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Sustainable Development Zones and a Better Life for Migrants with Joachim Rücker
Episode 2924th May 2021 • Charter Cities Podcast • Kurtis Lockhart
00:00:00 00:41:44

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Our guest today is Joachim Rücker, who currently serves as a key partner in the Sustainable Development Zone Alliance. Preceded by a varied and fascinating career, Joachim served as a special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Kosovo for the duration of its transition to independence and was responsible for its economic reconstruction. He was also the Mayor of a German Industrial City, called Sindelfingen for almost ten years, and has been stationed abroad on numerous occasions with the German Foreign Service in various countries, particularly in Africa. Joachim describes how it all came together in 2017 and 2018 when their company decided to pursue making a positive global impact in migration, humanitarian, and development policies. In our conversation, we discuss Joachim’s work with the Sustainable Development Zone Alliance and how they are utilizing Sustainable Development Zones (SDZs) and Brownfield sites to improve the lives of migrants and increase the transitions from the informal sector to the formal sector. Joachim outlines three key points when considering their new paradigm around integration in cities and the importance of offering integration options for migrants. Find out why it’s important to have an administrative framework in SDZs that exists as a separate entity to the central government, and Joachim explains the importance of collaborating with the local government and grassroots organizations, citing a successful example in Libya when working with local government, even though the central government was fragile and heavily compromised. Finally, we talk about Joachim’s time in Kosovo and how he sees SDZs playing out in the next 20 years. All this and much more. We hope you’ll join us!


Key Points From This Episode:


●     Meet today’s guest, Joachim Rücker.

●     An outline of SDZs and how they resemble charter cities.

●     How the Sustainable Development Zones Alliance is working to support cities during a huge increase in urbanization.

●     The challenges of moving people out of the informal sector.

●     Why SDZs are helpful tools in moving people out of the informal sector.

●     Their use of elements from special administrative and legal frameworks to solve problems.

●     Three key points when considering Joachim’s new paradigm around integration in cities.

●     Firstly, hear about the importance of avoiding the ‘objects of care’ trap.

●     Secondly, Joachim shares why it’s so important for migrants to have a connection with urban developments.

●     Lastly, he highlights the necessity of a special legal framework outside of the original city.

●     Why migrants are unlikely to return to places where they were violently oppressed.

●     The importance of offering local integration options.

●     How SDZs determine which sectors of the population to focus on.

●     How to go about determining the administration for a particular SDZ.

●     The governance authority that SDZs need to be successful.

●     What SDZs might look like in 20 years and how they could resemble other decentralized innovations.

●     Being in contact with both local government and grassroots movements and organizations when setting up an SDZ.

●     Working with local leaders when the central government is fragile, as it is in Libya.

●     Why SDZs require donors and investors and how to get them involved.

●     Why Joachim doesn’t anticipate hiring problems when countries often have more qualified individuals than jobs available.

●     Why a multilateral organization like the UN should be involved in SDZs in a supervisory role.

●     The lessons that Joachim draws from Paul Rohmer, the Jordan Compact, and the unfortunate perception of charter cities as neocolonial.

●     Joachim talks about his time in Kosovo and the lessons he learned.

●     Why Joachim and his team have chosen to pursue Brownfield sites for SDZs and how it informs their broader strategy.


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: 

Joachim Rücker

Joachim Rücker on LinkedIn

Charter Cities Institute

Charter Cities Institute on Facebook

Charter Cities Institute on Twitter

Charter Cities Institute on LinkedIn