The conference will be opened by a virtual view of the host City of Mannheim. Mannheim representatives will welcoming you to the conference together with organiser ICLEI Europe, and alongside conference partners. Get acquainted with the city, its projects and its fascinating transformation to set the scene for the sessions ahead. Hear from partners working across governance levels (local, state, national and European) as they preview the concepts, debates, and work that will be brought to the fore in the days to come.
Cities and regions around the world have declared a climate emergency, and expressed their commitment to take action on climate change. In this keynote address, polar explorer, filmmaker and climate journalist Bernice Notenboom will set the scene with respect to our current state of climate and ecological emergency. Her exceptional video footage from expeditions will illustrate the emergency, and the need to act now.
Bernice’s address will be delivered in a visually interesting “TED talk” style, complemented by impressions from cities across Europe, and followed by a Q&A session with participants.
Responding to the climate and ecological emergencies requires us to take action that recognises the fact that global resources are limited. Political leaders have acknowledged this reality, most prominently in the Paris Climate Agreement, by agreeing to limit global warming to 1.5-2.0°C. Furthermore, the European Green Deal, with its overarching goal to develop a climate neutral continent, is a strategic response that aims to ensure that development in Europe respects these global boundaries.
At the same time, however, our financial and economic systems continue to rely on continuous growth and resource consumption. In response to the COVID-19, key financial instruments are being mobilised with the intention to raise the level of investment and consumption to stabilise economic development and financial markets. There seems to be an obvious tension between this ‘growth and consumption’ system, and the existing global resource boundaries that we need to respect.
This plenary will bring a panel of experts together to discuss this tension and debate possible paths for economic health, including exploring more stable and sustainable alternatives to unlimited growth. It will explore whether (and how) we can overcome this tension without endangering the well-being of societies or leaving behind those who are most vulnerable.
Acknowledging global resource limits inherently brings the issues of just resource distribution and access into focus. Access to resources always means access to chances and opportunities. Unequal resource access will not only have immediate impacts – on, for example, access to land and housing – but can also lead to knock-on impacts, such as urban segregation and downstream impacts on education, health and economic opportunities.
Focusing on justice is particularly relevant now, as cities explore models and policies to ensure that pandemic recovery is equitable and leaves no one behind.
This plenary will explore how cities can address sustainable resource use and societal transformation in a just and inclusive manner, which places particular focus on the most vulnerable groups. Panellists will also explore support and recovery programmes that they would like to see put in place at the EU-level.
The Mannheim2020 conference comes at a key moment for Europe: precisely when the European Union has released a supportive framework for climate action and is working on its implementation. This plenary will open with a presentation by the European Commission of the European Green Deal. The Deal, with its overarching goal to develop a climate neutral continent, is a strategic response aiming to ensure (societal) development that respects global resource limits.
This introduction will be followed by a preview of the New Leipzig Charter, presented by Anne Katrin Bohle, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) . The plenary will culminate in Mayor Kurz presenting our local response to the EU Green Deal. The local response will have been previously agreed upon in a virtual Mayor’s Meeting on 21 September 2020.
Four high level policy panels will explore key approaches to tackle the urban transformation. Topics include adaptation to the changing climate, implementing a Circular Economy, Public Private People Partnerships as a new investment model, and resilience towards today's and future crises.
Transformation of public infrastructure and services is necessary in order to achieve the sustainability and climate goals set out in the EU Green Deal, the SDGs, and the Paris Climate Agreement. The level of investment needed to ensure sufficient transformation cannot be achieved however, without larger scale participation by the private sector. With effort and investment shared among private, public, and civic sectors, new opportunities for financing approaches may appear. A panel of banks, investors, and cities will aim to identify the potential and scope of those possible approaches, as well as discuss which role public and cooperative banks can or should play in supporting them.
Key questions include:
If money is not the problem, how can we make it work for an accelerated transformation of our infrastructure and services?
How can private investments and PPP(P)s be realised to safeguard transparency, public ownership and control?
How can costs and benefits of PPP(P)s be fairly shared and what are the social impacts of such models?
European cities are exploring new ways to organise living together, for both now and after COVID-19. The pandemic has shown that sweeping societal change is possible, if understood, valued, and supported by all. This presents society with an opportunity to re-think and redesign urban living and lifestyles. Economic recovery packages, as well as new, place-based alliances in the form of Climate Pacts, could stimulate, leverage and sustain further, and more inclusive, transformation. This Policy Panel looks at the role of Climate Pacts as a facilitative tool in the sustainability transition process, taking particular interest in their ability to raise awareness, provide space for engagement, and encourage commitment through concrete action.
Key questions include:
How can Climate Pacts accelerate social innovation and bottom-up dynamics for climate-neutral cities?
How can they support a change of lifestyle and help maintain climate-friendly behaviour beyond the lockdown?
What is the key role of local government in Climate Pacts?
How can the Climate Pact help engage local businesses with civic movements for a more effective Green Recovery?
A circular economy, like many ideas, may be a simple concept but implementation at a city or regional level can be seen as an overwhelming task. A common vision for what a circular economy looks like at the urban scale can help to make it more manageable particularly when addressing priority sectors such as construction, food, textiles, mobility, plastics and consumer electronics.
Key questions include:
What should a circular economy transition will look like at the local level and what are the levers for local governments to bring it about?
How do you finance a circular economy?
What is recommended for implementing a circular economy?
How can you get involved through the Circular Cities Declaration?
Cities are growing at unprecedented rates, as is our appetite for resource-intensive lifestyles. These trends are putting the natural systems we rely on at risk, and locking us into long-term patterns of unsustainable production and consumption. Yet, cities also hold the keys to innovative solutions that can help us turn these existential threats into opportunities for building better, greener and more inclusive urban areas. This Policy Panel looks at how the Urban Greening Plans promoted by the European Commission have the potential to protect and restore biodiversity, unlock a green recovery, and foster more equal and inclusive living conditions.
Key questions include:
How can Urban Greening Plans contribute to protecting and restoring biodiversity?
How can they become a key instrument for a green recovery from the pandemic?
How can they help overcome unequal living conditions and access to green space? And, how can they be different from existing planning tools for cities?
What is the impact of digitalisation on sustainability and society? Is going digital the key to achieving a sustainable future, or rather a threat to sustainable resource use and equity? How must we account for the impacts of a ‘surveillance economy’ on our society? What are the impacts of online goods and services platforms on the local economy and local value capturing? If digitalisation is inevitable, how can we do it fairly, taking into account scarcity and access?
This session will bring together experts spanning civil society, local government, national policy-making and more, who hold varied opinions on the promises and risks of going digital. They will debate how we can ensure that digitalisation supports – rather than threatens – sustainable urban development.
This session will orient participants’ perspectives towards the future. It will ask young leaders how they envisage their lives in 20-30 years, taking into account different transformation scenarios. Representatives from the Transformative Action Award will address how transformative actions can bring about a more sustainable future, and will announce the winner of the 2020 Transformative Action Award. The plenary will conclude with closing remarks from the hosts.
The Solution and Toolbox Sessions are an opportunity for participants to gain concrete tools to help face sustainability challenges in their cities. Innovative research, solutions and a range of new tools will inspire participants to take home what they have learned to apply to local decision-making and planning processes.
The eight solution sessions will be led by research teams keen to present their findings using a variety of visual and interactive methods. Expert discussions and solutions will span a range of themes, touching on the physical environment, society, culture, and economics.
The six toolbox sessions will take on a more hands-on format, where participants will have the chance to test out and explore new tools to support sustainability transformation in their cities. Tools address urban nature, energy and mobility policy, district energy planning, the sustainability transition, and ambitious infrastructure renovation.
This interactive session will highlight the need for enhancing biodiversity when planning, developing and implementing activities for sustainable urban regeneration. In light of the dire state of biodiversity around the globe and the upcoming 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming (postponed), the consideration of biodiversity within the topic of nature-based solutions (NBS) is crucial.
The session will bring together insights and reflections from city representatives and scientific experts from high-level institutions and city representatives involved in various European-wide projects around the planning and application of nature-based solutions. . Experts will tackle three main questions: How do projects and cities contribute to biodiversity through the NBS they are implementing? What are the barriers in including biodiversity in urban plans and strategies and how can they be overcome? What are concrete opportunities to foster biodiversity via NBS? A broad and informative discussion will provide participants with an understanding of the co-benefits of factoring biodiversity into NBS projects and with valuable real-world examples of solutions in practice.
Social innovation in the energy sector is about new ways of ‘thinking, doing, and organising’ that transform our energy system. The approach gains attention and helps to consider both supply and demand side changes, going beyond the purchase and adaptation of low carbon technologies.
Social innovation is just as much about new combinations of old things, as it is about integrating new things into existing contexts. In practice this means an encounter of old and new and the need for co-creation amongst diverse actors. Such encounters don’t take place in a vacuum, but are developed by people and evolve in concrete places. This makes the local level and especially cities take centre-stage for social innovations.
Smart Cities have been the “talk of the town” in Europe for the past ten years and a series of solutions are ready for upscaling, replication or adaptation. Many solutions exist, but arguably the most successful and innovative are those in which technology works closely with citizens to achieve an impact.
This session is a deep dive into how cities combine their ambitions on sustainability with technology and active contribution from citizens. Best-case examples will be provided by leading European Smart Cities and practical advice will be shared on how other cities can take a ‘smart’ solution and make it their own.
In light of a growing number of local governments demonstrating their ambition for climate action in calling for a climate emergency, the session aims to explore tangible and bold local integrated climate action translating the urgency into practice. Discussing ambition in action in engaging pitch presentations of innovative, replicable low-carbon examples from frontrunning cities who declared climate emergency, the session will contribute to accelerating the uptake of proven solutions and demonstrate how local governments can walk the talk.
Building upon pitch presentations, panellists will explore the shape and scale of their most ambitious local climate projects and kick start reflections among panellists and audience on how local governments can turn ambitious aspirations and commitments into game changing action for achieving the necessary systemic changes towards a low-emission future in line with the Paris Agreement and the EU Green Deal.
Cities around Europe are piloting and implementing solutions to become more circular. Plastic, construction and bio-waste are three of the waste streams cities are seeking to reduce or reuse due to their environmental impact and socio-economic value. Which levers do cities have to effectively close these materials loops?”
In this session, we will hear the experience of three cities that have got down to the job. What have they done? What did they learn? Can their solutions be replicated elsewhere? The audience will be invited to challenge their approach.
Procurement is a powerful tool that helps public authorities meet their needs for products and services but offers the opportunity to drive the implementation of Agenda 2030. This can range from leveraging the power of procurement to achieve environmental goals, but also to foster fair working conditions, supporting gender-equality or marginalised groups, to improving conditions across a supply-chain in collaboration with industry.
This session explores the following questions: What are key challenges and drivers when getting started on sustainable or innovation procurement? How can procurement be used to influence global supply-chains such as electronics? What are examples for the difference that socially responsible procurement made? What are recommendations from experienced procurers on how to start buying social?
This session focusses on the value of transport strategies to achieve efficiencies in transport through car occupancy, use of transport assets and energy consumption. It presents case studies in three relevant areas: car sharing; behaviour change; and public transport. One of the overriding themes is electric mobility. What do we need to do to get closer to the definition of a sustainable electric transport system, who needs to play their part, and where does the line need to be drawn between sustainable and unsustainable public and private transport? Lessons and things to avoid will be populated during an active discussion.
The session will present first-hand examples of how cultural heritage serves as a driver for the sustainable regeneration of urban areas. The cities will showcase their best practices and reflect on lessons learned focussing on the guiding questions:
- How do heritage, culture and creativity contribute to local sustainable development?
- What is the role of cultural heritage in promoting social inclusion and cohesion?
- What is the link between cultural heritage and resilience - and how can cities benefit from synergies between the two?
The session will explore how cultural heritage has the potential to enable new forms of collaboration and cultural production, to support cities to cope with future challenges, creating the conditions to carry out sustainable adaptive reuse projects. Participants will also discuss how cultural heritage can contribute to strengthening the resilience of communities.
This interactive session helps you build scenarios for developing nature-based solutions (NBS) that address key urban sustainability challenges, from climate mitigation to social justice. You will work in small groups to analyse a real case, from which you will develop a vision, together with the goals and targets needed to achieve it. In the process, you will learn how to use the Urban Nature Atlas, the world’s largest database of urban NBS, to support you in addressing specific sustainability challenges, and to evaluate and compare their potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
Discover a new EU-funded tool aiming to support local governments in successful energy and mobility transitions, and how policies and social innovation can influence the way your population welcomes local interventions. This session is a ‘premiere’ interactive presentation of the SMARTEES Policy Sandbox Tool, which includes a guided computer workshop based on the pioneer cases of Aberdeen and Groningen.
You will explore the scenarios linked to the energy and mobility transitions of the two cities, and see how and why scenarios change, which ones present more citizen acceptance or resistance, strengthening or hovering the efforts of the municipalities. Space is given for feedback and exchange on the big potential of such a tool to support your policy-design, decision-making and eventually successful transition.
The hands-on session will introduce the web-based THERMOS tool as a viable means for cities, utilities and consultants to master-plan quicker and cheaper economically feasible, low-carbon thermal energy systems in Europe and beyond. Through Horizon 2020 funding THERMOS is free to use, and built with and for local energy planners. Participants will hear reflections from different THERMOS users about their experience and results from applying the software for instant high-resolution address-level mapping and built-in validated energy demand estimations.
The session will invite participants to engage in on-site testing of the tool together with THERMOS experts. Bring your laptop or tablet and accelerate the planning of sustainable heating and cooling networks yourself.
Scaling up the renovation of building stock in cities is important, if ambitious climate, energy and public health goals are to be achieved. This session shares insights from several European municipalities on their deep renovation experience and participants will be introduced to an innovative gamified platform that drives building renovations by better responding to user requirements and removing market barriers.
Participants are also invited to explore the platform’s complementary tools, which help users assess the impacts of renovation on energy consumption, indoor environmental quality as well as health and well-being. Hands-on testing - both from a building user and a renovation business perspective - showcases how the gamified platform can make renovation more efficient and affordable. Moreover, participants are encouraged to contribute their experience and share relevant tools.
Over the recent decade, urban living labs have become common to tackle urban challenges in Europe, offering the opportunity to experiment on a wide variety of issues in everyday settings as well as to test hypotheses and elements to pathways towards urban sustainability and liveability. However, usually starting an urban living lab raises dozens of questions which need to be addressed when before planning and maintaining an urban living lab. Besides an introduction to experimental methods and urban living lab approaches, participants in the session have the chance to address all those questions by planning and designing their own urban living lab with the help of a structured workshop methodology.
This session will present the toolkits of the European Green Capitals Network. Each thematic toolkit will be presented by a pioneering network member. They will showcase what leading work their cities have done in the areas of adaptation, renewable energy, zero waste and human scale urban development and how others can follow in their footsteps. The Network Secretariat will present examples from other member cities and highlight the resources the network has to offer to all cities who strive to become greener. The European Commission will be joining the session and help answer the question of what it means to be a European Green Capital finalist or winner.
Discover Mannheim, its history and green development in virtual Study Tours, led by local experts. Study Tours will make use of new digital solutions that enable participants to learn first-hand from Mannheim’s experiences.
Tour descriptions to be added soon.