On Friday, April 16, 2021, Mayor Katja Dörner participated in a virtual round table of the United Nations together with city leaders from all over the world. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had invited them on the initiative of the international city network C 40.
The informal exchange, which was attended by the UN Secretary-General and other high-ranking representatives of the United Nations, focused on the question of how to overcome the Corona crisis and achieve the climate goals together. The UN Secretary-General was interested in hearing about concrete examples, experiences and ideas from local authorities.
Bonn's Mayor Katja Dörner, who also took part in the discussion as a board member of the international cities sustainability network ICLEI, emphasized in her speech that climate neutrality and social cohesion must go hand in hand: "We will not be successful in combating climate change and its consequences if we do not succeed in involving citizens in this process," Dörner said. With regard to the necessary traffic turnaround in the municipalities, the Mayor of Bonn advocated for more support from the respective national governments for alternative mobility models.
"We are not living in a crisis, but in a whole mesh of crises," Dörner explained. "That's why we need to use our priorities and resources for a just, fair transition that really takes everyone along. Cities are already doing this in many ways, including with bold procurement decisions. Now is the time for national, European and other reconstruction aid, as well as investments, to be redesigned to have a sustainable impact. This includes ensuring that women are able to equally benefit from them."
The Mayor appealed to the international community to work for greater involvement of local governments in the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Corona pandemic reconstruction programs. Looking ahead to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November, Dörner asked the UN Secretary-General to work to ensure that climate goals and planned recovery programs are closely linked and that all levels of government, including municipalities, are involved in the process. As Mayor of the city of Bonn, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary as a German UN city and is home to the United Nations Climate Secretariat, Dörner offered her support to this end.
Katja Dörner was joined at the roundtable by the mayors of Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Milan, Johannesburg, Jakarta and Rio de Janeiro, amongst others. From the UN side, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and UN Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Sharif were present. Both are connected to Bonn through UN organizations based in the city - the SDG Campaign, the Knowledge Center for the SDGs, and GWOPA, the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance.
25 years of Bonn as a United Nations city
The foundation for Bonn's development into the German City of the United Nations was laid in 1996 with the location of the Volunteers Program (UNV); the Climate Secretariat (UNFCCC) followed shortly thereafter. Twenty-five years later, the UN is represented in Bonn by more than 20 institutions and about 1,000 employees and has become the center for sustainability within the United Nations, surrounded by a growing network of governmental, scientific, economic and civil-society actors. A diverse program is being planned for the anniversary year, as soon as the pandemic situation allows.
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