In preparation for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, Barcelona City Council and CIDOB, in collaboration with the British Embassy in Spain (in capacity as COP26 Presidency) and Glasgow City Council (as the COP26 host city), and in partnership with C40 Cities and Eurocities, organise a two-day workshop to explore how cities can act as laboratories for integrating and accelerating the environmental and digital transitions in coherent policy frameworks, and in ways that are truly sustainable and just.
With economies around the world entering a post-lockdown restart, the acute climate and biodiversity crises demand the laying of the foundations for a sustainable recovery. Digital innovation promises to be a great enabler and accelerator in this process. However, a truly sustainable recovery will depend on properly integrating the digital and green transitions in ways that foster equity and inclusiveness, as well as the physical and emotional well-being of communities. In a century in which global warming and pandemics will be increasingly entangled, the twin green and digital transitions need to support both the health of the planet and its people.
City lessons with the twin green and digital transitions are vital for securing a more sustainable and resilient future. As climate leaders and hubs of the digital economy, cities are at the forefront of efforts to better connect the two agendas in a sustainable and just manner. From developing urban data centres that support energy-efficient services to low-carbon intelligent mobility solutions and the scale-up of the circular economy, cities are acting to formulate integrated solutions that bridge environmental and technological challenges.
Cities are also beginning to address the risks the green and digital transformations present to one another. While digital technology can effectively support climate mitigation and the dematerialisation of the economy, rising demand for cloud computing and energy-intensive devices by ever larger urban populations has a substantial environmental footprint in itself. In turn, as the world gets hotter and cities become more prone to flooding, internet connectivity and data centres will be among the first casualties. Already felt in regions troubled by climate disasters, these risks will soon become a reality for most cities.
But a sustainable green recovery that is joined up with the digital transformation does not only require macro-level technological and infrastructural innovations. Without public buy-in the much-needed shift towards a low-carbon economy will not happen. As the closest level of government to the people, cities are well positioned to engage citizens and relevant stakeholders in assessing the needs and concerns of their communities, and in supporting them to adapt to technological change and the reconfiguration of entire industries and employment sectors. City-scale participatory processes that place equity and inclusion at the centre and seek to maximise the benefits and minimise the disadvantages for local communities, will be vital if no one is to be left behind in the transitions.
An “Urban Green and Digital Just Transition Action Plan” for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)
As countries prepare to move towards a low-carbon economy, bridging the climate, digital and urban agendas will be key to raising the ambition of the COP26. To this end, Barcelona City Council and CIDOB, in collaboration with the British Embassy in Spain (in capacity as COP26 Presidency) and Glasgow City Council (as the COP26 host city), and in partnership with C40 Cities and Eurocities, organise a two-day preparatory workshop to explore how cities can act as laboratories for integrating and accelerating environmental and digital agendas in coherent policy frameworks, and in ways that are truly sustainable and just.
Based on the workshop results, an Urban Green and Digital Just Transitions Action Plan–a set of guiding principles for a people-centred twin transition–will be formulated. The Action Plan will be launched at an event at Glasgow City Council during the COP26.
>> Related publication: Ambitious and inclusive transitions in cities: bridging green and digital agendas
>> All sessions will be held online and streamed on CIDOB’s YouTube Channel
>> English-Spanish simultaneous translation will be provided during all sessions:
INTEGRATED AND INCLUSIVE URBAN GOVERNANCE FOR A JUST TRANSITION
Moderator Hannah Abdullah, Senior Research Fellow, Global Cities Programme, CIDOB
18:30–18:35 Opening Remarks
Pol Morillas, Director, CIDOB
Hugh Elliott, British Ambassador to Spain
Angus Millar, Councillor & Chair of the Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Committee, Glasgow City Council
Jeanne Holm, Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles
Laia Bonet, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona
19:15–19:30 First reactions
Edgar Pieterse, Director, African Centre for Cities
Tony Pipa, Senior Fellow, Centre for Sustainable Development, Global Economy and Development Program, The Brookings Institution
SESSION 1:Intelligent and energy-efficient buildings and infrastructure
Moderator Agustí Fernández de Losada, Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Global Cities Programme, CIDOB
Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, Head of Climate Unit, Director of the Carbon Neutral Helsinki Program, City of Helsinki
Miquel Rodríguez Planas, Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda, Barcelona City Council
09:30–10:00 First reactions
Johanna Lehne, Senior Policy Advisor, E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism)
Roland Hunziker, Director, Sustainable Buildings and Cities, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, WBCSD
Victoria Burrows, Director of Advancing Net Zero, World Green Building Council
SESSION 2: Mainstreaming inclusive digital mobility solutions
Moderator Guillem Ramírez Chico, Policy Advisor to the Deputy Mayor for the 2030 Agenda, Digital Transition & International Relations, Barcelona City Council
Natalia Ciciarello, Paris Mobility, City of Paris
Vanessa Harrison, Principal Policy Officer for Transport, Greater London Authority
N M Dhoke, Director for Rolling Stock, Operations and Maintenance, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited
11:30–12:00 First reactions
Daniel Serra, Director, EIT Urban Mobility Innovation Hub South
Thomas Deloison, Director for Mobility, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, WBCSD
Maruxa Cardama, Secretray General, SLOCAT
SESSION 3: Enabling the circular city through digital technologies
Moderator Keiran Bowtell, Climate Change and Energy Attaché, British Embassy Madrid
Aado Altmets, Head of Smart City Projects Competence Centre, Tallinn City Council
Francisco José Moura de Castro, Special Advisor for Sustainability, São Paulo City Council
Gavin Slater,Head of Sustainability,Glasgow City Council(TBC)
13:30–14:00 First reactions
Elizabeth Kelly, Senior Programme Manager, Thriving Cities Initiative, C40 Cities
Oriana Romano, Head of Unit, Water Governance and Circular Economy, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Cities and Regions, OECD
Markus Bjerre, Special Advisor, Circular Innovation City Challenge, Danish Business Authority
14.00– 14.30 Discussion
AFTERNOON SESSION – URBAN DATA CENTRES AND URBAN DATA PLATFORMS FOR THE GREEN TRANSITION
Moderator Federica Bordelot, Policy Advisor for Digital Policy and Smart Cities, Eurocities
Jiří Hoskovec, Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Prague
Felip Guzman, ICT High Councillor, Bogota Mayors Office
Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Pittsburgh
16:30–17:00 First reactions
Ursula Eicker, Professor for Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering & Canada Excellence Research Chair in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities, Concordia University
Patricio Reyes, Senior Researcher, Barcelona Supercomputing Center
Naomi Morishita-Steffen, CEO, Mo-St Transformative Futures