Bremen, 9 to 11 October 2017. The sixth phase of the 'Municipal Climate Partnerships' project kicked off with an international workshop in Bremen. The workshop was staged by the Service Agency in cooperation with the North Rhine-Westphalian Working Party on Agenda 21 (LAG 21 NRW), with support from the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. The meeting was attended by around 100 participants, who included municipal policy-makers, administrators and civil society actors. It set out to introduce all the participating municipalities to the objectives, the structure, the methodology and the instruments of the project, and to facilitate exchange within the partnerships in order to begin developing the programmes of action. For many participants the workshop was the first opportunity to meet their partners face-to-face. Time was therefore also set aside to allow people to get to know each other and to share ideas and information.
This phase of the project is the first to involve two partner regions simultaneously – Africa and Latin America. It is also the first time that the project had actively put partners from the South in touch with German municipalities wishing to take part. Nine German municipalities and their municipal partners from Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Namibia, Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa and Zimbabwe will now begin developing their joint programmes of action for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The workshop was also attended by three German municipalities without their partners from the South, who were prevented from attending by other appointments. It is envisaged that these actors will be inducted into the project at a regional kick-off workshop.
The workshop was opened with welcome addresses by Ulrike Hiller, Under-Secretary of State for Federal and European Affairs of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Dirk Schwenzfeier, Commissioner for the Private Sector and Local Authorities at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Dr. Jens Kreuter, Managing Director of Engagement Global, and Dr. Klaus Reuter, Managing Director of LAG 21 NRW. After that the climate partnerships taking part in the project introduced themselves. In the afternoon Professor Jörn Birkmann from the University of Stuttgart held a lecture on the main risks of climate change and the options for adapting to it. The project team then provided a presentation on German municipal development cooperation and the project 'Municipal Climate Partnerships'. A discussion with participants from the previous project phases provided the 'newcomers' with insights into other climate partnerships. The day ended with the handover of the Memoranda of Understanding to the participating municipalities at an evening reception held in the Bremen Parliament building.