Kiel International
Voluntary Local Review 2024 – City of Kiel

“For Kiel and the world: Thinking globally, driving change locally” – this slogan sums up the guiding principles behind Kiel’s sustainability efforts and municipal activities.

Since signing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Building Sustainability at the Local Level, which was launched by the Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag), Kiel has been working to align its daily administrative activities with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One key aspect of this process has been to boost citizen engagement through a broad range of projects.

In order to make Kiel’s commitment more visible on an international level, inspire other municipalities and share knowledge and experience, the city aims at publishing Voluntary Local Reviews (VLR) on the SDGs on a regular basis. Following the publication of the first VLR in summer 2022, Kiel is delighted that the second VLR 2024 now covers a total of nine goals: 1, 2, 4, 5, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.

The VLR is co-financed and supported by the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW - Servicestelle Kommunen in der Einen Welt), which works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to provide advice to municipalities and cities.


Kiel’s achievements so far

The way forward: Kiel’s goals for the future

Cities and their citizens play a decisive role when it comes to advancing the socio-ecological transformation, strengthening democratic institutions and contributing to greater global justice.

Based on this realization, Kiel's main task in the coming years will be to align municipal policies - including in the areas of urban planning, education, sustainable transport, housing, environmental and climate protection and adaptation to climate change - with the SDGs and to ensure that citizens, the local economy and research institutions actively support and help shape this process.

Kiel is taking up this challenge and sees the second, expanded VLR 2024 as an incentive to engage in a broader international dialog with other cities and to work together on solutions to our common challenges.

Illustration mit bunten maritimen Motiven
Illustration: Édith Carron

SDG 1 No poverty

Child poverty in Kiel has fallen further, especially in a number of city districts particularly hard hit by poverty. Kiel is countering the various forms of and reasons for poverty with a wide range of measures in order to alleviate the problem of poverty in Kiel.


Illustration zu SDG 1: Édith Carron


SDG 2 Zero Hunger

Kiel is the first city in Germany to be certified as a Zero Waste City. In the area of waste prevention, for example, it explains through campaigns how food waste can be avoided. In order to ensure that all schoolchildren in Kiel can have a balanced, cooked lunch, the city provides financial support particularly for meals in school canteens.


Illustration zu SDG 2: Édith Carron


SDG 4 Quality Education

Making education inclusive and equitable has been among the city’s priorities long before the Covid pandemic forced schools to go into extended lockdown. 

For example, a diverse range of projects has been introduced to ensure that young people successfully make the transition from school to the world of work. However, the outreach of these programmes needs to be increased to ensure that pupils leave school equipped with the relevant skills and qualifications.

Since education is the cornerstone of a sustainable and future-oriented society, the city is also working hard to establish a local Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) network.

Illustration zu SDG 4: Édith Carron
Illustration zu SDG 4: Édith Carron

SDG 5 Gender Equality

Gender equality is a key priority in Kiel, both inside and outside the municipal authority.

Particular focus is given to enhancing equal opportunities, preventing domestic abuse and enacting the Istanbul Convention. Throughout the year, publicity campaigns and events on gender equality issues and gender equity take place to raise awareness and generate attention.

Alongside its ongoing efforts to foster gender equality within the municipal authority, it was possible to expand te places in the women's shelter, which helps women to escape domestic abuse. The management principles of the City of Kiel are currently being redrafted and supplemented by the inclusion of an explicit management principle on diversity, gender equality and equality.

Illustration zu SDG 5: Édith Carron
Illustration zu SDG 5: Édith Carron

SDG 13 Climate Action

In Kiel there is a broad social consensus in administration, municipal bodies, politics and civil society to work together on climate protection. The city has clearly emphasised this by declaring a state of Climate Emergency and accelerating the achievement of climate neutrality in Kiel.


Illustration zu SDG 13: Édith Carron


SDG 14 Life below Water

As a coastal city, Kiel is especially motivated to protect marine life.

A number of projects launched by research institutions, companies, business associations, community groups and the Kiel municipal authority are focused on deepening our understanding of the oceans and promoting marine protection.

Bringing these diverse actors together is one of the city’s key concerns, although providing the necessary funding to back this initiative (and coordinate networking efforts, for instance) remains a challenge, as marine protection is not a core municipal responsibility.

Illustration zu SDG 14: Édith Carron
Illustration zu SDG 14: Édith Carron

SDG 15 Life on Land

For over a century, Kiel has been aware of the benefits that green spaces bring to humans and animals.

In 2022, Kiel will celebrate the city´s 100-year-old green belt, then and now a popular recreational area boasting lakes and forests along with sport and park facilities. Today, creative ideas are being put into practice in these areas. One plan involves cultivating flower meadows for bees instead of simply grassing over areas.

Internationally, too, Kiel is taking its responsibility for the natural world seriously by supporting the creation of a tree nursery in Tansania´s Moshi District. Accommodating - and prioritizing - conflicting interests when it comes to land use remains a challenge the city is aiming to solve.

Illustration zu SDG 15: Édith Carron
Illustration zu SDG 15: Édith Carron

SDG 16 Peace, justice and strong Institutions

The broad spectrum of public participation bodies in the city plus easy access to information provide the citizens of Kiel with a wide range of opportunities for involvement in political decision-making. In addition, Kiel expressly supports civil society projects aimed at actively helping to shape the city through various development funds. Besides this, it is involved in a wide variety of activities aimed at combating racism and promoting diversity, respect and peace, and encourages volunteer work and the formation of democracy.


Illustration zu SDG 16: Édith Carron


SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals

Kiel’s international work is reflected in the projects the city is working on together with its twin cities.

At the municipal level, Kiel’s efforts play an important part in promoting intercultural dialogue, fostering peace, building cooperation across Europe and supporting the implementation of the SDGs.

The current war in Ukraine has once again highlighted how crucial it is to work for peace, which cannot be taken for granted (any longer) in Europe. This goes for all levels of government, including municipalities

Cities have an important role to play in enabling their citizens to establish international contacts and to promote mutual understanding. In addition to regularly sharing experiences with other city administrations in networks such as the Union of the Baltic Cities, Kiel hosts the annual International Cities Forum, which provides the city and its international partners with a forum for focused discussions on municipal topics.

The theme for 2022 centres on promoting sustainable mobility in cities.

Illustration zu SDG 17: Édith Carron
Illustration zu SDG 17: Édith Carron