Steering Committee

The Steering Committee comprises two representatives each of the cooperation partners German Association of Cities (DST), Engagement Global / Service Agency Communities in One World and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit who have been appointed by the respective partners and are authorised to take decisions. The Steering Committee counsels and decides on a consensual basis regarding all strategic matters of Connective Cities.

Ricarda Meissner

She is GIZ’s Senior Project Director for Connective Cities, responsible for strategy development and project management and coordination in Connective Cities as well as for cooperation with international partners and organizations. Ricarda Meissner has more than 25 years of professional experience in management of complex programmes in development cooperation for GIZ, European Union and the World Bank mainly in South-East Asia, Central Asia and Africa.
E-Mail: Ricarda.Meissner(at)

Dr.-Ing. Anka Derichs (Deputy: Carl Philipp Schuck )

GIZ's Senior Strategy Advisor for urban and regional development. Doctorate at the TU Dortmund University, Faculty of Spatial Planning. 20 years of professional experience in Germany and abroad in the fields of good governance for local development (mainly in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe), integrated urban development and urban transport. Currently, Anka Derichs is heading the team which advises GIZ projects in the fields of urban and regional governance including urban climate action, municipal reform, urban infrastructure financing, safe & inclusive cities, urban economies, cultural heritage, digital solutions in cities as well as international learning networks for municipalities. Mrs. Derichs is deputised by Mr. Carl Philipp Schuck, also a strategy advisor on urban development within GIZ.
E-mail: anka.derichs(at)
E-mail: carl-philipp.schuck(at)

Sabine Drees

Sabine Drees represents the Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag –DST) in the Connective Cities Steering Group. Sabine Drees is a “Diplom” economist, and at the DST, she is responsible for the “International Affairs” Division. She is Head of the Association of German Cities’ Working Group on “International Affairs” and is in charge of the Expert Committee on “Municipal Development Cooperation” of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). Furthermore, she represents the CEMR in the European organisation “Platforma”, the European voice of municipal development cooperation. Sabine Drees is Deputy Chair of the Advisory Board of Engagement Global (EG) and is a member of the Advisory Council and Programme Commission of the “Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW)”. Also, Sabine Drees is Managing Director of the German Delegation to the Congress of Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) in the Council of Europe.
E-Mail: Sabine.Drees(at)

Dr Ralf-Rainer Braun

Dr Ralf-Rainer Braun is a graduated geographer and urban ecologist and holds a doctor’s degree in environmental planning. He heads the Environmental Agency of the City of Hagen. Ralf-Rainer Braun is also responsible for commercial and industrial air pollution control of the cities of Bochum and Dortmund based on an inter-municipality cooperation contract. He has been selected for the Steering Group by the Association of German Cities as a municipal practitioner with several years of extensive expertise. Ralf-Rainer Braun has gained experience in numerous concrete implementation projects with assignments to Russia, China, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Colombia, Jamaica and various European countries. He is a member of various committees and working groups of the Association of German Cities and has been appointed by the Federal Minister of Environment as member of Blue Angel Environmental Label Jury. Ralf-Rainer Braun is management board member of “Biostation Hagen” and of the “GeoPark Ruhrgebiet” and a member of the Experts and Reviewers Project Selection Committee of the non-profit Foundation for International Development.
E-Mail: ralf-rainer.braun(at)

Jessica Baier

Head of the department "Topic-based partnerships and international exchange of municipal expertise" at the Service Agency Communities in One World of Engagement Global gGmbH. Interdisciplinary studies of geography, economics, political and social sciences. Jessica Baier has many years of experience in project management as well as in cooperation with German and international municipalities in various countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Her main areas of work include municipal development policy, international inter-municipal relations, sustainable urban development and the localisation of global agreements such as Agenda 2030.
E-Mail: Jessica.Baier(at)

Alexander Wagner

Engagement Global / Service Agency Communities in One World’s Project Director in Connective Cities, trained at university in Cologne, Paris and Grenoble as a political scientist and in social environment development in disadvantaged cities. Many years of experience in urban district development, European conferencing and community development in Africa. Alexander Wagner is responsible for mobilising German partners for international exchange and coordinates the events held in Germany.
E-Mail: Alexander.Wagner(at)