The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen has been involved in development cooperation for over four decades. In the sense of a common perception of our responsibility for the One World, in which fundamental political, social and economic changes are also required in the North, all social and political sectors in the state of Bremen are called upon to review and align their actions with regard to development, sustainability and equitable conditions. Accordingly, the performance of development policy tasks has always been centrally located in the Bremen administration.
In March 2015, the Bremen Senate adopted the Development Policy Guidelines of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen for the first time. They are the result of a broad participation process with civil society and form the basis for the development policy actions of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. These were fundamentally revised and updated in 2023.
With its commitment to development policy, Bremen is making a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Senate is also committed to this at federal and EU level. The progress made in implementing the SDGs in the state of Bremen is also recorded every two years in an indicator report. In addition, there are training courses, public relations measures and events to raise awareness of the SDGs and to promote their implementation in all areas of society.
The three focal points of Bremen's development cooperation are domestic development information and education, projects abroad that promote social, environmentally sound and sustainable economic development, and support for fair trade in Bremen and at European level. Bremen was named "Capital of Fair Trade" in 2011, and Bremen and Bremerhaven have also been certified as Fair Trade Towns since 2014.
The civil society commitment of numerous development policy initiatives and associations in the state of Bremen forms an important element of Bremen's development cooperation. Bremen therefore supports projects by these partners, such as development education work in Bremen and participatory project approaches in the countries of the South that support sustainable development on the ground.
Every two years, the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen awards the Bremen Solidarity Prize. It is intended to be an encouragement for individuals and groups who work in a special way to overcome injustice in North-South relations and the consequences of colonialism and racism, as well as for democracy and human rights. The first prize winners were Nelson and Winnie Mandela. The prize consists of prize money and a sculpture by the Bremen artist Altenstein, which takes up the motif of the Bremen Town Musicians as a symbol of the strength of solidarity-based action.
Moreover, our city partnerships and friendships are an important part of Bremen's international relations. They promote exchange and mutual learning at eye level. They are characterized by solidarity and by the commitment to common values of freedom, equality and democracy. Bremen has been cooperating with the cities of Durban/South Africa and Windhoek/Namibia for many years. Environmental protection and resource conservation, education for sustainable development as well as cultural and youth exchange play central roles in the cooperation. A partnership between the state and the oblast of Odesa has recently been added.