Involving the citizens

Bonn, Germany

SDG 5: Gender equalitySDG 8: Decent work and economic growthSDG 10: Reduced inequalitiesSDG 11: Sustainable cities and communitiesSDG 13: Climate actionSDG 16: Peace justice and strong institutionsSDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

Voluntary Local Review
The City of Bonn published its first Voluntary Local Review in 2020. Its structure is based on Bonn’s municipal Sustainability Strategy and focuses on six fields of action: Mobility, Climate and Energy, Natural Resources and the Environment, Labor and Business, Social Participation and Gender, and Global Responsibility and One World. Within the fields of action, several indicators have been identified and illustrate the development in those areas.

Bonn identifies the VLR as an important tool to spread information and education on the 2030 Agenda framework as a whole. The purpose of the VLR is to make the SDGs more accessible, and encourage a discussion about them between different societal stakeholders. Such a review can highlight and demonstrate the connections between the individual activities and projects that are organized by the city and the SDGs. Bonn’s VLR is meant to be read by local and national citizens as well as the international community.

The City of Bonn is in the process of conducting their second VLR, which will be published in June 2022.  

Involving the citizens
The City of Bonn has identified how the VLR can act as a tool to engage a dialogue with the citizens. The VLR presents a description of how the city is working with the SDGs by connecting them with the city’s fields of action. In that way, the VLR provides the residents of Bonn with necessary information and invites them to a substantiated discussion of the SDGs. However, the lack of knowledge about the SDGs makes it difficult for citizens to participate in their own cities’ localization of the global goals. The City of Bonn has tried to counteract this lack of awareness and knowledge by organizing events that puts the 2030 Agenda and sustainable development at the center of the discussion. Once a year, Bonn has the so-called SDG Days, during which they organize events that relate to the SDGs. The events bring the goals closer to the people by making them more comprehensible. The purpose is not so much to make the citizens understand the 2030 Agenda in general, but rather the idea behind it. 

The SDG Days is a way to achieve the city’s goal of spreading awareness regarding sustainability issues. During these days, parts of the city are decorated with bright colors in the spirit of the 2030 Agenda visual. Since the start of the programme in 2018, the events have always included a SDG wheel, on which the 17 goals are illustrated and explained; and the citizens have had the opportunity to engage in discussions about how the SDGs impact their daily lives, and to calculate their individual CO2 footprint. The events that are organized by the city are accompanied by other organization’s initiatives that also relate to the sustainability framework, and shops on the main street participate by decorating their windows and arrange events. 

Further reading:

Voluntary Local Review – Agenda 2030 on the local level. Implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Bonn


Photo: Tim Rußmann/Unsplash

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Project: The Sustainability Lab