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Daring Cities 2020: Top 5 most popular thematic sessions
November 24, 2020
A first-of-its kind virtual event, Daring Cities 2020 positioned itself as the global forum for urban leaders taking action on the climate emergency. With 100 sessions and more than 200 hours of online discussions designed with urban leaders in mind, the event unfolded over the span of three weeks. The four plenary days at the 

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The crucial role of local governments in South Korea’s bold actions towards carbon neutrality by 2050
November 19, 2020
On 5 June 2020, World Environment Day, 226 local governments in South Korea gathered at the national assembly to declare a climate emergency. One month later, on 7 July 2020, 80 sub-national governments (17 provincial and 63 local governments) launched the Korean Local Governments’ Action Alliance for Carbon-Neutrality and urged nation-wide action for carbon neutrality 

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Tracking progress en route from Madrid to Glasgow
November 18, 2020
In a parallel universe, we would be gathered this week in Glasgow for COP26, but instead we are facing a global pandemic that has disrupted life as we know it around the world. In the face of this challenge, we are forced to reimagine and redesign a new and healthier future for communities around the 

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Key learnings for cities to enable 1.5-Degree Lifestyles
November 2, 2020
“In Japan, acting on household consumption is key as it is estimated to drive up to 60 percent of national emissions” said Dr. Satoshi Kojima San of IGES at the Daring Cities session 1.5-Degree Living through Circular Development. Japan recently committed to become carbon neutral by 2050 and is putting the circular economy at the 

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Daring Cities closing balances bold initiatives with challenges that lie ahead
October 29, 2020
Inspiring city initiatives in the fight against climate change have sprung up around the world, from the conversion of former landfill sites into wetlands in Buenos Aires, to Delhi closing its most polluting power plant, to Guangzhou electrifying its entire bus network. At the same time, questions linger over why cities like Lagos or Dakar 

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Cities rally around nature in the quest to become more resilient
October 28, 2020
In Montreal, they’re building Canada’s largest urban park. Once complete, the 8,000-hectare nature sanctuary will be eight times as large as New York’s Central Park.  In Bonn, green roofs are now mandatory for any surface larger than 200 square metres.  And 100 cities across Europe are currently involved in over 1,000 nature-based best practice solutions 

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In response to COVID-19, cities focus on nature and innovation to ensure a green recovery
October 26, 2020
“We are now facing two global crises, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Post-COVID-19 recovery should not mark the return to a conventional society, but rather, the shift to a more sustainable and resilient society by redesigning our socio-economic system.” This was the opening statement from H.E. Koizumi Shinjiro, the Minister of Environment of Japan 

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Financing a post COVID-19 economy that’s green and inclusive
October 23, 2020
Cities are bearing the brunt of the combined effects of global warming and COVID-19. And far too many are contending with everything from limited health care systems to inadequate water sanitation services and transport systems to having enough space for public recreation and social distancing.  “These challenges are magnified in poorer communities where the pandemic 

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Methods and myths of sustainable development
October 19, 2020
Sustainable isn’t attainable when it comes to urban development and growth. Or at least that’s the prevailing perception many naysayers have, said Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s Minister of Environment  during the recent TEDxDaringCities session entitled: Embedding Climate Neutrality Ambition Through Sustainable Development.  Citing figures from the World Bank, Schmidt said that investing $40 billion USD in 

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With goal of becoming world’s first climate resilient country, Dominica inspires cities to better prepare for extreme weather conditions
October 19, 2020
Three years ago, the Caribbean island of Dominica was battered by Hurricane Maria’s winds of up to 250 km. Now, the island nation has announced plans to become the world’s first climate resilient country by 2030.  In the wake of that announcement, Dominica spokesperson Francine Baron took time to expand on the drive behind her 

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EcoLogistics’ big challenge: Reduce emissions, congestion, noise and deaths associated with urban transport while improving social equity
October 19, 2020
Create quieter delivery solutions. Declutter the roads and make them safer. Deliver goods more efficiently. Fast-track the development of alternative fuel technologies. Those were just some of the solutions Daring Cities’ presenters pondered, during two sessions on EcoLogistics last week: the first focusing on how to achieve lower carbon emissions in the transport sector; the 

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TEDxDaringCities opening showcases real local action while imagining a zero carbon future
October 16, 2020
The climate emergency is happening right now, in our cities, towns and regions around the world. But what if we have all the solutions and political will we need already within our grasp? The global initiative Countdown, a unique collaboration powered by TED and Future Stewards, and supported by a huge array of partners, including 

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How to cut consumption-based emissions? Try a 1.5-degree lifestyle
October 14, 2020
The IPCC report in 2018 provided the world with a rigorous timeline for climate action: staying within the Paris Agreement´s 1.5-degree target is still possible but demands radical transformation by 2030.  This transformation refers not only to the required energy transition but also demands a fundamental re-organization of the way societies produce and consume.  Research 

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Framing sustainable urban logistics in cities
October 13, 2020
Freight movement forms an invisible ecosystem that supports urban economies and communities. Freight transport makes up about 25 percent of traffic in cities but takes up 40 percent of road space and creates 40 percent of transport-related emissions. Freight traffic also disproportionally contributes to road accidents and pollution, imposing hardships on urban communities. Demand for 

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Opening Plenary, Session 2: Using nature to cope with climate change - and art to get people to care
October 12, 2020
“Urban development is recognized as an essential lever to foster sustainable development,” said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI matter-of-factly during the second Daring Cities opening session.  But how do local governments balance much needed development with the preservation of our ecosystem… two global priorities which often seem at odds with one another? One 

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Innovate4Cities Day: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy goes around the world in 24 hours
October 12, 2020
At midnight on 15 October, Jorn Verbeeck and Cathy Oke will start out in Oceania and Southeast Asia, then go to other parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, before venturing to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Not done yet, they’ll move on to Latin America and the Caribbean, before ending their journey in North 

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Real world mix of anger, frustration and also optimism at Inclusive Cities session
October 12, 2020
We need to reframe the concept of inclusive cities.  That observation made by renowned urbanist Günter Meinert helped set the tone for the ensuing two-and-a-half-hour discussion which took place during the Inclusive Cities session at Daring Cities.  Drawing on a professional career dating back to 1988 that has included several years in the field in 

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Youth dare urban leaders to take bold action on climate at #DaringCities2020
October 12, 2020
We hope that our stories will give you the courage to commit to rapid daring actions in your municipality, because you are the leaders of today – we know it is not easy – but this is what today’s challenges demand of you. Read the statement. On Friday 9 October, as part of the Daring 

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Putting the circular economy into action
October 10, 2020
The concept of the circular economy is gaining traction at the local level but many local governments struggle to find concrete entry points for action. The management of circular economy projects often clashes with the sectoral manner in which administrations and industries are organized. But many industrial legacy cities are focusing on fairness in their 

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Daring Cities 2020 opening highlights challenges, opportunities and courage needed to clear the air when it comes to climate change
October 9, 2020
“Urban areas are at ground zero. They bear the brunt of climate disaster and are responsible for more than 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. And as urban leaders, you are on the front lines of these solutions,” António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations observed yesterday while thanking ICLEI for its longstanding work 

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#DaringYouth session reminds urban leaders why they’re at Daring Cities 2020
October 7, 2020
Thanks to the likes of young global climate change activists, such as Greta Thunberg and Luisa Neubauer from Fridays for Future, UNFCCC Youth Focal Point Heeta Lakhini, and Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate, the world now recognizes the importance of youth having a voice when it comes to climate action. So it’s fitting that one of 

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First ever Daring Cities Virtual Forum designed to both challenge and empower urban leaders to act against climate change
October 7, 2020
“Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, it has been clear that we are desperately behind. So forget about dealing with climate change by 2050. We need to aim for 2030. That gives us just 10 years to quickly accelerate and implement the measures agreed to at that summit.” Coming from Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of 

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How are cities actually racing to zero?
October 5, 2020
One of the toughest parts of fulfilling the Paris Agreement goals is understanding the path to success. What does it take to muster the political will and support to make an ambitious commitment? How can all levels of government move capital that will result in investments that decrease carbon emissions? Surfacing and showcasing those leaders 

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Three decades of local action towards urban sustainability: ICLEI at 30
September 22, 2020
On September 5, 1990, local government officials representing 200 cities from 43 nations gathered at the United Nations in New York. These mayors, council persons, and city staff from locales as distant from each other as the United States, Ivory Coast, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Finland and the Soviet Union, brought with them the resolve that, 

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ICLEI at 30: An interview with Rodrigo Perpétuo, Executive Secretary of ICLEI South America
September 22, 2020
New York, September 1990. During the 1st World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, at the headquarters of the United Nations, 200 local governments from 43 countries founded the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. In 2003, the organization was renamed ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. In September 2020, ICLEI is celebrating 

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A blueprint to enhance United Nations collaboration with local and regional governments
September 22, 2020
The United Nations is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020, under the shadows of a once-in-a-century pandemic, serious challenges to multilateralism, and life-threatening climate and biodiversity emergencies. Due to the global pandemic, these celebrations will be taking place online, but the virtual forum by no means reduces the significance of processes and decisions that will 

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What to watch this year at UN75
September 15, 2020
The last two weeks of September is the time when the United Nations General Assembly meets to adopt the agenda of the coming year and Heads of States and Governments convene for a general dialogue and UN Summits. In 2020, all events will be held virtually and the two feature moments will be the celebrations 

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Clean air – time to celebrate or accelerate?
September 7, 2020
Authors: Maryke van Staden, Director of carbonn Climate Center and Felix Akrofi-Atitianti, Integrated Climate Action Officer, ICLEI World Secretariat As we celebrate the first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies on 7 September 2020, it is time to reflect. How big a problem is air pollution today? What is happening to reduce harmful 

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Pittsburgh's fight for clean air, water and growth
September 1, 2020
Pittsburgh has become the poster child for how to transition from highly impacted industrial town to a healthy and vibrant community. A city that has gone from having air quality and smog so bad that they had to leave the streetlights on 24 hours a day, to an area that has created more cleantech and 

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Collaboration cultivates innovation: How ICLEI Africa and the City of Cape Town have been pioneering local sustainability action for two decades
August 28, 2020
In its 30 years of urban sustainability work, ICLEI has partnered closely with many of the world’s cities to form long-standing, mutually supportive relationships. The relationship between the City of Cape Town and ICLEI Africa is a key example. The City’s Executive Director of Spatial Planning and Environment, Mr Osman Asmal, reflects. The City of 

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Radical redesign for a circular economy: An interview with Circular Development Head Burcu Tuncer
August 25, 2020
Cities are complex systems in and of themselves, and in today’s globalized economy, cities around the world are closely intertwined through global production processes and consumption patterns. In the face of the climate and environmental crises that have pushed the earth to its limit, circularity is a critical tool to improve resource efficiency. For more 

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Why climate neutrality needs circularity
August 25, 2020
“How we make and use products and how we produce food generates almost half of the emissions in our current economic system because the production of goods and infrastructure generates emissions all along value chains,” said Mayor Minna Arve of Turku, Finland, at ICLEI’s July Race-to-Zero dialogue, which brought together many levels of government to reflect on 

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Five cities shift from industry to equity
August 10, 2020
Industrial legacy cities have been significantly impacted by the decline of manufacturing, which left them with soaring unemployment, rapid population loss and a legacy of environmental pollution. In the face of these challenges, city governments have been working to advance their economic and environmental transitions while embracing their industrial heritage and spearheading ambitious sustainability efforts. 

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Building green and inclusive cities
August 10, 2020
Cities all around the world are implementing ambitious mitigation and adaptation strategies to respond to climate change: from urban greenery to renewable energy systems to low carbon mobility. The ecological crisis, however, is not the only challenge urban areas are faced with. Poverty, immigration, exclusion, racism, sexism, homelessness and other social justice issues, are equally 

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