The project ‘Municipal Climate Partnerships’ is being implemented by the Service Agency Communities in One World in cooperation with the North Rhine Westphalian Working Party on Agenda 21 (LAG 21 NRW).
The project was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project is supported by the German Association of Cities, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, and the German Association of Counties.
In February 2010 and April 2013 the Board of the German Association of Cities passed resolutions to support the project.
Long-term municipal partnerships
At the 11th Federal Conference of Municipalities and Initiatives held in Munich in 2009, the local actors present sent a clear signal in favour of ‘climate change mitigation and adaptation in development cooperation’ by setting further targets and making further recommendations. It was therefore projected that at least 50 German municipalities establish long-term climate partnerships for sustainable development by the year 2015.
A corresponding preliminary study was subsequently prepared by LAG 21 NRW and the Service Agency. The study established that 122 municipalities in Germany have already entered into a development partnership, and at the same time meet at least one criterion that would qualify them as a municipality committed to climate change mitigation. Examples include municipalities that are signatories to the Covenant of Mayors or the Local Government Millennium Declaration. Approximately half of these municipalities even meet several criteria.
Many municipalities in the Global South possess extensive experience with climate change adaptation, and take climate change into account in municipal planning processes. They also participate in regional and international networks and initiatives. The ‘Municipal Climate Partnerships’ project aims to make exhaustive use of the potential of municipalities in the North and the South. The project supports the exchange of municipal actors, with a distinct focus on direct cooperation between two partner municipalities. Important principles of the project are peer-to-peer cooperation, mutual learning and joint responsibility for designing and implementing the programmes of action.
The basic aim of the project ‘Municipal Climate Partnerships’ is to initiate and/or strengthen professional cooperation between German municipalities and municipalities in the Global South in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation. These issues will be systematically integrated into the existing work of municipal partnerships. The municipal partnerships will design concrete and joint programmes of action that include objectives, measures and allocated resources.
The target group of the project encompasses municipal administrators and policy makers, as well as selected civil society actors, in the respective partner cities. This includes various municipal departments working in specialised areas such as international affairs/partnership work, environment/climate, and Local Agenda.
Structure of the project as a whole
The project as a whole is being implemented in separate phases, during each of which the municipal partnerships receive close support for a period of around one and a half or up to two years. Overall, 42 climate partnerships participated in the first four phases of the project which have already come to an end with the presentation of the joint programmes of action on climate change mitigation and adaptation. During the pilot and third phase were 19 climate partnerships established between the German municipalities and their African partners. In the second and fourth phase of the project 24 partnerships with municipalities in Latin America and the Caribbean designed their joint programmes of action.
By mid-2016 the fifth phase started with the participation of fife East Asian municipalities. These climate partnerships will present their action programmes in May 2018 during an international workshop. The sixth phase began in October 2017 with 12 partnerships between municipalities from Germany and African as well as Latin American countries.
In total there are currently 60 climate partnerships.
Input provided by the Service Agency
Each phase of the project is organised along clearly defined and structured lines, with milestones and key processes. These include international workshops to kick-off and conclude each phase. To drive the development of the joint programmes of action within the climate partnerships, Engagement Global/the Service Agency and LAG 21 NRW will provide the municipalities with numerous services. These include funding the reciprocal exchange of municipal experts, providing technical and methodological advice on specific aspects of the project, and organising network meetings for the municipalities involved. LAG 21 NRW also offers to conduct for school classes and non-school youth groups the planning simulation game ‘View from the South – switching perspectives on climate change’ free of charge.
Providing a strategic framework
The programmes of action provide the strategic framework for the medium- to long-term design of the climate partnerships. They describe both overarching objectives and specific measures for climate change mitigation and adaptation, for instance in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, solid waste management or education work. They should include activities in both municipalities, and also describe short-, medium- and long-term measures for implementation. The programmes of action are designed in a participatory process that involves various local actors including administrators, policy makers and civil society actors.
The implementation of the programmes of action remains the responsibility of the two partner municipalities involved. The Service Agency and LAG 21 NRW will advise the climate partnerships on implementing the programmes of action, and provide them with information on instruments and funding opportunities.
Many climate partnerships involved in the first four phases of the project have already begun implementing their programmes of action, and in this connection are making use of the various forms of support offered by Engagement Global. For example, some climate partnerships are implementing projects as part of the Service Agency’s ‘Support programme for municipal climate change mitigation and adaptation projects’ or the programme ‘Partnership projects for sustainable local development’.
Participating in the project
For each of the project phases the Service Agency publishes a call for declarations of interest. German municipalities that have already entered into a municipal partnership, or are interested in establishing a new climate partnership, are eligible to submit declarations of interest. The most important criterion for participating in the project is the willingness of the two partner municipalities to prepare a joint programme of action for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to cooperate on a long-term basis. Each participating municipality signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Service Agency detailing the inputs that will be provided by the Service Agency, and the expectations placed on the municipality.
To obtain advice on joining the project without obligation, interested municipalities are welcome to get in touch with the Service Agency or LAG 21 NRW at any time
Climate Partnerships @ COP 23
Bonn, 15 November 2017.
More than 70 participants from 18 climate partnerships came together for an international network meeting of climate partnerships during the UN Climate Change Conference COP 23.