Halifax Regional Municipality provided a radiant fall backdrop for the 2016 Livable Cities Forum in mid-September. ICLEI Canada partnered with the Halifax Regional Municipality and Partners for Action to bring together a North American audience to explore the theme of changing climate, changing communities. Delegates were treated to a variety of insightful plenaries and breakout sessions where they heard from a wide range of adaptation and resilience experts. Workshops and local study tours gave delegates hands-on experiences and on-site learning opportunities that demonstrated aspects of community resilience and adaptation best practices in Halifax and beyond. Delegates documented photos, quotes, and experiences from the Forum on Twitter using the hashtag #LCF2016. Check out the highlights here!
The program consisted of 30+ that covered communications, community resilience, municipal adaptation, infrastructure and technological solutions for adaptation, and localized climate change impacts for communities. Keynote speakers included Mayor Mike Savage of Halifax; Bob Bjerke, Chief Planner at HRM; Charlotte MacAlister, Senior Program Officer at IDRC; The Honourable John Godfrey, Special Advisor on Climate Change for MOECC; Barbara Turley-McIntyre, Vice President, Sustainability and Citizenship at The Co-Operators; MP Andy Fillmore, and more. The Forum welcomed over 70 speakers from all over North America to impart their adaptation expertise on attendees across three days of sessions and workshops.
Key messages presented by speakers included the need to act inclusively and immediately on climate change adaptation, and the importance of exploring untapped channels for integrating adaptation into community level planning.
Delegates expressed interest in learning and integrating First Nations’ perspective on the changing climate and adaptation into their own practice. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada organized an inspirational panel discussion hearing stories and lessons learned from First Nations working on adaptation across the country. Another panel discussion from the IDRC brought international perspectives on adaptation from the Global South, in the session Adaptation Solutions and Innovations from the South: How can Canada-South Collaboration Inform Adaptation at Larger Scales at Home.
A post-event survey provided delegates the opportunity to share feedback on the type of sessions that attendees benefited from the most. This data will help shape the program of future Livable Cities Forums. The top five rated interesting and informative sessions included (all presentations from these sessions are available here!):
1. Exploring Connections between Health and Climate Change
2. Challenges and Opportunities in Building Resilience with First Nations Communities
3. Small Town Success Stories: Lessons Learned from Small and Rural Municipalities
4. Legal Liability and Regulatory Mechanisms as Catalysts for Action on Climate Change
5. From Planning to Action: Bridging the Implementation Gap
In addition to the main Forum program, three study tours were held on day three, which included a bike tour of Halifax with several stops to observe examples of extreme weather impacts and adaptation, a City Walkabout through major urban parks, and a day trip to Prospect Village, a traditional fishing village.
If you weren’t able to attend the Forum (or would like to relive it!) you can view all of the speakers’ presentations here.