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50 Years of Environmental Programme

Ceremonial address by German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze


© BMU / Robert Bergemann


50 Years of Environmental Programme

Historical analysis of German Environmental Policy since 1971


In Germany, environmental policy began to form as an independent policy field in the late 1960s. A major milestone in the history of German environmental policy was the adoption of the Federal Government's first environmental programme in 1971. Ecologic Institute supports the BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety) in the review of this historical event.

The project "50 Years of the Environmental Programme: Contemporary Historical Analysis of German Environmental Policy since 1971" has two main goals:

  • it is to provide a sound contemporary-historical basis for the BMU, and
  • to identify overarching issues and patterns of success in environmental policy that point the way forward for current and future environmental policy.

In addition to the actual processing of the historical event, recommendations for action for future environmental policy will therefore be derived.

In order to achieve these goals within, various starting points are taken up. On the one hand, the environmental programme of 1971 is examined in detail using an analytical framework. Another focal point of the work is a media analysis, which includes both historical research on reporting in the preparation and publication of the Federal Government's environmental programme (in the period from approx. 1970 to 1972) and research on current media reporting in the run-up to the anniversary on 22 June 2021. The media analysis is flanked by qualitative, guideline-based interviews with experts and contemporary witnesses. In a final work package, overarching questions of environmental policy will be identified and patterns of success in environmental policy will be worked out, as well as recommendations for action for a contemporary and visionary future environmental policy.

To mark the anniversary, the Federal Environment Ministry hold a virtual ceremony on 22 June 2021 entitled "50 Years of the Environment Programme. A Generation Project". At the event, a review of key environmental policy events of the past 50 years in the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were combined with statements, classifications and recollections by contemporary witnesses, experts and environmental policy actors. The central question was: What can we learn from 50 years of environmental programmes and policies for the future shaping of German and international environmental policy? Ecologic Institute supported the BMU on a technical level in the preparation and evaluation of the event.


More content from this project

Project ID
environmental policy, environmental history, contemporary witnesses, media, policy consultation, governance
evaluation, interviews