Partnership Conference for German and Asian Municipalities 2023
Fit for the future? Urban-rural relations in times of climate change
Current topics of partnership work, opportunities for exchange with other dedicated people and the chance to meet your partner municipality in person: All this awaits you at the Partnership Conference for German and Asian Municipalities from 27 to 28 September 2023 in Hildesheim. Stay up to date and find out about the agenda here.
Every three years, municipal actors from Asian and German municipalities can meet at the conference. This year, we and the twinned cities Hildesheim-Padang invite you to Hildesheim from 27 to 28 September. We would like to discuss with you how the relations between city and country can be shaped sustainably in times of climate change.
Discuss good practice examples and challenges with other dedicated people, put forward your own topics and use the opportunity to meet your municipal partners in person. At a working meeting of up to three days before or after the conference, you can then pursue even deeper dialogue with your partner municipality and further develop your joint projects.
Urban-rural relations in times of climate change
This year, the conference will focus on the links between urban and rural areas. The climate crisis is increasingly challenging spatial planners to consider interrelations between urban and rural areas. The urban-rural divide is also being affected by new forms of working and a sharp increase in the cost of urban housing. As a result, income levels and migration patterns are changing in many of the world's major cities. The complex interplay of climate change, population growth and fragility in cities – from sea-level rise to freshwater scarcity – has turned them into centres of social and economic inequality. This is increasing the risk of violence and severely affecting the safety of people in urban centres around the world.
Yet rural areas too are also characterised by fragility. Among other things, skilled workers and especially those with the capacity to innovate are migrating. Climate change also affects these areas due to their dependence on agriculture. Women are particularly hard hit: when disasters strike, women are less likely to survive and more likely to be injured.
One proposal for a change of perspective on cities is emerging from a project of the Stockholm Institute for Peace Research (SIPRI). According to the proposal, cities should be seen first and foremost as communities of different people and not as built environments. Approaches to preventing violence in cities should focus on social inequality and disconnectedness. Given the worsening impacts of climate-induced migration, cities are more likely to find strategies for climate resilience through stronger links with the surrounding countryside and with other cities in the global community. Global city networks have a key role to play here.
The hosting partnership Hildesheim and Padang
Hildesheim and Padang have a long-standing partnership: administrative cooperation between the German and Indonesian cities began in 1988, followed by the conclusion of a partnership agreement between the University of Applied Arts and Sciences (HAWK) and Bung Hatta University in Padang in 1990.
Together, we invite you to Hildesheim in Lower Saxony, a city with 101,000 inhabitants bordering the low mountain region of Harz. The conference will take place in the town hall in the middle of the beautiful old town with its numerous half-timbered houses.
Tuesday, 26 September 2023 – arrival and evening programme
17h30 City tour Hildesheim
19h00 Informal get-together and dinner
Wednesday, 27 September 2023 – day 1 of the conference
10h00 Official welcome and introductions with Beate Maria König, Mayor of Hildesheim (Germany) and a councilwoman for the Social Democratic Party since 2011, and Ekos Albar Munaf, Deputy Mayor of Padang (Indonesia)
12h00 Climate resilience: Potentials and challenges of rural areas
Ulziijargal Tserenpurev, Founder and Director Eco Mommy, Mongolia
Michael Schmitz, Deputy Head of the European Office of the German County Association in Brussels, Belgium
Dr. ing. Shritu Shreshta, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Germany
15h00 Municipal partnerships workshops
19h30 „Indonesian-German evening“ Evening reception at the city hall
Thursday, 28 September 2023 – day 2 of the conference
10h00 Open Spaces Open Spaces allow participants to present their expertise and work with interested participants on common issues
14h00 Market place Open consultation on funding and other support for municipal partnerships as well as complementary offers for civil society
16h00 Transfer into practice
16h45 Closing remarks Kurt-Michael Baudach, Head of Department, Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) of Engagement Global, Germany
18h30 Joint dinner
FACES OF THE CONFERENCE
Beate Maria König Beate Maria König has been Mayor of Hildesheim (Germany) and a councilwoman for the Social Democratic Party since 2011. She also serves as a member of the administrative and cultural committees, chairwoman of the Friedrich Weinhagen Foundation, member of various boards of trustees of institutions in Hildesheim, and council ambassador for the partnership with Padang in Indonesia. König worked as a pedagogical staff member at an elementary school for 17 years until the summer of 2023.
Ekos Albar Munaf Ekos Albar has been Vice Mayor of Padang (Indonesia) since May 2023. Munaf has been a member of the National Mandate Party since 1999 and is currently the party's treasurer. He grew up in Batu Sangkar, West Sumatra, and completed his master's degree in Human Resources Management in Jakarta. His professional career has taken him to the automotive industry and to a communications contractor in Jakarta. In addition to his work as Vice Mayor, he is currently pursuing a doctorate at Jakarta State University.
Susanne Luithlen Susanne Luithlen works as an independent organizational advisor, facilitator, trainer and coach. She mostly works for NGOs and the public sector in international development. International municipal exchange is a main pillar of her work. Before becoming self-employed, she has worked in leadership positions in various organizations for several years. She is a mediator, a consultant for group dynamics and trained in the methods of Augusto Boal’s theatre as well as in psychodrama. Susanne Luithlen studied philosophy, political science and African studies in Cologne, Germany.
Dr. Ing. Shritu Shrestha Dr. Ing. Shritu Shrestha is a Senior Researcher at the Wuppertal Institute, Germany. Her work focuses on sustainable transport strategies, policies and planning for sustainable cities, climate action in cities, and energy and resource efficiency of buildings. After studying architecture in Kathmandu, Nepal, and earning a master's degree in Cologne, she completed her doctorate about energy-efficient and green buildings at the Technical University of Berlin and the Wuppertal Institute, Germany. She previously worked as a visiting scientist at UN-Habitat in Kenya and at the Stockholm Environment Institute in Thailand.
Michael Schmitz Michael Schmitz is Deputy Head of the European Office of the German Association of Districts, where his responsibilities include regional policy, rural development, subsidiarity and municipal development cooperation. He is also Chairperson of the Cohesion Expert Group of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions and participates in various working groups of the European Commission in the field of rural development as well as in the Subsidiarity Expert Group of the European Committee of the Regions. Schmitz studied law in Mainz (Germany) and Lausanne (Switzerland) including study visits to Sydney, Washington D.C. and Brussels.
Ulziijargal Tserenpurev Ulziyjargal Tserenpurev works as a production technologist at a Mongolian food company and founded the non-governmental organization Eco Mommy in 2018. The organization is headquartered in the town of Murun in the rural province of Khuvsgul (Mongolia) and has a presence in 23 villages within the province. Eco Mommy encourages women to actively participate in society and empowers them to live together in an environmentally friendly way. Tserenpurev coordinates the organization, which now has around 4,000 members and finances itself entirely from own resources.
'Storytelling – An ancient tradition'
The partnership conference for German and Asian municipalities 2021 was all about storytelling and interactive learning.