Environmental policy

© GIZ/Kirchgessner

Without the protection of the environment and resources, there can be no sustainable development. Effective environmental policy strategies are needed here.


Environmental policy faces global challenges: Water scarcity and pollution, waste problems, air pollution, loss of fertile soil and important ecosystem services - the economic and social consequences of these shortcomings are incalculable. The protection of biological diversity and measures against climate change are among the most important tasks, because otherwise threatens a lasting change of our ecosystems and living conditions.

The fields of action of environmental policy are correspondingly comprehensive, such as

  • Climate protection
  • Conservation of biological diversity
  • Protection of forests, seas and soils
  • Protection against hazardous pollutants
  • Sustainable production and consumption
  • Environmental services
  • Sustainable energy industry
  • Sustainable mobility

International agreements are increasingly determining environmental policy. In particular, the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement pursue ambitious goals. These agreements also focus on "transformative" environmental policy, which does not replace existing environmental policy, which deals with individual environmental media, pollutants or causes, but complements it with the consideration of systems and fields of transformation.

One example is mobility, where technological, political, economic and social factors shape environmental pressures and impacts. This also means that norms and values, behaviours and laws, institutions and technologies must change.

This change should be initiated systematically and must take place as quickly as possible, because the time window in which a change of direction is still possible is small in view of the progressive destruction of the environment. Other examples of such transformations are the transformation of energy systems and a change in consumer behaviour that takes account of production conditions and supply chains.

Such a change requires major efforts on the part of both developing and emerging countries and donor countries. On behalf of the Federal Government, GIZ supports the partner countries in creating the conditions for a "transformative" environmental policy and in implementing this policy. For example, environmental institutions are created and it is ensured that change in environmental policy involves all sectors and stakeholders.

At the international level, GIZ accompanies the processes of formulating and shaping international environmental conventions. It is also committed to ensuring that environmental issues are included in agreements that do not primarily concern environmental protection and resource conservation.

GIZ has extensive experience in developing overarching strategies and measures that prevent environmental damage and at the same time benefit social and economic development. Purely technical solutions are no longer sufficient to contain environmental damage. That is why the focus lies on environmental change.