Last month the CIVITAS Initiative represented the mobility sector, together with the projects UPPER and SPINE, at the Mission in Progress: Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Conference 2023. The event was a chance for the NetZeroCities project - which supports the EU’s Mission of “100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030” - to come together with partners and related projects to exchange on our common journey towards climate-neutrality.
It was a space for city representatives and practitioners to meet, ideate, collaborate, and establish new pathways to drive them towards their climate goals. City representatives, Mayors, members of the European Commission, and other European institutions met for two days to connect and engage on Mission-critical concepts and ideas.
Day one was dedicated to helping city practitioners to connect and synergise their local efforts while sharing ideas, challenges, and best practices with each other. A key and recurring theme of the two-day conference was collaboration. Participants, speakers, and sessions evoked the importance of peer-to-peer collaborative exchange throughout the event. A session on Peer-to-Peer City Exchanges delved further into this, with world café-style discussions. The session allowed for open discussions on knowledge sharing, best practices, tackling common challenges, and sharing approaches and methodologies with one another.
Day two of the conference was dedicated to both mayors and city practitioners, and welcomed several members of the European Commission and other European institutions. Marc Lemaître, Director-General DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, Lemaître noted that “throughout history cities have been at the forefront of innovation and change… Europe needs cities like yours that are ambitious and bold, striving towards climate neutrality,” and emphasised the importance of a systems perspective. Promoting synergies and opportunities for all cities was a focus of the day, with a group call to action evoking the sharing of best practices to enable all cities to scale up.
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President, European Commission made final remarks to bring the conference to a close. His concluding speech evoked motivation, togetherness, shared strength, courage, and inspiration, encapsulating the hard work undertaken by Mission Cities, Pilot Cities, the Mission Team, Mission Board, and NetZeroCities over the past year:
“Prove together with us that we can do this without leaving anyone behind. Let us ensure that the benefits of the Mission can be felt by everyone”.
Learn more about NetZeroCities.
Author: ICLEI Europe