'We cannot do this alone'

Facing the challenges of climate change and sustainable futures, the words of Navin Ramsoondur, Mayor of Vacoas-Phoenix in Mauritius, 'We cannot do this alone', summarised well this year’s ICLEI Resilient Cities congress. The need to build new partnerships and collaborative efforts at many levels in many ways characterised the programme.

More than 400 representatives from local governments, cities and regions all over the world gathered in Bonn in early May for the annual ICLEI Resilient Cities conference. ICLEI is the global association of local governments, headquartered in the former German capital, next to German ministries, research foundations and the considerable UN representation, including parts of the UN University.

Mistra Urban Futures selected the ICLEI conference as the main event for its global outreach in 2017, a year in between the UN summits of Habitat III in 2016 and the World Urban Forum in 2018. The Centre’s Director, David Simon, was invited to give a ‘special message’ on the contribution of Mistra Urban Futures to meeting the challenges during the opening plenary with Gino van Begin, Secretary-General of ICLEI; Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secreatary of UNFCCC; and the vice Mayor of Seoul, Jewon Lee.

Two days later, towards the end of the conference, the Gothenburg and Malmö platforms organised a session on experiences and lessons learnt from the reception of large numbers or refugees and asylum seekers in autumn 2015. Facilitated by Gothenburg platform director, Margareta Forsberg, it covered a range of perspectives with presenters from cities as well as research and civil society: Mistra Urban Futures’ Consortium coordinator Pia Borg and Sven Höper, City of Gothenburg; Anna von Beckerath, City of Stockholm; Sandra Lundberg, City of Malmö with Margareta Rämgård, Malmö University and Mohad Aruqi, the Red Cross. Numerous questions from the audience concluded the session.

But ICLEI is not only a conference and an opportunity to present as well as listen to others. It is also a space for informal meetings, side events and the ideal place to discuss new collaborations and develop existing ones. The Mistra Urban Futures delegation returned home with a renewed co-operation agreement with Citiscope and a number of issues, requests and ideas to follow up on.

Pictures: top left: Mohad Aruqi, Margareta Rämgård, Anna von Beckerath, Sandra Lundberg, Pia Borg, Sven Höper; top right: Anna von Beckerath; bottom left: David Simon; bottom right: Margareta Forsberg

More information: Jan Riise, Mistra Urban Futures, phone +46 708 642820

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