Over the coming year, we will advance action on the following three priorities: Strengthening social resilience, advancing nature-based solutions, and supporting a circular economy.
Strengthening social resilience
The impacts of climate change are not equal for all people. Vulnerability to these impacts is often socially determined – income and social status, social support networks, education and literacy, gender and culture all come into play. Advancing resilience requires supporting our most vulnerable people that are often excluded from decision-making. Building community and social cohesion are critical factors with invaluable benefits for cities as they prepare for the challenges that climate change will bring. Social cohesion and connection to culture are key indicators of disaster resilience readiness, and help ensure people bounce back (or forward) from crises.
Municipalities can act as conveners or ‘enablers’ of opportunities to build social resilience. This can be done by creating public places that enhance the ability of people to relate to one another across societally-enforced divides such as gender, class, and ethnicity. Likewise, creating spaces, policies and programs that allow individuals to participate and engage in their communities and form bonds across communities can lead to a shared sense of identify and achieve better outcomes for both individuals and across groups.
We are helping municipalities advance social resilience through our Building Adaptive and Resilient Communities programming, where we are incorporating “resilience hubs” as neighbourhood-serving facilities that support residents by building social cohesion, coordinating communication, and distributing resources.
advancing nature-based solutions
Canada has a global reputation for its beautiful wilderness and natural spaces. We have made a commitment to protect these spaces and become a world leader in conservation through Canada Target 1, which aims to protect and conserve at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland waters, and 10% of coastal and marine areas, by 2020 to help stem the loss of biodiversity. Reaching this target will take a pan-Canadian effort, involving many government departments, Indigenous groups, communities and organizations across Canada. Municipalities have a role to play too. With half of the population living in cities and rapid urbanization exerting pressure on fresh water supplies and the living environment, municipalities have a critical role to play in addressing the biodiversity extinction crisis. ICLEI’s Global Ambassador for Local Biodiversity, Mayor Plante has called on Mayors around across Canada and around the world to join her in igniting a global wave of action in cities, towns and regions to plan with, conserve and restore nature.
ICLEI Canada is embracing this call to action. We’ve conducted research and surveys to better understand the vital role municipalities play in this field. We’re promoting CitiesWithNature to help municipalities and their partners engage and connect, and we’re collaborating with our members and partners on this emerging trend to help advance nature-based solutions in communities across the country. And finally, we’re turning our focus to increase the use of nature-based solutions in our BARC and PCP programing.
Supporting a circular economy
There is a growing and deepening understanding among Canadians about the need to reduce our waste and use resources more efficiently, and the potential to build a more circular economy for the benefit of people, the economy and the environment. A circular economy will take us beyond current economic models, redefine growth, and shift the focus of our economy to positive society-wide benefits.
Municipalities play an integral role in supporting a circular economy by way of two key mechanisms; waste management and government procurement practices. At the Circular Procurement Summit in June we worked to advance the circular economy by focusing on the full value of goods, services, public works, and infrastructure investments. We will advance this further as Canada hosts the 2020 World Circular Economy Forum in the fall of 2020. ICLEI is focused on ensuring federal, provincial and municipal interests come together to recognize the influence and opportunity for collaboration on this key public policy objective.
It takes a village, and we work with so many wonderful partners to help achieve our mission and mandate.
Recently we’ve been collaborating to advance our BARC activities with the Canadian Urban Institute, through their new President and CEO, Mary Rowe. We’ve enjoyed collaborating with Mary as a keynote at LCF 2019, and at their recent 22nd Annual Meeting with Toronto’s Chief Planner. We’re looking forward to more fruitful collaboration in 2020.
Building Adaptive and Resilient Comunities
Throughout the last year, we have been working in communities to conduct applied research projects, collaborate with experts, and delivering dozens of community-based workshops. We looked back on the reach of our flagship adaptation program to produce the second BARC Impact Report!
Partners for Climate Protection Program
We are proud to be celebrating 25 years of ICLEI Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program!
2019 by the numbers
canadian municipalities used the barc framework
implementable actions identified
Milestones rewarded to pcp members
canadian pcp members
From the Membership Desk
In 2020 we are launching a quarterly web-meeting exclusively for Member municipalities to share updates on ICLEI activities and provide opportunities for Members to highlight their sustainability priorities and collaborate with peers.
From the Advocacy Desk
COP 25 was the latest in ICLEI’s ongoing advocacy for local governments at the international level. While many are frustrated over the outcome of COP25, we have reason to remain hopeful. Read more COP25 reflections here.
Check out some of our newest projects and publications.