Cross-border municipal cooperation on climate protection and climate adaptation measures

Award for municipal policy of the Carl and Anneliese Goerdeler Foundation 2023

Award winners: Sarah Laukamp, Annebell Schlösser, Anna Vintsyuk (from left to right) | Photo: Paulina Koschmieder, Connective Cities

On 2 February 2023, the Carl and Anneliese Goerdeler Foundation Municipal Politics Prize was awarded to the project #paminafürsklima: PAMINA Youth Conference-Climate Protection & PAMINA Climate Challenge. The award was presented by the Mayor of the City of Leipzig, Mr Burkhard Jung, together with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Carl and Anneliese Goerdeler Foundation, Wolfgang Goerdeler. Another partner was Connective Cities, which supported the contest for the award for the third time in a row.

The project #paminafürsklima, which was awarded the 2023 Carl and Anneliese Goerdeler Foundation Prize for Local Politics, was submitted by the PAMINA Eurodistrict. Ms Annabel Schlösser, Environmental Affairs Officer, was present on behalf of the project. Together, 15 partner organisations from the regions Southern Palatinate, Middle Upper Rhine and Northern Alsace organised a digital youth conference on climate protection in 2020, because: Environment and climate protection do not end at the border. In several workshops, lists of demands and concrete actions for better climate protection in the region were developed, which were subsequently implemented in the PAMINA Climate Challenge. Among other things, the young participants demanded more green spaces for growing their own fruit and vegetables or the reuse of plastic bags. In addition, there was also their own practical commitment: around 3,300 people in the PAMINA Eurodistrict joined the call for concrete actions and ate a vegan diet for at least one day, gave up their cars and handed over the catalogue of demands they had drawn up to the political decision-makers in their communities. Despite the ongoing pandemic situation, the participants of #paminafürsklima showed great commitment and combined political demands with their own commitment across national borders. The young people have thus made a valuable contribution to cross-border, municipal climate protection. The continuation of the project until next autumn with another climate protection conference and the increased involvement of youth actors from German and French municipalities is all the more gratifying.

Due to the many convincing submissions, the Foundation also awarded a special prize this year to the Ukrainian city of Lutsk and the district of Lippe. In Ukrainian-German cooperation, a project was realised for the use of ecological and intelligent technologies in public transport in the city of Lutsk. The prize was accepted by Ms Anna Vintsyuk on behalf of the city of Lutsk, and Ms Sarah Laukamp was present on behalf of the district of Lippe. The partnership between the city of Lutsk and the district of Lippe already exists since 2015; in the last years, the project partners worked together on the transformation of the municipal transport services in Lutsk. Part of the measures was the installation of smart bus stops and a website with up-to-date information on the traffic situation in the city. This contribution to the digitalisation of mobility services is the result of constructive municipal cooperation with great transfer potential. Against the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine, the commitment and the partnership cultivated in this way are to be particularly highly valued.

After the award ceremony, a panel discussion moderated by Frieder Meyer-Krahmer took place on the topic of "What can municipal climate policy achieve in European and global cooperation". The panel discussion included the representatives of the award-winning projects, as well as the Mayor of the City of Leipzig and the First Deputy Mayor of Cologne and Chairman of Climate Alliance, Mr. Andreas Wolter. On the one hand, it was agreed in the discussion that climate protection does not adhere to borders, so a cross-border approach is in the nature of things. For example, if a municipality decides to engage in sustainable cooperation through its partnerships, such as climate-sensitive transport and trade, this contribution is not only made locally, but has a global impact. It is also important to always look for good practices to address specific challenges and to transfer these solutions to one's own local context. Mayor Jung said that achieving civic participation through schools, as in the case of the PAMINA project, is very impressive and has not yet been achieved in Leipzig - a transfer of knowledge here would be very exciting. The award winners also agreed that the prize money could be used for further initiatives, such as planting trees in climate communities or transporting supplies to the Ukrainian partner community. Even though the monetary award is helpful, for the project representatives the award is more about appreciation of the work and the joint efforts.

Paulina Koschmieder, Connective Cities

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