Burkhard Jung has been the Mayor of the City of Leipzig since 2006. Additionally he has been President of the Association of German Cities; Vice-president of the Association of Saxon Cities and Municipalities; Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Sparkasse Leipzig; Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Leipzig Trade Fair Organisation and Leipzig Utilities and Transport Organisation; Chairman of the Bach Archive Leipzig Foundation; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Foundation and the Peaceful Revolution Foundation; Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer, and Member of the Executive Committee of EUROCITIES, the major European cities network. In 2014 Burkhard Jung was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and the Medal of Honour of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On 30 October 2019, the Leipzig City Council declared a climate emergency and renewed its commitment to responsible local action against global climate change. Despite many years of climate protection efforts, per capita greenhouse gas emissions had not declined enough. The city therefore took action in summer 2020 with a climate emergency action programme – a milestone in Leipzig’s energy and climate action work. The emergency programme was developed in a comprehensive inter-agency and interdepartmental process. Concrete measures include rainwater management and deep retrofits, the construction of solar systems and electric charging stations, organic lunches for day-care centres and schools and floodplain development. All measures have been evaluated in terms of their total costs as well as the potential and onset of their impacts. The programme is financed with more than €20 million from the city budget and the Leipzig Group’s associated companies.
In July 2020, the City of Leipzig set up the ‘Sustainable Development and Climate Protection’ department. This department centralised the management of the city’s sustainability and climate actions. The department also raises awareness of the City’s sustainability actions and those of external partners (e.g., the city’s climate protection fund), and coordinates committee work (e.g., the Sustainable Leipzig Forum, Sustainable Leipzig Advisory Council, INSEK working group).
The city encourages circular economy by producing leaflets explaining what people should do with items they no longer want, and where and how to dispose of, donate or recycle them. The city also encourages community initiatives such as projects, venues that encourage a circular, no-waste approach, and a growing number of initiatives providing permanent, weatherproof lockers in public places such as parks, where unwanted items can be exchanged.
Leipzig has 278 allotment garden sites with more than 39,000 plots, totalling 1,240 hectares. This forms nearly a third of Leipzig’s ‘green lungs,’ and provides an ideal habitat for many small animals, insects and plants. Children’s playgrounds at many of the sites make spending time at the allotment a family-friendly experience.
The Smart City Leipzig initiative leads a continuous, comprehensive innovation process including both digital transformation and non-technical objectives to improve society. It also holds the Smart City Challenge Leipzig innovation competition, in which founders, start-ups, students and established companies are invited to find innovative digital solutions for given municipal and civil society issues. Three solutions are selected each year, and the creators are given funding and the opportunity to develop their ideas further with the city administration. The best of the three concepts is then tested and implemented in practice.
Leipzig is also part of the EU Smart City project ‘Triangulum’, which is also concerned with developing concepts for more sustainable, efficient, technologically advanced, future-proof and socially inclusive cities. As part of the project, innovative measures for a sustainable energy supply will be developed and tested in new and existing neighbourhoods in Leipzig by 2024.
Operating since 2001, the Advisory Board for Gender Equality committee grapples with issues related to gender equality at a local authority level to ensure local authority decisions neither create advantages for one sex nor disadvantages for the other. The committee has 24 male and female members with voting rights and others in advisory roles. The Gender Equality Officer of the City of Leipzig is the chairperson of the board. The committee selects priority issues every year. There is a public session at the beginning and, following this, non-public discussions. As a result, interested individuals can attend the public presentations, ask questions and submit proposals. The makeup of the Advisory Board in particular (political groups from the city council, chambers, unions, women’s associations, women’s organisations in the parties, university, etc.) introduces different specialist interests and therefore ensures that very varied points of view are heard.