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World Congress 2015 looks to the future with focus on partnerships

At the Closing Plenary of the ICLEI World Congress 2015, many speakers noted how the Congress had allowed organizations to build new partnerships or extend existing ones.

ICLEI was delighted to sign 11 Memoranda of Understanding with a range of forward-thinking and innovative organizations. The MOUs were signed with:

  • URBIO – International Network Urban Biodiversity and Design
  • Association of Vertical Farming (AVF)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
  • World Resources Institute (WRI)
  • World Council on City Data (WCCD)
  • Eco-Forum Global (ECG)
  • Chinese Society for Urban Studies (CSUS)
  • Chinese Center for Urban Development (CCUD)
  • Guangzhou Institute for Urban Innovation (GIUI)
  • Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)

In addition, the Closing Plenary saw the launch of three major new initiatives: CityFood, the 100% Renewable Energy ICLEI Community, and the Global Sustainable Public Procurement Network.

Cityfood is the community of ICLEI Members with the ambition and commitment to establish policies, programs, plans and projects on resilient urban food systems, including appropriate approaches to urban agriculture.

The 100% Renewable Energy ICLEI Community is committed to low-carbon development and policy or action planning for a high rate of renewable energy, with the goal of reducing dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power. Andrea Reimer, a Councilor at the City of Vancouver, spoke at the launch, explaining why Vancouver had set itself a target of generating 100% of its energy from renewable sources.

The Global Sustainable Public Procurement Network is an initiative launched by Seoul Metropolitan Government in partnership with ICLEI. The aim is to create a worldwide network of leading cities that meet, share and develop their capabilities to implement sustainable and innovative procurement to drive a transition to sustainable production and consumption.

As well as being the venue for these launches, the ICLEI World Congress 2015 provided an informal space for networking and discussion. An official networking event was held at Seoul City Hall, and participants were also able to hold conversations in the ICLEI Lounge.

Speakers including Joan Clos and Gino Van Begin consistently emphasized the need for local and regional governments to work together in the run-up to the COP21 in Paris. As the world’s leading sustainability network for local and regional governments, ICLEI is continuing to build partnerships with other networks, governments, and private-sector organizations. Coordination and cooperation is what allows best-practice to be shared and upscaled.