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CITIES LEADING THE WAY TO A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

On the 17th April 2018, the Portuguese Directorate-General for Territory, the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities and the Municipality of Torres Vedras organised the Conference “Cities leading the way to a sustainable future“.

The event was an opportunity to highlight the importance of the integrated approach as guiding principle to sustainable urban development and the articulation of local, national and European policies while contributing to strengthen the capacities of Portuguese local authorities in these topics.

In his welcoming words, the deputy mayor of Torres Vedras, Hugo Lucas, expressed the work undertaken by the municipality on environmental  and mobility issues as well as their contribution to European level agendas and the added value of knowledge sharing processes.

In the opening session, the Portuguese Deputy Secretary of State and Environment, José Mendes, highlighted the fundamental role of multilevel governance and the contribution of local and regional authorities to the successful implementation of the Urban Agenda for the EU and the Paris Agreement: “It will be in cities where the fight against climate change can be won”. Only altogether, parties and non-state actors, local governments in particular, we will be able to reach the objectives of the Paris Agreement for our generations and the future ones.

The Director of the Portuguese Directorate-General for Territory, Fernanda do Carmo, added that “at the present time, the thematic of climate change is mandatory and not only merely an option. Its success will depend on the implementation at local level”.

The Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) emphasided the importance of multi level governance and the role of CEMR as a key partner in the Pact of Amsterdam that launched the Urban Agenda for the EU: “The multi level governance model is the way forward. The Urban Agenda for the EU allows different stakeholders to work together on a equal basis”. In relation to the future of cohesion policy, the integrated and territorial approach and the involvement of local authorities in the definition of investment priorities for structural funds are elements that should be maintained post-2020.

The work developed in the framework of the Urban Agenda for the EU was the topic for discussion in a round table moderated by Elisa Vilares, Portuguese Directorate-General for Territory.  Different Urban Partnerships with representatives from local and national levels presented the Partnership on Energy Transition, Delphine Gaudart, France, the Partnership on Climate Adaptation, Municipality of Loulé, Lídia Terra e Inês Rafael, and the Partnership on Urban Mobility, Municipality of Torres Vedras, Hugo Lucas.

The conference continued in the afternoon with two parallel sessions: A session dedicated to the Covenant of Mayors, facilitated by Maria João Lopes, National Association of Portuguese Municipalities (ANMP), CEMR member in Portugal,  and  a session dedicated to the Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities, facilitated by Pedro Bizarro (RFSC).

This event contributed to the Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues, a year-long dialogue in view of COP 24 and aiming to bridge the New Urban Agenda and the Paris Agreement and gathered more than 150 participants from local and regional authorities.

All the presentations are available in the website of the event.