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Life Below Water: Mobilising local action for protecting the oceans and their resources

The 2017 Life Below Water Conference was held in Malmāļ (Sweden) from 11-13 October, bringing together 250 delegates from four continents to inspire, learn, debate and drive action at a local level for the marine environment. The conference, opened by Mayor of Malmāļ Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, featured inspiring keynote addresses from NGOs, cities, academia and business as well as Sweden's Minister for the Environment, Karolina Skog.

The conference highlighted the complexity and interrelated thematic challenges linking our activities on land to a range of threats to the ocean environment. The links with work in cities for circular resource management, sustainable food systems, waste management, climate mitigation and adaptation were just some of the most obvious connections. The conference focused heavily on the opportunities presented for economic development through improved management and use of our ocean resource, creating local jobs and making local economies work for marine protection.

The City of Malmāļ and ICLEI will present the findings of the Life Below Water Conference at Ocean Day, an event which aims to highlight the strong interlinks between climate change and marine environment. Ocean Day is being organised as part of COP23, the UN Climate Change Conference taking place 6-17 November, in Bonn (Germany). In addition, ICLEI and the Global Island Partnership will launch a global island/city initiative for climate, which also includes marine related protection, mitigation and adaptation measures. A roadmap for incorporating work for SDG 14 Life Below Water, will be developed in the run-up to the ICLEI World Congress in Montreal (Canada) 2018.

For more information about the Life Below Water conference, visit their website.Image copyright: Life Below Water Conference by "Bill Watts, Malmāļ Sweden" more   23 October 2017 Kristiansand bounces back from severe flooding with resilient thinkingThe southern Norwegian city of Kristiansand suffered widespread damage from severe flooding this month, but the city is bouncing back with optimism. "We are creating tools that cities can use to prevent disasters, and to be prepared for when they occur. It is also important that cities learn from each other's experiences, good and bad," said Professor Jose J. Gonzalez, the University of Agder (UiA).

He is the acting scientific coordinator for Smart Mature Resilience, in which the UiA and the Municipality of Kristiansand, along with six other European cities, four research and international institutions and ICLEI Europe, develop tools to help cities prepare for natural disasters such as sea level rise, extreme weather, flooding and landslides, as well as terrorist attacks and major accidents.

"We can warn or prepare people living near vulnerable areas about the risk of flooding, avalanches or acute pollution from a company or similar. The information can go to charity or non-governmental organisations, or directly via text, email or social media." explained Sigurd Paulsen, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in Kristiansand Municipality.

"In addition to natural disasters, the research project deals with how cities can prepare and handle conditions such as heat waves, juvenile delinquency and economic changes. Several of the models have already been tested and have already achieved good results in cities such as Vejle (Denmark) and Glasgow (UK). In both cities, they have managed to turn economic recession into new optimism and growth " said Gonzalez.

Three of the cities that participated in the research projects, Bristol (UK), Glasgow and Vejle, already began developing resilience ten years ago in order to better cope with unforeseen events. To make this happen, the cities have expanded their cooperation with business, the city's organisations and universities, and have gotten citizens involved in city processes.

"In these three cities, the investment has had positive ripple effects. The cities have managed to turn business downturns into positive growth, "says Gonzalez.

For more information, visit the SMR website.Image copyright: sourced from FāĻdrelandsvennen by "Reidar Kollstad" more

» Publication Date: 24/10/2017

» Source: Iclei Europe

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