Environmental policy – approaches for transformative change

Proejct description

Title: Sector Project Environmental Policies
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: global
Lead executing agency: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Overall term: 2018 to 2021


Reports on climate change, extreme weather events, large-scale environmental pollution and dramatic species loss clearly show that global efforts to prevent the destruction of our environment are not enough. The goals of the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will only be achieved if measures to protect the environment and the climate are implemented rigorously.

By 2100, the damage to the environment and the costs arising from this could reduce average per capita income by 23 per cent worldwide. An important reason for this is that prices for goods and services do not currently reflect the true costs to the environment. Incentives for agriculture, fossil fuels and fisheries that are harmful to the environment increase environmental damage further. Ambitious and transformative policy approaches are needed to promote change throughout society and to embed sustainability and nature conservation as central guiding principles in all policy areas.

It is becoming increasingly clear that a paradigm shift is needed in which we recognise intact ecosystems as ‘natural capital’ and therefore as irreplaceable assets for the long-term prosperity of our society.


Environmental protection and nature conservation are promoted in international development cooperation through the provision of expert advice and the development and implementation of transformative policy approaches.


The project advises the responsible division 411 ‘Environment, sustainable use of natural resources, biodiversity, marine conservation’ of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It develops and trials innovative and transformative policy approaches, particularly in areas where environmental impact may be high, so that these areas take the topic of environmental protection into consideration more seriously in their respective strategies. The project analyses international environmental policy agendas and processes and advises BMZ on their implementation.

The project supports BMZ in the following key areas:

  • Accounting for and evaluating natural capital highlights the significance of nature for both society and the economy. The project identifies the benefits that people obtain from nature and shows the interactions and dependencies between the economy and the environment. Together with the project, BMZ has launched the ‘Grüner Wert’ (‘green value’) initiative which aims to determine the socio-economic value of protected areas in Africa and incorporate it into relevant policy processes, particularly the post-2020 process of the CBD for biodiversity conservation.
  • Ecological financial reform corrects market failure by calculating the actual environmental costs of products, services and activities and thereby supporting the transition to a more environmentally sustainable economy. The project develops concepts and approaches for BMZ for the purpose of reducing subsidies that harm the environment and promoting ecological true-cost pricing in development policy debate and in partner countries. 
  • The initiative with the cruise industry aims to protect marine and coastal ecosystems and boost the economic power of destination regions. In the initiative, cruise companies, destination regions, non-governmental organisations and BMZ engage in a strategic dialogue for environmentally compatible destination management and agree upon joint activities. The project thus strengthens international and regional cooperation.
  • In the area of sustainable chemicals management, the project advises BMZ on relevant multilateral agreements and conventions. Furthermore, it offers training in partner countries on implementing the Minamata Convention on Mercury. 

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