What did Kostas Bakoyannis, regional governor, Central Greece, Greek leadership council member, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Arab Hoballah, director, EU SWITCH-Asia SCP Facility, Bangkok, Dimitris Papastergiou, mayor, Municipality of Trikala, Eleni Myrivili, deputy mayor of urban nature, resilience & climate change adaption, Athens and Marnie McGregor, director, intergovernmental relations & strategic partnerships, City of Vancouver, talk about on this session?
“We find that everywhere the central states face difficulties,” Kostas Bakoyannis, Regional Governor of Central Greece, stressed in his speech at the 2nd Economist Conference on Sustainability. Central states have been left behind in the era of globalization. On the other hand, there is a “silent revolution”, as it has been said at a local level, as cities are born from bottom to top with new ideas, new practices. Throughout the world, local governments has turned into a public policy workshop”.
“Technology is not a destination, it is the means to make our cities more open, safer, more sustainable,” the mayor of Trikala, Dimitris Papastergiou, said in his speech at the Conference. He stressed that the most important of all is how we will achieve sustainable development and how jobs will be created, given the high unemployment rate.”.
Cities cover 2% of the Earth’s surface, but they produce 70% of greenhouse gases, Eleni Myrivili stressed in her speech Prof. Eleni Myrivili, Deputy Mayor of Urban Living, Urban Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation. She referred to the initiative of Athens Municipality to ask 1,000 citizens and experts about which are the biggest challenges for their city and on the basis of citizens’ answers and the expertise of other cities they started to design a strategy of urban resilience, with a milestone year 2030. Through this strategy, problems have been raised such as the rise in city temperature and solutions have been promoted, such as smartphone implementation to inform vulnerable groups and the Neighborhood Cool initiative “.
In the joint struggle of cities around the world to tackle major challenges of the era, such as climate change and poverty, Marnie McGregor, director of intergovernmental relations and strategic partnerships in the city of Vancouver, referred to the conference. Speaking of her city, Vancouver, she pointed out that they are trying to reduce the environmental footprint and to adopt “smart” and clean technologies, as well as to manage the refugee-migration problem faced by many cities. She talked about the forum set up by the 22 major Canadian cities through which they support common demands to the federal government.