The German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) is an expert advisory body whose mission is to describe and assess environmental conditions, problems, and political trends and to point out solutions and preventive measures.
As set out in its mandate, the SRU submits an Environmental Report to the German federal government every four years. The report describes and assesses environmental policy developments and provides in-depth analyses of selected topics.
In addition, the SRU issues Special Reports in which specific environmental problems are examined in detail. In order to be able to advise the federal government in a timely manner before important environmental decisions are made, the SRU also issues Statements and Comments in which it formulates recommendations on topical environmental questions, for example in relation to ongoing legislative processes.
The SRU is bound by the mission established in its charter but is fully independent to determine its advice and the focus and scope of its reports.
The SRU was established by a charter of the Federal Ministry of the Interior on December 28, 1971 (GMBI 1972, No. 3, page 27), as part of the federal government's environmental programme of October 1971. The SRU was constituted and commenced operation in 1972.
In 1990, the SRU's charter was amended by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (GMBI 1990, Nr. 32, pages 831 f. of August 10, 1990).
In 2005, the SRU's charter was amended by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (GMBI 2005, Nr. 31, pages 662 f. of March 01, 2005)
The SRU consists of seven university professors from different disciplines who have special expert knowledge and experience in matters of environmental protection. This composition guarantees an interdisciplinary mode of operation, which takes into account scientific, technological, economic, legal and ethical perspectives.
The members of the SRU are appointed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety on the basis of a Cabinet decision. The period of tenure is four years; reappointment is possible. The current term of office will expire in June 2020.
The Environment Council is assisted by a Secretariat, which is managed by the Secretary General. The Council supervises the work of the Secretariat in relation to matters of substance and content. The Federal Environmental Agency has legal and administrative oversight of the SRU. The Secretariat is based in Berlin.