UNEP/LivCom Seminar

12 October 2009, Parkhotel, Pilsen, Czech Republic

“Implementing the challenges of Sustainable Development”

Chaired and facilitated by Jan-Gustav Strandenaes

09:00 -             Opening of the workshop – by Alan Smith, Director LivCom.

09:05 –            “Framing the workshop, a quick overview of the global challenges in sustainable development facing us today”,
By Jan-Gustav Strandenaes, Consultant to the UN.

09:20 –            “Buildings: consumers of building material and energy, emitters of CO2 - a challenge to sustainable development. How do we deal with this phenomenon?”
By Silke Rusch, Consultant, Environment Housing and Land Management Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, UN ECE, Geneva Switzerland.

09.45 –            “Climate change, the overriding challenge to global stability: approaching Copenhagen, now what?”
Wondy K. Asnake. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Geneva, Switzerland

10:10 –            Coffee break

10:30               “ How local authority will need to cope with climate change the role of towns and cities in delivering real and lasting change,”
By Chris Church, co-director of Community Environment Associates (CEA) and member of the London Sustainable Development Commission, London, UK.

10.55 -            “Managing the local environment, what are the sum total of the above challenges for cities and municipalities all over the world,”
By Prof. RNDr. Bedřich Moldan, the Czech Republic

11:20 –            Questions, answers and summary statements

12.00               End of Seminar

Background thoughts to the workshop:

The challenges posed in particular by climate change and in general terms by sustainable development are profound: radical long-term changes in terms of both production and consumption patterns and systems as nations move to develop low-carbon strategies.

If this challenge is to be met, we will, over the next generation, need to invoke thorough and far-reaching change in our thinking, planning and implementation systems.

While governments can set national frameworks, local government has a key role in making the change real at a local level. That requires change in terms of:

There are numerous examples (from the UK and of course elsewhere) of how local policy frameworks can play a leading role in showing what is possible.

The Infrastructure is critical. People should be able to lead low-carbon lives without even noticing that they are doing so, thanks to efficient local services delivered by councils, the private sector and increasingly the voluntary and community sector. The development of Community Scale Infrastructure and social enterprise is opening up new possibilities everywhere.

To be able to change to a modus operandi based on principles of sustainable development, we need the engagement of society, and we need it on a much greater scale than is the case at present. Alongside the technical and political innovations, social innovations are needed to help build that engagement. Rather than making changes to people and their lives, changes with people are needed. This workshop may help stimulate this kind of thinking.