“It is the local and region levels where people decide whether climate action will be successful or not’’ explained H.E. Barbara Hendricks, German Federal Minister, Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), because while the national and international officials discuss climate change, the local level is experiencing its impacts. The willingness for a mutual exchange of experiences is overwhelming, she observed, and necessary. National targets and incentives should be designed in partnership with local leaders from the start. Cities and towns are where people work and live and this is where the transformation toward more sustainable economies and lifestyles will take place.
Germany has supported over 22,000 projects in 3,000 municipalities, 1/3 of the total number in the country. In addition, the federal government has subsidized 700 million dollars’ worth of local projects – from LED installations to bicycle infrastructure – which has spurred another 3.2 billion dollars’ worth of investments.
Germany is also committed to supporting local governments from around the world, for example, through the ICLEI Ambitious City Promises program in Southeast Asia and C40 programs which support capacity building in Sub-saharan Africa.
Through these and other initiatives, Germany is investing in more sustainable cities and a more sustainable world.