Work of the Ministry for Environment at International Level

In a globalised world with international ties and almost free trade within Europe, it is unavoidable for Hessian environmental policies to adapt and follow this development. With its high export performance and function as an international transport hub, Hessen has a special responsibility in regard of a successful local policy. International agreements such as Agenda 21 (Rio and Johannesburg) and climate protection protocols also oblige Hessen to assume its responsibility beyond the borders of the federal state.

Hessen’s international cooperation pursues three main goals:

  1. Improvement of the global environmental situation and living conditions
  2. Foreign business development for environmental technologies by opening up new markets for Hessian companies and
  3. Cooperation with partner regions.

The Hessian environmental administration has achieved globally recognised successes and is often a preferred or sought-after partner for the implementation of environmental protection not only in neighbouring European countries but also beyond.
The most important and recent activities of the ministry, broken down into regions, are the following:

EU and neighbouring countries

Hessen is one of the pioneers in bringing EU accession countries closer to EU environmental standards. The Hessian environmental administration supported several countries in successful joint projects. This also opened up export opportunities for Hessian’s environmental technology.

EU Twinning projects

One of the main objectives of the European Union with regard to the eastward enlargement is the support of the new Member States and candidate countries in the modernisation process of their economic and environmental infrastructure. The commission has now extended the twinning instrument to the European neighbourhood policy due to its high success rate. As part of the twinning projects, Hessen sends experts to partner countries. There, they work closely with employees of the respective partner authorities on the implementation of specific environmental projects. The project costs are entirely financed from EU funds. The HMUKLV (Hessian ministry for environment, climate protection, agriculture and consumer protection) has so far participated in 24 projects.

Partner country Projects Number of projects
Bulgaria Water Framework Directive, Quality assurance air monitoring network, Industrial plants, Medical radiation protection, Environmental consulting for industry, Forestry and genetic engineering 8
Hungary Water Framework Directive, Forestry and industrial plants 3
Serbia Veterinary field and Water Framework Directive 2
Slovenia Health protection and Water Framework Directive 2
Latvia Medical radiation protection 1
Poland Genetic engineering 1
Slovakia Structure funds for Agriculture 2
Croatia Water Framework Directive 1
Estonia Directive on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases 1
Macedonia Agriculture 1
Armenia Industrial plants 1
Israel Industrial plants 2

EU IMPEL Network

IMPEL is a European environmental agency network which stands for „Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law“. It enables an exchange of information and experience about the implementation of European environmental law. Currently there are 53 agencies and 36 European countries. After undergoing structural changes in 2014, IMPEL compromises 5 work areas covering the following themes:

  • Industry and Air
  • Waste and transboundary waste shipments
  • Water and Soil
  • Nature conservation
  • Cross-sectional issues

Funding is provided through contributions from the Member States and project-related grants from the EU.

Hessen’s role at IMPEL

Hessen is particularly active since 2017 in the area of water and soil. In 2017 and 2018 a representative of the Darmstadt regional council led the „River development planning“ project. Hereafter, an English guideline was developed.
The Hessian environmental ministry in cooperation with the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (Society for international cooperation) hosted between the 8th and 10th of June 2016 an international conference in Eschborn on circular economy and international cooperation. Representatives from Ghana and Nigeria also participated at the conference, since one focal point addressed the problem of illegal waste flows from Europe to developing countries.
Further information on the IMPEL network can be found online.