16 October 2020

130 European Mayors commit to green, smart and inclusive recovery at the Intelligent Cities Challenge’s Mayors’ Summit

Wednesday 14th October 2020 marked a milestone in European cities’ political commitment to build greener, digital, and more resilient economies.

The Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC)’s Mayors Summit, co-organised by ICLEI, brought together the mayors of the 130 ICC cities to exchange views, get inspiration and learn from each other on the topic of green and smart recovery. The event focused on the importance of local political commitment and city leadership in making a real difference in the lives of citizens across Europe. 

Dana Eleftheriadou, head of the Advanced Technologies Team at the European Commission’s DG GROW and Christophe Rouillon, Committee of the Region rapporteur for the Recovery and Resilience Facility and Mayor of Coulaines (France), opened the Summit by emphasising that cities should play a key role in driving the implementation of the European Green Deal:

Ms Eleftheriadou pointed out that cities deserve a clear say in the strategy for allocating the EU’s 672.5€ billion recovery fund, as they have the power to drive digitalisation and a transition to clean industry through local action. 
Mr Rouillon further emphasised the need for the digital transition to be fair, inclusive, and respectful of individual privacy. He called for city leaders to protect and bring all of their citizens on board in the smart and green recovery.

The event continued with inspiring keynotes from the Deputy Mayors of two ICC mentor cities;

  • Vice-Mayor Marja Ruigrok of Haarlemmermeer (Amsterdam Metropolitan Area), emphasised how the current crisis creates opportunities for cities to re-invent themselves to “create a better, more inclusive economically sustainable world.”, and how people’s needs should be placed at the forefront of the technological transition. She further stated that political cooperation and exchange are essential for cities to inspire each other on this journey.
  • Deputy Mayor Laia Bonet of Barcelona, an established ICLEI member city, underlined the connection between digital innovation and ecological transition, while also emphasising Barcelona’s commitment to addressing inequalities created by the ‘digital divide’.

The keynote speeches were followed by an inspiring panel discussion between the Mayors and Vice-Mayors of 8 ICC cities, including ICLEI members Pori and Ljubljana. The panellists provided key messages on their cities’ approach to delivering a smart, green and fair recovery, covering topics such as re-skilling (Aino-Maija Luukkonen, Mayor of Pori), financing the green transition (Vojko Obersnel, Mayor of Rijeka) and governance models to facilitate citizen engagement (Mohamed Ridouani, Mayor of Leuven).

Following on this inspirational demonstration of political commitment to driving a green, fair and digital transition through the ICC, ICLEI will continue to support the 130 ICC cities on this journey over the next 5 years. ICLEI’s contribution to the project is focusing on two fronts:

  • Helping cities to integrate the European Green Deal in their local policy framework to better support a smart and sustainable transition
  • Supporting cities in using public procurement to implement sustainable solutions and promote smart and green local economic activity

To stay up to date with the latest evolutions of the ICC’s, make sure to regularly visit the ICC’s news page here.

You missed the Mayors Summit or would like to get inspired again? Please find the recording here.