The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) is responsible for a range of government policies which are reflected in the name of the ministry itself. For more than 30 years the Ministry has worked to protect the public from environmental toxins and radiation and establish an intelligent and efficient use of raw materials; it has advanced climate action and promoted a use of natural resources that conserves biodiversity and secures habitats.
In December 2013 the Chancellor issued a decree transferring responsibility for urban development, housing, rural infrastructure, public building law, building, the construction industry and federal buildings to the BMUB, thus bringing the ministry key additional responsibilities from the former Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS). The BMUB is now also tasked with creating the conditions for good housing standards and intact cities and with raising the quality of structural engineering, building technology and construction materials in Germany still higher. These are the cornerstones of high quality of life and a pleasant social climate.
To address its tasks the BMUB uses a variety of instruments:
1. One main task is to prepare legislation in order to shape the legal framework in the policy areas referred to above. This includes preparing regulatory legislation and transposing EU directives into national law.
The BMUB drafts laws for the federal government which are then submitted to the Bundestag and in some cases the Bundesrat for a decision. The ministry is also responsible for issuing statutory instruments - subordinate legislation which specifies further details of a law, in particular with regard to enforcement. The ministry is involved in all legislative projects which have an impact on its areas of competence.
2. Funding for research and development, support for the market launch of innovative technologies:
Besides framing legislation the BMUB can also use economic instruments. For instance, support programmes are financed through taxes and the revenues from emissions trading. This enables members of the public, associations, companies and municipalities to obtain financial support for specific projects.
3. National and international cooperation:
Germany is a federal country and a member of the EU and numerous international organisations. Close cooperation at national and international level plays an important role in the success of the BMUB's tasks.
Therefore, to ensure that legal provisions can be implemented efficiently in Germany, the Federation and the Länder coordinate structures on many issues, developing programmes and formulating joint strategies. Besides permanent bodies such as the German Environment Ministers and German Building Ministers Conferences, interministerial working groups and committees are also convened. Many environmental and climate issues can only be solved through intensive international cooperation. In this context, the BMUB represents Germany in the European Union and international organisations (UN, OECD, WTO).
4. Communication for broad public participation and acceptance:
To make its activities and planned measures transparent, the BMUB carries out comprehensive media and public relations work. Members of the public can keep up with the latest news through online articles or printed brochures. Events and the continuous development civic participation processes aim to enable the public to play an active role.
The ministry is headed by Federal Minister Barbara Hendricks. She leads the BMUB and represents it in the federal cabinet. State secretaries Jochen Flasbarth and Gunther Adler act as the minister's deputies and like her they are authorised to issue instructions to all the ministry staff.
Parliamentary state secretaries Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter and Florian Pronold 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.
The BMUB is divided into seven specialist directorates-general plus one dealing with strategic aspects and one for central functions. The number of staff in each directorate-general ranges from 80 to over 200. They are headed by the directors-general, who lead and coordinate the work within the specialist divisions and liaise closely with the minister and state secretaries. Every directorate-general is divided into directorates comprised of a number of specialist divisions.