Insights from the 2019 C40 World Mayors Summit on #thefuturewewant
Oct 29, 2019
Resilient Cape Town,
water for sustainable economic development
The 7th C40 World Mayors Summit took place from 9 - 12 October 2019 in Copenhagen, a city recognised as a pioneer for its transformation to an innovative green city. The Summit is a significant event in which decision makers from member cities (Mayors, CEOs, national leaders, etc.) get an opportunity to come together to showcase and discuss their own city or business’s efforts in response to climate change through reduction of greenhouse gases, and building their cities’ climate resilience.
“With GreenCape being an organisation that works at the interface between government, businesses and academia to aid the development of low carbon cities and economies, it was not only exciting but also imperative that we attend an event that could help us gain insight into what global cities and leaders are doing with regards to transforming cities and developing green economies,” said GreenCape’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Lauren Basson, who attended two key events associated with the Summit in Copenhagen. She represented GreenCape at the C40 City Solutions Platform Live and the Cities and Business Forum.
The C40 City Solutions Platform is a program that constructs peer-to-peer engagement between the private sector, academia and civil society in order to allow solution providers a chance to co-create innovative methodologies, technologies, and new business models to solve cities’ key climate challenges. Attendees had an opportunity to participate in co-creation workshops for current climate change mitigation challenges for Copenhagen and Helsinki. The Cities and Business Forum was a one-day event that focused on businesses’ role in responding to climate change at a city level
. “This was particularly exciting since it was the first C40 event of its kind, where one could observe actual businesses getting together with city officials for discussions on building solutions to mitigate and adapt to s climate change,” she said.
In a breakout session on ‘Energy’, Mr Kadri Nassiep, Executive Director: Energy of the City of Cape Town provided an overview of Cape Town’s low carbon energy initiatives including the Small Scale Embedded Generation programme, that placed Cape Town in the finalists group for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Award (presented later in the day). “This was a proud moment for the City of Cape Town as it was one of only two African cities in the running,” said Lauren. The City of Cape Town also had an opportunity to showcase its Water Resilience work done in response to the recent drought. The partnership with GreenCape, the Western Cape Government and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation was highlighted in the Cities and Business Forum Hall of Inspiration. “Another great moment, as the City of Cape Town was again one of two African cities to be represented in the Hall of Fame,” she added.
When asked to comment on the most memorable presentations, Lauren refers to (former) Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba’s speech, in which he raised the very significant point of also focussing on social imperatives due to rapid urbanisation within the developing country context when developing approaches and innovative solutions towards the creation of resilient and sustainable cities.
Lauren also makes note of the inspiring closing remarks to the Cities and Business Forum by Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, the incoming Chair of the C40 Cities climate leadership group. Mayor Garcetti cited a very powerful phrase from a poem titled ‘Andrea del Sarto’ by Robert Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,” as he urged mayors and businesses alike to set bold visions and targets when it comes to dealing with climate change in their respective cities.
Lauren also commends the innovativeness of the host city: “Copanhagen was a great example of a transformed sustainable and resilient city with impressive supportive infrastructure, notably their remarkably integrated, efficient and green transport network to support eco- friendly mobility such as cycling and SMART low carbon scooters”. Another impressive fact Lauren adds, was that all the catering for the main summit and all side events was vegetarian, which she describes as being “delicious and brilliantly done”.