Local production key to solving environmental crisis says ICLEI
By improving water resource management, the energy performance of buildings and adapting cities to the impacts of climate change the potential for economic benefit is "enormous", says the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)
According to the ICLEI, as global policy processes have largely failed to put the world on track to sustainability, hopes are increasingly placed on local and regional actors.
Speaking at a conference in Geneva on sustainable development in Europe, regional director of ICLEI Europe, Wolfgang Teubner, said: "The notion that social and environmental concerns need to be put on hold until the economic crisis has been solved fails to recognise the linkages between these. There are huge opportunities to strengthen the local economy through sustainable investments".
Teubner said that to drive a transition towards sustainability, cities need to start producing their supplies locally to a much larger extent.
"Local production of renewable energy and food will not only reduce the ecological footprint but the value created will also benefit the local economy. Instead of spending money on energy from fossil fuels, cities that take control over their energy production will benefit economically, while creating green jobs for citizens," added Teubner.
Delegates discussed how cities can drive a transition towards sustainability in the face of the current economic, environmental and social crises.
Vice-Mayor of the City of Geneva, Sandrine Salerno, added: "These local solutions can be implemented through public-private and public-public partnerships. We also need to strengthen the social economy and choose sustainable investment strategies.