17 Goals for a Better World
Under the banner of “17 Goals for a Better World,” representatives from 12 of Bremen and Bremerhaven’s sister cities and friendly municipalities came together in Bremen on 3–5 March 2019 for a follow-up discussion on realising the UN’s Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. Three years ago, Ulrike Hiller, Bremen’s State Secretary for Europe and Development Cooperation, invited the partner cities to a conference on the local-level implementation of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This time, the focus was on sharing initial experiences and new projects.
Water & Sanitation for All: Solutions for SDG 6
BORDA contributed to the conference with a two-part workshop “Water is Life: Proposed solutions for SDG 6.” Goal 6 aims to “ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
One conclusion: Municipalities must make water resources accessible to all as a public service. What we take for granted, however, is not the case in other parts of the world. Matrid Ukeva, Chairwoman of Windhoek City Council, reported that in Namibia, where water is scarce, wastewater treatment is a top priority for the city administration as a way to provide water to all residents at a very affordable price. Partnerships in this sector, such as with Bremen’s water and sewage company hanseWasser, are to be further expanded, for example through exchange and training programmes for employees of water utilities.
Getting the Message Out: Solution-Oriented Journalism
A workshop on constructive journalism, which was also well attended, focused on how negative news and disaster scenarios shape our media coverage. Danish journalist Henrik Grunnet from the Constructive Journalism Institute at the University of Aarhus presented the concept of solution-oriented journalism, which always poses the question of solutions and the social actors working on those solutions. The 40 or so workshop participants were able to try this out right away using local issues as story material.
Sustained Engagement for Sustainable Progress
For Ulrike Hiller, the conference and the impressive media response were a great success and set a precedent for sustained engagement: “We will keep doing this. Not just at one small conference, but regularly every two to three years until 2030.”