The 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns will be 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, and the support of Araba County Council, Gipuzkoa County Council, Donostia/San Sebastián City Council and Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council.
The flagship European conference on local sustainable development will bring together local and regional government representatives, European and international institutions, multilateral organisations, members of the research community, business leaders, and civil society. It 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 urgent need for actions by local governments in shaping Europe’s future.
Through the Aalborg Charter and Commitments, thousands of local governments in Europe have committed to enhancing the sustainability of their urban areas. The 2016 conference will allow participants to capitalise on the growing momentum for actions that transform cities into truly sustainable areas. The Sustainable Development Goals and the results of COP 21 in Paris will be reflected in the discussions, as well as the emerging Urban Agenda for Europe and the upcoming UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development HABITAT III.
The Basque Country reflects the capacity of European cities to transform, having changed from being focused on industry to embracing a modern service-based economy. Its newly adopted Environmental Programme for 2020 shows a firm commitment to improving the environment and aligns with current European and international strategies on job creation, enhancing standards of living, and building a low-carbon economy.