DWIH Focus Topic 2020: Cities and Climate

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In 2020, the German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH) will be engaging intensively with their annual focus topic of “Cities and Climate”. Located in five of the world’s leading cities, they serve as exceptional platforms for such engagement.

The world’s major cities have an especially important role to play in view of climate change and the need for sustainable development. They highlight the opportunities and risks of growth: resource consumption versus innovative technologies, economic pressure versus outstanding economic achievements. Thanks to their intellectual and creative potential, cities are also key actors in the battle against climate change.

Annual focus topic of the global DWIH network

For 2020, the Board of Trustees of the DWIH network has selected “Cities and Climate” as the overarching annual focus topic for the five DWIH in New York, São Paulo, Moscow, New Delhi and Tokyo. Together with its supporters, each DWIH will organise events relating to this theme and, by providing relevant information and dialogue opportunities, will create scope for follow-up activities.

Cities and Climate is the DWIH network’s annual focus topic

Further information about the selection of the DWIH focus topic for 2020 can be found on the website of the DWIH network.

Big cities, big responsibility

Brazil’s biggest cities – São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with populations of 12.1 million and 6.7 million respectively – are situated within the Atlantic Forest region, the “Mata Atlântica”. This is a particularly impressive demonstration of the extent to which climate protection and urban development are interdependent: the “Mata Atlântica” stores greenhouse gases and as such plays an important role for the global climate.

German-Brazilian climate protection

Climate protection in cities is the central focus of the German-Brazilian “KLIMAPOLIS” project that was launched in 2017 to study climate change in Brazilian metropolitan regions. Urbanisation, climate change and air pollution are all paid equal attention in the five-year research project. In addition, there is a whole host of German-Brazilian collaborative projects in the area of climate protection. For example, cooperation between the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (Fraunhofer IGB) and the State Basic Sanitation Company in São Paulo (Sabesp) has led to increased use of biomethane as a vehicle fuel.

Supported by the DAAD, the longstanding strategic partnership between the universities of São Paulo and Münster is already firmly established; it involves intensive research being conducted in the field of “cities and climate”, and among other things addresses questions of sustainable mobility and disaster control. Both universities have close ties to the Brazilian DWIH – the University of São Paulo as a network partner and the University of Münster as a main supporter.