safety Guides. Germany also supports OECD's program for existing substances. Furthermore, Germany is committed to the programme on existing substances of the European Union. Finally, about 190 National reports for 230 existing substances are available. Most of them are translated into the English language to be used at the international level.

* * *

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.

For national information on cadmium lead, click here.
For Germany's Chemical Act, click here.
For national information on environmental pollutants, click here.
For Germany's Hazardous Substances Ordinance, click here.

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Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The new Act for Promoting Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management and Ensuring Environmentally Compatible Waste Disposal entered into force on 7th October 1996. The Act calls for manufacturers and distributors to assume extensive responsibility for their products. It has changed the former scope of the term "waste", decisively expanding it. According to the new concept of the Act, which supports the principle of prevention, waste is considered to be everything which arises in production, manufacture, processing, or consumption, the generation of which was not the original intention of the process. In order to promote an economy based on closed substance cycles, the following obligations are introduced in the Act:

Based on this Act, the Federal Government has issued seven statutory ordinances and one guideline, entered into force on 7th October 1996, containing requirements of waste supervision, transport licenses, specialized waste management companies and associations, waste management concepts, and waste-life-cycle analysis. The implementation of the closed substance cycle economy is already bearing first fruit. After growing for decades, the waste volume fell by 10% between 1990 and 1993. In the same period, the recovery quota rose from 20 to 25%. More and more raw materials are being managed with a life cycle approach.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The objective of the German Government's policy on waste is to achieve a recycling-based economy that conserves resources and the environment. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.


Manufacturers have changed their packing habits and production of packaging materials has decreased in Germany. Compared to 1991, the year the packaging ordinance came into force, the amount of packaging used decreased by 1.3 million tonnes. Secondary packaging has almost disappeared from the market. The amount of private post-consumer packaging recycled has increased to 4.9 million tonnes. The portion of beverages sold in reusable containers has kept stable above 72 %. In spite of these efforts a certain proportion of waste remains for disposal of which the German Government is prescribing uniformly high nationwide standards. These standards are laid down for waste in the Technical Instructions on Special Waste of 1991 and in the Technical Instructions on Waste from Human Settlements of 1993. In addition to general provisions on recovery, the Technical Instructions on Special Waste particularly contain requirements for chemical/physical and heat treatment as well as for storage and underground and above-ground landfills. The Technical Instructions on Waste from Human Settlements primarily contain stringent requirements for the properties of waste for landfill, as well as separate determination of components that can be recovered. The former can only be achieved by heat treatment.


No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.


No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.


Concerning the use of sludge from wastewater treatment plants, the new version of the corresponding ordinance that came into force on 1 July 1992 has introduced substantially more stringent maximum permissible concentrations of cadmium and mercury. Maximum levels for dioxin/furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have also now been prescribed for sludge.


German bilateral development co-operation in the field of freshwater supply includes as a rule measures related to sanitation, and the management of wastes and sewage systems.

* * *

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 national information on paper recycling, click here.
For national information on plastic waste, click here.


Hazardous Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The 1994 Act on the Movement on Wastes prescribes the procedure for notifying the authorities. Among other things, this procedure ensures that the responsible authorities are informed of the notifications. By means of the Act implementing the Basel Convention of 30 September 1994, the content of the Basel agreement is converted into National law insofar as this is not already the case under European Community (EC) Council Regulation No. 259/93 of 1 February 1993 on the supervision and monitoring of the shipments of waste within, into, and outside of the European Community. The Act on the Movements of Wastes as a part of the implementation of the Basel Convention specifies the duty to re-import illegal, unauthorized, and impracticable shipments of hazardous wastes.

The waste exporters are required to notify and must ensure financial security for their waste shipments. On the other hand, they must make payments into the solidarity fund for the return of waste for each ton of waste to be exported. The solidarity fund for the return of waste pays for the return of waste from abroad whenever a solvent operator with a duty to re-import cannot be found in time. Anyone who has caused, arranged, or carried out an illegal or impracticable movement of waste according to Articles 25 and 26 of the EC Regulation is obliged to re-import the waste pursuant to Section 6, paragraph 1 of the Act on the Movements of Wastes. Transactions arranging the movement of wastes are subject to official authorization pursuant to Section 12 of the Waste Management Act. Infringements against these laws shall be punished by Section 326 and 330 of the Penal Code.

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.


No information is available.


No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.


No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.


No information is available.


Within its development cooperation, the German Government supports a number of technical assistance projects (two at the global, eight at the country level in Africa) to further the sound management of hazardous wastes.

* * *

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 Germany's Hazardous Substances Ordinance, click here.
Clickhere for information on dioxins and hazardous waste in Germany.
Clickhere for information on sewage sludge control in Germany.
Click here for Germany's Waste water charges Act.
For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:


Radioactive Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies     

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is primarily responsible to the final disposal of radioactive waste. The other waste management steps prior to disposal are the responsibility of the operators (waste producers) under the Supervision of the Federal States of the Governments as regulatory body.

The final disposal of radioactive waste is carried out by the Federal Office of Radiation Protection (BfS), a subordinate body of the BMU. BfS makes use, as a third party, of the Deutsche Gesellschaft zum Bau und Betrieb von Endlagern für Abfallstoffe (DBE) operating the disposal facilities. Other waste management activities including interim storage is carried out by the utilities and on behalf of the utilities by the Society for Nuclear Service (Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service, GNS).

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Germany is a signatory to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (the London Agreement of 1972).

The action of the authorities and the operators is determined by the Federal Atomic Act, which is complemented by subordinate law (ordinances) and partly by adopted European Union (EU) Directives.

The safety standards for the transport of radioactive wastes in Germany are on a par with valid international provisions. No major accidents or failures have occurred in recent years. In order to harmonize National regulations on the transport of radioactive waste within the EU and achieve a uniformly high standard, the Government is now working on an ordinance to translate corresponding EU guidelines into National law.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Final disposal of radioactive waste is a National responsibility. Consequently, no radioactive waste has been exported for final disposal elsewhere. The Government advocates refraining from exporting radioactive waste to countries in which safe and environmentally sound management of it cannot be ensured.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

See under Research and Technologies.


Since June 1992, the progress has been made in the field of ultimate disposal of radioactive waste. Measures have been taken to inter alia retrofit and upgrade the Morsleben repository for low level and intermediate radioactive waste (LLW) containing radionuclides with relatively short half-lives. Deposition activities have been continued in 1994. Plans for the Konrad repository for radioactive waste with negligible heat generation are now in the process of gaining official approval. In 1992/93 a public hearing was held which lasted 75 days. The licensing authority discussed the almost 300.000 objections raised against the project with the applicant and the interveners. It is currently estimated that after the plans for this repository have been approved (expected in 1997), it will take another 3 to 4 years until it can begin operation.

In connection with the project for final disposal of heat-generating high-level radioactive waste (HLW) and spent fuel elements in salt formations, studies have been conducted above and below ground to determine the Gorleben site's suitability. The reconnaissance is continuing. Until disposal of radioactive wastes can be performed in the planned repositories, it is necessary for them to be safely accommodated in suitable interim storage facilities. For this purpose, preparations have been initiated at two sites (Ahaus and Greifswald). These storage facilities are mainly intended for radioactive waste from ongoing operations, the shutdown of nuclear power plants, and from reprocessing of spent fuel elements.


No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.


No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

The Federal Republic of Germany supports regional and international research projects dealing with the management of radioactive waste, and focusing on final disposal in deep geologic formations. See also under Status.


The utilities as waste producers are obliged by law to have funds available for the future decommissioning of plants and the final disposal of waste. At present, the fund amounts to 45 Billion DM.


As a signatory to the London Agreement, Germany has committed itself to foregoing sea burial of medium- and high-level radioactive waste. For years, the German Government had been actively urging a ban on the disposal of radioactive waste in the northeast Atlantic. This was achieved at the international meeting of the Oslo-Paris Commission (OSPARC) in September 1992. At the consultative meeting of the signatory states of the London Convention in 1993, the German Government voted in favor of extending the ban to all of the earth's seas. The corresponding resolution was adopted with a qualified majority. The German Government shares the concern regarding the disposal practices of some of the former Eastern Bloc countries that have come to light and has supported the elaboration of National plans for the safe management of radioactive waste in those countries. Therefore, the German Government strongly supports the work on the Convention on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is expecting that a great number of States will join the Convention. It is also participating in endeavors to update and enhance the international transport regulations in the IAEA. Air transport of large quantities of radioactive materials and highly radioactive materials will require the use of highly accident resistant packaging and is being considered within this context.

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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.

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