EcoCity2017 kicks off with clear message: Much needs to be done

By Nicholas Goedeking, PhD Student, UC Berkeley


Today the 2017 ECOCITY World Summit launched in Melbourne, Australia. For three days policymakers, researchers and local leaders from around the world have come together, to exchange ideas on some of the most pressing sustainability challenges and opportunities faced by local governments.

The summit kicked off with some very frank words by Dr. Debra Roberts, Special Advisor on Climate Change to ICLEI Global Executive Committee and Vice Chair of IPCC. She emphasized that economies must begin to serve their societies, so that these can operate within safe planetary boundaries, and also called attention to how “messy” policy making is often in practice – a reality frequently overlooked by “glossy climate action plans”.

During the second plenary session, Steve Gawler, Regional Director at ICLEI Oceania, made a case for involving local civil society in city-level decision-making processes to thereby accelerate global climate action. He also noted, that – similar to how national governments must now deliver their pledges from COP21 – cities and other sub-national actors, too, must now begin to live up to their ambitious climate commitments.

Cathy Oke, Councillor at the City of Melbourne, Member of the ICLEI Global Executive Committee and Chair of the ICLEI Oceania Regional Executive Committee, joined a panel discussion on ‘Women Leading Sustainable and Resilient Cities’. “I am proud of being as collaborative as possible”, she explained during the discussion, “because ultimately we’re all on the same path to a better world”.

The first day ended with a reception at Melbourne’s City Hall, with some warm words from Robert Doyle and Arron Wood, Lord and Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne respectively.

The ECOCITY World Summit is being organized by ECOCITY Builders, an NGO based in the US. For more information on the conference please visit the event’s official website at

Image by Nicholas Goedeking: Cathy Oke, Councillor at the City of Melbourne since 2008, Member of the ICLEI Global Executive Committee and Chair of the ICLEI Oceania Regional Executive Committee, on women leadership in climate action panel during the ECOCITY World Summit


The contents of this article reflect the personal opinions and interpretations of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. 

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