The City of Mannheim’s New Year reception 2019

“Transition Town – Mannheim 2030”: this was the keynote topic of the city of Mannheim’s New Year reception 2019. Today, on 6 January, some 9,000 visitors followed the invitation to the event, held at the Congress Centre Rosengarten. This central topic is built around the Mission Statement process, in which about 2,500 citizens have been involved. In a few weeks’ time the new Mission Statement for Mannheim in the year 2030 will be finally approved. The core focus of the process revolves around the implementation of the global sustainability goals of the United Nations at the local level. The city administration and participants from the civil-society area presented the global and local themes for the future on Level 2 of the Rosengarten venue. In the exhibition space on Levels 0 and 1 and on the stages located in these areas, 1,500 people representing about 250 groups, societies, companies, universities, trade associations, and other institutions introduced themselves to the public. The Carnival Committee also put on a special revue show for the occasion.

As is the case every year, the official ceremony formed the central point of the event, moder­ated this time by the “Minister of Happiness” Gina Schöler and Mannheim’s “Night Mayor” Hendrik Meier. The artistic contributions came from the Mannheim Conservatory of Music, the Mannheim National Theatre, and the Baden-Württemberg Popakademie (University of Popular Music and Music Business). In the ceremony, the Lord Mayor of Mannheim once again paid honour to numerous people, projects, and societies for their voluntary engagement. “The atmosphere of a city is decisively imprinted by the people who positively engage themselves and by the question as to how many people see themselves as part of a municipal community and the extent to which everyone is invited to feel that they belong to this community. These are the aspects that our New Year’s reception stands for,” said Lord Mayor Dr. Peter Kurz in the New Year’s address that he traditionally holds at the ceremony. “The purpose of the Mission Statement is to describe the kind of city that we want to live in in the year 2030. And this Mannheim in the year 2030 can be a positive concept only when we act with a greater focus on the aspects of ecology, social wellbeing, and economic responsibility, and lead our lives less at the expense of others. Including the global sustainability goals in this Mission Statement means facing up to the question whether what we strive for and do will still prove to be sensible and correct for the generations that follow.”

The municipal council will pass the elaborated Mission Statement in the course of the next few weeks. “The project won’t finish with the approval of the Mission Statement – on the contrary: that’s when we start the work of spreading the vision and explaining it,” said Lord Mayor Peter Kurz. He experienced the involvement of the citizens that was an integral part of the Mission Statement process as a rewarding experience: “In the course of the debate on the Mission Statement, there were two meetings at which a few dozen specially invited citizens, drawn by lots, discussed the issues at stake among themselves and came up with suggestions. People who hadn’t met before, from different parts of the city and with different backgrounds and biographies: listening to each other, respecting their individual differences, in a constructive atmosphere. That’s the true substance of democracy!”

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development was the sponsor of the Mannheim Mission Statement process. UN Habitat, i.e. the UN organization responsible for dealing with issues around the development of human settlements and cities, is an observer and passenger of this process. This is why Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN Habitat, sent a message of greeting to the New Year’s reception. “‘Mannheim 2030’ is an ex­cellent example of linking international agendas to local action,” said Sharif. “Without the power of cities, there is no chance to achieve the global goals.”

Dr. Daniela Schwarzer, Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations (GDAP), held the ceremonial address on the topic “The World in Transition: Options for Action for Germany and Europe”, in which she dealt with the current situation and the challenges facing Germany and Europe. For her the important aspects are a sustainable economic policy at all levels, the areas of security and law, the role played by Europe in the world, and the further development of international order.

The City of Mannheim wishes to thank the following organizations for their support: MVV Energie, GBG – Mannheimer Wohnungsbaugesellschaft, Stadtmarketing Mannheim, the Dorint Kongress Hotel, Eichbaum, Coca-Cola, the RNF, and m:con.

© 2019 Stadt Mannheim