NALAS, LGAs and local governments are part of the new initiative of the German government – “Municipal Partnerships for Sustainability”, implemented by The Service Agency Communities in One World, under the umbrella of Engagement Global gGmbH.

The overall goal of the project is supporting local communities from South East Europe and Germany to positively contribute towards the achievement of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Agenda takes the form of a covenant for the global future, designed to help everyone in the world enjoy a dignified life. It is interesting that the 2030 Agenda was conceived in the spirit of a new global partnership – all divisions into ‘donors’ and ‘recipients’ or ‘first’, ‘second’ and ‘third world’ are superseded by the notion of shared responsibility for the humankind and the planet.

The project began by an analysis of current links of German and municipalities in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova and Serbia), which showed that approximately 80% of the German municipalities surveyed that have links with the region through municipal partnerships, expressed interest to workg together with their partners on the SDGs. 70% of the German municipalities would also like to deepen the cooperation with their partner municipality. The Municipal Partnerships for Sustainability enables them to do both.  

The core activity of the project is an upgrade of the current relations of “sister municipalities” between Germany and SEE, with design of joint activities that go into direction of achieving the SDGs at the local level. The specific objectives are: to establish a dialogue on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within their municipal partnerships, build strategic cooperation to achieve them and strengthen partnerships between German municipalities and municipalities in SEE by supporting a jointly designed action.

A kick off workshop took place in Bonn in September, following to which municipal representatives visited their sister municipalities and jointly worked on development of a project idea and exchange of knowledge. During the event, municipal and LGA representatives got well acquainted with Agenda 2030 and SDGs, the project was explained and roles defined.

The event was used as an opportunity to discuss potential roles of NALAS at regional and the LGAs at national level, and the identified potential contributions are: coordination, knowledge and information sharing, peer-learning events, documentation of lessons learned and legacy of the current partnerships as well as coordinating future rounds of similar activities.