Milestones of our work
The Service Centre sees the light of ‘One World‘
The Service Agency Communities in One World, which was established at the end of 2001, starts its work in January 2002. Ulrich Nitschke, the first Director of the Service Agency, describes the initial years as follows: ‘Like every new beginning, it was magical’. With huge dedication and creativity, the five-member team grasps every opportunity now open to them.
Launch of the nationwide ‘Capital City of Fair Trade competition‘
This competition is held for the first time in 2003. More than 100 municipalities now regularly present their innovative measures to strengthen fair trade and fair procurement. Today, the topic is one of the Service Agency’s four areas of activity.
Organisation of the 9th Federal Conference of Municipalities and Initiatives
The Service Agency has organised the biennial Federal Conference of Municipalities and Initiatives (now known as the Federal Conference of Local Development Cooperation, or BUKO for short) since 2004. In 2004 it took place in Magdeburg. Fair procurement, inclusion of migrant organisations and cultural diversity were high on the agenda even then.
The Service Agency partnership initiative for victims of the tsunami
In response to the tsunami disaster at the end of 2004 in South and South-East Asia, in which more than 200,000 people lost their lives, the Service Agency takes over control of the ‘Flood Relief Partnership Initiative’, which was launched by the then Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. It fields more than 1,100 enquiries in the first two months. This accomplishment raises the Service Agency’s profile.
Launch of the pilot project ’Three-Way Municipal Partnerships’
This pilot project with municipalities from Germany, France and Burkina Faso is innovative in two respects: first of all, it puts partnership projects on a structured basis for the first time, and secondly, it strengthens the European idea in municipal development cooperation.
Launch of the pilot project ‘Migration and Development at the Local Level‘
The fact that Germany is a country of immigration and that people with migration backgrounds have valuable skills that can help them to engage and act as mediators in municipal development cooperation is not yet clear for all to see. But this area was included in the Service Agency’s guidelines as far back as 2008 and even declared a further area of activity in 2010.
Launch of the project ‘Local Partnerships with a Kick!’
As far back as 2007, in the run-up to the 2010 Men's World Cup in South Africa and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Service Agency begins supporting German World Cup cities in advising host cities in South Africa and Brazil, and gaining new experience as they do so. The advice covers mobility and transport, contractual issues with FIFA and environmental protection, to name just a few areas.
2005 to 2010
Campaign to support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
The Service Agency runs a range of activities to support the UN campaign in Germany and explain the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals to as many people as possible. Together with the Association of German Cities and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, it recommends that member municipalities sign the Millennium Declaration. context doing so, the municipalities pledge maximum support for MDG implementation.
Launch of the ‘Municipal Climate Partnerships’ project
Municipalities play a key role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. In this project, climate partnerships – each consisting of one German municipality and one municipality from the Global South – receive targeted support over a period of two years. Around 70 of these partnerships have been established since 2011.
Launch of financial support for municipal partnerships
The ‘Programme to Support Municipal Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Projects’ (FKKP) is established at the end of 2011 to provide financial support to the partnerships, enabling them to bridge the gap caused by tight municipal budgets. The municipalities involved in the climate partnerships can apply to the FKKP for funding. This is the first time that federal funds are provided for a municipal development cooperation funding instrument.
Engagement Global is established and the SKEW joins the education sector
From 1 January 2012, Engagement Global incorporates institutions, organisations and programmes that are actively engaged in joint work for fair and sustainable global development. The Service Agency becomes part of the education sector and complements Engagement Global's offering with its expertise in municipal development cooperation.
Dedicated budget item to support municipal development cooperation
In 2013, BMZ establishes a separate budget item to support municipal development cooperation. It will grow rapidly in subsequent years, but there are also high expectations: the target is for the Service Agency to reach 1,000 German municipalities and significantly increase the number of partnerships supported.
Launch of the ‘Municipalities for Global Sustainability’ project
Inspired by international negotiations on the 2030 Agenda, the Municipalities for Global Sustainability project establishes a new thematic field in 2014: supporting municipalities in developing local sustainability strategies and action programmes and promoting dialogue on lessons learned in this context.
The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were officially adopted at the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2015. They are more comprehensive and complex than the previous Millennium Development Goals and emphasise the responsibility of all states for socially balanced, environmentally friendly, peaceful and sustainable development. Through the Paris Climate Agreement, in December 2015 the member states also sign up to specific measures to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees.
Specimen resolution – The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
With the Service Agency’s support, the Association of German Cities and the German section of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) have developed a specimen resolution on the 2030 Agenda as a successor to the Millennium Declaration. The signatories commit to implementing the 2030 Agenda.
Launch of the 'Municipal Know-how in the Middle East’ programme
The Municipal Know-how for Host Communities in the Middle East initiative was founded in 2016 to support municipalities in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey – the main first countries to receive refugees from the war in Syria. In addition to more flexible funding instruments, the assignment of regional coordinators in the partner countries is also a new element.
Beacon project ‘Global - Local: Localising the 2030 Agenda’
On 5 June 2018, the State Secretaries’ Committee for Sustainable Development selected the project Global - Local: Localising the 2030 Agenda as the 2018 lighthouse project for the national sustainability strategy. It did so in recognition of the combination of services offered in the areas of municipalities for global sustainability and municipal sustainability partnerships.
Ambassadors for municipal development cooperation
The 20 ambassadors nominated by the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Gerd Müller – all current or former mayors or managing directors of local enterprises – encourage new municipalities and local enterprises to get involved in development cooperation. They also advise on new services for municipalities, thereby supporting the Service Agency’s work.
1,000 municipalities have signed up to Service Agency projects
The Service Agency reaches an important milestone: with a team of around 180 people, it now supports more than 1,000 engaged municipalities and around 500 local partnerships worldwide. Municipal development cooperation is now an integral part of the sustainability agenda.
‘Bonn Compact for a Local 2030 Agenda’ with the Service Agency’s involvement
The Bonn Compact for a Local 2030 Agenda is just one of the outcomes achieved by the 15th Federal Conference of Local Development Cooperation (BUKO) held in June 2021. Here, municipal representatives emphasised their will to shape the agenda and set themselves the goal of having ‘2030 municipalities by 2030’. The target is for 90 percent of all inhabitants in Germany to live in a 2030 Agenda municipality by 2030.