Changing Values – The Role of the Metropolitan Region
The UN Sustainable Development Goals – is Covid-19 a chance to reset our thinking?
METREX and our hosts the Métropole de Lyon, together with supporters UrbaLyon and L’Institut Paris Region, met online with METREX Members over 30 September to 2 October to talk about the role of the metropolitan region in achieving the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals and creating sustainable and resilient places. This was set against the backdrop of the ‘live’ Covid-19 pandemic, and the new and increasing demands placed upon authorities.
The current pandemic has put a critical spotlight on our globalised society and how vulnerable individuals, communities and countries are to any imbalance in this system. However, it is clear that this system is exasperating the climate emergency.
The Covid-19 pandemic, therefore, is an opportunity to better understand how to find a sustainable and resilient balance to our behaviour: addressing some of the key factors of globalisation such as the necessity to travel, the distance between food production and consumption, attitudes towards green issues, the importance of support networks.
Many answers and actions addressing climate change are already being developed at the metropolitan and local levels. But until now, the demand for change has not been at the forefront of the world’s attention. The pandemic therefore must be an opportunity to reset our thinking and our plans.
In Lyon we explored new structures in life; we focussed on the concept of proximity in housing, workplaces, food and health, and consequences/opportunities for the Role of the Metropolitan Regions.
We heard about how Lyon, Amsterdam and others are responding to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals and how the pandemic is changing and indeed reinforcing plans.
President of METREX
Our host for the autumn conference, the city of Lyon, saw the election of a brand new government this summer. Lyon Métropole’s new green leadership has made clear that the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals will serve as a cornerstone of its policy.
METREX President Dr Nicola Schelling, Director of the Verband Region Stuttgart, took time to speak to us about the importance of these 17 SDGs and how Metropolitan regions are the ideal vehicle towards achieving these goals.
Vice-President of Métropole de Lyon
Hélène Dromain is Lyon Métropole’s new VP in charge of European & International Relations and Tourism. She spoke to METREX about the impact of the pandemic on tourism in her metropolitan region, and how European cooperation through networks like METREX can play a part in the recovery strategy.
Vice-President of Métropole de Lyon
Held against the backdrop of the Covid-19 crisis, the METREX Conference in Lyon was a chance for members and guests to take stock and discuss the urgent needs emerging in their territories. In the host city itself, a new, green government was recently elected, introducing a number of brand new delegations.
Jérémy Camus heads up one of these as Vice-President for agriculture, food and territorial resilience at Lyon Métropole. He spoke to METREX about the urgent needs facing his territory and what is being implemented to deal with them.
Director General, UrbaLyon
This autumn conference was co-hosted by Lyon’s Urban Planning Agency, UrbaLyon. Founded back in 1978, the agency is a well-established publicly-funded organisation which enjoys a wide scope of action ranging from urban transport to housing, waste management, green spaces and water.
The Agency’s Director General, Damien Caudron, spoke to METREX about the way the Agency is rethinking its strategy in a post-COVID world. He also outlined an ambitious project in the local town of St Fons to achieve territorial resilience through a plan based on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals – a project it’s hoped will set a standard in public policy.
Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council
The UK’s West Midlands joined as a METREX Member in 2019 following our conference in Birmingham. The region is represented by Transport for West Midlands and Birmingham City Council.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, was invited to share his thoughts in a keynote speech at the Lyon conference (perhaps there could be a link to his speech?). Ahead of the conference, METREX asked him which of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals were a priority in his metropolitan region, what action was being taken to address these priorities and what role European cooperation could play in doing so.