For the second time some 90 municipal and civil society delegates attended the Conference on Municipal Partnerships with Asia by invitation of the Service Agency Communities in One World (a division of Engagement Global). The conference was held in cooperation with the Federal City of Bonn, which this year is also Engagement Global gGmbh's partner of the year. As well as numerous actors from Germany, 30 actors from seven Asian countries – Indonesia, Viet Nam, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Georgia, the Philippines and India – also attended the conference.
The three-day agenda included two scientific inputs, as well as numerous interactive sequences that gave participants an opportunity to share information and exchange ideas. Participants reflected on their work, and were able to gain fresh incentives for working with their partners. The overall focus of the meeting was on the issue of how partnerships can be designed and managed as vibrant and sustainable entities in the face of the global challenges.
Dr. Jens Kreuter, Managing Director of Engagement Global, Martin Lübke of the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Stefan Wagner, Director of the Office for International Affairs and Sustainability of the City of Bonn, opened the conference. In his address, Martin Lübke emphasised the important role and impetus of the continent of Asia for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. In the face of increasing urbanisation, municipalities and cities in particular have an important contribution to make in ensuring a sustainable future for our One World.
This was followed in the afternoon by an intensive discussion on participation involving two representatives each of the municipal partnerships of Essen-Ulan Bator and Nuremberg-Kulmanei, and Dr Angela Jain of the Nexus Institute for Cooperation Management and Interdisciplinary Research. It quickly became evident that the participation of civil society and the passionate engagement of committed individuals were key factors for a sustainable and vibrant partnership.
To ensure that day one ended on a relaxed note, participants were invited to an evening boat trip down the Rhine along the edge of the Siebengebirge hills. This gave them an opportunity to get to know each other better and share their thoughts in an informal setting.