Tasks and structure

Straßenansicht des Bundesumweltministeriums nach Süden in der Stresemannstraße nach der Fertigstellung des Gebäudes im August 2012.

Which policy areas is the ministry responsible for?

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) is responsible for a range of government policies that are reflected in the name of the ministry itself. The ministry has been working over 30 years to protect the public from environmental toxins and radiation, to promote the wise and efficient use of raw materials, to advance climate action and to ensure that natural resources are used in a way that protects the diversity of animal and plant species and preserves their habitats.

The structure and name of the ministry was changed by the organisational decree of the Federal Chancellor of 8 December 2021. Since then, the BMUV has been responsible not only for environmental protection and nature conservation, but also consumer protection policy. The BMUV therefore shapes core issues for the future that focus on people and their living environments. It drives economic, environmental and social modernisation. Climate action also remains a key issue for the BMUV with a focus on natural climate solutions, climate adaptation and resource policy.

How does the ministry approach its work?

The BMUV uses various instruments to carry out its functions:

  1. One of its core responsibilities is to draw up legislation that shapes the legal framework in the policy areas above. This includes preparing regulatory legislation and transposing EU directives into national law.
    The BMUV drafts laws for the federal government which are then submitted to the Bundestag and in appropriate cases the Bundesrat for a decision. The ministry is also responsible for issuing statutory instruments – subordinate legislation that specifies further details of a law, in particular with regard to enforcement. The ministry is involved in all legislative measures that have an impact on its areas of responsibility.
  2. Funding for research and development, support for the market launch of innovative technologies:
    In addition to shaping the legal framework, the BMUV also has economic instruments at its disposal. Support programmes, for example, are financed through taxes and revenues from emissions trading, enabling members of the public, associations, companies and municipalities to receive financial support for specific projects.
  3. National and international cooperation:
    Germany is a federal country and a member of the EU and many international organisations. Close cooperation at national and international level plays an important role in whether policies can be effectively designed under the BMUV’s remit. This is why the Federation and the Länder coordinate structures on many issues, draw up programmes and develop joint strategies so that regulations can be implemented efficiently in Germany. In addition to permanent bodies such as the conference of German environment ministers, interministerial working groups and committees also convene. Many environmental and nature conservation issues can only be solved with intensive international cooperation. In this context, the ministry represents Germany in the European Union and international organisations (UN, OECD, WTO).
  4. Communication for broad public participation and acceptance:
    The BMUV carries out extensive media and public relations work to make its activities and planned measures transparent. Members of the public can keep up-to-date with the latest ministry news through the ministry’s websites or printed publications. Events and the continuous development of civic participation processes aim to enable the public to play an active role.

Who does what in the ministry?

Federal Minister Steffi Lemke is the head of the ministry. She oversees the ministry and represents it in the federal cabinet. State Secretaries Christiane Rohleder and Stefan Tidow act as the minister’s deputies and like her they are authorised to issue instructions to all the ministry staff.

Parliamentary State Secretaries  Bettina Hoffmann and Chris Kühn are also part of the ministry’s leadership. They are both members of the German Bundestag and are the minister’s representatives in parliament, e.g. for making statements before the Bundestag or Bundesrat.

Last updated: 09.12.2021

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