Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 28 November 2023
On this page
  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectorial cooperation


Main actors

International youth policy collaboration is the responsibility of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) at national (federal) level and the responsibility of the various state ministries at state level.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) is responsible for education for sustainable development at a national (federal) level. It launched the national platform Education for Sustainable Development (Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung, BNE) in 2015.

Other key contributors to global education and education for sustainable development are:


Public authorities, tier-2 facilities, advisory councils

  • The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz) is the scientific authority that supports BMUB) with all areas of national and international nature conservation and rural conservation.
  • The German association for international cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ) helps the federal government to achieve its international development policy cooperation targets.
  • The German Commission for UNESCO (Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission) uses international encounters and exchanges to promote international understanding, open-mindedness and cultural engagement among young people.
  • Engagement Global gGmbH is the point of contact for development policy engagement in Germany and abroad.
  • The Goethe-Institut is an intermediary organisation for the federal government's foreign cultural and educational policy.
  • The federal government's parliamentary advisory council on sustainable development (Parlamentarischer Beirat für nachhaltige Entwicklung im Bundestag) monitors compliance with Germany's National Sustainable Development Strategy (Nationale Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie).
  • The national competence centre for sustainable consumption (Nationales Kompetenzzentrum für nachhaltigen Konsum) coordinates the implementation of the National Programme for Sustainable Consumption (Nationales Programm für nachhaltigen Konsum) and provides information on sustainable consumption.
  • The German Council for Sustainable Development (Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung) advises the federal government on sustainability policy and proposes ways of developing and implementing the National Sustainable Development Strategy (Nationale Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie).
  • The German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) is Germany's central environment authority.

Independent institutions and facilities

  • AIESEC Germany (AIESEC Deutschland) helps young people to develop leadership skills and gain their own global experiences.
  • The National Working Group for Nature and Environmental Education (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Natur und Umweltbildung, ANU) is the umbrella professional association for environment centres, initiatives, providers, freelance and self-employed professionals, and individuals active in non-formal environmental education.
  • The Learning and Helping Overseas Association (AKLHÜ e.V. – Fachstelle und Netzwerk für internationale personelle Zusammenarbeit) is a central service centre for people and organisations working in development cooperation and members of the public interested in development policy.
  • German Catholic Youth Federation (BUND der Deutschen Katholischen Jugend, BDKJ): the umbrella organisation of Catholic children’s and youth associations in Germany campaigns for a fairer world and global peace.
  • The Federal Working Group for Work and Life (Bundesarbeitskreis ARBEIT UND LEBEN) is the professional body for political and social educational. Its education initiatives help to ensure social justice, equal opportunities and solidarity in people's work and lives with the aim of ensuring a democratic culture of participation.
  • Youth of BUND – Young Friends of the Earth Germany (BUNDjugend – Jugend im Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz) is the youth organisation of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland). Part of the international network Young Friends of the Earth.
  • The United Nations Association of Germany (Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Vereinten Nationen, DGVN) provides information about the work of the United Nations and communicates UN matters to the public.
  • The German National Committee for International Youth Work (Deutsches Nationalkomitee für Internationale Jugendarbeit, DNK) is a joint working group of the German Federal Youth Council (Deutscher Bundesjugendring, DBJR), German Sports Youth (Deutsche Sportjugend, dsj) and the Council of Political Youth Organisations (Ring Politischer Jugend, RPJ) and represents the interests of German youth organisations in multilateral contexts.
  • The OneWorld Internet Conference (Eine Welt Internet Konferenz, EWIK) is a network of organisations and institutions providing online development policy education services.
  • The German NGO Forum on Environment and Development (Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung) coordinates the activities of German non-governmental organisations in international political processes on sustainable development.
  • Germanwatch e.V.: development and environmental organisation which lobbies for global justice and the preservation of livelihoods. Education, advisory and information work.
  • Greenpeace Youth (Greenpeace Jugend): action groups of Greenpeace Germany for young people aged 14 to 19 who want to campaign for environmental protection on a voluntary basis.
  • Green Youth (GRÜNE JUGEND) is the political youth organisation of the Alliance 90/Greens parliamentary group (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN). It provides political education and information, and networks and supports the work of youth organisations, groups and initiatives across Germany and regionally.
  • The Information Centre Educational Mandate North-South (Informationsstelle Bildungsauftrag Nord-Süd), resident at World University Service, networks joint efforts by the federal government, the federal states, the European Union and non-governmental organisations to promote development education in formal and non-formal education.
  • IJAB - International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (IJAB – Fachstelle für Internationale Jugendarbeit der Bundesrepublik Deutschland), works on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and its members. It funds and shapes international youth work and international youth policy cooperation with countries in Europe, promotes dialogue between child and youth services, networks stakeholders in Germany and abroad, informs and advises child and youth service organisations, policy-makers and public administration, and advises young people on foreign placements and the funding available.
  • The German Institute for Human Rights (Institut für Menschenrechte) offers training resources and seminars on human rights.
  • Climate-Alliance Germany (Klima-Allianz) is an alliance of churches, development and consumer protection organisations, youth, environment and trade associations, trade unions and other groups advocating climate protection.
  • The Civil Peace Service (Konsortium Ziviler Friedensdienst, ZFD) is a community of nine German peace and development organisations that promote peace in crisis zones and conflict regions.
  • The Youth Association for the Protection of Nature (Naturschutzjugend, NAJU) is the youth division of the Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (Naturschutzbund Deutschland, NABU) and Germany's largest child and youth organisation for conservation and environmental protection.
  • German Young Naturefriends (Naturfreundejugend Deutschlands) is the child and youth branch of Friends of Nature Germany (NaturFreunde Deutschlands), and works to educate young people about sustainable lifestyles.
  • The German Scout Federation and German Guide Federation (Ringe deutscher Pfadfinderinnen- und Pfadfinderverbände) represent the interests of their member organisations in youth policy and promote the interests of children and young people.
  • VENRO is the umbrella organisation of development and humanitarian aid non-governmental organisations in Germany.
  • WWF Youth (WWF-Jugend) is the youth division of the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) in Germany for young people aged between 14 and 24 who are interested in wildlife conservation, sustainability and climate protection.

The global education portal (Portal Globales Lernen) has information on central organisations and networks promoting global education topics in Germany and other German-speaking areas.

Many civic organisations in the federal states work to improve sustainability and strengthen the skills to act sustainably.


Political foundations in Germany also make a big contribution to political education. They encourage the public to learn about political issues and strengthen political engagement. The foundations include:

Other foundations:

General distribution of responsibilities

The federal government – represented by the federal ministries and the federal commissioners – encourages young people to get involved in world affairs in a number of ways. The way that responsibility is divided under Germany's federal structure means that the federal states or, more specifically, the relevant state ministries, senate departments or state chancelleries, have the main responsibility for implementing projects and initiatives.

Coordinating bodies

The federal states help with the ongoing development of international youth policy and youth work via the Conference of Youth and Family Ministers (Jugend- und Familienministerkonferenz, JFMK). JFMK is the expert committee of federal state ministers and senators responsible for child, youth and family policy. It discusses and decides on key matters of child, youth and family policy. BMFSFJ, the German Parliamentary Committee on Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Available in German) and the Association of German Cities (Deutsche Städtetag) are guests of JFMK. JFMK resolutions are prepared by the Working group of the highest state youth and family authorities (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Obersten Landesjugend- und Familienbehörden, AGJF).

Education, parenting, research and cultural matters are discussed at the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz).

Cross-sectorial cooperation

The Joint Rules of Procedure of the Federal Ministries (Gemeinsame Geschäftsordnung der Bundesministerien, GGO) says that the federal ministries must cooperate on matters affecting several of them. The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) is responsible for international youth policy cooperation.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) has set up a national platform Education for Sustainable Development (Bildung für Nachhaltige Entwicklung, BNE) and several forums to implement the UNESCO ESD programme for 2030. Experts from the areas of early childhood education, schools, vocational training, higher education and informal/non-formal learning support decision-makers from politics, science, business and civil society. The aim is to integrate sustainable thoughts and actions into all areas of the education system.

Every two years, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) invites international youth work organisations to attend a joint conference. Known as the conference of providers of International Youth Community and Youth Social Services (Trägerkonferenz zur Fortentwicklung der europäischen und internationalen Jugendpolitik und Jugendarbeit), it informs participants about current developments and promotes discussions about the development of this field of work. In 2022, the conference took place in Cologne.