EIT Climate-KIC CEO urges mayors to consider their role in boosting climate innovation


Cities must consider the infrastructure and environmental legacy that their decisions create, and use their position to create demand for innovation that can help tackle climate change.

This was the message of EIT Climate-KIC’s CEO Kirsten Dunlop, addressing an EU and City audience at the Covenant of Mayors 2018 Ceremony (22 February) last month.

Emphasising the role of cities in stimulating innovation, Dunlop discussed how the decisions that cities take now have the potential to lock us into an unsustainable future, or to create the demands for necessary innovation to solve climate challenges.

“Cities have established themselves as non-state actors capable of calling for tangible action to meet the climate challenge. Cities are the places and spaces where our choices about how to live on this planet are played out and where the effects of those choices are seen and felt at scale,” she said.

Speaking alongside Vice-president of the European Commission Maros Šefčovič as part of a panel entitled, Cities and Industry Joining Forces to Speed-up the Climate and Energy Transition, Dunlop pointed to the success of connecting platforms such as Climate-KIC’s 24-hackathon Climathon in bringing together city representatives with citizens all over the world to “brainstorm and co-create solutions for local realities”.

Other speakers and attendees at the event included Bertrand Piccard, the initiator of Solar Impulse; Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, and hundreds of mayors from across the European Union.

The European Covenant of Mayors 2018 Ceremony, marked the tenth anniversary of the Covenant of Mayors initiative launched by the European Commission and the Covenant of Mayors Office, in cooperation with the European Parliament and the European Committee of the Regions.

The EU Covenant of Mayors brings together thousands of local governments that are committed to achieving EU climate and energy goals.

All committed cities and members of the Covenant Community were invited to get together for the Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum & Ceremony on 21-22 February 2018, to take stock of the results achieved, discuss joint challenges such as investment, multi-level collaboration and mobility, meet the newly set-up EU Covenant Political Board, and establish next steps.

The Covenant of Mayors was launched in 2008 in Europe with the ambition of creating a supportive climate action-focused network of elected representatives, and others, to achieve and exceed EU targets.

EIT Climate-KIC’s global 24-hour hackathon and vehicle for climate action, Climathon, reached over 4000 participants in 104 cities in 2017. It is just one of Climate-KIC’s comprehensive programmes that help foster the collective action and skills needed to mitigate climate change.

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