Bonn (Germany) and Chengdu (Sichuan)
Source : International Affairs and Protocol Department City of Bonn
Character, start and duration of partnership
The relationship between the city of Bonn and the Chinese city of Chengdu is relatively young. It started in 2000 through cultural projects and school exchange programmes. This approach lead, 5 years later, to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding which formally sanctioned the partnership. Although the primary concept of the partnership is subscribed between public administrations, the real core of ongoing relationships is represented by groups of citizens who carry on activities in specific sectors.
Besides the Chinese partnership, Bonn has a deep-rooted experience in inter-city partnerships which are often supported through European and German funding. Furthermore the city has included in the city budget an amount of some 32,000 € for supporting 6 currently existing partnerships.
Some of the activities – particularly the exchange of environmental specialists between Bonn and Chengdu – have been supported thanks to “Inwent”, the International Capacity Building Agency commissioned by the German Federal Government, the German business sector, and the German “Länder”.
Main topics addressed and activities undertaken under the partnership
Since the sign of the agreement, many activities have been taken place also in the area of administrative and know-how exchange, particularly on issues such as environmental monitoring and climate protection. Involving several different actors, the relationship between the cities covers a wide range of topics ranging from education to art, from environment to urbanizations.
The collaboration aims to meet the following objectives :
Cooperation in the field of culture where the main outcome means to be not only an exchange, rather than a cooperation for developing events as, for example, art exhibitions and performances.
Exchange between city administration experts on highly sensitive fields such as unemployment, urban quality of life, contrasting the use of drugs and other social barriers.
Technical cooperation in municipal capacity building through the exchange of expert knowledge in the fields of energy efficiency and saving, diffusion of renewable energy systems, biodiversity, bioavailability ; but also financing, food security and local government procurement and development.
Facilitating long-lasting partnership associations and/or exchanges through school programs, and the organization of city visits Chengdu.
Key achievements within the partnership
The win-win strategy of the city of Bonn is certainly the choice to give priority to the engagement of citizens rather than administrative representatives. Following this philosophy plenty of spontaneous initiatives are established in schools and art associations. The sharing of common problems and the fruitful exchange of ideas are the most important results experienced.
Future expectations and expected development of the partnership, key obstacles and weaknesses in the partnership, needs and wishes for support to improve the partnership
The relation experience has been, so far, positive and continued friendly cooperation is desirable between Bonn and Chengdu.
City of Bonn
Bonn (about 320,000 inhabitants) used to be the Germany’s capital from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999. Since 1994, Bonn is the second official residence of President of Germany, the Chancellor, the Bundesrat and it also the first official residence of six federal ministers and about 20 federal authorities. Bonn hosts 19 UN Organizations among which the so called Rio Conventions, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. During the last 15-20 years, Bonn changed from a mainly governmental city to an internationally competitive business structure.
City of Chengdu
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province. With its 11 million inhabitants, Chengdu is one of the most important economic centers, transportation and communication hubs in western China. The city has also been ranked as one of the top ten cities to invest in out of a total of 280 urban centers in China. A number of multinational enterprises such as Intel, Sony and Toyota and giants of the electronic and IT industry such as Motorola, Ericsson, and Microsoft settle down in Chengdu. The Chinese monetary authority, People’s Bank of China – the China’s central bankset its southwest China headquarters in Chengdu City. As a financial hub, Chengdu is attracting all the financial major actors from both the domestic and international financial market.
This case study belongs to the file « Europe - China Exchange Platform Survey »