ICLEI Organizes 2013 Global Town Hall in Germanyby Katrina Borromeo, ICLEI World Secretariat
The leading global network of cities, ICLEI, and the world’s foremost trade fair company, Deutsche Messe, launched their partnership on hosting the ICLEI Global Town Hall at the Metropolitan Solutions fair on April 8-13, 2013 in Hannover, Germany. The ICLEI Global Town Hall is the world’s leading dialogue and networking event tackling urban sustainability solutions. It will bring together more than 300 Mayors, city representatives, experts and businesses worldwide.
"Cities are looking for intelligent, environmentally friendly and economical solutions. They are under enormous pressure to rebuild their infrastructure in a short time. The solutions must be low emission, eco-friendly, durable and low-risk. The durability, maintenance and ease of repair and re-use of materials are of great importance," said ICLEI Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann.
"The cooperation with ICLEI allows exhibitors and visitors of the Metropolitan Solutions fair to find and bring forth sustainable, intelligent and technically sound solutions for cities worldwide," said Dr. Jochen Köckler, Member of the Board of Deutsche Messe AG. "The ‘ICLEI Global Town Hall' adds value to the fair, such that exhibitors could establish direct contact with decision makers from cities more efficiently”, added Köckler.
Cities have the biggest stake and role in implementing sustainable urban solutions. According to a recent study by the United Nations, around 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of cities at the ICLEI Global Town Hall leadership day during the Rio+20 summit. "The road to sustainability runs through the world’s towns and cities", underlined Ban.
Worldwide, major cities have become economic powers. Their decisions on environmental action, economic growth and social responsibility could impact other cities from across the planet. To ensure a sustainable urban future, these cities have to be confronted with a basket of state-of-the art sustainable solutions, i.e. intelligent mobility solutions, sustainable use of energy, water and sanitation, ecological construction and smart urban logistics, relevant to the issues they are facing.
"Only when the right people with a lot of dedication and technical expertise come hand in hand can we ensure that our cities will remain what they often are today – a model of progress made possible by technology and a place where urban life in all its facets is possible," added Köckler.
Through various presentation and networking events, the ‘ICLEI Global Town Hall’ will present opportunities and innovative solutions for achieving global sustainable development – a process that begins with building sustainable cities and metropolitan regions.