Monday 12 September 2011
Lunch and registration
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.
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.
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.
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.
Official closing of Day 1
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.