Cape Town Time:


Cape Town and Aachen Mark 20-Year Partnership with Launch of Sustainability Publication

25 June 2021

The cities of Cape Town and Aachen, Germany, have launched a joint edition of the Mayor’s Portfolio of Urban Sustainability to mark the 20th anniversary of the Aachen–Cape Town LA21 Partnership.

The publication seeks to inspire and support urban responses to sustainability challenges for the benefit of communities and the environment.

Cape Town confronts a range of sustainability challenges that are rooted in its unique socio-economic and environmental context. However, we live in an increasingly interconnected world and many of the sustainability challenges we face are global in nature, such as climate change and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. While the cities of Cape Town and Aachen confront unique environmental and socio-economic challenges, they share the common goal of pursuing a sustainable future.

Celebrating a 20-year partnership

This joint Cape Town-Aachen Mayor’s Portfolio showcases and celebrates the partnership and the many projects that have been realised through our collaboration, showcasing a sample of initiatives and sharing sustainability lessons between the two cities. Over the past 20 years, the Aachen–Cape Town LA21 Partnership has supported practical projects that promote sustainable development as part of everyday life in both cities. The 22 projects profiled are either a collaboration between the sister cities, or projects of mutual interest or highlight similar approaches.

“We live in an increasingly interconnected world and many of the sustainability challenges we face are global in nature, such as climate change and the current Covid-19 pandemic,” says Cape Town Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato. “The lessons, collaboration and support from our sister city assist us in navigating these complex challenges.  We have learnt through the partnership in our service delivery and in the implementation of priorities of our Integrated Development Plan (IDP), such as the regeneration of the Bellville CBD.”

Projects such as Premium Ways into Aachen’s greenery and Cape Town’s Source to Sea river corridor initiative are examples of such synergy, with both projects seeking to enhance green infrastructure and improve access to green public open spaces in their respective cities. The launch coincided with the first official viewing of a video showcasing the Source to Sea project.

In addition to projects led by the local governments of Cape Town and Aachen, others are managed by stakeholders from civil society, cultural, business and education institutions that form part of the Aachen–Cape Town LA21 Partnership, with support from both local governments.

These include the Good Hope Lab, school exchanges programme and the Oranjezicht City Farm outreach. The partnership between our two cities has come a long way since it was established. As demonstrated through this publication, the partnership has enabled us to achieve remarkable things together. The City of Cape Town is committed to future collaboration with the City of Aachen and to deepening our cooperation, exchange of knowledge, and mutual support.

Each of the projects showcased closely align with one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The projects also contribute to the growing body of knowledge and practice with regards to urban sustainability.

Promoting local sustainable development

The overall goal of the Aachen–Cape Town LA21 Partnership is to promote local sustainable development in the sense of Agenda 21 and the SDGs through proposals that make ecological, social and economic conditions and sustainable action visible on a local level. This includes promoting opportunities for exchanges between Aachen and Cape Town and creating and maintaining platforms to promote contact for sustainable development.

“We are living in a time when global and local action is closely intertwined. To find solutions for rapid transformation toward sustainability, we need to plan together and act together. Never has the potential to learn from and with each other been greater than it is today. And never has it been more important,” said Lord Mayor of Aachen, Sibylle Kerpen.

The cities of Cape Town and Aachen are committed to cultivating and building on this partnership.

“The programme strives to embed sustainability best practice in project design and implementation, and to mainstream sustainability in decision-making. This publication, furthermore, encourages an ongoing sustainability dialogue between the City of Aachen and the City of Cape Town and deepens the existing cooperation and success of the partnership,” said the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

The realisation of sustainable urban futures requires multi-stakeholder partnerships, such as the Aachen–Cape Town LA21 Partnership, to facilitate knowledge sharing and the mobilisation of resources and experiences. Collaboration between cities is particularly important in our dynamic and interconnected world, and in the context of global sustainability challenges, such as climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.