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Participation Process for the Climate: These are the milestones of Bonn4Future

The participatory process "Bonn4Future - We for Climate" is picking up speed: Launched in December 2020, the first steps of the two-year project have now been taken: The specially developed digital sustainability platform is undergoing an initial test, the project advisory board has been convened, and the first events are in preparation. In a joint press conference, the cooperation partners City of Bonn and the association Bonn im Wandel presented the milestones of the process. 

By declaring a climate emergency in July 2019, the City of Bonn has acknowledged: If we keep going as we are, the earth as we have known it will no longer exist. The hot summers and dying trees are making the climate crisis visible in Bonn as well. If we want to prevent the worst consequences, we must act now. 

"Decisive action by all social powers is a prerequisite for overcoming the challenges posed by the climate crisis in Bonn as well," said Mayor Katja Dörner. "With the Bonn4Future process, we are breaking new ground in this regard: In cooperation with Bonn im Wandel, we are helping to develop a vision of the future for 2035 that is broadly supported by the city's society."

Bonn4Future will bring together very different people and also very different views from the entire urban society. The form of cooperation between the city and civil society has a model character for citizen participation in Bonn: Bonn4Future is a participation procedure that goes beyond other participatory procedures in that civil society involvement is promoted and citizens do actively participate in achieving the goal of climate neutrality. What is also special is that Bonn4Future was already supported by a broad civil-society base during the conceptual phase.

"Bonn im Wandel stands for appreciation and a culture of togetherness," says Dr. Gesa Maschkowski, board member and co-initiator of Bonn4Future. "That's why we as a Transition Initiative have launched this project. There is no longer any future in working against each other. And we believe that the greatest treasure has not yet been unearthed: people's good will and good ideas."

Head of Environment Helmut Wiesner adds: "The Bonn4Future process is a building block on the way to climate neutrality in Bonn. It complements in an innovative way the measures that the administration has already initiated in the direction of climate protection and climate adaptation."

Bonn4Future - what is happening?

The Bonn4Future team is opening the participatory process with a first climate action day in July. Here, those involved in climate protection and Bonn initiatives will exchange ideas and solutions for a climate-neutral city. The results will be incorporated into the first of four climate forums in fall. Here, 100 randomly selected citizens will work together with experts from science, business, associations, culture, administration and politics. Future visions for 2035 and a potential roadmap will be developed, which will become more concrete with each climate forum. 

Results from the forums are mirrored to the administration and politics. They serve as orientation and support for the further development of the already existing catalogs of climate protection measures. After each forum, a wrap-up will be held: What has been implemented, what has not? What is still needed? There is also a close connection to the citizen participation portal (opens in a new tab). The participation portal bundles all information on participation offerings in the city of Bonn and provides opportunities for direct participation. 

At the end of April, the Bonn4Future project office will start setting up a communication network. Interested initiatives and associations are invited to collaborate on a communication strategy. The goal is to communicate better and more effectively in order to reach out to even more people. Four communication training sessions are planned for this purpose, the first of which will already take place in digital form on Thursday, April 22.  Initiatives and associations that would like to become part of the communication network can register at  kontaktbonn4futurede  

Making commitment visible - that is also the goal of Bonn's new online sustainability platform. It is also being developed as part of Bonn4Future; the first tests are currently underway. It will go online step by step, and interested Bonn residents will be able to use a map and a calendar to find likeminded people who are committed to a sustainable and fair city.

A project advisory board ensures the high quality of the participation process. It will be made up of a diverse range of representatives from the city's society and from all parties. It will take up its work on April 20, 2021 and commission the scientific evaluation of the project.


"Bonn4Future - Wir fürs Klima" began as a citizens' motion submitted by Bonn im Wandel and the Climate Watch Bonn in early 2020. The decisive factor for the citizens' motion was the decision taken by the Council in November 2019 that Bonn should become climate-neutral by 2035. The Committee for Citizen Participation supported the project. Bonn im Wandel then worked with experts in citizen participation on a voluntary basis to develop a concept for the multi-stage process. It was subsequently developed further in cooperation with the city administration. The participatory concept is supported by over 50 initiatives, companies and organizations. 

With a resolution in September 2020, the Council of the City of Bonn instructed the administration to conclude a cooperation agreement with Bonn im Wandel. The City is funding the entire project with 719,000 euros. Bonn im Wandel is contributing its own resources worth more than 35,000 euros. The Transition Initiative has set up a project team to implement the project. Four salaried experts for communication and participation are working closely with the core team of Bonn im Wandel. This brings ten years of experience in transformation and participation. As an ideas and project laboratory for a sustainable city, the association has a large network and know-how in the initiation and organization of civil-society projects and change processes in Bonn. Bonn4Future is coordinated and supported by a half-time position on the part of the city administration. 

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