The Basque Declaration & New Pathways for European Cities and Towns to Create Productive, Sustainable and Resilient Cities

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The Basque Declaration is now open for endorsement

Whether you represent a city or an organisation, or you are a citizen concerned about sustainable development and the future of our urban areas, you can now endorse the Basque Declaration, which outlines new pathways to create productive, sustainable and resilient cities and towns for a liveable and inclusive Europe.

The Basque Declaration, acclaimed by the participants of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns held in the Basque Country from 27-29 April 2016, is an important step following the Aalborg Charter (1994) and the Aalborg Commitments (2004).

The Basque Declaration aims to create stable and productive cities and towns and a good quality of life for citizens. It highlights the necessity and desire of local leaders to think outside the box and find innovative ways to economically and socially engage with civil society in order to meet economic, environmental and social challenges.

A total of 15 pathways across three categories – socio-cultural transformation, socio-economic transformation and technological transformation – are at the heart of the Basque Declaration. They aim to inspire transformative actions from local authorities, organisations and individuals.

If your city is interested in endorsing the Basque Declaration as pathways to push transformation from the local level, or if your organisation supports the 15 pathways in the Basque Declaration to co-create more productive, sustainable and resilient cities, or if you, as a citizen, agree on the need for a technological, socio-economic and socio-cultural transformation of our societies, we encourage you to endorse the Basque Declaration.

 

SDG Compass: Consultation on A Guide for Business Action to Advance the Sustainable Development Goals

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By Magdalena A K Muir, Climate Editor

The Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC) has been active in the development and implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and particularly for the standalone oceans goal. There is now an opportunity to participate in related business action through consultations with SDG Compass, which is a guide on business action to advance the UN SDGs.

The second draft of SDG Compass was released for public consultation, and the consultation will run until 31 July 2015. Feedback is being sought on the following documents:

  • The SDG Compass Guide. Please note that the guide’s Annex includes two examples of 2-page SDG references (SDG 4 and SDG 13). 2-pagers will be developed for each SDG towards the final publication of the guide.
  • An inventory of existing business indicators mapped against the SDGs
  • An inventory of existing impact assessment tools mapped against the SDGs

Feedback can be provided on these documents using this link: www.collaborase.com/sdgcompass
This platform allows reviewers to provide comments on the draft, as well as view and react to other reviewers’ comments. It can also be accessed using a mobile device.

Alternatively, the documents can be downloaded below and feedback may be provided at one or more of the below email addresses.

“Water and Climate Change: Adaptation through Green Infrastructure (EUCC Participation in JPAC Forum, July 14, Boston USA)

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By Magdalena A K Muir, Climate Editor

I am participating on behalf of the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA) and the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC) in this forum, held in Boston, USA on  July 14, 2015, which considers the use of green infrastructure to adapt to water and climate change in  North America cities, while conserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable development. There are significant parallels in activities in Europe and North America, allowing mutual learning and sharing of successes and best practices.

As part of JPAC’s commitment to address water at each of their meetings this year, as well as Council’s annual theme “Climate Change, Adaptation and Resilience,” this JPAC advisory forum addresses “Water and Climate Change: Adaptation through Green Infrastructure.” The forum discusses how green infrastructure and land-use planning are throughout North America to manage the effects of changing storm water patterns in urban and rural settings. They will also address the co-benefits of their proposed approaches for human health, particularly related to sewage treatment, restoration of water quality, access to clean water, and heat island reduction, as well as for biodiversity conservation and greenhouse gas reduction.

On behalf of AINA and EUCC, I provided the following comments during public consultation component of the forum with a focus on future JPAC efforts on climate, water and green infrastructure for Canada, Mexico and the United States:

1. Collaborative and comparitive efforts between Canada, US and Mexico for use of public and private partnerships (including indigenous peoples and traditional knowledge, local communities, academia and civil society) and public and private finance for green infrastructure and greening of existing infrastructure. These efforts could include the involvement of the European Union and the consideration of European approaches to greening infrastructure.
2. Expansive and innovative cost and benefit analysis that assesses the costs of the green infrastructure and contrasts it with the economic and social benefits of green infrastructure (including tourism and economic development;  biodiversity and ecosystem health and resilience; parks and public spaces; and mental, physical and societal health). The presentation of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority today indicated the billions of dollars of economic benefit that occur from greening infrastructure and the associated cleanup of the Boston harbour and adjacent watershed and protection of lands.
3. Focus on unique challenge of arid regions that experience periodic heavy water flows. Western Canada and United States and much of Mexico are subject to worsening drought conditions aggravated by climate change (which affecting agriculture and fire risk), and occasional or seasonal heavy precipitation and rapid melting of snowpack. Within this region, it would be useful to look at and compare different approaches and best practices, and also focus on some of the solutions and approaches coming out the earliest and most affected areas of California and US southwest. This is an area where the southern European and Mediterranean experience would also be relevant.
Further Information:

Water and Climate Change: Adaptation through Green Infrastructure  is webcast live at www.cec.org/webcast.

Programme provided below, and locate here in pdf form: Program-Water and Climate Change- Adaptation through Green Infrastructure  

Agenda of Tuesday, 14 July 2015

  • 8:00–9:00 Registration of Participants — Ballroom Foyer
  • 9:00–9:05 Opening and Introductory Remarks by Gustavo Alanís-Ortega, JPAC Chair
  • 9:05–9:45 Keynote Presentation by Frederick A. Laskey, Executive Director, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)
  • 9:45–10:00 Break
  • 10:00–10:30 Panel I: Stormwater in CitiesModerator: Felicia Marcus, JPAC MemberAs some cities struggle, during and after extreme weather events, with excess stormwater from rainfall and melted snow, green infrastructure has proven to be an effective and sustainable water management strategy. This session will feature examples and a discussion of municipal-level initiatives that use green infrastructure to reduce property damage and improve water quality and mitigate water pollution and flooding.Panelists:
  • 10:30–12:00 Moderated Question and Answer Period with experts, JPAC Members and audience
  • 12:00–13:00 Lunch
  • 13:00–13:30 Panel II: Adapting to Changing Stormwater Quantities through Land-use PlanningModerator: Gustavo Carvajal, JPAC memberChanges in the timing and intensity of storms has altered the quantity of water from rainfall and melted snow in certain regions of North America. Stormwater runoff has exacerbated mudslides, coastal and riverbank erosion, and flooding. Changes in climate and land use have combined to worsen periodic stormwater flood patterns. Improved stormwater infrastructure and management could help ameliorate this and also address issues of water conservation and sustainable use. Different kinds of green infrastructure, along with better land-use planning, can help us adapt to changing conditions.Panelists:
    • Roberto Romero Ramírez, Director, Water Program, Fundación Gonzalo Río Arronte
    • Isabelle Thomas, Associate Professor, Institut d’urbanisme, Université de Montréal
    • Carlton Ray, Long-term Control Plan, Clean Rivers, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water)
  • 13:30–15:00 Moderated Question and Answer Period, with experts, JPAC Members and audience
  • 15:00–15:15 Break
  • 15:15–15:35 Update on Submissions on Enforcement Matters
  • 15:35–15:50 Report from the National and Governmental Advisory Committee Representatives
  • 15:50–16:05 Break
  • 16:05–16:50 Networking Session for the PublicBased on the discussions held throughout the day, participants are invited to meet and exchange views on North American issues to be raised with the Ministers during the Council Public Meeting on 15 July. Participants will be asked to identify three key issues for our region. JPAC members will attend as observers.
  • 16:50–17:00 Closing Remarks by Gustavo Alanís-Ortega, JPAC Chair

Switch-Med Connect 2015 in Barcelona from Oct 29 – 30, 2015. Register by Sept 15th to go free

SwitchMed Connect 2015 is the first annual gathering of more than 300 stakeholders from Mediterranean countries to build synergies, exchange knowledge, and scale up eco and social innovative solutions. Organised by the EU-funded programme SWITCH-Med (Switching to more sustainable consumption and production in the Mediterranean), the event will bring together leading start-ups and entrepreneurs, industry agents, change agents, policy and financial institutions working on applications of productive, circular and sharing economies in many Mediterranean countries on 29-30 October 2015 in Barcelona. Participation is free for those who register before September 15th.
The SWITCH-MED programme aims to promote a switch of the Mediterranean economies towards sustainable consumption and production patterns and green economy, including low emission development, through demonstration and dissemination of methods that improve resource and energy efficiency. It also seeks to minimise the environmental impacts associated to the life cycle of products and services, and to promote renewable energy.
Sustainable consumption and production is also a long standing UN theme, with information found here; and one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There it is defined as  “the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of further generations” (Oslo symposium, 1994).
Further information:

EU Project GOUV’AIRNANCE reduces Mediterranean air pollution through measurements and integrated governance for Tripoli, Aqaba , Valencia and Marseille

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An EU-funded cross-border cooperation project – GOUV’AIRNANCE – is working on monitoring air pollution in four Mediterranean cities: Aqaba in Jordan, Tripoli in Lebanon, Marseille in France, and Valencia in Spain. Different pilot solutions have been implemented including the launch of Air-Marseille, an online platform that provides real time measurements of air quality and offers advice on what to do during pollution peaks. Although the pilot projects have a local impact, the cross-border nature of GOUV’AIRNANCE means that experience and knowledge are shared more widely.
GOUV’AIRNANCE aims to reduce urban air pollution in the Mediterranean by the establishment of means of measurements and an integrated territorial governance of air quality in four Mediterranean cities: Tripoli (Lebanon), Aqaba (Jordan), Valencia (Spain) and Marseille (France). The project’s objective is reducing the health impact of air pollution in these cities, thanks to a better understanding of air quality in each area and information for citizens, including sensitive populations. The project also proposes to promote the integration of emission reduction measures as an essential dimension of sustainable urban planning documents.
The ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme 2007/2013 is a multilateral cross-border cooperation programme funded by the European Union under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. It aims at reinforcing cooperation between the EU and partner countries’ regions located along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Further Information:
 GOUV’AIRNANCE project website
 ENPI CBCMED – website
 Cross-border cooperation – fiche
 EU Neighbourhood Info Centre interview – Working across borders to bring people together

World’s cities experiencing more heatwaves: Number of extremely hot days has increased since 1970s

Londoners experience the unexpected intensity of localised solar rays, reflected off the concave plate glass windows of one of the capital's newest skyscrapers known as the Walkie Talkie. The hotspot has surprised developers and passers-by below and which has already melted a parked car and left soft street fittings smouldering in Eastcheap Street, City of London, the capital's financial district. Thermometers placed in the street reached 144F (62 celcius) and city workers poured out of their of

Figure 2  (a) Changes in frequency (number) of extreme hot days per year (exceeding 99th percentile for the reference period 1973–2002), (b) percentage of sites showing positive (hollow red), significantly positive (solid red), negative (hollow blue), and significantly negative (solid blue) changes in extreme hot days per year, (c) median changes in frequency of extreme hot days per year (increasing non-significant open red; significantly increasing solid red; decreasing non-significant open blue; significantly decreasing solid blue), (d) median changes in extreme hot days by region; solid bars in (d) represent field significant trends; open bars are not field significant. In (a) positive (negative) and significantly positive (negative) changes are shown with red (blue) and filled red (blue) circles, respectively. Changes and their statistical significance (at 5% level) were estimated using the Mann–Kendall trend test.

Figure 3. (a) Changes in frequency (number) of extreme windy days per year (exceeding 99th percentile of the reference period (1973–2012). (b) Percentage of sites with positive (hollow red), significantly positive (solid red), negative (hollow blue), and significantly negative (solid blue) changes, (c) median changes in frequency (number) of extreme hot days per year for sites with positive, significantly positive, negative, and significantly negative changes. (d) Median changes in extreme hot days by region. Solid bars in (d) represent field significant trends; hollow bars indicate lack of field significance. In (a) positive (negative) and significantly positive (negative) changes are shown with red (blue) and filled red (blue) circles, respectively. Changes and their statistical significance (at 5% level) were estimated using the Mann–Kendall trend test.

Figure 4. (a), (b) Change in frequency (number) of hot days (above 95th percentile) for urban and paired non-urban areas for the period of 1973–2012, (c), (d) same as (a), (b) but for frequency of extreme windy days (above 95th percentile), (e) box plots showing changes in frequency of hot days in all urban and non-urban areas, and (f) same as (e) but for changes in extreme windy days. In (e), (f) numbers in red (blue) show urban/non-urban areas with positive (negative) changes while numbers in parenthesis show number of urban/non-urban areas with significant changes

Further information:

Open access journal article : Changes in observed climate extremes in global urban areas

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/10/2/024005/article

Guardian news article: World’s cities experiencing more heatwaves, study shows

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/30/worlds-cities-experiencing-more-heatwaves-study-shows