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Daring Cities has concluded but its effects will reverberate, Source: ICLEI

Daring Cities 2021 showed a collective resolve to act

Daring Cities 2021 showed a collective resolve to act

The main outcome was the Call for Transformation - a strong message to the world

The second edition of the global urban forum Daring Cities 2021 is over, and we can now say it was probably the best way to kick off Urban October (Un-Habitat’s awareness-raising initiative). More than 1500 urban leaders, practitioners and partners from 300 local and regional governments from 100 countries joined the five-day virtual forum.

It was co-designed by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the City of Bonn, to set out an action plan to tackle the climate emergency.

Its main outcome was the adoption of a collective Call for Transformation manifesto that serves to encourage those, who have the powers to change, to pay attention and join the mission.

ICLEI will take the Call for Transformation to COP26 in Glasgow

Urban action will by no means fade once this month has ended. Quite the opposite, the plan is to take and present the Call for Transformation to various international forums culminating with the UN Climate Summit (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

But what is the essence of the Call for Transformation? It is a document that recognizes the fact that despite the presence of goodwill, no city or region can act alone in addressing the climate emergency. So, the Daring Cities members raise demands, but they also propose concrete actions.

These demands and actions are addressed to fellow local governments and regions, to communities and stakeholders and to national governments – all of whom have the capacity to transform.

The instructions are simple yet multi-faceted and seek to convey a sense of real emergency. They range from “Prepare your community for the worst as the new normal” (for local governments) to “Embrace multilevel governance and implementation as the new normal” (for national governments and international organizations).

Other forums where the Call for Transformation will be presented and shared include the events of Urban October, including the Innovate4Cities Conference, UN25 in Bonn, G20 Summit, and World Cities Day.

What else happened at the event?

Among other announcements at the event was the launch of RegionswithNature, a dynamic online space where regional governments and their partners can connect, demonstrate their commitment to biodiversity goals, and access resources to enhance their landscape and territorial actions for nature.

RegionsWithNature is building on the success of CitiesWithNature – which has grown to 190 cities and 17 partner organisations since its launch in 2018 – and will follow a similar model.

There was also a special guest to the forum - Annika Zeyen - a Bonn-based two-time Paralympic gold and three-time silver medalist in wheelchair basketball and in handbiking. She shared her personal triumphs and tribulations as a way to inspire the participants that having long-term goals requires endurance, passion and discipline.

She closed the session by saying: “Leaders have to be comfortable to take the less comfortable option. But it will be worth it when you reach your climate goal and get that medal. Only you will know how much work goes into achieving that, just like we athletes. So, in that spirit, I wish you, us, the best of luck working towards those goals.

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