The Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt - UBA), which was established on 22 July 1974, provides support for the Federal Environment Ministry, especially with regard to the preparation of legal and administrative regulations in the fields of climate protection, air quality control, noise abatement, waste management, water resources management, soil conservation, environmental chemicals and health-related environmental issues.
UBA is also involved in the enforcement of a number of laws including in the field of emissions trading, the Plant Protection Act, the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act and the EU REACH legislation. An important task UBA has to perform is informing the public about environmental issues. For that purpose UBA offers access to extensive data bases, regularly publishes "The State of the Environment" report and runs the largest environmental library in a German-speaking country.
UBA provides central services and support for environmental research by the Federal Environment Ministry and for coordinating environmental research by federal authorities and assists in awarding the "Blue Angel" eco-label.
The Federal Environment Agency also works internationally:
UBA staff is actively participating in many international forums. Important functions at the international level are:
- World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Air Quality Management and Air Pollution Control and for research in the field of drinking water hygiene,
- national EU air quality reference laboratory,
- focal point for the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Wastes and their Disposal,
- national liaison office for UNESCO on matters of environmental education,
- German authority issuing permits to enter and engage in activities within an Antarctic Specially Protected Area under the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty.
The Federal Environment Agency hosts:
- the German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt),
- the secretariat of the Action Programme on Environment and Health (APUG),
- the Competence Centre on Global Warming and Adaptation (KomPass),
- the Federal Environmental Specimen Bank (UPB),
- the Soil Protection Commission (KBU),
- the Indoor Air Hygiene Commission (IRK),
- the Human Biomonitoring Commission (HBM),
- the Central Reporting and Evaluation Office for Hazardous Incidents and Incidents in Process Engineering Facilities (ZEMA).
Organisation of the Federal Environment Agency
UBA has a staff of approximately 1,400. Virtually all scientific disciplines are covered, an indication of the Agency's broad scientific basis. Since 2005, UBA has been located in Dessau-Roßlau. It has facilities in Berlin, Bad Elster and Langen. It also maintains its own air quality measurement network with measuring stations distributed throughout the country.