The World Future Council at COP25 Climate Conference in Madrid: Our events

With the annual UN Climate Conference just around the corner, we are excited to invite you to meet our Climate & Energy Team at our side events from December 3 untill December 11 in Spain. Our side events contribute to technological solutions and focus on the role of 100% Renewable Energy and the building of roadmaps to achieve the Agenda 2030.

The World Future Council at COP24 Climate Conference in Katowice: Our events

With the annual UN Climate Conference just around the corner, we are excited to invite you to meet our Climate & Energy Team at our side events on December 12 in Poland. This year, the 24th conference is taking place in Katowice, Poland from 2-14 December 2018.

Presenting Smart Sustainable Pioneering Models on Smart Cities in China

Fourth China Smart City International Expo on August 21 in China’s innovation capital Shenzhen

The Banquet Dinner Reception – Best Practice Release was successfully organised during the Fourth China Smart City International Expo on August 21 in China’s innovation capital Shenzhen.

In cooperation with the China Center for Urban Development (CCUD) under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the World Future Council organised the Banquet Dinner Reception – Best Practice Release in the evening of August 21. During the Banquet, the Smart Sustainable Pioneering Models project was co-launched by the World Future Council and CCUD, with international and national best practices of smart sustainable cities introduced as well. Prof. Herbert Girardet, the honorary councillor of the World Future Council gave the keynote speech, followed by international smart city experience sharing presented by Ms Beate Weber-Schuerholz, the former load mayor of Heidelberg, Germany; Mr Niall O’Connor, center director of Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden; Mr Peter Sailer, project director of Sino German Urbanisation Partnership of GIZ, Germany; and Ms Aisa Tobing, Deputy Secretary General of CityNet, Indonesia.

There are over 1,000 smart city pilots ready for or under construction worldwide, and China is home to about 500 of them, covering big and small cities. Three groups of cities have been listed as national pilot projects so far, and the country aims to nurture 100 new smart cities from 2016 to 2020 to lead the country’s urban planning and development. With such high development speed, the Smart Sustainable Pioneering Models project presents best practices from around the globe for Chinese cities to improve their strategy, design, operations and maintenance in developing smart urban areas, along with technology and infrastructure, to ensure residents’ needs can be met efficiently and in a timely manner.

About 300 guests attended the Banquet Dinner Reception – Best Practice Release by invitation, and over 120,000 audiences in total attending the Fourth China Smart City International Expo. The whole event is organised by CCUD and lasts for 2 days, with main forums on August 21 and 16 parallel sub forums on August 22.

Fourth China Smart City International Expo on August 21 in China’s innovation capital Shenzhen

100% renewable energy and poverty reduction in Tanzania

The World Future Council, Bread for the World and CAN-Tanzania hosted a workshop in February Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to kick-off an 18-months project, aiming at exploring the feasibility of 100% RE targets and its implications for Tanzania’s Sustainable Low Carbon Development and Poverty Reduction Goals.

The New Urban Agenda: More Power to Cities? Yes, but how?

Only within the last 16 months, the world has seen the emergence of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the Paris agreement (which has just recently come into force), and the so-called New Urban Agenda (NUA). All three of them represent bold and (more or less) legally binding agreements by the Member States of the United Nations. The New Urban Agenda should be the most concrete and practical one since it addresses the smaller scale of government, i.e. cities – the place where we will win or lose our struggle for a more just, equitable and indeed sustainable world.

Read more

How to achieve Regenerative Cities: 6th Future of Cities Forum in Tianjin, China

What is a Regenerative City and how do we turn this vision into a reality? At our 6th Future of Cities Forum in Tianjin, China, leading experts from around the world explored key policy solutions and best practices to make cities more Regenerative from a water management perspective. The event was organized in partnership with UN Habitat and the Beijing Jiaotong University as an official sub-forum of the 7th Binhai Tianjin International Eco-City Forum & Expo and took place from 21-22 October 2016. Over 20 national media reported on this year’s Future of Cities Forum including Xinhua News, SinaFinance and China News and thus reached around 5 million readers.
Read more

Habitat III: The upcoming UN cities summit is as important as the Paris Climate Conference – but will it deliver?

By Stefan Schurig and Filippo Boselli

It is almost time.  One of the most important international summits is on our doorstep. Next week the UN General Assembly will be gathering in Quito, Ecuador to (hopefully) agree and sign the so called New Urban Agenda, the international urban “constitution” supposed to be guiding sustainable urban development in the next 20 years. Almost 40,000 participants from all around the world have registered. After the successful adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Paris agreement, expectations on the next UN cities summit are high. The question however is:  will it deliver? Read more

Regenerative and Inclusive Cities: at the Habitat III in Quito

From 17 to 20 October 2016 HABITAT III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, will be held in Quito, Ecuador. At the HABITAT III conference, Governments are expected to adopt the New Urban Agenda that will guide the sustainable and inclusive development of the world’s cities for next 20 years.

Read more

Study Tour: Regional Cooperation for RE in EU

Copenhagen/Sonderborg/Hamburg/Eemshaven/Assen/Ghent/Brussels - 25-29 September

Renewable energy sources (RES) will have to play a predominant role in EU’s future energy mix. However, the current policy and regulatory framework does not entirely facilitate this transition but rather reflects a business-as-usual approach. The current RE target on EU level in the Climate and Energy 2030 Framework lacks ambition with regards to the low goal setting of “at least 27%” but also due to its “EU-wide” level approach without member state contributions. Given this weak policy framework, there is one mechanism, which may still help to increase the share of renewables to the scale and speed which is needed given today’s challenges: The idea of regional cooperation. Regional cooperation can effectively bridge the gap between national renewables policies and a Europeanised approach to renewables deployment. Additionally, regional action across borders allows for participation of non-state actors, possibly a higher political legitimacy and fitted solutions for local conditions. A common cross-border identity might be facilitated through these projects and the revenue generated by the decentralised energy plants is more likely to stay in the region.

Therefore, Heinrich Böll Foundation EU Office and the World Future Council organised a study tour to further develop, discuss and exchange solutions enhancing and strengthening regional cooperation aiming at a sustainable energy transition. The goal is to provide concrete examples and transferable policy solutions by discussing crucial questions with and in front-runner regions. Therefore it will be organised in the framework of HBF’s #Regions4GreenEconomy series which are organised together with the representatives of different German Länder in Brussels, and the Global 100% RE Campaign.

The study tour follows a stakeholder workshops on regional cooperation, exploring opportunities to scale up renewable energy in the European Union. To read more about the results of this workshop as well as about the program, please click here.

Breaking Silos: Exploring Synergies between Better Public Spaces and Regenerative Cities

During the 3rd Session of the Preparatory Committee towards Habitat III held between 25th and 27th of July 2016 in Surabaya (Indonesia), the World Future Council in partnership with UN Habitat and UCLG ASAPAC hosted a side event exploring the linkages between public spaces and the regenerative city. The event was a call to adopt an integrated approach to public space planning, one that is able to fully grasp the wide-range of co-benefits that emerge from regenerating public spaces.

The panel discussion brought together a diverse group of pannelists including Ms. Dato’ Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Mayor of Sebarang Perai in Malaysia, Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General at UCLG ASPAC, Mr. Xu Yunfei, urban planner from the Guangzhou Urban Planning & Design Survey Research Institute and Mr. Bruno Dercon, Senior Urban Settlements Officer at UN-Habitat. Together they discussed the synergies between regenerative cities and public spaces. They explored the challenges and policy solutions that can support local authorities create liveable, healthy and inclusive public spaces while also ameliorating the environmental sustainability and resilience of cities.

As emerged during the discussion, it can sometimes be very challenging for city governments to assess and fully value the wide range of benefits and co-benefits that public spaces bring (including social, environmental and economic ones). Therefore, it is essential to identify and comprehensively assess all the co-benefits of regenerating public spaces, as this will play a huge role in mobilizing city governments to take action.

Secondly, an integrated planning approach that allows different city departments and stakeholders to talk to each other and collaborate is needed. Mechanisms must be in place to promote cross-sectoral collaboration. This will enable different departments and stakeholders to understand the benefits that good public space can bring for each one of them. As priorities are aligned and cohesive cooperation across the different actors is prompted, smoother and faster implementation is also safeguarded.

Another key success factor of good public space design and implementation resides in the effective collaboration between public and private bodies in close partnership with the local community. People need to be involved from the planning and design phase down to the implementation and maintenance phase. This is not only fundamental to build quality public spaces but is also an essential prerequisite to effectively finance public spaces. In Guangzhou Province of China, a committee was established to gather comments from citizens and serve as a bridge between the government and local community. This was crucial to ensure public spaces not only would effectively suit the needs of people but also to allow people to feel that their public spaces belong to them. The challenge is often to make sure that a sense of ownership and connection with one´s own public spaces is created.

As highlighted by Bruno Dercon during the discussion, public space regeneration not only allows the creation of greener and more resilient cities (parks, green corridors, walkable, bicycle and transit friendly spaces are undoubtedly beneficial in terms of, for example, pollution reduction, urban ecosystem regeneration and CO2 reduction) but also a true regeneration of people and communities. Public spaces that are designed and planned by engaging local actors will inevitably lead to a revitalization of urban communities, inclusiveness and social equality.  Freely accessible and enjoyable public spaces are also key in facilitating greater social interaction, public engagement and the creation of more lively and people-centred cities.

In conclusion, public space regeneration is one of the most meaningful and effective tools for local governments to engage and affect the lives of people in cities and can be a very effective leveraging tool and starting point for many transformations that will need to happen to make cities more liveable, regenerative, inclusive and just.

Authors

Filippo Boselli, Policy Officer, Climate, Energy and Cities, World Future Council

Boping Chen, Director of China Program, Climate, Energy and Cities, World Future Council