International Green Model City Initiative: Call for Stronger Actions Towards Safe and Carbon-Neutral Cities - The First Preparatory Webinar of GFHS 2021 Successfully Held

Thursday, 21 January, 2021

International Green Model City Initiative: Call for Stronger Actions Towards Safe and Carbon-Neutral Cities - The First Preparatory Webinar of GFHS 2021 Successfully Held 

The First Preparatory Webinar of the 16th Global Forum on Human Settlements was successfully held on January 15, 2021, with the theme being “International Green Model City Initiative: Call for Stronger Actions Towards Healthy, Resilient, and Carbon-Neutral Cities”.

Approximately 30,000 professionals around the world participated in the webinar including well-known experts such as Dr. Elena Manaenkova, Deputy Secretary-General of World Meteorological Organization; Lu Haifeng, Secretary General of Global Forum on Human Settlements; Wang Dehui, Former Deputy Director-General of the Nature and Ecology Conservation Department, SEPA, Director of China Office for “Implementation of the Convention of Biological Diversity”; Chen Jiakuan, Distinguished Professor of Fudan University, Member of China National Committee for International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS); Bu Zhengwei, former Chief Architect of China National Real Estate Development Group Architectural Design, as well as government officials, IGMC partners, representatives from international organizations, business leaders and concerned practitioners.

2021 will be the year of green transformation, and the year of a global action towards carbon neutrality. In the five years since the Paris Agreement, an increasing number of countries, regions and cities have made solemn commitments to achieve carbon neutrality and make concerted efforts in building a sustainable future. Whether or not we can achieve green recovery and zero-carbon revolution in cities has an important bearing on the future of human destiny and decides whether battle for sustainable development will be won or lost.

As a low-carbon green city global action plan, International Green Model City (IGMC) Initiative provides technical tools and action guidelines for sustainable urban planning, and zero-waste and zero-emission green development. 41 well-known municipal governments and companies have joined the IGMC Initiative, creating an effective network for sharing knowledge and experience, and facilitating mutual cooperation. Well-known experts shared the progress of IGMC Initiative, and the strategies, approaches and tools the IGMC Standards provide for promoting healthy, resilient, and carbon-neutral cities and, at the same time presented advanced knowledge and success cases on urban planning, design and development, bringing policy recommendations and solutions for local governments, institutional investors and concerned stakeholders.

GFHS Secretary General Mr. Lu Haifeng pointed out in his opening remarks that five trends will manifest themselves distinctly in post-pandemic urban development: decoupling, decarbonization, decentralization, digitalization and glocalization. We need to learn from nature and live in harmony with nature, and rethink, reevaluate, redesign and reshape the current cities, for the purpose of achieving harmony between urban development and the natural ecosystem, and ensuring ecological balance and security. Green is the basic color of nature, and making cities green is tantamount to following the law of nature. International Green Model City Initiative provides technical support and learning platform for the purpose of building safe, carbon-neutral and sustainable cities and human settlement for all, accelerating green transformation, and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda at local level.

WMO Deputy Secretary General Dr. Elena Manaenkova emphasized that to save lives and minimize losses the Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems are highly recommended as single cost-effective systems to deliver warnings on a wide range of hazards. Climate change makes it impossible to rely on past experience for future planning. To build truly resilient cities, urban planners need to look beyond the next storm and use climate predictions and projections to plan and prepare for long-term changes in weather, climate, hydrology and environment. Demand-driven approach (understanding diverse urban users’ needs) and multi-sector partnerships help produce and deliver tailored services and impact-based warnings.