Environmental and consumer protection often requires cross-border implementation to be successful. That is why Bavaria is fostering worldwide cooperation with states and regions and contributing to international organisations and bodies.
Geographic Focus Areas
Cooperation with Bavaria’s European neighbours is especially important. This includes Austria, Northern Italy, the Czech Republic and Switzerland in particular, but also the countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Bavaria is also active in multilateral efforts, especially in the Alpine, the Danube and the Lake Constance regions as well as with the Environmental Conference of the Regions of Europe (ENCORE).
Our focus areas in Asia include our partner regions Shandong and Guangdong (China) as well as Karnataka (India). The countries of North Africa, the Middle East and the Arab Gulf have a particular need for action in the water sector and are interested in Bavarian environmental technology. In South Africa, Bavaria maintains partnerships with Western Cape and Gauteng provinces. The Canadian partner province of Québec and Mexico are Bavaria’s focus areas in North America as well as Brazil, and the São Paulo region in particular, in South America.
Consumer Protection, Product and Food Safety
Product and chemical safety depends on cross-border implementation for success. Bavaria is contributing to EU-wide standardisation of market monitoring and cooperating with Tyrol, Salzburg and Upper Austria.
Contaminated food and substances harmful to health require quick action on the part of consumer protection. In view of extensive international interdependence of today’s commodity flows, this can only be achieved if authorities cooperate across national borders, such as by using Europe’s information systems:
- RAPEX (Rapid Exchange of Information System) for products such as toys, clothing and cosmetics posing a serious threat to the health or safety of consumers
- RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) for food and feed products that represent a risk to human health
The participants include the European Commission and the Member States; Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland also being part of RASFF. The Bavarian State Agency for Health and Food Safety coordinates measures if a product from a Bavarian manufacturer or available in the Bavarian market is affected.
Outside of Europe, Bavaria has information exchange agreements with China, as an especially large number of products are imported from there.
Good cooperation with neighbouring states on water management is important, as borders often follow bodies of water or are intersected by them.
Our cooperation with Austria is governed by a treaty dating back to 1987. The Boundary Waters Treaty signed in 1997 by Germany and the Czech Republic regulates measures including water quality improvement. Bavaria provides technical support to Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, most notably Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Serbia, on issues of EU standards and directives, technology transfer and flood protection.
Water supplies, sewage disposal, and water resource management represent enormous challenges for Brazil, China, and India. The Water Technology Transfer (TTW) project of the Bavarian State Agency for the Environment provides these countries and our CEE partners with practice-oriented know-how in this area.
Nature and Species Protection
Bavaria is also involved in cross-border environmental and species protection efforts such as the Alpine Convention and protected area cooperation.
In this regard, the Bayerischer Wald (Bavarian Forest) and Šumava (Czech Republic) national parks work closely with each other. Berchtesgaden National Park cooperates with national parks in Poland and Slovenia and is a member of the Alpine Network of Protected Areas (Alparc). Upper Bavarian Forest Nature Park collaborates with Kozjanski Park (Slovenia), and the Rhön Biosphere Reserve cooperates with the Kruger-to-Canyons Biosphere Region in South Africa. The Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (ANL) has been a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 2010.
Air Quality Control and Industrial Plant Safety
Air quality and climate protection can only be achieved through a transnational effort. Since 2009, Bavaria has been engaged in the Climate Group – a global union of regions that play especially active roles in climate protection.
The Alps are particularly affected by climate change. Schneefernerhaus Environmental Research Station (UFS) on the Zugspitze is a unique platform for atmospheric exploration and researching processes that affect weather and climate. In the face of increasing environmental changes and natural hazards in the Alpine region, Bavaria cooperates closely with Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy as well as Norway. UFS also provides training to atmospheric researchers from developing and newly industrialising countries (NIC) with their increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
When it comes to air quality control and industrial plant safety, Bavaria is continuously exchanging information with its neighbours. This includes, in particular, the German-Czech Cross-Border Air Quality working group, as well as cooperation with Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic under the UN Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents and the EU Directive on industrial safety and accident prevention (Seveso II Directive).
Green Genetic Engineering
Genetically modified plants are being cultivated around the world in ever increasing quantities. The objective of the Bavarian Government is to keep the State free of genetically modified crops. That is why Bavaria joined the European GMO-free Regions Network on 10 April 2014.
Find out more about our international involvement: