ICLEI World Congress 2015 in review

The ICLEI World Congress 2015 took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 8-12 April. Entitled “Sustainable Solutions for an Urban Future,” the Congress gathered over 2,500 delegates from 249 local governments worldwide.

The new ICLEI President, Mayor Park Won Soon (Seoul, Republic of Korea), was officially inaugurated at the congress, as well as First Vice President Mayor James Nxumalo (Durban, South Africa), and Vice Presidents Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera (Mexico City, Mexico) and Mayor Pekka Sauri (Helsinki, Finland).

There were a number of landmark outcomes from the packed five days.

The Seoul Declaration – a document that sets out a clear path to global urban sustainability – was officially adopted by ICLEI World Congress participants, ICLEI Members, partners, and other local governments.

Thirty-six cities announced their intent to comply with the Compact of Mayors – the global coalition of Mayors and city leaders preparing for the impacts of climate change.

Demonstrating ambition at the local level, the ICLEI President and Mayor of Seoul Park Won Soon launched the Promise of Seoul, which commits Seoul to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 from 2005 levels.

Partnerships were a major theme of the World Congress. ICLEI signed 11 MOUs with partner organizations, while Seoul signed 15 MOUs with other local governments, emphasizing city- to-city partnership and technology transfer.

In addition, ICLEI launched three new major initiatives and networks: CityFood, the 100% Renewable Energy ICLEI Community, and the Global Sustainable Public Procurement Network, bringing together cities to develop innovative actions in these new global areas.

The Congress also saw the launch of the ICLEI Strategic Plan 2015-2021, which details how ICLEI will work with its members in the years to come. ICLEI’s Korea Office also presented its Korean strategic plan, outlining how they will implement the global strategy at the national level.

Overall, the ICLEI World Congress 2015 featured 7 plenaries, 8 sub-plenaries, 29 sessions and 20 side events, including a two-day Urban Nature conference, a Researchers’ Symposium, and the URBIO conference. A huge range of topics was covered, from how cities and small island states can better work together to how the presence of women leaders in sustainability can be increased.

ICLEI President and Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon opened and closed the World Congress and was an inspiring presence throughout. ICLEI would like to thank Mayor Park and all of Seoul’s citizens for their extraordinary hospitality, generosity and collaboration in hosting our World Congress 2015.