Steering Committee

The Steering Committee comprises two representatives each of the cooperation partners German Association of Cities (DST), Engagement Global / Service Agency Communities in One World and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit who have been appointed by the respective partners and are authorised to take decisions. The Steering Committee counsels and decides on a consensual basis regarding all strategic matters of Connective Cities.

Ricarda Meissner

She is GIZ’s Senior Project Director for Connective Cities, responsible for strategy development and project management and coordination in Connective Cities as well as for cooperation with international partners and organizations. Ricarda Meissner has more than 25 years of professional experience in management of complex programmes in development cooperation for GIZ, European Union and the World Bank mainly in South-East Asia, Central Asia and Africa.
E-Mail: Ricarda.Meissner(at)

Philip Eichler

Municipal development and good urban governance expert at the GIZ. Studies of Public Administration at the University of Konstanz; years of experience as the GIZ expatriate and domestic employee. Currently Philip Eichler, as a professional planner, advises a large number of GIZ projects lying in the realms of urban and regional development, modernization of municipal administration, municipal finances and communal partnerships.
E-Mail: philip.eichler(at)

Sabine Drees

Sabine Drees represents the Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag –DST) in the Connective Cities Steering Group. Sabine Drees is a “Diplom” economist, and at the DST, she is responsible for the “International Affairs” Division. She is Head of the Association of German Cities’ Working Group on “International Affairs” and is in charge of the Expert Committee on “Municipal Development Cooperation” of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). Furthermore, she represents the CEMR in the European organisation “Platforma”, the European voice of municipal development cooperation. Sabine Drees is Deputy Chair of the Advisory Board of Engagement Global (EG) and is a member of the Advisory Council and Programme Commission of the “Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW)”. Also, Sabine Drees is Managing Director of the German Delegation to the Congress of Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) in the Council of Europe.
E-Mail: Sabine.Drees(at)

Dr Ralf-Rainer Braun

Dr Ralf-Rainer Braun is a graduated geographer and urban ecologist and holds a doctor’s degree in environmental planning. He heads the Environmental Agency of the City of Hagen. Ralf-Rainer Braun is also responsible for commercial and industrial air pollution control of the cities of Bochum and Dortmund based on an inter-municipality cooperation contract. He has been selected for the Steering Group by the Association of German Cities as a municipal practitioner with several years of extensive expertise. Ralf-Rainer Braun has gained experience in numerous concrete implementation projects with assignments to Russia, China, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Colombia, Jamaica and various European countries. He is a member of various committees and working groups of the Association of German Cities and has been appointed by the Federal Minister of Environment as member of Blue Angel Environmental Label Jury. Ralf-Rainer Braun is management board member of “Biostation Hagen” and of the “GeoPark Ruhrgebiet” and a member of the Experts and Reviewers Project Selection Committee of the non-profit Foundation for International Development.
E-Mail: ralf-rainer.braun(at)

Ulrich Held

Ulrich Held is Team Leader of Municipal Partnership Activities at the Service Agency Communities in One World / Engagement Global gGmbH. He studied humanities. Ulrich Held has gained several years of professional experience at the Federal institutions the German Federal Parliament, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Federal Chancellery. Stages of his career include InWEnt and GIZ, especially in business development. Ulrich Held has focused several years of his activities on the role and the potential of German municipalities in international development cooperation, also in the context of the partnership initiative “Fluthilfe” (flood relief), partnership activities with Burkina Faso, China, Brazil, etc.
E-Mail: Ulrich.Held(at)

Alexander Wagner

Engagement Global / Service Agency Communities in One World’s Project Director in Connective Cities, trained at university in Cologne, Paris and Grenoble as a political scientist and in social environment development in disadvantaged cities. Many years of experience in urban district development, European conferencing and community development in Africa. Alexander Wagner is responsible for mobilising German partners for international exchange and coordinates the events held in Germany.
E-Mail: Alexander.Wagner(at)