During his term as ICLEI President, Ashok Sridharan, formerly the Mayor of the Federal City of Bonn, served as a dedicated leader and role model for how local government can lead on sustainability efforts. His commitment to bringing city voices to the global stage was a central tenet of his leadership.
From hosting the Local and Regional Government Summit at COP23 in 2017 in Bonn to declaring the climate emergency, from championing and co-designing the new Daring Cities Forum to promoting the celebration of nature in cities around the world through the Beethoven Pastoral Project, Sridharan drove forward the spirit, values, and implementation of ICLEI’s five pathways towards urban sustainability across the ICLEI network.
Recognizing the role of Bonn as a UN City, the city engaged deeply in the UNFCCC process under Mayor Sridharan’s leadership. Bonn participated in the Marrakech Partnership, Action for Climate Empowerment and the Talanoa Dialogues. Bonn also addressed climate adaptation, for example, in 2016 by actively participating in several research projects with the goal to further include adoption issues in urban planning processes.
Under Mayor Sridharan’s leadership, the ICLEI network adopted its Montreal Strategic Vision in 2018, with a vision towards climate neutrality, and the next year, Bonn developed its own sustainability strategy to align with the Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2019, Bonn declared a climate emergency, and then a few months later set a goal to become climate neutral by 2035, three years before Germany’s deadline of phasing out coal. Bonn was also listed in the Climate Ambition Alliance announced by COP25 Presidency in Madrid.
In May 2020, the city reserved an additional budget of €5 million for measures to comply with climate emergency and make their commitments a reality.
“I have had the pleasure of serving on the ICLEI Global Executive Committee for almost five years. Two years ago, in June 2018, you entrusted me to lead ICLEI as your president in demanding times,” said Sridharan in a letter to fellow leaders and Members of ICLEI. “We have walked the five ICLEI pathways and, together, we have been able to open one door after the other for multilateral, multilevel cooperation in the spirit of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs – at home and on the global stage. It has always made me proud to be part of a dedicated network and community like ICLEI.”
Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI thanked Mayor Sridharan for his leadership: “I would like to personally, and as Secretary General extend my wholehearted thanks to you, for your contributions to ICLEI, as a President, as a member of our governance boards, and as an active local leader committed to furthering sustainability.”
Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines, USA will serve as interim ICLEI President until the election of the next ICLEI Global Executive Committee in early 2021.