From 14 to 18 June 2009, George Greene and Sebastian Winkler from IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) joined the triennial World Congress of ICLEI, the largest global association of local governments working on sustainability. The event was hosted by the City of Edmonton (Canada). 500 participants joined the conversation on advancing sustainability in cities and towns.
“IUCN is very pleased to see that biodiversity and ecosystems have been widely debated during the Congress and that ICLEI members are committed to acting for biodiversity. IUCN, also through its Countdown 2010 initiative, is committed to furthering the cooperation with ICLEI, building on our mutual strengths: the biodiversity know how of IUCN and the wide network of committed local governments of Countdown 2010 and ICLEI” commented George Greene, IUCN Regional Councillor.
Since 1990, ICLEI has been leading the movement for local sustainability with global campaigns on climate, water, procurement, biodiversity and more. Its 1000 Members are improving the urban environment for over 400 million people in 68 countries.
At the event, keynote speakers such as Matthis Wackernagel, the co-creator of the concept of the “Ecological Footprint” and Alex Wong from the World Economic Forum provided insights into future scenarios that cities will face. Delegates also connected with each other in smaller sessions aimed at strengthening the connection with the global ICLEI Network and sharing local expertise.
The City of Edmonton is serious about becoming one of Canada’s most sustainable cities. In May 2009, it received the ISO 14001 environmental certification and it is one of a few municipalities in the world to implement the standard on such a large scale. For the past year citizens are participating in Edmonton’s ‘EcoVision’ through local initiatives. Participants had a chance to explore Eco-Edmonton by visiting some of the City’s world-class projects on the environment.
Follow the proceedings of the Congress through podcasts, videos and more at www.iclei.org/worldcongress2009.