FOCUS Conference on sustainable urban development
- From left to right: the Ambassador of France to the U.S. Gérard Araud, France’s Special Representative for Climate Change, Laurence Tubiana and the Peruvian Minister for the Environment, head of the COP20 Climate Conference in Lima, Manuel Pulgar Vida.
From March 5 to 6, representatives of 50 American and French cities gathered at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. to exchange ideas and best practices regarding sustainable development as part of the Forum of Communities for Urban Sustainability Conference, or FOCUS 2015. Nearly 300 people participated in this conference, representing public administration, civil society, private companies, NGOs and academic institutions.
The conference consisted of six workshops, during which participants addressed various approaches to sustainability efforts and discussed ways to improve the quality of life for citizens while creating jobs in order to foster growth in their cities’ economies. FOCUS engaged local governments in dialogue regarding climate change issues in anticipation of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), which will be held in Paris at the end of 2015.
Ambassador of France to the U.S. Gérard Araud gave opening remarks at the conference, stressing the importance of dialogue among, states, local authorities, businesses and civil society actors in the fight against climate change, as there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to the issue.
Manuel Pulgar Vida, Peruvian Minister for the Environment and head of the COP20 Climate Conference in Lima, and Laurence Tubiana, France’s Special Representative for Climate Change, both spoke about what is at stake for COP21, and stressed that cities and local communities play an essential role in the success of this conference.
While Susan Kurland, Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation, expressed the support of the U.S. government, Marie-Hélène Aubert, Advisor on Climate Negotiations to President François Hollande, applauded the exceptional character of this bilateral event between all levels of national and local government, and invited cities around the world to bring shared commitments to Paris.
For more information: focus2015.franceintheus.org