Spotlight on: CLEVER Cities

CLEVER Cities seeks to implement nature-based solutions to address urban challenges and promote social inclusion in cities across Europe, South America and China. Some of the key aspects of the program are:

  • Increase of urban nature to improve resilience to climate change, create economic opportunities and make cities healthier places to live; and
  • Positioning of nature-based solutions to bring people together, make communities more resilient and provide co-benefits in disaster risk reduction, public health, social cohesion and citizen security.
  • Learn more about CLEVER Cities at the Multi-Level Action Pavilion, and follow the session “Nature based solutions and circular development strategies to address the climate emergency in Latin America” on 17 November, 16:30-18:00 (more details on the session in the overview below), to hear more about how Quito, Ecuador, CLEVER’s only non-European follower city, is using nature-based solutions to tackle the climate challenge.

    Events at COP27

    • 14 November 2022, 11:00-12:00 EET

      Buildings Pavilion, COP27 Blue Zone, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

      Creating a Circular Built Environment: the Why and How

      Approximately half of all extracted resources globally are used for the built environment, and 11% of global GHG emissions are attributed to the embodied carbon found in construction materials, with another 28% of global emissions from energy use in buildings. Simultaneously, nearly 40% of urban solid waste comes from construction and demolition. By 2025, it is expected that 2.2 billion tons of construction waste will be generated worldwide (nearly double the amount of waste in 2018).

      A sustainable built environment is circular, designed for longevity, flexibility, adaptability, assembly, disassembly, reuse and recoverability, and considers future climate risks. It uses low-carbon, low-impact, non-toxic materials and it recovers used resources (materials and products on-site or from other sites). It is powered by renewable energy, ensures sustainable water consumption and enhances the wellbeing and safety of people.

      The transition to a sustainable built environment requires the use of a circular economy – which demands radical, meaningful transformation centred around designing out waste, enhancing product lifecycles, and changing consumption habits. There is the need for major innovation in materials, new regulation to make circular products, net zero buildings and choices cost competitive, investment in research and innovation, major transformation of design practices and construction materials and waste management.

      In this flagship event on ‘Decarbonisation Day’ at COP27, hear from key industry leaders how they are driving business to take a systematic approach to make a sustainable built environment system a reality.

      Moderated by: Catriona Brady, World Green Building Council; Luca De Giovanetti, WBCSD

      ● Magash Naidoo, Head of Circular Development, ICLEI
      ● Matt Kennedy, Arup
      ● Magali Anderson, Holcim
      ● James Drinkwater, Laudes Foundation
      ● Gonzalo Muñoz, COP Champion for Chile, COP25 High Level Climate Champions
      ● Kristin Hughes, World Economic Forum
      ● Miranda Schnitger, Ellen Macarthur Foundation
      ● Manuel de Araújo, Mayor of Quelimane, Mozambique
      ● Usha Iyer-Raniga, Sustainable Buildings and Construction, United Nations 10YFP

    • 17 November 2022, 10:00-12:00 EET

      Action Room 1, Ibis, COP27 Blue Zone, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

      Marrakech Partnership Human Settlements: Action towards a zero-emission, circular, & resilient built environment and cities for everyone, everywhere

      The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPGCA) is an important mechanism to strengthen collaboration between governments and non-party stakeholders in the lead up to the COPs, and is a key process of the UNFCCC. The MPGCA supports implementation of the Paris Agreement by enabling collaboration between governments and the cities, regions, businesses and investors that must act on climate change.

      The event will focus on solutions for people. Cities are warming 2x faster than the global average– and the buildings and construction sector contributes ~40% of global greenhouse gas emissions; at a local level it is peoples homes, peoples schools, peoples hospitals and cultural centres that need decarbonizing– the transition must put people at the centre to help address the combined heat and energy crises, especially in the global south.

      Transitioning to a circular economy in our densest urban areas is critical to transform human settlements and the built environment within them to a resilient, zero-carbon future. Putting the buildings and construction sector on a circular economy trajectory is essential for zero waste and for achieving national climate targets – over a third of construction waste currently goes to landfill.

      This event will demonstrate recent signals of change from around the globe– highlighting the transition toward net-zero, resilient, equitable, affordable, safe human settlements– and the associated co-benefits, from job creation to reduced air pollution.

      Moderated by: Kobie Brand, ICLEI Deputy Secretary General and Regional Director ICLEI Africa; Jennifer Layke, Global Director, Energy Program, World Resources Institute

      ● Risto Veivo, Climate Director, City of Turku, Finland
      ● Evans Asamoah Adjei, Chief Resilience and Sustainability Officer, Accra, Ghana
      ● Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, USA
      ● Atiqul Islam, Mayor of Dhaka North, Bangladesh
      ● Sarah El Battouty, Founder ECOnsult Architecture
      ● Magali Anderson, CSO Holcim
      ● Philippe Akoa, CEO FEICOM
      ● Hiroshi Ono, Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, Japan
      ● Aline Cardoso, Head of Economic Development and Labour, City of São Paulo
      ● Jerome Frost, UK, India, Middle East and Africa Chair, Arup
      ● Majida El Ouardirhi, Secretary General, Ministry of National Territory and Urban Planning, Housing and City Policy, Kingdom of Morocco
      ● Cristina Gamboa, CEO World Green Building Council

    • 17 November 2022, 12:00-13:30 EET

      Ibis Room, COP27 Blue Zone, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

      The road to sustainable mobility in cities

      This session explores how many cities will change in the coming years in terms of their transport sector as they tackle a multitude of complexities and challenges such as climate change; integrating circularity; and enhancing sustainability and inclusivity. It’s understood that not only the current complexities, but the anticipated increasing complexities, will necessitate integrated collaboration, solutions and action – which will be explored in this panel discussion.

      The panel will highlight technical solutions that could enable cities transition to a sustainable urban and resource efficient future. Some of the solutions from the Solar Impulse Foundations Solutions Guide for Cities, which is planned to be released during COP27, will be briefly put forward. In addition, achieving scale and seamless implementation will be focused on as key leverage point. Finally, we will explore how cutting-edge transportation policy and technical solutions can act as a central pivot for cities transitioning.

      Moderated by: Magash Naidoo, Head of Circular Development, ICLEI World Secretariat


      ● Andy Deacon, Managing Director, GCom
      ● Vincent Michelet, Global Head: Communications, Solar Impulse Foundation
      ● Wei-Shiuen Ng, Economic Affairs Officer, UNESCAP

    • 17 November 2022, 14:00-14:40 EET

      Action Hub, Blue Zone, COP27 Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

      Tackling Urbanization, Climate Change and Poverty in Cities through Circular Economy

      Urbanization and climate change are the megatrends of our times. The choices that will be made on urban issues in the coming decades will have a decisive influence on the global emissions curve: Cities are where the climate battle needs to be won.
      Cities generate the bulk of global gross domestic product and therefore are major sources of global emissions. But as centres of education and entrepreneurship, they are also hubs of innovation, including approaches on successful reusing, recycling and re-doing.

      Circular approaches decouple economic growth from resource production, consumption and environmental impacts, while enhancing social values. Informality, predominant in many fast growing settlements and economies, can serve as an entry point for the transition, building up on local circular economy strategies that are often already practised informally. Rebuilding the global economy must therefore include efforts for informal settings – making local governments, entrepreneurs and communities the agents of change.

      Moderated by: Paul Currie, Associate Director Urban Systems, ICLEI Africa

      ● Arne Georg Janssen, Urban Environment Specialist
      ● Martijn Lopes Cardozo, Chief Executive Officer, Circle Economy
      ● Pasquale Capizzi, Associate Director, Arup
      ● Andreas Berger, CEO Corporate Solutions SwissRE
      ● Ayaan Adam, CEO Africa Finance Corporation Capital

    • 17 November 2022, 16:30-18:00

      Multilevel Action Pavilion, COP27 Blue Zone, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

      Nature based solutions and circular development strategies to address the climate emergency in Latin America

      Cities are at the forefront of experiencing the disastrous consequences of climate change, and impacts from natural disasters and pandemics. Encouragingly political leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean are now addressing global warming with a concerted effort, they are acknowledging a climate emergency and implementing action to attain the 1.5 goal. Cities are developing solutions to address the climate emergency which includes multilevel governance, nature-based solutions, stakeholder engagement and circular transition.

      The session will open with political declaration from Monterrey, the first Mexican city in declaring a climate emergency. An ICLEI expert will then contextualize and introduce the opportunities from embracing nature in the urban environment and shifting away from resource-intensive models. The session also includes slots for the presentation of local case studies in the context of using nature-based solutions and circular-focused efforts as innovative tools to address the climate emergency.

      Moderated by: Edgar Villaseñor, Regional Secretary, ICLEI Mexico; Rodrigo Perpetuo, Regional Secretary, ICLEI South America


      ● Luis Donaldo Colosio, Mayor of Monterrey, Mexico
      ● René Bedón, Councilor of Quito, Ecuador
      ● Sayda Rodriguez, Secretary of Sustainable Development of Yucatan, Mexico
      ● Russell J. Garay, Chief of Staff at Tegucigalpa, Honduras
      ● Delroy Williams, Mayor of Kingston, Jamaica
      ● Oscar Leggs, Mayor of Los Cabos, Mexico
      ● Alejandra Bolio, Director of Sustainable Development of Merida, Mexico
      ● Cinthia Ribeiro, Mayoress of Palmas, Brazil
      ● Juan Sebastian Abbad, Mayor of La Estrella, Colombia
      ● Carolina Leitão Alvarez-Salamanca, Mayoress of Peñalolen, Chile