The aim of the conference, entitled "Building Bridges between Cities in Europe and Worldwide - Joining Hands for Localising the SDGs", was to exchange technical information, jointly discuss project ideas for the local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and initiate further networking between Bonn’s partner cities. The focus was on personal exchange between the partners and the City of Bonn, which had been severely limited over the past two and a half years due to the pandemic. All conference participants agreed that this personal meeting strengthened the collaboration, giving new impetus to the partnership work.
Representatives from the Bonn project partner cities of Bukhara (Uzbekistan), Cape Coast (Ghana) and La Paz (Bolivia) as well as from the twin cities of the Bonn city district, Oxford (Great Britain) and Opole (Poland) attended the conference. In addition, the City of Ramallah (Palestine) was present, with which Bonn has been cooperating for several years, as well as representatives of the various partnership associations.
The participants met in Bonn the day before the conference and took part in the opening of the Bonn SDG Days, which kicked off with the #ZeroHungerRun this year, a charity run for a world without hunger.
Deputy Mayor Dr. Ursula Sautter opened the official part of the conference in the Old Town Hall on 26 September. Throughout the program, the United Nations Training Academy, the Bonn-based United Nations Systems Staff College, presented the 2030 Agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals and the commitment of the Bonn-based UN organizations to achieving these goals.
During the three days of the conference, the partner cities showed how their cities are tackling the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The representative from the Polish city of Opole, Barbara Durkalec, presented Opole's approaches to democratization and citizen participation, and the planning department head from La Paz, Maria del Carmen Rocabado, gave a presentation on how sustainability reporting is done in La Paz. Tom Garrood, Zero Emission Officer from Oxford shared amongst others the efforts of the City of Oxford for a clean green energy supply. Other topics around the Sustainable Development Goals covered at the conference comprised inclusion and culture, climate neutrality, and disaster preparedness.
On the second day of the conference, a tour of Bonn's sustainability sites was on the agenda for the afternoon. Together, the participants visited the Bonn Energy Agency, the Learning Garden at the Adult Education Center, studio bnx of the City Museum and the 17 Goals Zone at Friedrichstrasse. In addition, the guests from the partner cities participated in several teams at a public SDG pub quiz. The team "Women Power" with participation from Bukhara, La Paz, Ramallah and Bonn excelled with the most knowledge about the SDGs. On the last day of the conference, the partner cities looked ahead, agreeing to continue their cooperation in the network, especially and to begin with, on the topics of climate change and sustainable tourism.
Support to the conference had been rendered by the Service Agency Communities in One World of Engagement Global, with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.