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Cities to unveil new ways to plan for climate change at Brussels conference

4 September 2018

How do you plan for the unknown? Cities are one of the top contributors to climate change worldwide, and they are also the areas hit hardest by the extreme weather, pressure on infrastructure and unpredictable disasters triggered by the changing climate.

Four cities, Bilbao (Spain), Bratislava (Slovakia), Greater Manchester (United Kingdom) and ICLEI Member Paris (France), have been working with researchers and ICLEI Europe since 2015 to develop new methods to adapt to climate change. These cities have gone beyond reacting to the effects that we are seeing across Europe: brown parks, water shortages and shocking storms, and are planning for long-term uncertainty decades in advance.

At “Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructures 2018”, which will take place 9 October 2018 in Brussels (Belgium), the cities will share the results of their brand new co-developed tools, including an e-Guide to adaptation strategy development, a methodology for vulnerability and risk assessment, a map-based typology of climate risk in European regions and a library of adaptation options.

“The Adaptation Options Library is an easy-to-use and educational tool for both developing an adaptation strategy and implementing it. On the one hand, it can be used by practitioners such as architects and landscape planners for different small-scale projects (at the building level), and on the other, by urban planners and resilience officers to design an adaptation strategy and select the right measures,” said Eva Streberova (City of Bratislava). Ingrid Konrad, Bratislava’s Chief Architect, will speak about the city’s climate adaptation progress through the RESIN project.

Interactive sessions will guide local governments to forge new partnerships based on common climate risk characteristics, and will offer research scientists a space to plan future research into climate change adaptation.

The conference is co-organised by the RESCCUE project and will feature project coordinator Pere Malgrat (Aquatec - SUEZ Advanced Solutions). A closing panel including Aleksandra Kazmierczak (European Environment Agency) and Roger Street (Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford) will consider the policy implications of cities’ need for meaningful climate adaptation action.

The conference is free of charge and registration is open until 2 October 2018. For more information, click here.

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Supporting climate adaptation with the RESIN tools in Bilbao and the Basque region: reporting back on the 2nd Stakeholder Dialogue

24 July 2018

Over 70 participants, including representatives of at least 20 local and regional governments, met in Bilbao (Spain) on 5th July 2018 for the second Stakeholder Dialogue of the RESIN project. Bilbao is a core RESIN city and has also been collaborating closely with the Basque Government on climate change adaptation measures. Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Mobility and Sustainability for the City of Bilbao, Alfonso Gil, welcomed the participants who had travelled to his city from across Spain and Europe, and as far away as Melbourne.

Speakers from the Basque Government emphasised how important it is to communicate with municipalities. “They need to let us know what we can help them with,” said María Aranzazu Leturiondo, Deputy Minister of Territorial Planning.

Susana Ruiz, Urban Planning Technician, City of Bilbao called for regulation to support municipalities in their adaptation work: “I would like to make a call to the authorities: It would be wonderful to have supra-municipal regulation from the autonomous region or from the state.”

For Aitor Zulueta, Director of Natural Heritage and Climate Change, “Adaptation to climate change is avoiding risks. It is a tool to anticipate economic problems… We need to adapt ourselves to avoid these kinds of risks, like the landslide in Bizkaya.” Intense rainfall triggered a landslide in Larrabetzu in February this year, dumping 100,000m3 of earth, causing traffic havoc due to the blocked road and trapping three people.

“Climate change is actually already happening in Paris,” said Marie Gantois, Project leader for adaptation to climate change, Climate and Energies Department of the City of Paris. The city suffered intensely under the heatwave nicknamed “Lucifer” in 2017, as well as a drought in 2017, thunderstorms in 2018 and flooding of the river Seine in spring 2018: “That was really unanticipated.”

Following the plenary discussion, participants explored the RESIN tools and methodologies in parallel sessions. For supporting the cycle of climate change adaptation decision-making, Gantois and RESIN research partner TNO led the exchange of city experiences and introduced the RESIN e-Guide’s potential to help make an adaptation plan. Mikel González Vara, City of Bilbao, along with representatives from Fraunhofer and the University of Manchester looked into diagnosing risk with the IVAVIA vulnerability assessment methodology and the online map-based European Climate Risk Typology. As the city of Zadar noted, the Climate Risk Typology could help identify other cities with similar climate risks. A new guidance document for IVAVIA has just been published and is available on the RESIN website, which includes advice on using IVAVIA in different ways, depending on resources available – an important lesson arising from working with the RESIN cities and their different needs and capacities.

The city of Bratislava and Tecnalia presented the Adaptation Options Library as a means to help prioritise adaptation measures and design incremental pathways for adaptation action. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Arcadis shared their work on creating ‘bankable’ opportunities to accelerate city resilience, based on recognising the value of adaptation measures and encouraging investment from those who can expect to later profit from publicly-funded developments. As Eric Schellekens, Arcadis said, “There is a lot more profit that you could capture and that you can have invested at the start of your project.”

New cities discovered the RESIN project in Bilbao and were impressed with the research, tools and methodologies developed. Raffaella Gueze, City of Bologna was one municipal representative discovering the project for the first time. “I found the RESIN tools very interesting and I want to try to apply the tools in my city with the implementation of our adaptation plan,” said Ms. Gueze.

The municipal representatives present agreed that climate adaptation progress depends on cooperation and communication: with citizens, with researchers, with the private sector, but most importantly, with each other. As RESIN project coordinator Peter Bosch suggested in his closing words, “Take that time to drink a cup of coffee with people from various departments before rushing in to develop your strategy… It takes years to get the full administrative setting around you... for moving towards adaptation: but it pays off.”

A photo gallery of the event is available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/iclei_europe/albums/72157696058386602.

SMR NEWS

Interview with coordinator Jose Maria Sarreigi on the Smart Mature Resilience project

27 June 2018

Which sectors has your project focused on and why is resilience so important for these sectors? In our case, we have focused on cities. Our assumption was that if we would like Europe to be resilient, we needed a backbone of resilient cities. So, that’s the metaphor we have used. We would like to contribute to creating this backbone of European cities.

How can your European resilience management guidelines support resilience building in Europe? Our guideline and the five tools included in this guideline, contribute to the city resilience development process. In this process, there are many stakeholders involved, and we have defined a Maturity Model that goes through five stages. Each of the tools supports one cycle of these five stages. We have the Risk Systemicity Questionnaire, the Maturity Model, the Policies Tool, the City Resilience Dynamics tool, the Communication tool, and each of them are used in a cycle within this process going through the five maturity stages: Starting, Moderate, Advanced, Robust and Vertebrate.

Who can use the tools you have developed? Any stakeholder involved in this city resilience development process, starting from the local governments, and also including first responders, critical infrastructure operators, media, citizens: so any stakeholder involved in the city resilience development process.

What is different about your project compare to the other four DRS-7 projects? Our main contribution is including this perspective from the cities. Other projects have been more focused on critical infrastructure, which are of course very relevant to city resilience, but in our case, our unit of analysis – our focus – has been the city, which includes the critical infrastructure, but not the opposite. In some other cases, they have started from the critical infrastructure and then have gone to the local government.

What has been the most impactful outcome of your project? Listening to our users today, I would say that we have cooperated to break the silos among the departments in the cities. It is usual that cities have different departments: one related to climate change, another one related to mobility, another one related to social affairs. So during this project, we have created some cooperation opportunities among these departments, and I think that has been our main impact on them.

How did you contribute to the White Paper on Critical Infrastructure? Our contribution has been directed towards the inclusion of the city perspective. In addition to the perspective starting from critical infrastructure, we have added this perspective starting from cities, which I think is also very relevant.

Looking to the future, what are your thoughts on integrating the outcomes of the five projects? At this stage, we have many bricks that could be useful to build this resilient wall. Now, we know more about each other, we know more about the tools developed in other projects, so we have all the ingredients we need to create a good recipe. So, now we have to better understand how we can adapt the other projects’ developed tools into our guidelines. So, I am optimistic about the integration prospect.

Watch the video interview at https://youtu.be/laKVQJaJkVo.

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Transforming post-industrial zones to green hubs

12 June 2018

A new European-funded project “Productive Green Infrastructure for Post-industrial Urban Regeneration (proGIreg)” was launched in Aachen on 12th June 2018. The cities of Dortmund (Germany), Turin (Italy) and Zagreb (Croatia) will harness the productive potential of key post-industrial areas with the involvement of local NGOs, community groups and residents.

The city of Dortmund will use the renatured Deusenberg landfill site to produce solar power and provide sports areas and creating fruit-producing forests with the local residents of Huckarde. Ultimately, the aim is to turn the isolated Huckarde borough into a green space, thereby filling in the missing link between two river sites that have already been converted into nature parks. “We would like to use the existing strengths of this urban area,” said Stefan Thabe, Department of City Planning and Building Regulations, City of Dortmund. “We would like to connect the existing potential, and we would like to improve quality of life in the urban area.”

A further central goal of the Living Lab Dortmund is to establish a community planned, built and operated aquaponic farm. Aquaponics is a combination of fish farming and soilless plant cultivation, where fish, plants and bacteria live together in a circular system, making farming possible in areas with hostile post-industrial soil. ProGIreg aims to design a lower tech, low cost aquaponics system that is accessible and suitable for community investment, community building and community operation. The technology has been implemented in Dortmund since 2012 and the project plans to use the experience of the city and its local expert partners to stimulate aquaponic innovations in the project's other cities. 

“We are planning to reconstruct a former meat processing plant to create a new centre in the Sesvete area,” said Matija Vuger, Head of Section for International and Regional Projects, City of Zagreb. “The nature-based interventions will include urban gardens, a new cycle path, a modern business innovation hub with green walls and green roofs, and aquaponics agriculture.”  

Turin will introduce nature-based solutions including aquaponics, cycle lanes, bee-friendly areas and green roofs and walls to the post-industrial ‘Mirafiori Sud’ area and to connect local groups already working on urban agriculture. Turin will experiment with the use of ‘new soil,’ produced by combining compost and special fungi with poor-quality, but uncontaminated soil, and will introduce carbon compensation and offset schemes for private companies and large public events. Elena Deambrogio, Head of Office for Smart Cities and EU Funds at Comune di Torino said, “This project is ambitious because we have to work on different sectoral policies, including urban regeneration, social and active inclusion, environment and green planning and economic development and support to innovation.”  


The three cities will work with four further cities in Eastern and Southern Europe: Cascais (Portugal), Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Piraeus (Greece) and Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to research, share and scale up the nature-based solutions tested along with 25 other organisations including coordinator Rheinsch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH) and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. “We need to make politicians and decision-makers aware that nature-based solutions can be more than just for leisure activities, and that they are of crucial importance,” said Teresa Ribeiro, landscape architect at Cascais Ambiente.


“ProGIreg is the next step in bringing issues around green infrastructure, urban development and business innovation together,” said project coordinator Dr. Axel Timpe. “We are lucky to have an inspiring group of ambitious, committed and experienced cities on the proGIreg team, and together we will show the productive potential of green infrastructure for urban regeneration.”  


A large launch event will be held in Dortmund on 25-26 September. For more information, follow the project at www.twitter.com/progireg.

SMR NEWS

SMR Tier 3 cities to bring the European Resilience Management Guideline to the world stage at the ICLEI World Congress in Montreal

1 June 2018

The Smart Mature Resilience cities of Athens, Greater Manchester and Reykjavik will represent the project at the major global urban sustainability conference, the ICLEI World Congress, in Montreal in June 2018.

At the ICLEI World Congress 2018 in June 2018, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and Ville de Montréal will bring together hundreds of mayors, governors, city staff, international organizations, business leaders and researchers to share their ideas, successes and challenges in advancing sustainable urban development worldwide. The Tier 3 cities, having joined the project in November 2017, are by now well-versed not only in the major standout resilience issues of today but have also gained a deep understanding of the research the project has carried out since 2015 into urban resilience building and development.

Held every three years, the ICLEI World Congress is among the top platforms for peer-to-peer exchange on the latest ideas and innovations designed to advance sustainable development in our urban world. Together, participants will examine key issues and solutions - from the circular economy to nature-based solutions and systemic resilience - set to play a key role in the development of our cities and regions.

More information and a programme are available at https://worldcongress2018.iclei.org/.

SMR NEWS

Cities are coming together to make the journey towards a resilient future

29 May 2018

A new video shows the journey of seven cities towards a resilient future. Climate scenarios of increasing storms, floods and heat waves have lately become a reality and are putting citizens’ health and lives at risk as a result of climate change.

Human-made disasters such as terrorist attacks used to happen every 5 years in European cities and are now occurring several times a year. Local governments need to prepare their infrastructure for the worst in order to protect their communities, but these challenges transcend national borders and city limits.

“We are changing, the cities are changing, the world is changing and we also need to see outside the borders, to learn and to share information. And I think ICLEI is a great opportunity and a great platform for us to do that,” said Silje Solvang, Municipality of Kristiansand (Norway).

Cities need to work together to build a resilient urban environment where their communities can thrive. Kristiansand, along with the cities of Bristol (United Kingdom), Donostia (Spain), Glasgow (United Kingdom), Riga (Latvia), Rome (Italy) and Vejle (Denmark) have worked with research scientists, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and DIN to co-create and test a Resilience Management Guideline. The Resilience Management Guideline consists of five steps, which cities can follow to integrate resilience into their city planning.

Developing this guideline and the supporting tools has begun a movement to go beyond adapting infrastructure to climate change and spurred cities on towards boosting social cohesion and quality of life as a primary focus of resilience.

“When I initially came to the project it was very much about future proofing places and infrastructure,” said Lucy Vilarkin, city of Bristol. “For me, the emphasis has shifted onto people and organisations, and how we deal with tackling health issues and building healthy organisations.”

For more information, click here.

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Putting the Basque Declaration into practice: implementation event to be held in Bilbao

25 May 2018

Since hundreds of cities from over 40 countries first endorsed the Basque Declaration two years ago at the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns in Bilbao (Spain), commitment to the Declaration has been gaining momentum.

New signatories are joining the movement and cities are taking action to transform their communities for a more sustainable future. The Basque Declaration highlights the need to adapt to climate change, improve public space, protect water resources and air quality and enhance ecosystem services, and the Declaration provides pathways towards this transformation.

ICLEI Europe and the City of Bilbao are working together to return to the venue of this seminal conference, Bilbao’s Euskalduna Palace, for an implementation event on 5 July 2018, this time marking the implementation phase of the Basque Declaration.

City practitioners will come together with researchers to discuss and learn about practical approaches to building climate resilience for “Putting the Basque Declaration into Practice: Supporting climate change adaptation”, a stakeholder dialogue event on the topic of climate change adaptation and resilience.

The cities of Paris (France) and Bilbao will exchange with their peers from Zadar (Croatia), Padova and Alba (Italy), Almada (Portugal), Athens (Greece), London (UK), Strasbourg (France) and Warsaw (Poland), and further ambitious cities are invited to join the conversation.

As well as exchanging on the climate change adaptation measures underway in European cities, support tools and methods will be introduced, which can help local governments identify risks, assess their interdependencies and impacts, and select effective climate change adaptation solutions - now and in the future.

The tools and methods use standardised approaches, which help local governments collaborate with their peers in cities around Europe on climate challenges that transcend borders.

The tools and research to be presented at the event have been produced as part of the European-funded project RESIN – Resilient Cities and Infrastructures. Attendance is free of charge and registration is open until 22 June 2018.

For more information, click here.

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Can standardization be useful for climate adaptation?

9 May 2018

The vast majority of commercial products you might encounter on a daily basis have had to pass a variety of standards, from the materials they are composed of, the shape, the packaging and instructions, to the machines that produce them. Most commonly associated with health and safety regulations, and technical equipment such as screws and mobile phone chargers, standardization is becoming increasingly relevant to people-centred processes, such as management. Just as standardizing a mobile phone charger ensures high quality and means that it can be used transferably with many different mobile phones, standardization of soft processes supports collaboration as part of much more complex processes. 

Planning a city to adapt to climate change involves the intersection of a number of complex systems, each of which involves unknown, uncertain and unpredictable factors. Climate is in itself an incredibly complex system, cities are complex systems, and municipal workers balance all of this complexity with limited budgets, political priorities and practical considerations. Standardization is one way in which municipalities and local councils can create a common language so that they can use the same methods and software as one another for a process as specific as climate change adaptation. 

“Cities use standards in their daily work, for example, to determine quality of products and services in their procurement processes,” said Holger Robrecht, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. “However, they are not so used to applying standards and norms related to their management procedures, for example, related to climate change adaptation or urban resilience. However, whilst a few large cities often have capacity to develop, establish and maintain their tailor-made procedures, the vast majority cannot. They depend on high quality and up-to-date information and reference documents that guide their management of climate change adaptation. Standardisation picks upon cutting-edge expertise to provide such guidance.”

The city of Bratislava (Slovakia) is one city looking to standardized approaches to adapt to climate change. Bratislava has put a climate change adaptation strategy in place to deal with the climate challenges the city is facing, such heatwaves and droughts, and has now arrived at the point of developing an action plan to turn the strategy into reality. Gathering data for this process has proven to be a challenge for the city, but real progress is being made, in part thanks to cooperation with universities including the University of Bratislava.

Bratislava has been applying an Impact and Vulnerability Analysis of Vital Infrastructures and built-up Areas (IVAVIA) tool locally to assess vulnerability on the basis of risk. According to Eva Streberová, Climate Adaptation Expert, City of Bratislava (Slovakia), using this tool depends on cooperation between the city council and its stakeholders, providing a range of co-benefits. Bratislava is also a signatory of the Mayors Adapt initiative, whereby the city committed to contributing to the aims of the EU Adaptation Strategy. This commitment is associated with a comprehensive reporting process, and Bratislava has found that using the IVAVIA tool has made this reporting process easier.  

IVAVIA is a standardized approach to making a vulnerability and risk assessment. It is made up of three qualitative and 3 quantitative steps followed by presentation module. During the IVAVIA process, cities produce impact chain diagrams, which make the cause-effect relationships between the consequences of hazards and exposed objects visible. Later in the process, cities can develop detailed risk maps that can show city councils which areas in the city are in need of particular attention. IVAVIA can help cities not only uncover risk and vulnerability issues affecting them, but can also help to communicate these in a visual way.  

Greater Manchester (United Kingdom) has also used the IVAVIA method to arrive at systematically mapped risk indicators and indices, with a particular focus on flooding and its repercussions on the transport network. Use of the tool has enabled Greater Manchester to produce an impact chain demonstrating the interactions between pluvial flooding and the system of major arterial roads in Greater Manchester. Developing this impact chain brought transport agency staff into closer working contact with the municipality.

“The 'beauty' of standards lie in their global availability, hands-on foundation and an inherent regular review mechanism keeping the standard at speed with the generation of knowledge and experience,” said Robrecht. “Being voluntary by nature, cities can 'pick and choose' what fits best to strengthen their climate change adaptation management.”

These outcomes were shared at the RESIN project’s session, “Standardized support tools for urban resilience, integrating resilience planning into local decision-making” at the Bonn Resilient Cities conference, 27 April 2018.

SMR NEWS

SMR team presents three years of collaborative work at Bonn event

3 May 2018

The cities of the Smart Mature Resilience project met for the closing occasion of SMR’s successful Tier 3 city programme last week in Bonn. While the project began with seven cities as full project partners, an additional seven cities have become active and engaged in the project, many of whose representatives are also active contributors to SMR’s standardization preparation activities.

Cities establish common ground

Giampaolo Tarpignati, Comune di Udine (Italy) represented SMR’s first official Tier 4 city and shared the inspiring story of how even a small municipality can become a local figurehead and can spur its larger-sized neighbour cities to take transformative action on resilience.

SMR’s partner city of Kristiansand (Norway) could identify with Udine’s situation. Silje Solvang, City of Kristiansand (Norway) said, “We are a very small city, we are only 90,000 inhabitants, and to learn and see that other cities have similar challenges and similar obstacles due to law and leadership and politicians: it has been very good for us to know that we're not the only one.”

Marco Cardinaletti, Project Manager, Region of Emilia-Romagna (Italy) shared innovative communication methods to disseminate project results to stakeholders in the fields of adaptation and resilience, including a children’s theatre performance.

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Looking back over SMR’s co-creation practice

The SMR project was conducted according to the principles of co-creation. Discussions throughout the event produced a plethora of understandings and manifestations of this practice. Jose Maria Sarriegi, SMR project coordinator, emphasised the importance of finding balance for a productive co-creation process. On the one hand, he urged researchers to be open to adapting their models to the feedback and needs of end users. On the other hand, he urged end users to understand the benefits of making tools generic and adaptable: “We are creating the tools not just for them but for the whole community.”

From the point of view of cities, co-creation means involving colleagues and stakeholders from inside and outside the municipality, sharing the project outputs with them and feeding their perspectives back into the co-design process. “The most important thing we learned [through the SMR project] is the holistic approach to think resilience. Resilience has not been a familiar term, now it's becoming a familiar term, and it is how to cooperate with internal stakeholders, external stakeholders and how we all together move forward. When you work together and cooperate together, the outcome is resilient,” said Silje Solvang, City of Kristiansand.

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Circle of Sharing and Learning

The project’s dissemination of project outputs to cities has followed a ‘Circle of Sharing and Learning’, whereby additional cities have become progressively involved in the project as it developed. The project began with the three core cities of Donostia (Spain), Glasgow (United Kingdom) and Kristiansand (Norway). These cities tested the project’s tools and are referred to as ‘Tier 1’ cities. The next ‘tier’ of cities; Bristol (United Kingdom), Rome (Italy), Riga (Latvia) and Vejle (Denmark) provided feedback and review to the tool testing process. This group is referred to as ‘Tier 2’. Each ‘Tier 2’ city was paired with a ‘Tier 1’ city, with whom they worked particularly closely.

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“It’s been brilliant working with other European cities… It’s great having the ability to build a strong peer network with our counterparts of the European cities and also to get outside of our comfort zone. You can get very locked into your own way of thinking, a very UK-centric approach, so we’ve been able to widen our perspective and understand the other challenges other European cities are going through. It’s been great working with Donostia, they’re our Tier 2 City, so we’ve got to know a lot of the challenges they’ve got in their city and we’ve had great conversations with them and sharing our learning on resilience,” said Lucy Vilarkin, Bristol City Council.  

The first two tiers were full project partners. Communication and dissemination activities created a third tier of cities in the final year of the project, comprising Athens (Greece), Greater Amman Municipality (Jordan), Greater Manchester (United Kingdom), Malaga (Spain), Malmö (Sweden), Rekjavik (Iceland) and Thessaloniki (Greece). These cities were part of the ‘Tier 3’ and attended three in-person events and a series of webinars. At the in-person events and webinars, Tier 1 and Tier 2 city representatives facilitated and presented the project results, thereby transferring the knowledge they had gained through the project directly to the new cities. These Tier 3 cities signed an official Statement of Commitment to participate in the project.

“We, as the city of Thessaloniki, are very happy to be here, we were also in the event in Brussels a couple of weeks ago,” said George Dimarelos, City of Thessaloniki. “We have a big interest in cooperating and forming a network with other cities… in order to share our experiences and our challenges.”

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The final ‘Tier 4’ is an open-ended group and may encompass cities beyond Europe and beyond the end of the project’s funding period. Helena Perxacs Motgé, Provincial Council of Barcelona (Spain) discussed the opportunities and challenges of the local economy and society to adapt to climate change. As part of her work in the Provincial Council of Barcelona, Ms Perxacs Motgé provides support to a number of municipalities in the province of Barcelona, works with stakeholders to improve local resilience and adaptation, particularly in terms of agriculture, forestry, fishery and tourism in different areas in Catalonia. Ms Perxacs Motgé found that the tools and methodologies developed by the SMR project could be directly applicable for this context, explaining, “It was good to get ideas from the tools and resources developed during the SMR project. We will try to implement and to use those in our project CLINOMICS, and to use these methodologies for the discussions with the stakeholders to increase their resilience and adaptation to climate change.” Udine (Italy) is the first city to return a signed Statement of Commitment to join the Tier 4. 

SMR co-organised the Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities, which saw the highest ever attendance and inspiring discussions. As a pre-event to Open European Day, SMR held its Final City Resilience Conference.

A photo gallery of the event is available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/iclei_europe/sets/72157693144111942/.

SMR NEWS

Local authorities urged to join EU process for improving quality of life in cities at Bonn event

3 May 2018

The Italian municipalities of Bologna and Genoa called for local authorities attending Open European Day 2018 in Bonn (Germany) today to join them in contributing to the EU Urban Agenda

The municipality of Bologna (Italy), Genoa (Italy) and the European Investment Bank last week called for the local governments that met at the Open European Day event in Bonn to contribute to the European Urban Agenda by participating in the EU Partnerships on Adaptation and one on Land Use Planning  and Nature-Based Solutions.  

Giovanni Fini, City of Bologna, said: “The main aim of the partnership is to contribute to the forthcoming European policies on urban development. This is a truly challenging activity and it will only succeed if we can involve as many other European cities and local authorities as possible.”

“The Urban Agenda is an inclusive participatory instrument, that put on the same round table local authorities, Member States, Directorates General of the EU, EU programmes, networks and stakeholders, all together in a multilevel co-operative approach to discuss and co-work for the future policies through delivery of an Action Plan,” said Stefania Manca, Genoa Municipality and coordinator of the Climate Adaptation Partnership Urban Agenda. “The message is that all of us are equal. On the field of climate adaptation, our main focus is on Climate Resilience, vulnerability assessment and risk management. We are at the Open European Day to spread the work of the partnership, to help us involve more cities in the process of the public consultation of the Plan foreseen after June 2018.”

The Open European Day was first held in 2013 and is known among municipal climate practitioners as the place to meet other local governments and swap methods and opportunities for implementing climate change adaptation and urban resilience measures.

155 local government representatives, climate change adaptation experts and local and national government representatives have joined the climate adaptation conference in Bonn to meet other city representatives for peer-based discussions.

Reinhard Limbach, Deputy Mayor of the city of Bonn, hosts of the event, said: “To be prepared for future incidents, we must create suitable technical infrastructure and work on an innovative, nature-based strategy… I find it so important to come together and to make use of the elaborated European system, to benefit from the exchange with our direct neighbours.”

As the event, organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the European Environment Agency, has grown over five editions, European institutions are seeing the value in joining the conversation with local governments.

“What regional organizations do, the country does, or even the European Union does, matters for cities,” said Birgit Georgi, Strong Cities in a Changing Climate. “They build a framework in which the cities connect, and so we started to invite more and more also these levels, like from the European Commission or national governments or regional governments and other supporters, because as cities cannot move alone forward to be more resilient, national governments, you cannot without these cities. We have to work together in a multi-level approach.”

The 5th edition was supported by the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and Ramboll and co-organised by the European-funded Smart Mature Resilience project, RESIN – Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructures and PLACARD. The event is held annually.

For more information on the Partnership, please click here.

Photo gallery: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmh5cQct

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 653569.