Hosted by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the City of Malmö, Sweden, the ICLEI World Congress is the moment for local and regional governments to come together to celebrate and recognize the critical contributions of cities, towns and regions towards a sustainable future. The 2021 – 2022 edition is a multi-part event.
Taking place between 13–15 April 2021, the Virtual Launch of the ICLEI World Congress included the announcement of the ICLEI Malmö Strategy 2021-2027 and ICLEI Malmö Action Plan 2021-2024 in the opening session, and features a number of high-level events with a focus on ICLEI’s five sustainable development pathways, the contribution of local and regional governments to the UN Decade of Action on Sustainable Development (2021-2030) and showcasing the host City of Malmö, Sweden.
Following the Virtual Launch, the event builds towards The Malmö Summit, on 11-13 May 2022 to exchange in-person – as far as the global health crisis permits – on the best practices in local sustainable development, and learn firsthand from the Malmö’s wealth of sustainability initiatives. The Malmö Declaration, which will invite local and regional governments to advance equitable sustainable development, also will be launched. Between the Virtual Launch and The Malmö Summit is The Road to Malmö, a series of high-level virtual events throughout 2021.
In conjunction with the ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022, ICLEI’s Members elected the organization’s new leadership, who were announced during a special pre-event session of the inaugural ICLEI GexCom-Council Meeting on 12 April 2021.
Frank Cownie, Mayor, City of Des Moines, USA was elected as ICLEI President. Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor City of Malmö, Sweden, was elected ICLEI First Vice- President. The Membership elected two Vice Presidents: Minna Arve, Mayor, City of Turku, Finland, and Atishi Marlena, Member of Legislative Assembly, National Capital Territory of Delhi, India.
“We are so thrilled to welcome our newly elected President and Vice-Presidents to the leadership of ICLEI. This slate of leaders – together with the rest of ICLEI’s governance representatives – speak for over 65 million city residents around the world. Our new leaders bring a depth of knowledge and global diversity that will enrich and guide our work to strengthen urban sustainability around the world for their three-year term,” said ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin.
Frank Cownie, Mayor, City of Des Moines, USA was elected ICLEI President. “With the new administration in the United States’ support of the Paris Climate agreement, this is a critical time for ICLEI’s work. It is more important now than ever to be pushing our world leaders towards sustainability and giving local governments a platform to contribute to that work. As president of ICLEI, I will continue to use my voice and connections to stress the importance of local government involvement in discovering and implementing solutions to the global climate crisis,” said Mayor Cownie. Mayor Cownie also serves in the North American Regional Seat on the ICLEI Global Executive Committee.
Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor, City of Malmö, Sweden, ICLEI World Congress host, was elected ICLEI First Vice-President. She said, “ICLEI gives cities and regions a strong voice in the global arena. Through my previous engagements in the organization I have seen first-hand the value in exchanging knowledge and best practices. As first vice president I look forward to promoting and working with different aspects of sustainability, locally as well as globally.” Mayor Jammeh also serves on the ICLEI Global Executive Committee as the Chair of the Sustainable Local Economy and Procurement Portfolio.
Minna Arve, Mayor, City of Turku, Finland, was elected ICLEI Vice-President. “Circular economy is critical in decarbonizing our economy and is important on the pathway to the Paris Agreement and a 1.5 degree life. It calls for new innovations from cities and businesses, and that’s what we can do together,” said Mayor Arve. “I will put all of my energy and inspiration to work for Turku and all of ICLEI to make the circular economy strong globally.” Mayor Arve is also an ICLEI Global Executive Committee Member, serving in the European Regional Seat and as the chair of the Circular Development Portfolio.
Atishi Marlena, Member of Legislative Assembly, National Capital Territory of Delhi, India was elected Vice President. She said, ““Sustainable development that can take the environment and people along together is what we need to put our minds together for.” MLA Marlena is also serving on the ICLEI Global Executive Committee as the Chair of the Resilient Development and Risk Management Portfolio.
Additionally, the ICLEI Malmö Commitment and Strategic Vision 2021-2027 was adopted by ICLEI Membership at the GexCom-ICLEI Council meeting. The document lays out how the ICLEI network will advance sustainable urban development for the next six years, locally and globally, in an era where the local, regional, and national governments are continuing to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, while advancing urgent action on climate, nature, land and health. The full document can be found in the newly released ICLEI in the Urban Era (PDF).
Accompanying the ICLEI Strategic Vision is the ICLEI Malmö Action Plan 2021 – 2024, a compendium of concrete actions that ICLEI is undertaking with the ICLEI local and regional governments to achieve sustainable development. The three year action plan includes 141 activities, involving well over 1100 cities, towns and regions around the world.