Seminar on Natural Solutions for Urban Areas in Europe – 14.11.2012
A conference on “Natural Solutions for Cities in Europe” was held on Wednesday November 14th in Brussels and was organized by the URBAN Intergroup, in cooperation with the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development.
The conference was chaired by Jan Olbrycht, President of the URBAN Intergroup, Cristina Gutierrez-Cortines and Vittorio Prodi, Vice-Presidents of the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development. The conference mainly focused on the presence of nature in the urban space. Participants agreed that in view of the increasing trend of urbanization and environmental exploitation care for nature is essential. Among many ideas raised at the conference, the most important was that the effective fusion of city and nature may be achieved in practical ways.
As emphasised by Jan Olbrycht at the opening of the conference: “The new principle of sustainable urban development has been introduced in EU cohesion policy’s new regulations. Now, we need to translate this concept of sustainability into concrete actions.” It may be achieved by introduction of cost-effective urban space economy, reasonable use of renewable energy and the creation of urban spaces with a friendly aesthetics. What may seem as an opposite, nature and city, can be overcome by a sustainable development of urban, peri-urban and rural areas. Next to best practices presentation there was a vital share of views on how to understand biodiversity in cities from various perspectives from regional development, business investments to NGO’s activity.
Cristina Gutierrez-Cortines underlined that the European Parliament strives to work together with the European Commission and the European Environmental Agency (EEA) to amendment, review and enlarge the Agenda 21 to become a roadmap and guide for all the Mayors inEurope.
To conclude the meeting, Vittorio Prodi stressed the importance of continuing discussions on the need to develop urban biodiversity initiatives because of the deteriorating situation of urban environments. “We have to organise territorial care to keep water as long as possible where it falls because the changes in rainfall patterns due to climate change have disastrous consequences on our territories,” he held. This organisation has to begin in our cities, which can then lead communities to make these changes.
Meeting with UN-HABITAT
Jan Olbrycht, President of the URBAN Intergroup met on October 16th in Brussels Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) to discuss possible future cooperation on urban issues.
Mr Olbrycht presented activities of the URBAN Intergroup working at the European Parliament underling some key aspects of urban related issues. Housing, energy efficiency in buildings and urban-rural linkages have been mentioned. During the meeting The Manifesto for Cities, an initiative of the World Urban Campaign which was launched in March 2010 at the sixth session of the World Urban Forum in Naples, was discussed. In conclusion, Jan Olbrycht stressed that the urban dimension should be reinforced in the EU development policy.