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In brief - List of technical terms

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Agenda 21

Agenda 21 is a global action programme for the 21st century set up by the United Nations. The programme aims to promote sustainable and environmentally sound development.   
An important objective of Agenda 21 is to raise awareness of environmental aspects so that they may be taken into consideration in all areas of policy. To this end the action programme issues detailed mandates relating to various topics such as fighting poverty, demographic policy, waste policy, chemicals policy, climate policy and energy policy. These mandates apply to both industrialised and developing countries. The programme was decided upon at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro.

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Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, Article 20a

In 1994, Article 20a of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany enshrined conservation of the natural foundation of life as a national policy aim. Article 20a states: "Mindful also of its responsibility toward future generations, the state shall protect the natural foundations of life and animals by legislation and, in accordance with law and justice, by executive and judicial action, all within the framework of the constitutional order."

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity or biological diversity is the foundation of life for all humans and is disappearing at an alarming rate. Biodiversity includes not only diversity of species and habitats but also genetic diversity within the individual plant and animal species. Biodiversity ensures people have food, drinking water, fuels and medicine and also ensures fertile soils and provides fuels. Humans, in particular, are responsible for the dramatic decline in biological diversity. In 1992 the international community of states adopted the International Convention on Biological Diversity in order to advance the conservation of biological diversity.

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Biomass

Biomass is organic matter extracted from plants, plant parts and bio waste. It can be used to produce electricity, heat and fuel. Energy generated from biomass falls into the category of renewable energy as the organic substance extracted can grow again. In Germany, forestry and agriculture are important sources of biomass. Nature conservation requirements must be respected when dealing with large scale cultivation and harvesting of suitable plants. The Federal Environment Ministry promotes projects that aim to optimise the use of biomass. The German Biomass Ordinance regulates more specific conditions related to the production of energy from biomass.

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CBD - Convention on Biological Diversity

The CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) is a comprehensive international agreement on nature conservation and sustainable development. The three main objectives of the agreement are: the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components so that as many people as possible can profit from the benefits arising from them. Moreover, access to a country's genetic resources, such as raw materials for medicine will be regulated; the benefits arising from the use of such resources should be shared fairly and legitimately with the countries providing the raw materials. The Convention was opened for signatures in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro and entered into force in 1993. In Germany, a national biodiversity strategy was adopted to complement the Convention.

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CITES

CITES is an international species protection agreement that entered into force in 1975. Because the agreement was signed in Washington, it is sometimes also called the Washington Convention.CITES is one of the most effective instruments in the fight against the extinction of species. It monitors, regulates and limits international trade in protected animal and plant species and products that are made from them. Endangered species are listed in various categories depending on the level of protection they need. There are different limitations on trading for each category. CITES is short for "Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora".

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Clearing House Mechanism

The clearing house mechanism (CHM) is a global information network, which can be used by the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity as a platform for exchanging ideas and information. The global information network of the CHM has been compiled from national information platforms. This network gives users the opportunity to provide information or ask questions about biodiversity. The CHM promotes technological and scientific cooperation between the CBD parties and thus supports its implementation. A national clearing house mechanism information platform has also been set up in Germany.

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Climate adaptation/adaptation strategy

Climate change alters living conditions throughout the world, forcing people and the environment to adapt. A strategy is needed to control this process. In addition to avoiding greenhouse gases, adaptation to the consequences of climate change is an important pillar of climate policy. In the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change the German government, together with scientists and social groups, seeks to answer the questions: What are the risks of climate change? How can we prevent or mitigate its negative impacts? There are also strategies for adaptation to climate change at international level.

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Climate change

Ongoing climate change increases the average temperature of the Earth'’s atmosphere and of the seas to worrying levels. The main reasons for this include growing global greenhouse gas emissions from industry, households and traffic and the cutting down of forests. These factors reinforce the natural greenhouse effect of the Earth's atmosphere. Extreme weather events, melting glaciers and rising sea levels are all consequences of climate change. Global activities are urgently required to prevent greenhouse gas emissions and help countries adapt to those impacts of climate change that have become unavoidable.

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Closed Cycle Management

German waste legislation models itself on the material cycle of nature. The legislation is based on the principles of closed cycle management. Every product has a so-called life cycle, which spans from production to use right through to disposal or reprocessing. Closed cycle management means: when a product can no longer be used, the raw materials contained in the product, instead of being disposed of, are reused to produce new products. Earth's raw materials are finite. Closed cycle management is thus geared towards waste prevention and recycling and also makes an important contribution to sustainability. In order to implement closed cycle management in practice, recyclables must also be separated in households.

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Combined Heat and Power Generation (CHP)

Combined heat and power generation is a principle, according to which both heat and power are generated simultaneously in a power plant. This method is very energy efficient and contributes to climate protection. Heat is produced when generating electricity. In general, power plants release this heat as unused waste heat into the environment. Thus a large portion of the energy generated is lost. When electricity and heat are produced at the same time over 90% of the energy input is used. Thus, when combined heat and power generation is used energy efficiency increases. The CHP principle is used for example by micro CHP units and for district heating. The Combined Heat and Power Act (Kraft-Wärme-Kopplungsgesetz) aims to promote the expansion of this climate friendly method of energy production.

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CSD (Committee on Sustainable Development)

CSD stands for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.
The Commission was established in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The tasks of the Commission include ensuring that the decisions made in Rio de Janeiro, particularly the Agenda 21 action programme for sustainable and environmentally sound development, are implemented. The UN Commission has 53 member states and meets in New York once a year.

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Ecosystem

An ecosystem is a defined natural unit of species and habitat. An ecosystem is made up of living organisms such as humans, fauna, flora and inanimate elements of nature. The latter can be for example rock, air temperatures or precipitation volumes. The various elements of an ecosystem all interact with one another. External interventions can disturb the ecosystem. Forests, alluvial meadows, rivers or the Wadden Sea are all examples of ecosystems. But earth as a whole is also considered to be an ecosystem.

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Emissions

Emissions refer to substances, radiation or energy released, from a source, into the atmosphere. Emissions can for instance be pollutants, odours, noise, light, heat or radiation. An important objective of climate policy is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Emissions Trading

Emissions trading is the trading of "allowed emissions" or" assigned amounts" of greenhouse gases. The principle behind emissions trading is that installations releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere given are assigned amounts or allowed emissions. These allowances are granted by the state to installation operators in limited amounts. Should the installation emit more greenhouse gases than permitted, the operator is required to buy more allowances. By contrast, those who reduce their greenhouse gas emissions can sell their excess allowances they no longer require. Therefore the lower emissions are the more money the company saves. This acts as an incentive for industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible. Emissions trading is a mechanism created by the Kyoto Protocol.

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Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a measure, which determines how well energy is used to achieve a specific benefit. Increasing energy efficiency, alongside the expansion of renewable energy, is at the heart of German energy policy. The lower the energy losses are during the use of energy sources, the higher the energy efficiency. An increase in energy efficiency is necessary in order to shift Germany's energy supply to safe, sustainable and climate friendly energies. Both industry and consumers can help achieve this goal, which not only ensures sustainable development and protects the climate but also reduces costs. An important instrument for increasing energy efficiency is combined heat and power generation (CHP).

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Environmental Audit

Environmental Audit is a type of voluntary audit scheme and monitoring instrument of environmental management. Companies, organisations and authorities can regularly, systematically and objectively allow for their environmental behaviour to be assessed. The assessment examines which measures have been taken for environmental protection and how much energy is consumed. An effective instrument of environmental management is the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme EMAS. If the environmental behaviour of the company meets with DIN standards, the company will then receive an EMAS certificate. As a result both the environment and company image benefit from the environmental audit.

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Environmental Information System

In Germany, every citizen has the right to gain free access to environmental information. Data concerning the environment is gathered in computer based information systems, edited and made available to citizens on demand by the Federation and Länder. More effective protection of the environment and of one's own health requires comprehensive access to environmental information. With this citizens will be able to obtain environmental information from federal agencies throughout Germany and the various Länder. They can for instance learn about the levels of particle matter in the air near their home, whether or not the water and soil are polluted and obtain information on noise and radiation. Further particulars are governed by the Environmental Information Act of the Federation and Länder.

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Environmental Radioactivity

Radioactivity in the environment can come from natural sources but can also be artificially produced. Radioactivity is the decay of atomic nuclei, during which radiation is released. People have always been exposed to natural radioactivity and to natural radioactive material in the air, water and in soil. On top of this comes artificially produced radioactivity, for example from medical devices or nuclear power plants. Depending on the duration and intensity of exposure, radioactivity can cause irreparable damage to both people and the environment. Radioactivity in the environment is continually monitored in Germany. The Radiation Protection Ordinance (StrlSchV) and the X-Ray Ordinance (RöV) set limit values and protective measures to keep humans safe from the harmful effects of radioactivity. 

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Environmental Research Plan (UFOPLAN)

UFOPLAN (from German Umweltforschungsplan) stands for environmental research plan. Every year the Federal Environment Ministry describes its research projects in the environmental research plan. Decisions must be made based on scientific data in order to maintain a responsible environmental policy. This is why the Federal Environment Ministerial bodies distribute research assignments; furthermore the Ministry conducts its own research by means of the Federal Environment Agency. The medium term research requirements of the Ministry are outlined in a research framework programme. In the environmental research plan the research projects are categorised according to field, are given an abbreviated title and can also be identified by the administering authority and research code number.

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Expansion of power grids

The expansion of power grids in Germany is crucial for the expansion and use of renewable energy. Electricity is transported via power grids to the consumer from the electricity generation source. Electricity from renewable energy sources is increasingly being generated from wind farms in northern Germany or from the growing number of power generating solar installations. A more efficient power grid allows for increased transport of electricity from the north to major centres of energy consumption in the south and west and also for the balancing out of regional wind and solar power fluctuations. Expanding power grids will facilitate the integration of renewables, lower costs and increase energy supply security.

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Fukushima

A succession of serious accidents happened at the Japanese nuclear power plant site Fukushima in March 2011. After an earthquake and subsequent tsunami there was a complete power outage and failure of cooling water supply in four of the six reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. This triggered nuclear meltdowns in three blocks. The buildings were damaged by several explosions, some of them severely. Large amounts of radioactive material were released into the air, water and soil. The population had to leave the region.

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Green Economy

Green Economy is a concept for global sustainable management. The concept strives for management that uses energy and raw materials efficiently and creates as little emissions as possible. Economic opportunities should be taken advantage of, however at the same time environmental risks should be kept as low as possible. In order to implement the Green Economy principle worldwide, economies need to be comprehensively modernised.

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Green IT

Green IT encompasses all environmentally sound use of information and communication technology (ICT) as well as the use of ICT to to ease the burden on the environment. This includes the entire life cycle of ICT products, energy consumption and other environmental impacts such as the use of environmentally harmful raw materials.

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Greenhouse effect

Greenhouse gases form a natural protective shield that surrounds the Earth and ensures that it warms up: the more greenhouse gases, the warmer it gets. Like the glass panels of a greenhouse, greenhouse gases allow solar radiation to reach the Earth's surface. However, they prevent the heat that is being generated from being completely reflected back into outer space. As a consequence, our air and water heat up. The increasing concentration of greenhouse gases leads to an unnaturally strong greenhouse effect and causes climate change.

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Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases are trace gases in the atmosphere which prevent the heat at the Earth's surface from being reflected back into space. If the concentration of greenhouse gases is too high, this reinforces the natural greenhouse effect on our planet and causes global warming. The Kyoto Protocol provides for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), laughing gas (nitrous oxide, N2O) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFC).

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GreenTech

GreenTech stands for environmental technology. Both the concept and success of this sector have made it clear that ecology and economy are not conflicting ideas, but in fact two sides of the same coin. In Germany, Greentech has been a success. Germany is not only an attractive production site but also an attractive sales market for environmental technology. Greentech is a driving force for growth and jobs. At the same time, innovative environmental technology is an effective instrument for counteracting the resource crisis and climate change. The Federal Environment Ministry has published an environmental technology atlas which documents the development, use and dissemination of environmental technologies in Germany.

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Habitat

Habitat (habitare in Latin = to live) refers to the typical living environment of animal and plant species. The Habitats Directive protects natural habitats within the European Union. The directive serves to conserve and re-establish biological diversity in the European Union. Interlinking habitats is important as this facilitates the genetic exchange between the different populations of wild flora and fauna.

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HELCOM

HELCOM is a Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area. The agreement's goal is to comprehensively protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from: land and ship based sources of pollution, disposal or incineration of waste at sea, pollution resulting from accidents and pollution caused by offshore activities. HELCOM was signed in Helsinki in 1974 by the Baltic Sea riparian states. The agreement came into force in 1980 and in 1992 was adapted to meet the latest requirements of marine environmental protection.

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Hybrid Drive Technology

Hybrid drive technology (Latin hybrid = mixed) combines at least two drive technologies, for example an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Hybrid drive technology helps reduce particle matter in the air and avoid CO2 emissions. This technology is used in vehicles, which are referred to as hybrid vehicles. The use of hybrid technology reduces fuel consumption and increases energy efficiency. Drive technologies can be combined in different ways: they may be mutually complementary and together deliver better performance for example when accelerating. However, in certain operating phases it may be that only one of the drive technologies facilitates the main functions, for instance the electric motor when at a low speed in city traffic.

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IPBES

IPBES is an international advisory body consisting of scientists from the field of biodiversity.

IPBES provides important political decision-making bodies with information on the status and trends in biodiversity. IPBES was set up in June 2010 at a UN Conference in Busan in South Korea. The acronym IPBES stands for Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

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IRENA

IRENA is short for the International Renewable Energy Agency. It is the first international organisation dedicated to promoting renewables. IRENA's headquarters are located in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

IRENA's objective is to promote the expansion of renewables worldwide. The organisation's main tasks include advising member states on how to finance renewable energy projects and on the transfer of know-how and technologies. In 2009 IRENA was founded on German initiative and the first Assembly was held in April 2011.

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Kyoto Protocol

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol is the most important international instrument on climate protection to date.

At the climate summit in Kyoto, Japan (COP 3), industrialised countries specified the first internationally binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. They committed to lowering global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% from 2008 to 2012 compared to 1990. These commitments were laid down in an additional protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United States did not join the Kyoto Protocol. Germany set itself a reduction target of 21%. To halt climate change the international community must agree on further binding reduction targets for the post 2012 period. The Kyoto Protocol stipulates mechanisms which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include emissions trading.

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LIFE+

Life+ is the only European Union programme that exclusively finances projects with environmental protection goals.

LIFE+ supports the implementation and further development of environmental policy and law. The programme comprises the areas "nature and biodiversity", "environmental policy and governance" and "information and communication". However, the LIFE+ assistance programme only provides support when other assistance programmes do not. Both public and private institutions are eligible for funding through LIFE+, which is still running until 2013. 

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Micro Combined Heat and Power Unit (micro CHP unit)

A micro CHP unit is an installation, which produces electricity and heat that, in general, is used on site.

Installations that produce electricity and heat simultaneously are referred to as combined heat and power plants (CHP). The advantage of CHP plants is of course that electricity and heat are produced and used in the same location, therefore saving on transport costs. Only excess electricity that is not used on site is fed into the public electricity grid by the micro CHP unit. The operator of the micro CHP unit will then be remunerated. More specific conditions are regulated by the Combined Heat and Power Act (Kraft-Wärme-Kopplungsgesetz) and by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

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Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology works with very small material structures and is considered a key technology of the 21st century.

The Greek term Nano means dwarf; as a prefix in measurement it denotes one billionth of a particular unit of measurement. Materials made with nanoparticles can be characterised by certain features such as hardness, fracture strength, conductivity and storage capacity. Alongside the opportunities presented by nanotechnology, the health and environmental risks are also being debated. The Federal Environment Ministry is in talks on these issues with experts from science and industry. 

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National Natural Heritage

The national natural heritage comprises important natural and cultural landscapes in Germany, which must be preserved for future generations.

In order to protect these landscapes, it was decided in 2005 that some 80,000 to 125,000 hectares will either be incorporated free of charge into a national foundation or else transferred to the Länder. The Wadden Sea, the Bodden Coast and the chalk cliffs in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the Elbe, Oder, Danube and Weser valleys and their alluvial plains are all listed as part of Germany's national natural heritage. Even the so-called "Green Belt", the natural space along the former inner-German border, belongs to the national natural heritage.

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Natura 2000

Natura 2000 is an EU-wide network of protected areas geared towards conserving wild flora and fauna and their habitats.

Natura 2000 includes areas protected under the European Birds Directive and the EU Habitats Directive. The objective of the programme is at the very least to ensure that the conservation status of species and habitats in these protected areas does not worsen. The Natura 2000 protected areas are defined by the areas inhabited by a species and not by state borders. In Germany, the Natura 2000 areas currently account for around 14 percent of its national territory and 31 percent of its marine area.

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Plant safety

Industrial plants must be safe. To ensure that they do not pose a threat to people and the environment, they must be monitored regularly and equipped with the best available technology.

Hazardous substances and certain technical processes in industrial plants can be dangerous for people and the environment, for example in cases of natural hazards like floods and earthquakes. In Germany, there is a wide range of provisions on how to avoid dangerous incidents in industrial plants. These also regulate how potential damage to people and the environment can be limited.

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Residual Electricity Volume

Residual electricity volume denotes the volume of electricity that the German government in 2001 allowed nuclear power plant operators to produce from then on; once this has been produced their licenses will expire.

In 2001 the residual electricity volumes were calculated on the basis of an operating life of 32 years for nuclear power plants. According to regulations laid down at the time, should a nuclear power plant be decommissioned before its residual electricity volume has been used up, this volume may be transferred to another plant still in operation. However, some nuclear power plants were switched off earlier than intended as a result of the decision taken in May 2011 to phase out nuclear power by 2022. As a result of all nuclear power plants still in operation gradually being decommissioned, the residual electricity volumes will lose their economic value. Furthermore these volumes cannot all be transferred without putting the deadline for the phase-out at risk.

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Resource Efficiency

Earth's raw materials, its resources, are finite. Resource efficiency means to exploit resources for a particular function in a manner that uses as little raw material as possible.

In order to safeguard resources as the basis of life for future generations, we must conserve and use raw materials efficiently - on an economic and individual level. In companies especially, there is huge potential to use resources more efficiently. Resource efficiency is not only of utmost importance when it comes to protecting the environment and achieving sustainable development, but also saves companies money on material costs. The Federal Environment Ministry aims to establish Germany as the most resource efficient economy among the major economies of the world by 2020. It is for this reason that the German government has adopted the Resource Efficiency Programme.

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Rio +20

In 1992, at the earth summit in Rio de Janeiro, the international community committed itself for the first time to the general principle of sustainable development. 20 years later, from 20 to 22 June 2012 a follow-up conference "Rio +20" was held on sustainable development. At the UN Rio Conference in 1992 the action programme "Agenda 21" for development and environmental policy was adopted and was an important milestone on the road to sustainability. At the 2012 Rio Conference high expectations were formed with a view to pushing the economies of the world forward towards converting to sustainable economies. Moreover, the global transition to a "Green Economy" was one of the main topics of the Rio +20 Conference.

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SEED Initiative

The SEED Initiative supports worldwide partnership projects for the promotion of sustainable development. SEED is an acronym for "Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development." Every year the SEED initiative acknowledges local environment and development projects supporting sustainable development with the SEED award. The projects must possess a certain entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to stand out and contribute to environmental protection or the reduction of poverty. The SEED initiative started with a proposal made by the Federal Environment Ministry in 2002. It is essentially managed by the United Nation Environment Programme. show less

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Sustainability, Sustainable Development and Sustainability Strategy

Sustainable development means to live and work in a way that is ecologically, economically and socially just, in other words not to live on the backs of poorer regions or future generations. Sustainable development attempts to meet our needs today but also to ensure that the needs of future generations can be met. It includes taking measures in the area of climate and energy as well as developing transport and sound management of resources. A strategy, which was laid down in 2001, supports sustainable development within the EU. Germany's sustainability strategy, laid down in 2002, defines the same goals and measures.

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TEEB

TEEB is an international study of the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity. Central to this project is an economic analysis of biodiversity and ecosystems. The key question is how the value of natural resources and biodiversity can be taken into account during the decision making processes of companies, towns and municipalities is examined. In addition to this, economic damage due to the loss of biodiversity is also examined. Several TEEB reports have already been made available.

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The Market Incentive Programme (MAP)

The Market Incentive Programme (MAP) of the Federal Environment Ministry promotes measures for the use of renewable energies for heat generation. It is a key instrument for making the switch to renewable energies attractive. Those who invest in technologies for the supply of heat using renewable energies will be supported according to funding regulations. This applies to a private person and equally so to local authorities and companies; larger businesses however must adhere to specific application requirements. Investment grants, low interest loans and repayment grants will be provided. Specific conditions are governed by the funding regulations of the Market Incentive Programme.

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The 2 degree limit

The rise in global average temperature to be limited to 2°C. This target was agreed by all the countries which participated in the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 15) in 2009 in Copenhagen. The rise in temperature is measured in comparison to the temperature level prior to industrialisation. To meet the 2 degree limit greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically reduced worldwide.

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UN Decade of Biodiversity

The United Nations (UN) has called for an end to be put to the decline in biodiversity worldwide between 2011 and 2020. The decade has been declared the UN Decade of Biodiversity (the Greek term deka meaning ten). The objectives of the UN Decade include the protection of biodiversity and the promotion of its sustainable use. Countries and private stakeholders worldwide have been called upon. In addition to this, public awareness and commitment to biodiversity need to be increased. The UN Decade of Biodiversity was declared within the framework of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

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UNEP

UNEP is the United Nations Environment Programme. The subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly is responsible for global and local environmental issues and is considered to be the "environmental conscience of the United Nations". UNEP gathers and analyses information on the global and local state of the environment and directs international attention to important environmental problems. The organisation develops regional environment and sustainability programmes and supports developing countries to set up and implement their own environmental protection programmes. The UNEP report on the global environmental situation published every two years documents environmental damage and developments. UNEP was set up in 1972 and its members are elected by the UN General Assembly every four years.

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UNFCCC - Framework Convention on Climate Change

The goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is to prevent dangerous disturbances to the climate system caused by greenhouse gases. Since the Convention was signed in 1994 international negotiations on climate protection have been held regularly. The countries involved come together once a year at a meeting of all parties to the Convention, the COP. These meetings are where climate targets, climate protection measures and activities to mitigate impacts of climate change are discussed and decisions are taken. The parties are obliged to report regularly on their greenhouse gas emissions and introduce measures to address climate change. The obligations for industrialised countries are more stringent than those for developing countries

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Waste Exports

For the shipment of waste from a country, waste export, there are strict provisions in place. This ensures the environmentally sound and safe disposal and recovery of waste. The 1989 Basel Convention regulates the export of hazardous waste worldwide. To export waste the following is required: approval from the exporting country, the approval of all transit countries and the approval of the importing country. There has been a significant reduction in the number of illegal waste exports as a result of the Basel Convention; however full border surveillance is impossible.

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Waste Shipment

When waste is transported over state borders we refer to this as transboundary waste shipment. Both hazardous waste and valuable raw materials found in waste, may not be transported unchecked over borders. To prevent this from happening, international and national regulations regarding waste shipment have been put in place. Internationally the 1989 Basel Convention is an important regulation, within the European Union the Regulation on the Shipment of Waste has been brought in. Different regulations apply depending on the type of waste in question. In Germany, the Waste Shipment Act supplements the provisions of this Regulation on the Shipment of Waste.

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World Natural Heritage

Unique natural landscapes, whose loss would be irreplaceable for the human race, have been placed under the protection of the entire international community by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). These landscapes are then considered as World Heritage Sites. Once a year UNESCO inscribes unique landscapes and important historical treasures in the World Heritage List. The basis used to decide upon list entries is the 1972 "Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and National Heritage". Inclusion in the World Heritage List must be applied for by the state or country where the natural landscape is located. The Wadden Sea, the Messel Pit Fossil Site in Hessen as well as Germany's Ancient Beech Forests (since 2011) are all on the World Natural Heritage list.

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