“Sustainable City” dialogue
Mayors for sustainable development in municipalities
Since early 2010, on the invitation of the German Council for Sustainable Development, the Lord Mayors of twenty German cities have been meeting regularly for a dialogue on strategic issues concerning the “Sustainable City”. The Lord Mayors are making a special effort toward sustainable development in their cities and pursuing their goal in a unique way. They exchange information about their strategies as political decision makers, pursuing the question of how municipal sustainability policy can enhance its profile and influence at the federal level as well. The results of their work so far have been documented in the “Strategic cornerstones for sustainable development in municipalities” (PDF, 3149 KB), published in October 2010, as well as in the June 2011 publication “Städte für eine zukunftsfähige Entwicklung” (Cities for sustainable development) (PDF, 2755 KB), which was drafted in conjunction with the German Institute for Urban Studies (DIFU). Their most recent publication, “Making the Energiewende a success story thanks to strong local authorities” (PDF, 3097 KB), was released in June 2013. The Council for Sustainable Development enables and facilitates the process.
Drafted by the following Lord Mayors as part of the "Sustainable City" dialogue:
Andreas Bausewein, Erfurt
Andreas Brand, Friedrichshafen
Uli Burchardt, Constance
Dirk Elbers, Düsseldorf
Peter Gaffert, Wernigerode
Ivo Gönner, Ulm
Dr. Kurt Gribl, Augsburg
Wolfgang Griesert, Osnabrück
Hans-Joachim Grote, Norderstedt
Burkhard Jung, Leipzig
Dr. Angelika Kordfelder, Rheine
Markus Lewe, Münster
Jörg Lutz, Lörrach
Ulrich Mädge, Lüneburg
Dr. Ulrich Maly, Nuremberg
Jürgen Nimptsch, Bonn
Boris Palmer, Tübingen
Reinhard Paß, Essen
Dr. Daniel Rapp, Ravensburg
Dieter Reiter, Munich
Jürgen Roters, Cologne
Dr. Dieter Salomon, Freiburg
Stefan Schostok, Hannover
Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, former Lord Mayor of the city of Stuttgart and member of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE)
Werner Spec, Ludwigsburg
Bernd Tischler, Bottrop
Dr. Jens Triebel, Suhl
Dr. Manfred Wilde, Delitzsch
Dr. Eckart Würzner, Heidelberg
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Energiewende at the municipal level
“Making the Energiewende a success story thanks to strong local authorities” (PDF, 3097 KB) was published in June 2013. In this publication, the Lord Mayors respond to the German Federal Government and Bundesrat (Federal Council, the assembly of German federal states) resolutions of June 2011 and document how their municipalities meet the challenge of the “Energiewende” (energy turnaround) and where they see urgent need for the legislator to take action. Since there is not one but a diversity of proper paths open to municipal energy policy, the participants of the dialogue stress the value of mutual learning and the necessity of the Federal Government to step up its support for the transformation of local energy systems.
The first results of their work were the “Strategic cornerstones for sustainable development in municipalities” (PDF, 3149 KB). The municipal leaders, supported by the Council for Sustainable Development, agreed on the commitments and recommendations published in October 2010 as the basis for presenting their demands to policy makers at all levels.
Our four cornerstones
- Sustainability must be conceived by people: concrete, spirited, hands-on, with a perspective and together with the people.
For this reason, we set store by dialogue, participation and the assumption of responsibility and give sustainability a face through concrete local projects and local sustainable economic management. Although our cities are different, the experiences we have accumulated in terms of commitment and involvement have been positive. In the context of climate protection, for example, long-term visions and concepts have emerged from a wealth of ideas and creative proposals.
- Sustainability entails not consuming more resources – including financial ones – than are available.
For this reason, we champion a balanced budget and the reduction of debt for the benefit of generations to come. To establish cost transparency, we review the lifetime costs of all major investment projects. We seek to apply sustainability audits in the future to safeguard the budgetary handling of financial and natural resources.
In parallel, we call for the municipalities to be given structural relief. New tasks should only be assigned to municipalities once a funding solution has been mutually agreed with the municipalities.
- Sustainable development requires the integrated interaction of all departments.
For this reason, we have to ensure that sustainability becomes a matter for all senior decision-makers and integrate this cross-cutting task into policies and administration. We align enterprises run by the municipality and our public procurement system to the notion of sustainability wherever this is possible. We call upon the EU, the Federal Government and the Laender to improve the framework conditions for sustainable procurement and sustainable economic management.
- The Federal Government, the Laender and the municipalities must toe the same rope if they truly wish to make real on sustainability strategies.
For this reason, we want greater coordination between the municipalities, the Laender, the Federal Government and the European Union. We are willing to gear our sustainability strategies and their indicators to the sustainable development strategies of the Federal Government and the Laender. In turn, however, we expect the Federal Government and the Laender to include the municipalities more closely in the furthering of their strategies and the Federal Government and Laender to align their policies to the model of sustainability more closely than before.
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These brochures can also be obtained free of charge by using our online form.
Press photos of the “Sustainable City” dialogue on 13 May 2011
Treffen von Vertretern der Initiative „Dialog nachhaltige Stadt“ und des Rates für Nachhaltige Entwicklung mit dem Bundesminister für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung, Peter Ramsauer am 13.05.2011 in Berlin.
Photos: Hans-Peter König, © BMVBS
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