Cities IPCC Climate Change Science Conference

The CitiesIPCC Climate Change Science Conference (IPCC) was the first conference of its kind in the world. It aimed to identify key research and knowledge gaps related to cities and climate change. The goal was to inspire and stimulate researchers globally and support cities and citizens in building climate resilient and sustainable cities going forward.

The conference was co-sponsored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with nine partners including C40 Cities, Cities Alliance, Future Earth, ICLEI, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), UN-Habitat, and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).

The event was managed by local professional conference organizer, BUKSA Conferences + Associations who helped to provide a seamless, comprehensive, and worry-free experience for the attendees, speakers, clients, and stakeholders.

The Cities IPCC Event

CitiesIPCC was a three-day gathering that brought together 800 influential leaders, policy makers, and climate change practitioners from around the world. Over 6,000 other delegates from more than 30 countries joined the conference virtually.

It was important to the organizers of IPCC that they work with venues and organizations that are as dedicated to sustainability as they are, which is what led them to select the Edmonton Convention Centre (ECC) as the event venue. One of the City of Edmonton’s core values is to build an energy sustainable and resilient city, so enterprises across the city are empowered to lead the way in sustainability strategies. The ECC is at the core of this collaboration, as it is more than a sustainable meeting place, it’s also an incubator for business and innovation and a place for people to learn and to celebrate. The ECC has been leading the way with a strong model of sustainable culture in Edmonton for years. No city, venue, or organization can do it all alone, that’s why the world needs to come together around the Sustainable Development Goals as outlined by the United Nations, and share best practices, celebrate successes as a larger community and join Edmonton in our commitment to Sustainable Development Goal #17 (SDG #17): “Partnerships for the Goals.”

Throughout the three-day event, the City of Edmonton organized the Change for Climate Community Series. This series of climate science events were created to compliment the larger IPCC conference, which engaged Edmontonians in dialogue and action around climate change. From insightful lectures and film screenings to art exhibits and science fairs, these events inspired Edmontonians and those visiting the city. There were over 20 public events attended by 1,500 people and even more tuned in virtually. Now, the five-year Change for Climate Program that begun just before the IPCC conference has seen more than 1,600 people join the movement who continue to make commitments to change daily habits.

All this sharing and learning took place in a venue with a culture deeply rooted in sustainability. The Edmonton Convention Centre is a top performing Canadian venue when it comes to measuring and reducing consumption, be it through carbon emissions, energy water usage, waste diversion, or introducing innovative infrastructure.

Hosting the 2018 CitiesIPCC and Climate Change Science conference is a milestone that speaks to Edmonton's commitment to take part in the development of climate-resilient and sustainable cities.
Joan Greer University of Alberta

Event Legacy in Edmonton

The CitiesIPCC and Climate Change Science Conference laid a foundation for better-informed climate decision-making at the local level because of greater engagement between the policy, practice, and scientific communities working on and in urban areas. It helped establish a global blueprint to better understand climate change, the impact it has on cities, and the role that cities play in solving the challenge.

Ahead of the CitiesIPCC summit, Edmonton's mayor at the time, Don Iveson, congregated with mayors from all over the world to discuss the next steps for integrated city climate strategies. The Global Mayor Summit produced a joint declaration (Change for Climate - Edmonton Declaration) on climate change and cities. The Change for Climate initiative is a call to all Edmontonians to take action on climate change and work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and it amplifies the message that rising greenhouse gas emissions severely impact cities.

During the CitiesIPCC summit, Explore Edmonton also introduced the Show Your Badge program. This program is a collaboration between Explore Edmonton, Edmonton Transit, and the City of Edmonton that provides complimentary transportation service on all existing Edmonton Transit Services (ETS). Delegates simply present their conference registration pass to transit drivers and ticket checkers in lieu of fare payment. The program grew out of the enhanced demand for sustainable transportation options for conference delegates throughout their stay in Edmonton. The Show Your Badge Program has helped to elevate Edmonton on the world stage as a sustainable, accessible, and safe city for conference events. The program is still highly sought after by event planners today.

I can always count on the Explore Edmonton team for being advocates for our city – they know the city so well, and always have top notch recommendations to offer a truly “Edmonton” experience to our guests.
Pascale Daigneault Conference Manager, BUKSA

Years from now we will look back at this conference and celebrate how the collaboration between the scientific community, policymakers, and practitioners helped to initiate positive change at every level, and how Edmonton and the Edmonton Convention Centre helped to set the stage for this gathering. Edmonton, Alberta, and Canada have embraced the idea that events can be a powerful catalyst for change in creating a more sustainable world.

Ensuring event sustainability is an integral part of our organizational goals. We are always encouraged by organizations that want to measure and understand the impacts of their events, and we know that today, companies are wanting to work with organizations that share these values. Shaping an event’s legacy goes right up to the top of an event checklist and is especially important when deciding on a host destination.

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