In 2050, about 9 billion people will live on this planet. How can we ensure that people will have basic, decent livelihoods with more equity and social justice, despite climatic changes which will have led to significant price increases in water, food, and mineral oil? ICLEI’s vision is not to merely look at the status quo and make incremental improvements to it, but rather to consider the systemic changes we need to make now in order to ensure sustained human life on earth. Within this approach, the side event will consider specifically how we must design our cities now in order to create a sustainable urban future. Which decisions and by whom have to be taken now in order to create a sustainable urban city of 2050?


  • David Cadman, President, ICLEI (TBC)
  • Park Won Soon, Mayor of Seoul, Korea (TBC)
  • Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (TBC)
  • Manish Bapna, Interim President, World Resource Institute (TBC)

Urbanization is increasing in speed and scale: while in 1950 less than one-third of the world's population lived in cities, by 2050 over two-thirds of the world population will be living in urban areas. In the next 40 years we have to build the same urban capacity which we have built in the past 4000 years.

Considering the widening gap between the resource demands of growing populations and economies, on the one hand, and the declining natural resource base and carrying capacity, on the other hand, there would appear to be only one real solution. Our cities need to be designed and managed to produce more and more of their own resource inputs. Cities need to be productive engines of economic growth by ‘growing’ a substantial part of their own resource base.

Who can and will take the decision we need today in order to set us on this path? This side event will discuss governance from the local to the global level, highlight innovative city examples and outline ideas for future sustainable urban solutions. Cities have to be a part of the global solutions for sustainable development and thus this side event is directly relevant to Rio+20. All issues of Rio+20 have an urban and local government dimension, including

  • Green Economy and Green Urban Economy

  • Which Role for Local Governments in the Future Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development?

  • Urbanization and Sustainable Cities as Part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Discussing new and innovative solutions and possible ways of implementing Rio+20 outcomes already at the summit can be of high value to the conference and its impact on the world.