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Session II Official support for ethical and socially responsible community-based initiatives

By Hep Monatzeder (City Mayor, City of Munich) and Heinz Schulze (Coordinator of Agenda 21 „One World“)

Munich has been one of the few cities in Germany, and perhaps even Europe-wide, where a specific scope of duties was established for „One World“ activities within the framework of the Local Agenda-21 process.

Under the motto „No harm should go out to the world from Munich“ many impulses have been launched and ideas were developed concerning the question how Munich can contribute towards international social justice.

Although the consultation process of the Munich Agenda 21 has long been completed and the forum „One World“ does no longer exist as such, we are happy to say that the good connection between the Munich One-World groups and the City of Munich still continues and we were able to launch some projects together which have meanwhile been followed by many European towns. The following approach has turned out to be effective:

    Munich groups take initiative and come up with a theme.

    They contribute their supra-regional contacts and know-how in the field of international development cooperation.

    The City of Munich organizes round-table talks with all parties involved on the local level to develop concrete steps for local action.

    If possible, the city tries to set a good example herself and takes action in its own share of action. But the city even supports civil actors in the implementation of their ideas.

    The Munich groups are communicating the theme among the citizens by public relations campaigns, events or educational programmes. They are supported by the City of Munich in their work.

Examples for concrete themes:

    Fair Trade - the turnover in Munich was increased by 100 per cent, a fair-trade and ecologically grown Munich coffee was put on the market.

    Second-hand clothing - an alternative concept on utilizing second-hand clothing which even considers the interests of textile workers in countries of the south was introduced in Munich.

    Ethical capital investments - an information brochure was published, a permanent working group on „Munich finance institutes and Agenda 21“was established.

    Municipal north-south work - the city twinning link Munich – Harare (in southern Africa) and the Climate Alliance Link Munich - Ashaninkas (in the rain forest of Peru) were established

    Munich groups are supported in their educational and solidarity work with regard to international development cooperation.

    Ethical criteria for Purchasing Policies - a campaign against exploitative child labour has been active for two years. The City Council of Munich decided no longer to purchase products from exploitative child labour.

Especially our latest project on exploitative child labour has shown that the legal framework is not always favourable for the cities to take a stand for international social justice - although the cities are quite willing to do so, as numerous inquiries about our activities have shown.

However, with the modernization of purchasing regulations on the EU level something has got underway – a movement which will hopefully continue on the national level.

It is true that the cities are by no means able to eliminate injustices of distribution through their purchasing practices thus abolishing poverty and child labour, but they can certainly serve as a good example by taking a leadership role and stimulate further activities on the part of the industry and consumers.