Geneva reflects on the city of tomorrow

The Covid19 pandemic highlights the vulnerability of cities

While the Covid19 pandemic has acted as an indicator of social, political, health and political inequalities, it has also highlighted deep demographic imbalances.

According to the UN, 90% of COVID19 cases were reported in urban areas, while 55% of the world’s population lives in cities, or 4.2 billion people.

In addition to the urgent need to rethink greener cities in a context of energy transition and climate change, there is now the urgency to imagine an urban model capable of facing new sanitary and health challenges .

It is with this in mind that Geneva welcomes, at the initiative of the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) from October 5 to 9, all the major urban players to share good practices for sustainable cities.

More informations on the impact of Covid19 in urban areas

The new business district in Milan
The new business district in Milan

@ Olivier Morin (AFP)

SDG 11, compass for a more resilient city

It is on the symbolic date of World Habitat Day, Monday October 5th, that this week begins.

This first day will be dedicated to the presentation of the progress made in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 11 for more sustainable cities and urban settlements open to all, safe, resilient and sustainable. It will allow discussions on how cities are responding to the challenges linked to climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters (earthquakes and floods) and on how to better support them to meet these challenges.

While cities are the center for innovation and wealth - 80% of global GDP is produced by cities - they also account for 70% of carbon dioxide emissions and consume between 60% and 80% of global energy.

The Covid19 crisis has revealed the extreme vulnerability of this model.

This day will be an opportunity to listen to NGOs, experts, mayors and UN agencies and address the following questions:

  1. What challenges do climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters pose for the sustainable development of cities?
  2. What are the needs of cities to meet these challenges?
  3. What are the projects, policies and partnerships that allow us to meet and focus on these challenges?

The Geneva cities hub, a newly created association under Swiss private law, supported by the canton and the city of Geneva, will host an afternoon panel on sustainable cities in which French expert Jean-Yves Sapoval , Advisor to the Director of Housing and Planning, will participate and speak on energy efficiency buildings.

What is SDG 11 ?

Mayors are on the frontline

For the first time, mayors of large metropolises and medium-sized towns, as well as the municipalities of Greater Geneva will meet on October 6 for a Forum of Mayors.

The Covid19 pandemic has shown how much local elected officials were on the front line to manage the crisis. Their knowledge of the local environment is key to building new urban policies.

39 mayors from Europe, North America, Central Asia and the Caucasus will formally endorse the Geneva Declaration of Mayors which encourages to rethink cities in a post Covid 19 world through 8 objectives such as strengthening the resilience of cities, making cities “greener” and taking more ambitious climate action.

Read the Geneva Mayors declaration

The Mayor of Evian Ms Josiane Lei will chair the session from 2 to 4 pm.

More informations on the forum of mayors

French expertise is key

Analysts from theWEF ( World Economic Forum) published in May 2020 a study on the countries leading their energy and economic transition. Out of the 115 countries studied, France occupies the 8th place.
Whether in the building conception, transport or energy sector, French companies are at the cutting edge of creativity to build a greener economy, based on an urban ecology, whether with use of renewable energies, technical renovation for more eco-efficient buildings or more ecological transport.

To go further, read the french strategy for Energy transition

Last updated on: 4 October 2020