SPARCS Representatives Engage at Valencia Cities Climate Week 2024
09 july 2024 | Location: Espoo
climate neutrality

The Valencia Cities Climate Week 2024 brought together a diverse group of experts, policymakers, and practitioners to discuss critical topics related to sustainability and climate transition. The event was a hub of activity, featuring key meetings that aimed to address the pressing challenges and opportunities cities face in their journey towards a greener future.

SPARCS representation and insights

SPARCS was well-represented at the Valencia Cities Climate Week by Mari Hukkalainen from VTT, Elina Wanne from the SPARCS lighthouse city of Espoo and Gretel Schaj from BABLE. Reflecting on her experience, Gretel noted: “The Valencia Cities Climate Week was an incredible opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and discuss actionable ideas for urban sustainability. The atmosphere was filled with optimism, though it’s clear that the level of ambition varies among cities, which could impact the 2030 goals.”

Gretel highlighted some critical insights from the conference, noting that an estimated 650 billion euros would be required to support the Mission Cities in their decarbonisation efforts. She also pointed out that less than half of the Mission Cities have developed their climate contracts, with deadlines approaching. These contracts are essential for unlocking further support and funding from NetZeroCitiesEU.

Key events and discussions

The Mission Cities Conference, now in its third edition, was a key element of the week and focused on empowering cities to achieve climate neutrality. Political representatives and professionals from the 112 Mission Cities engaged in talks and workshops designed to foster practical solutions and strategies for urban transformation. The Annual Energy Cities Forum, known as Grafting Cities, was another highlight of the week. This forum provided a unique platform for European cities to exchange experiences and insights on their paths to sustainability.

Another significant event was the European Urban Resilience Forum (EURESFO), recognised as Europe’s foremost gathering on urban resilience and climate change adaptation. Participants delved into the challenges local and regional governments encounter in adapting to climate change and managing disasters. The forum provided a space for cities to learn from each other and explore innovative solutions.

The challenges cities face

Cities are facing challenges in three core areas: skills to coordinate diverse stakeholder groups, financial knowledge to bundle projects and attract investors, and governance to manage diverse stakeholders and create incentives for accelerated action. Despite these challenges, there was a palpable sense of optimism and a strong call for more support from national governments to embrace a bottom-up agenda.

The participation of SPARCS representatives at Valencia Cities Climate Week 2024 reinforced the project’s dedication to fostering sustainable urban transformations. The event provided an invaluable opportunity for cities to share knowledge, learn from each other, and collaborate on innovative solutions to the complex challenges of climate transition.