ICLEI In the Urban Era: Our Vision for a Sustainable Urban World

ICLEI’s Strategic Plan for 2021 to 2024.

More than ever, our cities, towns and regions are at the frontline of a globally changing world, and our local and regional governments need to rapidly act on changes occurring in nearly every dimension of urban life.

The development challenges, including global public health crises such as COVID-19; the increasing impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation and demographic change; the lack of resilience in our urban systems, processes and approaches; the need to end systemic inequities and poverty and to better understand and apply technological advancement, are particularly visible in our urban environments and require urgent action from subnational governments.

Cities, towns and their surrounding regions are centers of opportunity and prosperity and, indeed, act as important hubs of economy, innovation and co-creation, production, consumption, as well as social and cultural interaction. At the same time, numerous cities, towns and regions are places where deep poverty and inequity prevail, and where severe natural degradation proliferates with ecosystems pushed past their thresholds.

As our urban areas rise, grow and change, so do the demands and pressures on our finite natural resources, further reinforcing disparities and vulnerabilities in communities across the world. Therefore, the only way forward is to urgently reverse this trend and drastically re-orient the patterns of our daily life, our built environment and the natural systems in and around our cities.

We have now a unique opportunity to “build back better”, to develop resilient communities and systems and to discontinue the unsustainable approaches that became so obvious through the global pandemic. We must create an urban world that is sustainable and resilient!