Since Sunday, the international community has been grappling in Katowice, Poland, with the question of limiting global warming. However, more than almost any other issue, climate protection and sustainability is not only a global matter – above all, it is a local issue. Taken together, towns and municipalities can be as important for climate protection as entire countries. Many municipalities are already working to implement the Paris Climate Agreement. Eight female mayors from Brazil thus travelled to Germany a week ago as part of the Federal Foreign Office’s Visitors Programme. They spent a week meeting federal and local politicians, as well as staff from water and waste management companies, to discuss the role of mayors in climate protection. Alongside talks with Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and a meeting in the Federal Foreign Office, their programme included project visits to the Berlin water company, a wind farm and a solar park.
Looking for concrete solutions
The mayors were looking for concrete solutions to the problems they face in their towns, ranging from flooding protection, forest protection, urbanisation and structural issues to energy and climate protection. A staff member of Alziras research institute, which accompanied the visit, said:
It was a very inspiring experience for the Brazilians to encounter so many new projects and ideas. Now we can truly strengthen innovative climate policy at the local level and involve the public back home in a better way.
More women in local politics
The Brazilian research institute Alziras wants to help increase women’s participation in politics in Brazil. There are 649 elected female mayors in the country. However, they only account for 12 percent of municipalities. Many municipalities have extremely limited resources and there is often great resistance against climate protection.
Climate protection and sustainability are a priority of German-Brazilian relations
Brazil and Germany are traditionally close partners in climate protection and sustainability. During the last intergovernmental consultations, the German Government announced in Brasília that it would provide 551.5 million euros for new joint projects focused on tropical forest conservation, renewable energy and energy efficiency. The visit by the eight female mayors to Germany is just a small, but important, part of endeavours to protect the climate at the local Level.