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By ICLEI Europe

The Danish city of Aalborg and ICLEI Europe are getting ready to host the 10th edition of the European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns (ESCT), set to take place from 1 – 3 October. Local and regional governments, European and international institutions, multilateral organisations, academia, businesses and civil society will come together at Aalborg2024 to help shape a climate-neutral, resilient and just future through the implementation of Local Green Deals (LGD), and other place-based sustainable solutions, in line with European and global goals.

Credit: ICLEI Europe

“In Aalborg, we do not wait around for solutions, but develop them together. Therefore, it is important that we dare to take the lead and push for more green development throughout Europe. In my view, sharing experiences amongst communities is one of the most important things we can do in order to speed up the green transition, and I am very pleased that we are hosting Aalborg2024. I look forward to both sharing experiences and developing new approaches in order to promote sustainability in European cities,” shares Aalborg Mayor Lasse Frimand Jensen.

As the level of governance closest to the people, and with an estimated 70% of global CO2 emissions coming from urban areas (IPCC, 2022), local and regional governments are in a unique position to implement a democratic and sustainable transition with support from national governments and European institutions. This will be Aalborg’s third time hosting the ESCT conference, building on the legacy of previous editions and outcomes, including the most recent 2020 conference which led to the Mannheim Message. The conference will be opened by Aalborg Mayor Lasse Frimand Jensen, jointly with ICLEI Europe’s President, the Mayor of Freiburg (Germany), Martin Horn.

Mayors and city practitioners from around Europe have been invited to Aalborg, to address the integral role of local leadership in solving the interconnected climate, biodiversity, resource and social inequality crises. From onsite and offsite workshops to exhibits and deep dive sessions, the conference will provide a myriad of opportunities for attendees to contribute to the sustainable transformation of Europe’s towns and cities. Topical sessions include: Driving Climate Action through the Circular Economy; Fostering Resilience through the Transformation of Food Systems; Financing Climate Resilience; Developing a Nature Positive Economy; Changing Mobility Priorities; Bridging Digital Divides for Inclusive and Resilient Urban Environments; Shared Governance for Climate Neutral Cities; Exploring the Power of City-Business Collaboration; Joining Forces with Youth for Climate Action; and more.

Building on the discussions and the 2020 Mannheim Message, Aalborg2024 will underscore the importance of democracy in spearheading local solutions to a variety of sustainability related challenges, including three key policy shifts, outlined recently in a joint letter to the European Commission from eight leading networks of cities and regions: bottom-up shared governance, more efficient integrated finance and a more inclusive, cohesive transition.

Wolfgang Teubner, ICLEI Europe Regional Director, highlighted: “Local governments have a seat at the decision-making tables. Now, it is time for local governments to walk through those open doors and take more responsibility and be equipped with the financial and political power to do so”.

More information: Aalborg2024 Programme Featured image credit: Absent Wall | Unsplash

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