Sustainable Cities in Geneva

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Eve Annecke and Mark Swilling attended the S-DEV05 Conference in Geneva during the week 11-13 October. Sponsored by various Swiss agencies, the conference brought together over 2000 delegates to discuss 26 city case studies where major sustainability innovations have taken place or are being planned for on a large scale.

Although some well known case studies were reviewed, such as Curitiba, Vancouver and Auroville in India, lesser known cases such as Vaxja in Sweden and Goa in India were also discussed. Major political leaders, key city officials, academics and social activists were present. Mark Swilling was invited to act as Moderator of a session that looked at three case studies, Basel from Switzerland which has introduced a special renewable energy tax, Udice in Serbia where ICT systems have fundamentally changed the water management system, and Vaxja in Sweden which has demonstrated that it is possible to replace fossil fuels with biofuels on a large scale. Many other sessions looked at urban poverty and social policies, as well as new governance approaches that are redefining what it means to govern cities in transition.

While in Geneva, Mark and Eve held meetings with Rob Lichtman from the E-Systems Foundation to finalise funding arrangements for a R2,3 million research project into Cape Town energy, water and waste systems and what will be needed to transform these systems in line with sustainability approaches. The funds come from the United Nations Development Programme and CORDAID, Holland.