08 2008

Competitive Cities and Climate Change Conference

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Milano: The international conference on Competitive Cities and Climate Change, to be held on 9-10 October 2008, in Milan, Italy, will address the environmental dimension of city competitiveness. It will focus on the relationships between urbanisation and climate change, and the implications in terms of urban policy making, in particular in relation to competitiveness objectives .

The conference is co-organised by the OECD, the Province of Milan, and the City of Milan, in co-operation with the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and the Club of Madrid.
The conference will be the fifth in a series of conferences organised by the OECD to examine the challenges faced by large cities concerned with improving their economic competitiveness while providing the social and environmental conditions that are also necessary in order to retain and attract skills and investment:

  • The Santa Cruz conference (March 2005) focused on the economic aspects of city competitiveness (education, innovation, networks and clusters).
  • The Nagoya conference (June 2005) addressed the physical dimension (attractiveness, infrastructure).
  • The Montreal conference (October 2005) looked at the social dimension.
  • The Madrid conference (March 2007) examined the future of urban policy in the context of globalisation.

Venue and participants
This high-level event will be held at the Palazzo Clerici in Milan, Italy, and will bring together ministers, mayors, and regional leaders as well as eminent personalities from the Club of Madrid (former Head of States and governments), high-level representatives from international organisations, major local government networks and prominent experts.
The conference will provide a key opportunity to further the ongoing work of the OECD Working Party on Territorial Policy in Urban Areas (WPUA) and Territorial Development Policy Committee (TDPC) on identifying effective policy strategies for metropolitan areas.
For further logistical information, please refer to the Milan site.
More information
Questions should be forwarded to: or
October 9-10, 2008, Milan, Italy
ISPI - Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale Via Clerici, 5 20121 Milan
The OECD international conference on "Competitive Cities and Climate Change" is the fifth of a series of conferences organised by the OECD to examine the challenges faced by large cities concerned with improving their economic competitiveness while providing the social and environmental conditions that are necessary to retain and attract skilled workers and investment. In a context of globalisation, previous OECD conferences addressed city competitiveness from the following perspectives: business environment, social cohesion, physical attractiveness, the role of central government. The conference in Milan addresses the environmental dimension of city competitiveness, focusing on the relationships between urbanisation and climate change, and the implications in terms of urban policy making. As stressed by the OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurría, at the Madrid conference in March 2007: "In our cities, citizens, industries and institutions must respond to the challenges of technological change and globalisation. In our cities, as elsewhere, we must deal with the social implications of change (...) Urban areas could (also) play a central role in successfully addressing global environmental challenges (...) Cities generate almost 70% of total gas emission. There is no doubt that improvements in urban design, housing stock, traffic congestion and accessibility, disaster prevention and waste management, are crucial component of a strategy to combat global warming. If cities fail to deal effectively with environmental challenges, our planet is in serious trouble". The conference is being organised in cooperation with the City of Milan and the Province of Milan, with the collaboration of the Club of Madrid and the support of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei. As with previous OECD conferences, it will promotes policy dialogue among city mayors and national government representatives, in order to identify a common policy agenda for cities. It will bring together ministers, mayors, and regional leaders as well as eminent personalities from the Club of Madrid (former Head of States and governments), high-level representatives of international organizations, major local government networks and prominent experts. The Milan conference will host the 2nd annual meeting of the OECD Roundtable Strategy for Urban Development, which was created at the Madrid conference on 29-30 March, 2007 at the initiative of the Mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón.
Competitive Cities and Climate Change: background and rationale
The world?s urban population has multiplied ten-fold during the past century, and within the next decade, there will be nearly 500 cities of more than a million people, including several „megacities? with populations exceeding 20 million. Meanwhile, cities have strengthened their role as drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship that account for a disproportionately strong share of a country?s GDP per capita. A series of recent OECD conferences have highlighted how cities respond to the challenges of technological change and globalization. The OECD Conference, "City Competitiveness” (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, 2005), examined policies implemented by cities and regions for fostering their competitiveness in the international marketplace, for promoting regional innovation, and for encouraging the growth of networks and partnerships with the private sector and universities. The OECD conference "Enhancing City Attractiveness for the Future” (Nagoya, Japan, 2005), offered evidence that an attractive environment and robust infrastructure are fundamental to metropolitan economic growth. The OECD Conference, "Sustainable Cities: Linking Competitiveness with Social Cohesion” (Montreal, Canada, 2005), revealed how cities often embody what is sometimes called the "urban paradox”, the co-existence of high concentrations of wealth and employment alongside jarring socioeconomic disparities, distressed neighbourhoods, and criminality, which can be found in even the most dynamic metro-regions. The Milan Conference builds upon previous debates to explore the connections between climate change and urban economic development. Cities are largely responsible for global climate change, accounting for ~70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cities often feel the effects of climate change more severely (e.g., higher temperatures are exacerbated by air pollution and heat island effects and dense populations face elevated risks of infectious disease transmission). Mayors and regional leaders around the world are increasingly assuming leadership through a variety of innovative actions to reduce cities? „carbon footprints?, and to enhance their capacity to cope with anticipated climate change impacts. A number of questions arise however, as to what extent these actions conflict or coincide with other objectives, especially competitiveness. Even when considering that such actions could strengthen many other aspects of cities? well-being, integrating climate change policies with economic growth and social development objectives challenges urban policy-makers. One such dilemma, for example, is how to integrate economic growth and climate change policies while organising mega-events such as the Olympic Games, International Expos, World Cups, trade fairs, cultural festivals and global summits. Effective climate change responses at the local level require intergovernmental collaboration. The OECD conference, "Globalising Cities: Rethinking the Urban Policy Agenda” (Madrid, 2007), agreed that strong, effective urban policies that enable cities to benefit from globalising processes require flexible, multi-level forms of inter-governmental joint action. The need for a multi-level governance framework for urban development policies is particularly critical for addressing climate change. City and regional leaders are generally best suited to design strategies for addressing their own local climate change risks though not all leaders are keen to undertake such actions. Central governments can complement these efforts by assisting cities to better respond to climate change and providing scientific assessments that justify such intervention. Likewise, local governments are needed as partners to implement nation-wide climate change response policies, while at the same time designing their own policy responses that are tailored to local contexts.
The OECD Roundtable on Urban Strategy: a unique platform for addressing climate change
The OECD Roundtable on Urban Strategy of Mayors and Ministers is a unique global platform for addressing urban issues in a forum involving both national and local governments. In addition to its country delegate constituencies (comprised of high-level public officials from the 30 member countries), the OECD works directly with city and regional leaders, and international associations of local governments. Since March 2007, this process has been formalised through the creation of the OECD Roundtable for Urban Strategy of Mayors and Ministers, with the objective of fostering ongoing policy dialogue between local and national policy-makers responsible for urban policies.
The Roundtable on Urban Strategy also provides a valuable platform for addressing climate change issues. The OECD Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development, has for decades worked on environment-related issues in its programmes of research on urban regions, and has implemented several projects and activities related to climate change from the viewpoint of urban policy, including a roundtable discussion on "climate change and cities" in the Working Party on Territorial Policy in Urban Areas (Rome, June 2007), a special session on climate change and cities at the OECD conference: "What Policies for Globalising Cities?" (Madrid, March 2007) and a workshop on Competitive Cities and Climate Change in the Working Party on Territorial Policy in Urban Areas (Paris, December, 2007). The Directorate also took part in the 2008 OECD Ministerial Council s meeting which was organised around the theme "Outreach, Reform and the Economics of Climate Change". The Roundtable of Mayors and Ministers on Urban Strategy can benefit from the OECD s extensive experience in helping countries design policies that are both economically efficient and effective at achieving environmental objectives. In recent years, the organization has provided a forum for countries to discuss numerous key issues relevant to international negotiations on climate change (e.g. emissions trading schemes, flexibility mechanisms, deforestation incentives, technology diffusion), and a wide range of climate change-related initiatives are underway. For instance, since 1994, the International Energy Agency and the OECD have jointly hosted the secretariat for the Annex I Expert Group on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Other ongoing OECD work examines the economic benefits of climate change policies implemented in different sectors and at different scales of governance; at the opportunities and barriers for diffusion of new technologies aimed at mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon in the agricultural sector; and at the many dimensions of climate change mitigation and adaptation related to energy and transportation.

Objective of the conference

  • The objective of the Milan Conference is to engage a wide range of stakeholders, including city, regional and central government representatives, in considering a broader and holistic approach to climate change policies at the urban level. The conference sessions are designed to address this issue by:
  • Examining how a city?s climate change adaptation and mitigation actions affect/contribute to its efforts to remain competitive in the global economy. In particular, what are the inherent trade-offs and possible synergies between meeting climate protection goals, and the many other goals that are central to urban development (economic development, employment, social well-being, etc)
  • Identifying the bottlenecks to effective implementation of climate change policies at the city/regional level, and the existing urban governance mechanisms that allow implementation of integrative urban policy strategies;
  • Assessing what are the key institutional challenges to multi-level governance on climate change, and how local and national governments and other stakeholders could work together most effectively to implement climate change policy actions at the city level;
  • Providing a unique opportunity for city mayors, regional leaders and high-level national government representatives to put forward their ideas about the above mentioned issues and elaborate a common policy agenda.

In addition to Mayors, Ministers, and Regional Leaders, the OECD conference will target key international stakeholders such as local government associations (C40/Large Cities Climate Leadership Group; Clinton Climate Initiative; United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI)). The Club of Madrid, which consists of former Heads of State and Government, is a major partner in this event. The Club of Madrid has addressed climate change issues at the global scale through the Global Leadership for Climate Action (GLCA), a joint task force with the United Nations Foundation that engages former heads of state and government as well as leaders from business, government and civil society from more than 20 countries.

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) has provided key support to this conference. The FEEM is an independent non-profit institution established to carry out research in the field of sustainable development. One of FEEM's principal aims is to foster the interaction between the academic, industrial, and public policy spheres in order to comprehensively address concerns about economic development and environmental degradation. The FEEM has a long-standing experience in the economic analysis of climate change, and its contribution to the Nobel Prize has been officially acknowledged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Conference will be held in the Clerici Palace on the grounds of the Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI),

· Erin Byrne, Project Manager, OECD -
· Shivani Ratra, Project Manager, OECD -

Thursday October 9, 2008 8:30- 9:00 Registration 9:00 - 10:00 Opening ceremony
· Letizia Moratti , Mayor of Milan, Italy

· Filippo Penati, President of the Province of Milan, Italy

· Odile Sallard, Director, Public Governance and Territorial Development, OECD

· Fernando Perpiñá, Secretary General, Club of Madrid

· Bernardo Bortolotti, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), Executive Director, Italy

Source by Conferenza_Ocse_su_cambiamenti_climatici_e_città_

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