9 November 2021, 9.00-11.00 - Room 8 – Palais de l’Europe

Sponsored by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Council of Europe

Interpretation: FR/EN

To date, urban areas remain a primary source of greenhouse gas emissions — the drivers of climate change. At the same time, climate change poses a serious threat to the built environment, which makes the urban population the most exposed to the adverse effects of this global crisis.

Added to this is the persistence of other urban risks, such as poverty, inequality and social fragmentation. So, how do we make cities more resilient to the cumulative impacts of the economic, social and environmental pressures? It is evident that we need to change the way we plan, develop and manage our cities. But what is the right way to do so? How can sustainable urbanisation address these challenges? Is sustainable urbanisation able to truly “leave no one behind” and guarantee social justice for all city dwellers?

Lab 4 - Sustainable cities: When the problem becomes part of the solution

Full screen: ENFR / ORIGINAL

Room 8 – Palais de l’Europe 9 November 2021, 9.00-11.00
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initiative 1

Democratic Climate Model, Innovation for climate action at a local level, Belgium

The Model takes a systems approach to pathways towards climate resilience, making explicit the relationship between design, power and social justice, and where inequity and citizen disempowerment weaken governance and climate resilience. The Model aims to foster higher quality of democracies and more participatory approaches by sparking conversations with public sector leaders, civil society and communities on more just, inclusive, community-led approaches. It seeks to shift ‘climate innovation’ away from a tech focus, influence governance and policy, and help cities think about what ‘scaling up’ for more durable, longer term change takes.It is positively framed around four categories of ‘conditions’ we see for climate resilience: (1) diversity of actors, (2) participatory culture, (3) resourcing and (4) subject-matter expertise. The Model is developed through our partnership in EIT Climate-KIC for achieving carbon neutrality, across 10+ EU cities. This showcase session will demonstrate the Democratic Climate Model use to date by city partners, including Vienna and Madrid.




Programme Director, Climate, Democratic Society


Nadja Nickel is the Programme Director, Climate at Democratic Society. Her work focuses on addressing the climate challenge by addressing the democratic challenge, ensuring a healthy, clean future that benefits everyone. Previously, Nadja was the Managing Director of WithoutViolence, a non-profit advocacy agency for the social sector. At WithoutViolence, she applied lessons learned from behavioral science to solutions-focused advocacy on the issue of violence prevention. In past positions at GIZ, she advised former Federal President Köhler in his role on the UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Nadja holds an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Uppsala University, Sweden.



Climate and Democracy Specialist, Democratic Society


Laura Hohoff is the Climate and Democracy Specialist at Democratic Society. She has a regional focus on Vienna, where she collaborates closely with the City of Vienna to integrate participatory methods in various climate strategy. Currently she is working on the involvement of citizens in energy transition and retrofit as well as designing a participatory budget on climate action, to be implemented in 2022. Additionally, she has been managing EU projects at the University of Business and Economics in Vienna, Austria, focusing on creating educational environments for social and sustainable entrepreneurship & innovation. Her educational background is “Environmental and Resource Management” at the University of Natural Resources and Live Sciences in Vienna (BOKU).

initiative 2

Urban Arenas for Sustainable and Just Cities, Germany

Urban Arenas for Sustainable and Just Cities (“UrbanA”) seeks to advance the transformation of cities across Europe into inclusive, sustainable, and thriving environments. By launching an Urban Arena – a trans-local, co-creative space designed to generate actionable solutions – we aim to foster deep forms of democracy and citizen empowerment. The Urban Arena brings together policymakers, researchers, engaged citizens and others – collectively known as city-makers – from across Europe, including a group of 25 dedicated UrbanA Fellows and a much broader community of practice, which convenes both virtually and in person.


BACH Matthew

Matthew BACH

Coordinator, ICLEI


Matthew Bach leads efforts to foster a just transition in Europe at ICLEI – a global network of more than 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainability. In this role, he supports cities in integrating justice into their environmental policies and plans, and serves as a Climate Pact Ambassador for the European Commission. He coordinates the Horizon 2020 Urban Arenas for Sustainable and Just Cities project and has over a decade of experience sustainability governance and social innovation. He holds degrees from the Universities of Freiburg and Cambridge.

initiative 3

Sustainable Cities Program: Strengthening democracy through the municipalization of SDG’s, Brazil

The Sustainable Cities Program assists public managers with urban planning methodologies and the elaboration of structural public policies, which include a systemic and integrated approach to the municipality, making possible to consider issues such as health, education, social assistance, housing, governance, urban mobility, climatic changes, social participation etc. Between 2013 and 2016, 287 Brazilian cities joined the Program, including 22 capitals and the Federal District. The Sustainable Cities Program was one of the responsible organizations for the creation of the SDG National Commission, a structure of governance that involves federal government and civil society representatives to articulate the SDG agenda nation-wide.




Director of Cidades Sustentáveis


General Director at the Sustainable Cities Institute, organizing entity for Rede Nossa São Paulo and the Sustainable Cities Program. Member at the São Paulo State Commission for Sustainable Development Goals and Advisor at Ethos Institute for Business and Social Responsibility and Democracy and Sustainability Institute (IDS) Councils. Former member of the Global Compact at the United Nations-UN (2012 to 2018), the CDES- Council for Economic and Social Development of the Republic (2014-2018), the National Commission for Sustainable Development Goals (CNODS 2017 -2019).

initiative 4

Urban agriculture as a new asset after Covid, France

Reconciling nature and the city: how new allotment gardens can contribute in times of restrictions and confinement. It is obvious that reconciling nature and the city has become urgent in most of the countries that have been forced to limit social interactions to hold back the COVID19 pandemic. New social, economic and environmental fractures have risen sharply, linked to new health, economic and food dependencies. This loss of autonomy is felt even more acutely by the poorest. The situation is worsening everywhere under the impact of climate change. It is the responsibility of governments, local authorities but also organized civil society to prepare an effective local response, based on humanist and democratic values, and the support and participation of everyone in taking charge of their vital needs. This is the vocation of NGOs such as the “Office international du Coin de Terre et des jardins familiaux”, and the FIHUAT, founded by the father of the “Cité-Jardins”. They depend above all on the political will of local elected officials. From Bristol and Copenhagen to Singapore or Seoul, the planning of spaces, their hierarchy, their links and their uses, creating places of exchange, leisure and food production can and must be enlarged.




Chair of the Committee on Environmental and sanitary Crisis, Conference of INGOs


International Federation for Housing, Planning and Regional Planning (IFHP), Chair of the Environmental and Health Crisis Committee, Governance and Solidarity challenges. Delegate of the IFHP- NGO founded by Ebenezer Howard, father of the Garden Cities, to the Council of Europe and various UN bodies. She served as counsellor to the French Ministers of Finance and Equipment, in charge of environment, housing and regional planning then as advisor to the chairman of the Senate Social Affairs Committee, counsellor to the chairman of the Local Finance Committee and to the chairman of national and local associations of mayors. Member of the METREX network (Metropolitan exchange) and member of the Scientific Council of the National Institute for Research in Sciences and Technologies for the Environment and Agriculture - IRSTEA (water department).


Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.



Member of the Congress of local and regional authorities of the Council of Europe (SOC)


Jean-Pierre Liouville, member of the Socialist Party, was City Councillor of Marly (near Metz) in Lorraine, France from 1995 to 2020 and member of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council of Lorraine from 1998 to 2004. He is an elected Regional Councillor of Lorraine and then of the Grand Est from 2004 to 2021 and is Representative of the Regions of France at the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe since 2010.



Youth delegate, The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe


Adel Ramdani is a youth delegate from Belgium at the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities at the Council of Europe. He studied Political Science, International Relations and Human Rights in seven universities across three continents. He holds a bachelor degree from the University of Brussels (ULB), and spent one year as an Erasmus student at Uppsala University (Sweden). Adel then integrated the Global Studies Programme and spent each semester studying abroad in Germany, South Africa and Thailand. In 2019, he received a scholarship from the European Union to carry field research in Beirut (Lebanon) and Rabat (Morocco) where he dedicated his work on sustainable food production, sustainable agriculture and urban farming. In 2020, Adel was appointed by Young European Leadership to be part of the EU Delegation to the G7. In 2021, he is a delegate at the Pre-COP26 taking place in Milan to represent the youth in light of the COP26 in Glasgow


(L, SOC/G/PD), Congress Spokesperson on Climate Change and the Environment, Mayor of Kocevje


He is the Mayor of Kočevje (Slovenia) since 2010, reelected for the third time in 2018. He is also an associate professor at the University of Ljubljana, where he received a PhD in Defence Studies. Vice-president of the Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia, he is a member of both the European Committee of the Regions and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, and currently Congress Spokesperson on Climate Change and the Environment.


Master's student in international relations, Sciences PO, Strasbourg, France