City of Bonn, Germany


Situated in the Rhine Valley/southern LowerRhine bight and next to Germany’s oldest nature conservation area Siebengebirge, Bonn is home to 314 000 people and covers 141 square kilometers. Some 51% of its space houses protected areas, namely 28% landscape protection and 23% nature preserves (22% FFH, too).

Bonn's Botanical Gardens are hosting 12.000 species, including many threatened or close to extinction species. They are renowned for their scientific work: the research on the lotos effect which now helps protecting surfaces in construction or automotive technology was led to results in Bonn.

The zoological museum and research institute Alexander Koenig is running a number of research projects on biological diversity, habitats and taxonomy. Bonn is also the seat of the federal office for nature conservation.

back to top


Bonn has a long history of settlement. The dense population and traditional urban character of the whole region and the fact that Bonn is home to many young families creates a permanent need for expansion and new individual housings, sometimes colliding with protection. Another challenge is pressure by leisure activities.

Biodiversity is also endangered by the loss of agricultural activity and variety.

Industrial pollution has been an issue concerning water, but in fact Bonn has very few industrial activity (more services).

back to top


Bonn is home to 16 UN institutions under the Leitmotiv “UN in Bonn: working towards sustainable development worldwide”, and of a dense network of development agencies, science, CSR-oriented economy, media and non-governmental organisations. The city has hosted several conferences of the parties and international conventions with regard to sustainable development. Out of its special role as a platform for international cooperation, Bonn is supporting and promoting the issues of its UN-agencies and conferences from the local to the global level. Local action and global interaction are the keywords to the Bonn approach.

On the local level, nature protection and sensitive spatial planning have been implemented for long. Since the late 1970s, the framework has been established in a number of concepts, adopted resolutions and developed relevant programmes. Several examples:
  • Providing lasting protection for trees within Bonn (1977/2000)
  • Stream-development plan (1988)
  • Meadows programme (1993)
  • A concept for ecological care and establishment of green areas (1998)
  • Management of the Stadtwald municipal forest in keeping with criteria for semi-natural forest management (1999)
  • Promoting the city's Biological Station (2001)
  • Environmental education ("Haus der Natur" since 1989,
  • "Ökotermine"/"eco-dates" (since 2002),
  • Promotion of relevant external organizations via eco-sponsoring (since 1994)
  • Rejection of genetic engineering, and promotion of organic farming (2006)
  • Use and promotion of regional products (2007)

In Germany and Europe, the conflict in balancing urban development needs with those of landscape conservation, is submitted to a rather elaborated legal framework demanding approval of projects and compensations. Besides spatial planning, awareness raising and promoting agro-biodiversity are main targets in Bonn.

On the threshold of the next COP9, Bonn launched a campaign aiming at a broader public awareness. Special target groups are children, students and teachers.

Recently the first Bonn's Biodiversity Report has been released, being part of an international project “Local Action for Biodiversity”(LAB) launched by ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability). LAB is collecting facts and figures of 20 cities worldwide, fostering experience exchange and establishing a Gold Standard on Biodiversity with tools, mechanisms and action plans. This project includes a 10-year-strategy which has just been drafted.

Bonn is aware of the inter linkages between biodiversity and other main fields of sustainability, namely climate change, poverty and peace/human security. So it integrates and streamlines both its local strategies (e.g. climate action programme) and its global input (widened responsibility of World Mayors Council on Climate Change).

Bonn participates in global networks and initiatives bundling the contribution of local governments to the global debate. Bonn is chair of WMCCC, member of the Steering Group of Cities acting as catalysts from Curitiba to Bonn and then to Nagoya and part of the international taskforce with CBD, UNEP, IUCN, ICLEI and others. All these actors and processes are moving towards COP 9. They will be connected in a parallel Mayors Conference leading to a “Bonn Call for Action” and an interaction with COP9.

City dwellers are under a special obligation to maintain biodiversity, not only in the sense of nature conservation, but also to protect it as a valuable resource and to act responsible in using natural resources. Awareness raising and participation of citizens is thus very important to Bonn. A large number of publications informs people about projects and policies and claims their personal awareness and contribution to sustainability goals. Some examples are the Environmental Report (2002), the Climate Report (2004) and the Sustainability Report (2005) Wasser- und Bodenschutzbericht (2007)- and of course the Biodiversity Report in draft-status now.

Another project involves finding, safeguarding, promoting and publicizing old regional fruit and vegetable varieties, in the interest of preserving species and varietal diversity among crops. It is presented in a brochure called "Bonner Beste und Poppelsdorfer Schwarze", which are a tomato and a regional black cherry tree.

back to top


Approximately 51% of the territory of Bonn are under protection.

Bonn has a biological station, which is very active in conservation and research.

Bonn has released a number of programmes and strategies since 1977.

Knowing how climate change and biodiversity are interlinked, we quote our ambitious climate action programme aiming at the European Energy Award Gold certification on the long run. (Silver was achieved in 2004)

We achieved results in awareness raising - children and youth, teachers, broader public, consumers, specific target groups.

Within the LAB-Project we succeeded in establishing the 1. Bonn's Biodiversity Report and contribute to the collection of valid data.

Networking on the international level - especially within cities networks like WMCCC and ICLEI - leads to a substantial contribution of cities to the global debate. Bonn has an important role in that process.

back to top


Contact person/agency
  • Dr. Maria Hohn-Berghorn (Head of International Affairs and Protocol Section). E-mail <>
  • Dr. Ute Zolondek (Head of Environmental Department)
  • Dr. Detlev Langhans (Untere Landschaftsbehörde)
  • Jeannette Wagner and Klaus Bouchon (Spatial Planning Department)
  • Stephan Mense (Forest Department)

  • Integrating biodiversity into urban planning
  • Promoting biodiversity-friendly urban development
  • Promoting awareness of biodiversity to urban communities

Programmes of Work
  • Agricultural biodiversity
  • Dry and Sub-humid Land Biodiversity
  • Forest Biodiversity
  • Inland Waters Biodiversity

Cross-cutting Issues
  • 2010 Biodiversity Target
  • Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing
  • Biological Diversity and Tourism
  • Climate Change and Biological Diversity
  • Economics, Trade and Incentive Measures
  • Protected Areas
  • Public Education and Awareness
  • Sustainable Use of Biodiversity
  • Technology Transfer and Cooperation

  • Local action - global interaction
  • Hub for development and environment with synergies and networking
  • International exchange
  • Awareness raising
  • Protection/conservation and spatial planning
  • Cities and biodiversity
  • Working towards sustainable development worldwide

back to top

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme