Latest news on the CLEVER Cities project
15 June 2022
UrbanByNature South Eastern Europe Kick-Off event
15 June 2022
On May 17th and 18th, the city of Belgrade hosted, in cooperation with the Centre for Experiments in Urban Studies (CEUS), the ICLEI World Secretariat, ICLEI Europe and the Environmental Protection Agency Covasna, the kick-off event of the UrbanByNature hub in South Eastern Europe. The event gathered political leaders and project developers with expertise in green infrastructure and nature-based solutions. The launch took place back-to-back with the 24th European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) and consisted of high-level remarks, inspiring showcases of urban nature-based solutions in practice and an interactive workshop to foster cross-city engagement. On the second day, participants were invited to experience a site visit to Belgrade’s future Linear park.
Over 70 people attended the in-person event, while many others participated by streaming the event. Representing 13 cities from 7 countries across the region, participants included policy makers, local and national government representatives as well as practitioners from NGOs, local enterprises and academia. The cities of Athens, Nova Gorica, Piraeus, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Tivat, Trebinje and Zenica officially joined the programme, indicating their active contribution to the UrbanByNature South Eastern Europe Hub. Hosted by the city of Belgrade in cooperation with CEUS, ICLEI and Covasna, participants of the kick-off event included policy makers, local and national government representatives as well as practitioners from NGOs, local enterprises and academia.
On 17 May, the event began with high-level welcoming remarks from Mayor of Belgrade Prof. Dr. Zoran Radojičić as well as from the CLEVER Cities project, the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) and a representative from Serbian Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure. Afterwards, Belgrade's experience in Clever Cities and how the city managed to establish a collaboration between public and civil sectors was showcased. The UrbanByNature programme’s ambitions and goals were introduced by ICLEI Europe, complemented with greetings from UrbanByNature sister Hubs in China and Spain.
Throughout the day, municipal representatives shared their knowledge on how nature based solutions are managed locally, bringing insights from municipalities’ and local stakeholders’ perspectives.
During an interactive workshop, participants were invited to offer reflections on challenges and opportunities to mainstream NbS and provide guidance for future activities of the UrbanByNature South Eastern Europe Hub. After gaining practical knowledge from these contributions, participants were invited to a workshop exercise. Divided into groups, they had the opportunity to further discuss the challenges and opportunities to mainstream nature based solutions in the region, as well as the main relevant topics in the field and synergies between the cities. Attendees with various backgrounds and experiences enthusiastically contributed to the dialogue, offering reflections on the practical processes of fostering nature-based solutions and also guidance for future activities of the UrbanByNature South Eastern Europe Hub.
If you missed it, feel invited to watch the recording of the 17 May launch event on Youtube!
On 18 May, participants were able to experience the potential of nature-based solutions for urban regeneration during a site visit to Linear Park. The tour provided insights on the complex balance of planning a multifunctional space: Linear Park will combine heritage conservation, flood protection, new real-estate development, sport facilities provision and gentrification prevention. During a site visit to Belgrades future Linear Park, participants were able to experience the complex balance of planning a multifunctional space with nature-based solutions.
The UrbanByNature South Eastern Europe Hub will build on the network and momentum established in this kick-off event by hosting a series of webinars that will guide members through the 7-step UrbanByNature Methodology. The first webinar is to be held on July 4th and will focus on the process of exploring the existing NBS policies, plans and regulations, identifying gaps in approaches, and understanding the local needs. The UrbanByNature South Eastern Europe Hub is being established with support from CLEVER Cities, a project under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 innovation action programme.