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31 March 2014

Working together for integrated solutions

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The ICLEI Global Town Hall @ Metropolitan Solutions opened with businesses and cities coming together to create brighter futures for its citizens.

“Cities fighting climate change and mitigation are cities where people are sitting together (transport, businesses, buildings, governments) and working with each other towards finding solutions. You need to get out of your box and think ambitious targets,” said, Vice Mayor of Rotterdam and ICLEI Global Executive Committee Member, Alexandra van Huffelen

UCLG-A was a key participant and endorsing partner of the event, and Dr Massaburi’s three year appointment to the UCLG board is highly appropriate, as the mandate up until 2016 will lead up to Habitat III (UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development) and the defining of the relevant Sustainable Development Goals. We congratulate him and offer our sincere and strong wishes for success.

In addition to his role as Mayor of Dar es Salaam City, Dr Massaburi is Chairman of the Association of Local Authorities of Tanzania (ALAT). He has a regional role too, as the Governing Council of the East African Local Government Association (EALGA) recently re-elected him as its Vice-Chairman.

“We can do more! We need cities as partners for innovative financing,” said Wilhelm Molterer, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, as he emphasized the need for cities and financing institutions to work together while putting a special focus on integrated approaches towards sustainable resilient cities. Governments and businesses are working towards an integrated solution but problems still need to be addressed. As David Cadman, ICLEI President, pointed out, “There are cities that are not even credit rated and cannot even get loans. This is something we need to fix.”

Political leadership from cities and innovation and solutions from businesses: these two forces have to be brought together. WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) and ICLEI conducted a survey on “City Leaders Survey on City-Business Engagement for Sustainable Development.” The survey points towards a need for a new model of collaboration between cities and businesses. 76% of respondents said the role of business in providing input to the sustainability strategy was very important or quite important, and 85% said that business had a very important or quite important role in supporting strategy implementation. Interestingly, only 48% felt that they were currently very effective or quite effective in working with business to advance sustainability.

Quality of life should be our primary concern when we consider our cities of the future and without company providers urban sustainable development cannot be brought to cities. As Wolfgang Teubner, ICLEI Europe Regional Director, said, “Our key challenge is bringing together our future vision of cities to the reality of today.”

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