by Jincy IypeJan 19, 2023
Cross border collaboration and interdisciplinary partnerships have proven to be important tools in enhancing the depth of any creative practice. However, when one considers the nature of a lot of these collaborations, the implementation of an actionable plan is often relegated to the future. An important element of this multipoint collaboration is to include local entities such as action groups, governments and strategic partners, to not only outline terms of action but perhaps establish an implementation plan. Every three years, the ICLEI World Congress showcases how cities, towns and regions across its network are advancing sustainable design ideas on an urban scale. The ICLEI World Congress connects local and regional governments with strategic partners and provides a platform for larger discussions that enhance their work in urban design development. For the 2021–2022 iteration, the congress is hosted by ICLEI and the City of Malmö, Sweden.
The Malmö Summit, an international three-day congress for local and regional governments, urban practitioners, researchers and stakeholders, will take place from May 11-13, 2022. The idea of the summit is to encourage an open exchange of best practices in local sustainable development. The City of Malmö is uniquely positioned to support this summit because of its own sustainability initiatives. The event will explore and highlight critical topics in sustainable urban development, reflect on the outcomes of the COP26, and set new goals for cities, towns and regions in response to the ongoing climate emergency.
The history of the City of Malmö is significant, particularly regarding its transformation into a sustainability model. Once an industrial city, the urban fabric has since been reinvented to be a centre of knowledge, built on cultural diversity, and sustainable development. Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of City of Malmö, said, “This is an opportunity for us to showcase our environmental and socially integrated approach to sustainability and to highlight real-world examples locally, to provide other cities with actionable information. At the Malmö Summit, we look forward to also learning from other cities and regions through the sharing of best practices. Building on this, the Malmö Commitment will be introduced at the Congress, firmly placing local and regional governments at the forefront of the global response to today’s challenges.”
The summit in Malmö is a culmination of a series of researchers’ symposiums, high-level plenaries, and interactive workshops. While the pre-event activities were oriented towards ideation, the Malmö Summit is an action-oriented event. Local and regional governments from around the world are invited to join the summit to showcase and postulate a vision of a sustainable urban future. Including the policymakers in the process is an integral aspect of the summits and the ICLEI. Founded in 1990 in New York City, USA, the ICLEI World Congress has always taken a deep and critical look at the most relevant and pressing issues in urban sustainability. Frank Cownie, Mayor, City of Des Moines, USA and President of ICLEI’s Global Executive Committee, said, “We are pleased to partner with the City of Malmö, Sweden for this World Congress because Malmö is a leading example of what cities are doing right now to co-create innovative sustainable development with equity at the forefront. The Malmö Summit will bring to life the motto of sustainability.”
The core programming of the Malmö Summit will see three days of strategic dialogues, technical visits, and workshops building on themes explored throughout 2021. Divided into three overarching categories, the summit offers a very specific lens for participants and visitors to explore the event. The first category is ‘Strategies towards a climate-neutral future’: in these sessions the summit will explore a technological approach to fostering behavioural changes within the community. The second looks at ‘Strategies towards resilient and healthy communities in harmony with nature’, where the summit will investigate cutting-edge discussions in building resilience within the urban fabric of cities, and communities. This section also looks at looking beyond human-centric design and creating healthy living environments for both people as well as for nature. The third section expands on this with ‘Strategies towards equitable and inclusive communities’, where the sessions will look at equitable, and inclusive development, by prioritising the interlink between human health and sustainable local development.
One of the key aspects of the summit is the Research Symposium, the sixth in ICLEI’s 32-year history. It will engage in a dialogue at the interface of research-policy-practice to co-create actionable knowledge for science-informed decision making. During the Research Symposium two important reports and key outcomes from the Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference will be launched and discussed, as new agendas for cities and climate change science. First, an update to the Global Research Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science will be released as Findings from Innovate4Cities 2021 and Update to the Global Research and Action Agenda. Second, an updated City Research and Innovation Agenda (Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, GCoM), a response for city practice and city leadership to the updated GRAA agenda, will also be launched.
The Research Symposium will also include the Knowledge Hall, a space for local governments and researchers to showcase their projects and the Research Market Place, a space for researchers to pitch project ideas, as well as explore partnerships and coalitions for future research and innovation collaboration. The Research Symposium will take place on May 10 at the World Maritime University. To give the participants a unique opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge and experience from the City of Malmö’s sustainability initiatives, 13 Mobile Workshops will be organised by the city, especially for the ICLEI World Congress 2021-2022: Malmö Summit.