Bilbao hosts 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns


BILBAO, Spain – The 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns ‘Transformative Action: the potential for Europe,’ will be held in the Basque Country, on 27-29 April 2016, hosted by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Basque Government, Bizkaia County Council and Bilbao City Council, with the involvement of Udalsarea 21 – Basque Network of Municipalities for Sustainability.

The 2016 flagship European conference on local sustainable development will build on the legacy of the previous conferences in Aalborg (Denmark, 1994 and 2004), Lisbon (Portugal, 1996), Hannover (Germany, 2000), Seville (Spain, 2007), Dunkerque (France, 2010) and Geneva (Switzerland, 2013). The conference will demonstrate the pressing need for action by local governments to change current unsustainable pathways and shape Europe‘s future.

The event will take place at a crucial time, following the UN Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Climate Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris that should result in a post-Kyoto framework to address climate change. While having to meet global challenges, local and regional governments also face environmental, financial and societal issues in Europe. The conference will reflect the urgency of the challenges and present a way to address them through transformative action.

Goals & Objectives

• Offer local leaders a stage to express ideas, experiences and expectations related to sustainable urban development;

• Look closely at the crucial role of cooperation between local governments, business, civil society and the finance sector in order to implement actions on the ground;

• Explore how strategies and solutions for sustainable urban development can be combined with new economic approaches and social innovation to generate local value, employment and to improve economic resilience;

• Provide local leaders with the opportunity to make a formal joint commitment to take action on sustainable urban development, as well as to formulate their expectations towards European governance in support of their pledge;

• Inform and engage local governments in European and international policy frameworks related to sustainable development, such as the Sustainable Development Goals or the Urban Agenda for the EU, and to explore if and how these frameworks can support and encourage local initiatives;

• Explore how a civic economy can help to address the economic and financial crisis, and re-build the confidence in a united and inclusive Europe from a bottom-up perspective.