ICLEI European Convention 2011 - Cities in Europe 2020 - Enhance sustainability now

 ICLEI European  Convention 

12-14 September 2011 
Brussels, Belgium 

Monday 12 September 2011


Lunch and registration


Plenary 1
Global and European strategies: Are growth and sustainability compatible?


Gino Van Begin, Regional Director, ICLEI Europe

Introduction of ICLEI's “conference ambassadors”: David Cadman, President, ICLEI; Councillor, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Per Bødker Andersen, ICLEI Executive Committee; Deputy Mayor, Kolding, Denmark; Member of the Committee of the Regions; Jyrki Myllyvirta, ICLEI Executive Committee; Mayor, Lahti, Finland; Pekka Sauri, Procura+ Chair, Deputy Mayor, Helsinki, Finland

To give the Convention a sense of urgency for global political action, two inspirational, internationally renowned speakers opened the plenary with their unique perspectives and ideal scenarios on sustainability, growth and GDP.

  • Bhutan Gross National Happiness Index: An alternative development model - H.E. Sonam Tobden Rabgye, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bhutan to Belgium and the European Union

    Presentation [EN]

  • The Economics of Growth and Sustainability - Mathis Wackernagel, Founder and Executive Director of the Global Footprint Network

    Presentation [EN]


The focus then switched to Europe, and the Commissioner for Environment outlined the EU Strategy 2020, the growth strategy for the coming decade, designed to respond to global and European challenges and to equip the EU for the move towards a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy.

  • The Europe 2020 Strategy - Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment

       Speech [EN]

Are the Europe 2020 Strategy and the overall policy objectives for the EU and its Member States sufficiently sustainable to guarantee a secure foundation for this and future generations? This crucial question was debated with the Commissioner by a panel of high profile EU Institution representatives who discussed whether Europe should change its focus from “growth” to enhancing sustainability, or if these concepts are compatible.” Participants had a chance to actively submit questions and comments from the floor during the session.

  • Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment
  • Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions, Member of the Piedmont Regional Council
  • Evelyne Huytebroeck, Minister for the Environment, Energy, Urban Regeneration, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium; Former EU Presidency




Plenary 2
Local Implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy

What does the Europe 2020 Strategy mean for local governments? A diverse range of panellists, representing various European cities and the private sector tackled this issue with the help of a series of topical questions that were put to them. Bearing in mind the different challenges each city faces, the speakers gave a unique insight into how they thought the EU2020 agenda could be implemented locally and how growth and sustainability should be balanced to create low carbon, climate resilient and sustainable cities.  

Are sustainable growth and a green economy, as set  out in the Europe 2020 strategy, a sufficient political response? What support do local governments need from policies? Does the Europe 2020 strategy offer enough opportunities to enhance sustainability now, to accurately address local challenges and respond to or even reverse damaging trends? How should partnerships with the private sector evolve? These issues and more were put on the table during this probing plenary.

Panellists included:

  • Holger Lange, State Secretary, Ministry for Urban Development and the Environment, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Germany
  • Dieter Salomon, ICLEI Executive Committee, Lord Mayor, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany 
  • Ronan Dantec, Vice President of Nantes Métropole and Co-chair of the EUROCITIES Executive Committee Working Group on Climate Change and Energy
  • Javier Maroto, Mayor, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
  • Johannes Mönninghoff, Deputy Mayor for the Economy and the Environment, Hannover Germany
  • Harry Verhaar, Senior Director, Energy & Climate Change, Philips
  • Bertrand Porquet, Vice President, Sustainable Urbanization, GDF Suez

Official closing of Day 1


Welcome Reception

All participants were invited to a welcome reception hosted by the Brussels Capital Region, which took place in the grandiose Salle des Glaces of the Egmont Palace, Brussels. One of the most beautiful and historically interesting buildings in Brussels, this remarkable building is located just eight minutes on foot from Bozar.

A jazz band, the Igor Gehenot Trio, provided ambience at the reception, reflecting the city’s young and vibrant jazz scene.