Councillor Weziwe Thusi and State Councillor Olaf Joachim (middle) accept the award  | Photo: Entwicklungszusammenarbeit Bremen [EZ Bremen]:

25/11/2019 | Bremen and its twin city Durban in South Africa have been awarded the prestigious German Sustainability Award for the year 2020. In the category "Municipal Partnerships" the twin cities won the race against numerous competitors. The German Sustainability Award is Europe's largest award for ecological and social commitment and was presented in Düsseldorf on 22 November 2019. The jury evaluation also highlighted the "Ocean Champs" project (Bremen-Durban Marine Environmental Education Network - MEEN) in which ZMT is involved.

Bremen's Mayor Dr. Andreas Bovenschulte says: “We are very pleased that our joint commitment to sustainable development over many years has been recognised with this important award. This is an incentive for us to continue to work together for sustainable development, not only within the framework of our climate and town twinning projects, but also locally in our municipalities.”

At the gala in Düsseldorf, Dr. Olaf Joachim, Bremen’s Representative for Federal and European Affairs and State Councillor for Media Affairs, Development Cooperation and International Affairs, accepted the award on behalf of Mayor Bovenschulte and together with Durban City Councillor Weziwe Thusi from SDG Ambassador for Fair Trade Sara Nuru. Olaf Joachim emphasised the important role that experts not only from the administration but also as from civil society, science and business and above all also young people played in the success of the partnership.

Durban and Bremen share the prize money totalling 60,000 euros, which is to be earmarked for sustainable development projects.

The prize was awarded for the 12th time by the Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis e.V. in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) at Engagement Global. The award in the "Municipal Partnerships" category honours municipalities in Germany and their partner cities in the Global South that are committed to implementing the "UN Agenda 2030" for sustainable development.

The partnership between Bremen and Durban, which has existed since the 1990s, was institutionalised in 2011 with a town twinning framework agreement. At the heart of development cooperation is the joint commitment to climate protection and resource conservation within the framework of a climate partnership. The partner cities each use the expertise of the partner in exchange on topics such as sustainable urban development, climate adaptation, environmental education, wastewater management or green space planning.

In southern Africa, Durban is a pioneer in projects and concepts for adaptation to climate change and was thus able to provide ideas for Bremen's first climate adaptation strategy. A project to train young people as so-called "Ocean Champs" is currently being carried out with BMZ funding. The young people are trained on topics such as marine conservation, littering of the seas, microplastic pollution and the importance of the oceans, and are committed to working locally for marine conservation. ZMT has been one oft the scientific partners since the start of the project. In early summer the Ocean Champs also visited the institute during a tour of Bremen and Bremerhaven.

In addition, for many years there has been a lively civil society exchange in the fields of art, culture, youth and sport between the two cities.

In addition to numerous civil society organisations, the Senators for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility, Urban Development and Housing as well as municipal companies are also involved in the climate partnership.