1. ICLEI Member News
ICLEI leaders and members discuss climate change & sustainability with Pope Francis
On 21-22 July 2015, a delegation of more than 60 Mayors met Pope Francis in the Vatican for a two-day event on climate change, human trafficking and sustainable development. ICLEI mobilised its leadership and membership to show full support to the groundbreaking and timely work of Pope Francis on these critical issues. The meetings mark the first time that the Vatican has approached Mayors to discuss how cities can help tackle the crucial issues facing humanity.
“The current wide-ranging crisis has brought us close to a point of no return and has the potential to nullify the social and economic progress achieved so far, thus posing a threat to the future existence of humankind,” remarked ICLEI President Park Wonsoon. “We believe that the timely efforts of Pope Francis will help lead to bolder climate action and the birth of an inclusive and ambitious global climate regime”.
In his well-received encyclical Laudato Si (see ICLEI's response here), the Pope has highlighted the connection between the natural and human environment, emphasising that global warming is one of the causes of poverty and forced migration and calling for all actors to work together in shaping a sustainable future.
For more information, visit the ICLEI World Secretariat website.
Image copyright: Pope Francis (photo on Flickr) by "Jeon Han / Korean Culture and Information Service", licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Malmö has most sustainable transport in Sweden
ICLEI member Malmö has Sweden’s most sustainable transport system, according to a recent nationwide analysis. Swedish transport consultancy Trivector performed the assessment with the aid of the EcoMobility SHIFT tool. This tool measures the performance of urban transportation and was developed under ICLEI’s coordination in the EcoMobility SHIFT project, co funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme of the European Union.
Milan Obradovic, Chairman of Malmö's Works Committee, said: 'In Malmö, children are the central motivation for us to create a better city. For their safety and future, it is clear that we must strive for cycling, walking and public transport to be the obvious choice for getting around.'
Several features elevated Malmö above the competition, including its continuing commitment to safe and comfortable cycling and a local campaign encouraging residents not to take unnecessary car journeys. Fellow ICLEI member Umeå also received a special mention for its introduction of nine fast-charging, fully electric buses in its transport fleet in 2015. A further 24 electric buses will begin operating in the city by 2019.
For more information, visit malmo.se (in Swedish).
Image copyright: Pedestrian bridge, Västra Hamnen (photo on Flickr) by "La Citta Vita", licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
100,000 celebrate new Brussels pedestrian zone (Belgium)
Over 100,000 people attended celebrations marking the opening of a new pedestrian zone in ICLEI member Brussels (Belgium). Several hundred metres of Boulevard Anspach, which runs through Brussels' historic city centre, have been closed to cars with the space now solely reserved for pedestrians.
As a result, Brussels now has the largest pedestrian zone of any European capital, as the city's car-free zone has now increased from 28 hectares to 50 hectares. The celebrations, held at the end of June, included a large part of the new space being given over to roller-skating, street games, kite-flying, paintings on the road, and dancing with a DJ providing music.
Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur spoke at the event, saying: 'It's a revolution. The appearance and atmosphere of Brussels changed today. We're going to live in a calmer city more suited to its inhabitants and no longer to cars.'
For more information, visit rtbf.be (in French).
Image copyright: 2015-07-02_12-29-18_ILCE-7M2_DSC09442 (photo on Flick) by "Miguel Discart", licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0