Bremen (Germany)-Durban (South Africa): Climate Partnership

30 January 2018

PLATFORMA has decided to reward the best city to city and region to region international cooperation projects. Twelve projects have been shortlisted out of 25 applications. This is how Bremen (Germany) is presenting its project with Durban (South Africa):

Since 1999 the cities of Bremen and Durban are linked by a close city friendship which was formalised to an official city partnership in September 2011. The active and lively cooperation takes place mainly in the areas of sport, youth, culture, environment, economy and education.

Especially climate change plays a central role in both cities. Hence, Bremen and Durban decided together to build up a development partnership for climate and resource protection in order to support each other’s climate protection and adaptation measures. Within joint workshops, the two cities determined in which thematic areas cooperation and the exchange of experts on local level seem to be meaningful. The thematic exchange takes place in the framework of mutual study visits with project inspections and thematic workshops in order to debate on measures and projects as well as to exchange on functions and solutions for similar problems. They concluded on the thematic areas as followed:

  • Sustainable urban development and planning
  • Participation of citizens
  • Integrated management of catchment areas
  • Monitoring of water quality
  • Environmental education
  • Renaturation of green areas, maintenance of biodiversity
  • Energy efficient waste water management
  • Heavy precipitation events
  • Climate adaption strategy


The climate partnership gave birth to various concrete projects. One of the most important pilot projects was the renaturation of the Umhlangane River. This project aimed at the reduction of flooding and at increasing the water quality for people down the river as well as at increasing employment through dredging and planting activities and through the control of non-resident plants. In the course of climate change, Durban must take care of rising temperatures, inconsistent precipitation, increasing periods of flooding and droughts as well as rising sea level. As a reaction, adaptation to climate change is of high priority for the city of Durban. The following projects had been implemented through the climate partnership:

  • Decentralised Waste Water Treatment Systems (DEWATS), since 2005, establishment of a system for decentralised waste water treatment
  • isiThumba sport park, since 2006, establishment of a sport park in the Durban Green Corridor, youth empowerment, job creation
  • One Nation Cup, youth football cup in Bremen, since 2006, from time to time, 2008 in Durban: 200 teenagers from Brazil, China, Denmark, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Turkey and Durban
  • MoU City of Durban und Sportgarten e.V. in March 2010, youth empowerment and cooperation in the field of education
  • Coastal zone management, August 2010, round table and workshop
  • Handicraft in development cooperation since 2011: trainees from the company Kaefer AG supported the Durban Green Corridor Project for some weeks; trainees of Hanse Wasser went to Durban in 2013
  • “Weltwärts Bremen” since 2012 regular every year: “Weltwärts Bremen” volunteers support different projects in Durban for one year (e.g. Durban Green Corridor, BORDA), organized by “Weltwärts Bremen (BORDA, econtur) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • 2013 – 2016: renaturation of wetlands in the catchment areas of the uMhlangane River to adapt to climate change
  • 2015 – 2018: capacity building in the field of sustainable consumption and tourism
  • CIM expert mission at GO Durban IRPTN for two years (2016-2018): Support to the process of citizens´ participation in the field of the development of green areas around Bridge City


Through this climate partnership, both cities contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, particularly to Goal 13 (“Climate Action”) and Goal 17 (“Partnerships for the Goals”).

(Translated from German by PLATFORMA)

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Klimapartnerschaft Bremen-Durban
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