History & Development


First contact was made in 1998 when Welthaus in Aachen initiated a North-South Partnership with KERIC in the context of the Agenda 21 process. KERIC, the Khayelitsha Education Resource and Information Centre, is a NGO based in Khayelitsha, the second largest township in South Africa. The Khayelitsha-Aachen Partnership (KAP) promoted a better future through working together.

KERIC and Welthaus are both centres for education, environment and community development. The Partnership between Welthaus and KERIC was obvious because both organisations have environmental, social and developmental focus areas and are embedded in the broad spectrum of the Agenda 21 process.

In 1999 a need was identified to expand the partnership to include the municipalities and after an initial fact finding mission a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was drafted for signature by the initial partners, municipalities and NGOs. This was also supported by the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft (later InWEnt, now Engagement Global) as part of their Eleven Cities Network between countries in the south and Germany. The first Partnership MoU was signed in Aachen on 28 June 2000 by Welthaus, BECO, VIKA, KERIC, Ilitha Labantu, the City of Aachen and the former City of Tygerberg.

During 2000 the former City of Tygerberg was amalgamated with the greater City of Cape Town, also referred to as the Unicity. At that time the City of Cape Town had approximately 3.1million inhabitants. It includes more rural areas in the north, as well as high density and poor areas like the sprawling Cape Flats in the southeast. The Cape Floristic Region, including Table Mountain National Park, is a world heritage site and the smallest floral kingdom in the world.

Over time the Partnership expanded to include more organisations and established formal structures for project implementation and co-ordination. During June 2002 a delegation from Cape Town visited Aachen and new project ideas were developed and the need to extend the Partnership to the then Unicity was highlighted.

During March 2003 a delegation from Aachen visited Cape Town and a formal letter of intent was signed by both cities and the Steering Committee as an indication towards renewing the MoU. In June 2004 the second Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Aachen by the city representatives of Aachen and Cape Town, as well as civil society representatives from the Steering Committee and InWEnt. In 2007 the MoU was changed to a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). Now it is renewed every 5 years to adjust the work areas of the Partnership to experiences made and new developments. The actual MoA was signed in 2012 and will be revisited and renewed in 2017.

Here you can read the actual Memorandum of Agreement: 
Current version of MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT (MOA) → Download (PDF)

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1.1 The Aachen-Khayelitsha Partnership was established during 1998 between Welthaus, in Aachen, and KERIC (Khayelitsha Education Resource and Information Centre) from Khayelitsha.

1.2 This partnership developed into the Aachen / Tygerberg LA21 Partnership, which was formally entered into through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on 29 June 2000 in Aachen, Germany. The partnership is unique due to the fact that it is based on the principles of Agenda 21 and promotes sustainable development in a practical way.

1.3 It was agreed that the partnership be based on a three-year plan, subject to annual review, and that the partnership and Memorandum of Agreement be assessed at the end of the three years. This was done in 2004.

1.4 The former City of Tygerberg was amalgamated with other municipalities on 6 December 2000 and the current structure is known as the City of Cape Town.

1.5 The partnership is between the cities of Aachen and Cape Town, including participating civil society, cultural, business and educational institutions from both cities. It is known as the “Aachen – Cape Town LA21 Partnership”.


This document outlines the agreement between the City of Aachen and City of Cape Town, including the participating civil society, business, cultural and educational institutions. It has been revised to ensure that amendments are included as the Partnership expands and is referred to as the “Memorandum of Agreement”.


The undersigned commit to implement the principles and practice of global sustainability and partnerships at a local level, as outlined in Agenda 21 at the United National Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and endorsed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in 2002 through the Millennium
Development Goals (MDG):

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (chapter 3 of Agenda 21)
  • Achieve universal primary education (Chapter 36 of Agenda 21)
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development (Chapters 2 and 8 of Agenda 21)


4.1 Aim of the partnership:
The aim of the partnership is to promote sustainable development, the principles of Agenda 21 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) through facilitating partnerships and partnership projects that improve environmental, social and economic conditions, with a particular focus on
poverty eradication.

4.2 Objectives of the partnership:
The following objectives are to be achieved through the partnership:

4.2.1 Projects : Implementation of partnership projects that promote sustainable
development in a practical way;
4.2.2 Networking : Establishing and supporting a platform for promoting sustainable development and Agenda 21, with a focus on networking and partnership cooperation.
4.2.3 Awareness raising : Promoting a joint understanding of the implication of Agenda 21 and the MDGs in the North-South context through sharing experience in the techniques and principles of sustainable development; and
4.2.4 Exchanges : Promoting opportunities for exchanges between Aachen and Cape Town to support projects and organisations within the partnership.

4.3 Key priority areas:
The following key priority areas have been identified for project implementation, but can be expanded on by mutual consent. The projects indicated in brackets are examples, but do not exclude any new initiatives within the key priority areas.

4.3.1 Urban farming and greening (Aachen Greening Award, Bauwagen);
4.3.2 Energy (Climate Change and Energy Strategy, Green Building Guideline);
4.3.3 Waste Management (Waste Wise Project; EcoProfit);
4.3.4 Transport (Bicycle Recycle Project);
4.3.5 Health (HIV/Aids);
4.3.6 Urban Design (EcoVillage; Monwabisi; Kuyasa);
4.3.7 Education (Musedi = Music Education Initiative)
4.3.8 Cross cutting issues, such as women, youth, sport and cultural activities
(Mural Global, 21 Households, schools partnerships, exchange programs, etc).

4.4 Inclusion of strategic stakeholders:
Recognition of the equal importance of all the relevant stakeholders, as indicated below, to ensure a sustainable future by working together, sharing information and making a difference:

4.4.1 Governmental Structures,
4.4.2 Civil Society Structures,
4.4.3 Educational and other Institutions;
4.4.4 Funding Institutions;
4.4.5 Business and Industry;
4.4.6 Women, youth and disabled forums; and
4.4.7 Media, and other interested parties that actively participate


5.1 Structures:
The partners commit to the ongoing support of a Partnership Steering Committee in the South and the Koordinerungs Gruppe in the North, inclusive of municipal officials, councillors and civil society representatives. The purpose of these structures is to ensure the following:

5.1.1 Co-ordination and organisation of events that promote the partnership and provide networking opportunities in the two cities.
5.1.2 Establishment, facilitation and funding of partnership projects;
5.1.3 Promotion and co-ordination of donor funding;
5.1.4 General co-ordination of the partnership:

  • Generation of annual activity calendar,
  • Generation of reports to committees,
  • Generation of press releases,
  • Attendance of relevant conferences / seminars,
  • Promotion of training and awareness about LA21,
  • Promotion of job-swapping / training with Aachen,
  • Exchange of information and experience with other cities/partners.

The partners agree to work on equal level within this Agenda 21 Partnership.

5.2 Resources and support:
The partners commit to provide support, resources and financial support to ensure continuity and effectiveness of the above-mentioned structures and processes.
5.3 Partnership Monitoring:
The partners commit to the ongoing co-operation with independent monitors, if applicable. The aim of the monitoring is to increase the impact and effectiveness of the partnership through strategic assessment.


6.1 The Partnership is multi-lateral agreement between the cities of Aachen and Cape Town, including participating civil society, educational and business organizations represented within these cities. The engaging of this partnership indicates their collaboration and active support in achieving the aims of the partnership and promoting sustainable development.

6.2 It is agreed that, for the partnership to be successful, joint projects involving both of the municipalities civil society, education institutions and business organizations need to be facilitated and supported in an active manner in Aachen and Cape Town.

6.3 It is agreed that civil organizations have a fundamental role to play in the facilitation and co-ordination of the partnership and in promoting sustainable development in a practical manner, especially at grass roots level.

6.4 It is agreed that the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), as well as the principles of Agenda 21 and sustainable development be implemented in a practical manner through the partnership and the projects that are related to the partnership.


7.1 The partnership will be renewed for five years, subject to annual review.

The partnership and Memorandum of Agreement will be re-assessed at the end of the five-year period.

Early termination by either of the parties shall be subject to three (3) months written notice.


The partners hereby undertake to perform all that is required of them in order to give effect to the intention of the partners as set forth in this Memorandum of Agreement. By their signature hereunder, the partnership ' representatives agree that this Memorandum of Agreement reasonably reflects their understanding of the partners' mutual intentions.

Cape Town, South Africa
November 2007