IDOS researcher Okka Lou Mathis was a member of the multi-stakeholder advisory board to the project team (City of Bonn in cooperation with the local NGO Bonn im Wandel e.V.), which accompanied the process.
In March, the innovative urban participation process “Bonn4Future” concluded after two years of consultation and deliberation about how the City and citizens of Bonn can achieve climate neutrality by 2035. The participation process entailed four sessions (“Klimaforen”) in 2021 and 2022 with randomly selected citizens as well as stakeholders from local business to civil society representatives who deliberated on visions and activities for a climate-neutral and liveable city. The process resulted in the “Citizens’ Climate Action Plan”, developed by the participants and discussed with members of the public administration. The plan sketches out the citizens’ take on what they need in order to meet the enormous challenges in transforming lifestyles and the city by 2035. As key conditions for success, they identified six “game changers”: comprehensible and positive communication, broad participation and inclusiveness, starting at ones’ own doorstep in the city quarters, striving for social justice, co-creation, and new partnerships to enable processes of change. In terms of sectors, the Citizens’ Climate Action Plan considers in particular housing, sustainable mobility, food and agriculture, nature and nature-based CO2 storage, and an economy for the common good.
In February, the advisory board issued a joint recommendation paper on governance options for continued institutionalised exchange between politics, administration and society on the ongoing path to achieve climate neutrality in Bonn. The “Citizens’ Climate Action Plan” and the recommendation paper by the advisory council were submitted to the City Council for consideration in March together with the “Climate Plan 2035”, developed by a professional consulting consortium. The City Council issued a review request to the administration for implementing the measures in the plans in the first period until 2025.
The local process towards climate neutrality shows that both the City and the citizens of Bonn are taking over responsibility for contributing to the global climate goals as defined in the Paris Climate Agreement.