Criteria and selection process
Identifying the 50 model municipalities.
The ESD Competence Centre Education – Sustainability – Municipality wants the 50 model municipalities to reflect all municipalities and districts throughout Germany. For this purpose, a multi-stage selection process was developed in order to include municipalities belonging to districts (Kreise), independent urban municipalities as well as (rural) districts. Further criteria included regional distribution (to ensure that municipalities from across Germany were represented), and progress in implementing ESD. These dimensions enable us to take a diversity of current conditions, solutions and processes as a starting point for our services and scientific analyses.
The following indicators have specifically helped to identify and select the 50 model municipalities:
- Municipalities with ESD experience, i.e. those with successful ESD structures, offers and programmes as well as structures and activities in the field of sustainability;
- Municipalities with experience in the field of sustainability, i.e. those that already have experience in the field of sustainability, but without a distinct ESD perspective;
- Municipalities interested in ESD with little or no experience in ESD or sustainability, but that are keen or determined to take action.
Existing educational and/or municipal coordination structures were also taken into account (e.g. data-based municipal education management, agenda office, etc.), which are essential for municipalities to qualify as ESD model municipalities.
In a next step, the ESD Competence Centre developed an instrument to record ESD development statuses based on easily obtainable information (criteria catalogue). The goal of this analytical step is to identify eligible municipalities based on the following questions:
- Are there local civil society actors who are already supporting or providing ESD?
- Is ESD already a key policy guiding local development (in municipal politics and administration)?
- Have the municipalities, local networks or civil society initiatives been recognised for their efforts to promote ESD by UNESCO’s 2015-2019 Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development?
- Is sustainable development a key policy guiding municipal development processes? Has the municipality for instance signed the resolution “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Building Sustainability at the Local Level”?
- Have the municipalities joined networks or alliances working to promote sustainable development (e.g. “Sustainable City’ dialogue – Mayors for Sustainable Development in Municipalities” or “ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability”)?
- Have municipalities or municipal initiatives already been recognised for their sustainability efforts (e.g. as “Fairtrade Town” or “City of the Future”)?
First, a longlist based on the structural data of municipalities (regional distribution, territorial authority, educational structures) was drawn up for each of the three locations of the ESD Competence Centre. In a second step, this list was checked against the above-mentioned criteria, resulting in a shortlist of eligible model municipalities for each location. Since it was unclear whether the identified municipalities and districts would sign a target agreement, additional municipalities and districts were added to the list of eligible candidates. On this basis, the respective offices of the ESD Competence Centre then approached the selected municipalities and districts to explore potential collaborations.