Darmstadt/ online, 24 and 25 November 2020. The new and eighth phase of the Municipal Climate Partnerships project got off to a successful start under particularly challenging conditions. Broadcast in three languages to all municipalities as an interactive livestream, this varied virtual event enabled the new project partners to get to know each other. With pandemic restrictions in place, the original venue in Darmstadt was turned into a makeshift studio. Moderator Alexander Thamm steered the two-day event from the stage. With him in the studio and able to provide some key background information on the climate project's objectives were Marie Mévellec from the Service Agency Communities in One World, and Moritz Schmidt from the cooperation partner North Rhine-Westphalian Working Party on Agenda 21 (LAG21 NRW).
Following the opening address by Daphne Gross-Jansen from Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), day one focused on the new climate partnerships, which were given ample opportunity to present themselves. Many had filmed short videos to present their partnership's special features and challenges for the other participants. These authentic presentations took the viewers on a journey to the respective municipalities, but also made it abundantly clear just how great the need for action is in the face of the climate crisis, especially in Africa. All of the climate partnerships showed they were highly motivated to shape their future and their projects constructively.
Having joined the conference from Congo, keynote speaker Olivier Mushiete, Director and site manager of the Bombo Lumene hunting grounds and reserve (DCRBL), made a special contribution in which he directed attention to the relationship between population growth and climate change. High population pressure in the greater Kinshasa area means that more and more forest areas in the Congo are rapidly being cut down and used for human settlement. This results in an irretrievable loss of biodiversity. This topic was touched on several times in the course of the conference, as it is very important that climate action should also address biodiversity depletion.