Governors, mayors and local officials have the responsibility to address the current global trends and developments affecting the urban world of tomorrow. Around the globe, thousands of inspiring actions have already been taken, but there is a need to set more ambitious targets, implement more transformative actions and foster stronger collaborations to ensure a sustainable urban future.
At the ICLEI World Congress to be held on 8-12 April in Seoul, South Korea, over 2,000 delegates, including representatives from 243 local and subnational governments, will convene to unveil sustainable solutions for an urban future. They will be joined by over 550 Mayors and city representatives from metropolises and urban centers from Mandurah, Australia to Lagos, Nigeria to San Rafael de Heredia, Costa Rica.
“The sum of the concurrent crises that have been engulfing everything from climate to the economy is creating an existential spiral of need for change,” said President Mikhail Gorbachev, Founding President of Green Cross International and former President of the USSR. He added: “Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in cities, which link issues previously considered unrelated – energy and jobs, water and sanitation and healthcare, urban development and security, governance and development.”
Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon, host of the ICLEI World Congress, remarked that: “I hope that the congress will provide a chance for the local leaders to come up with a solution to tackle challenges that the humankind is facing, such as resource depletion, environmental pollution and the changing climate. I also hope that we could provide a direction for ‘Sustainable Solutions for an Urban Future’ and develop a network for global cooperation by the end of this World Congress.”
The congress will see the adoption of the Seoul Declaration – a key outcome document that underlines the priority actions for sustainable urban development taken by local and regional leaders in the next years. It will also see over 25 new project and network launches, around 20 new partnerships, and major global announcements on existing initiatives such as the Compact of Mayors and the Durban Adaptation Charter.
“2015 is the perfect time for local governments to come together and establish how to build on the progress of recent years, and how to meet the challenges that we face,” said ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin. He continued: “Now is our chance to spread the best practices and successes of ICLEI Members around the world, inspire each other to achieve more and ACT NOW towards a fully sustainable urban future.”