The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) 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 now to protect the public from environmental toxins and radiation and to establish an intelligent and efficient use of raw materials, to advance climate action and to promote a use of natural resources that conserves biodiversity and secures habitats.
The Federal Chancellor's organisational decree of 14 March 2018 assigned the ministry a new name: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). In December 2013 during the previous legislative period, the ministry had been assigned responsibility for urban development, housing, rural infrastructure, public building law, construction industry and federal buildings and became the BMUB, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. The objectives for these areas were creating the conditions for good housing standards and intact cities and advancing the high quality of structural engineering, building technology and construction materials in Germany.
The BMU uses a variety of instruments to fulfil its responsibilities:
1. A key responsibility 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 BMU drafts laws for the federal government which are then submitted to the Bundestag and in some cases the Bundesrat. 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 research and development, supporting the market launch of innovative technologies:
In addition to shaping framework legislation, the BMU also has economic instruments at its disposal. Support programmes are financed through taxes and the revenues from emissions trading, for example. This enables members of the public, associations, companies and municipalities to obtain financial support for specific projects.
3. Close cooperation at national and international level:
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 BMU fulfilling its responsibilities. 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. In addition to permanent bodies such as the conference of German environment ministers, interministerial working groups and committees also convene. Many environmental and climate issues can only be solved through intensive international cooperation. In this context, the BMU represents Germany in the European Union and international organisations (UN, OECD, WTO).
4. Communication for broad public participation and acceptance:
The BMU carries out comprehensive 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 BMU news through the ministry's websites or printed publications. Events and the continuous development of public participation processes aim to enable citizens to play an active role.
Federal Minister Svenja Schulze is the head of the ministry and represents it in the federal cabinet. State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth is her deputy. Just like Minister Schulze, he has the authority to issue instructions to all 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, for example for making statements before the Bundestag or Bundesrat.
The BMU is organised into directorates-general: five specialist directorates-general, one for planning and general aspects and one for central functions. The number of staff in each ranges from 80 to over 200. They are headed by the directors-general who steer and coordinate the work within their particular divisions and liaise closely with the minister and state secretaries. Every directorate-general is composed of several directorates, each comprising several divisions.
The exact number of staff working at the ministry with its current structure will be determined soon. During the last legislative period, the number of staff working at the ministry was approximately 1,000.
A total budget of 1,978 million euros was allocated to the ministry for 2018. The BMU's total budget for 2019 will be published as soon as it is determined.