sestdiena, 2011. gada 23. jūlijs

European Youth Meeting 2011 for Sustainable development, Day 4- presentations and work on recommendations

Good morning again on green carpet! Yep, we're still at the EYM. Great moments of this morning- I ate the watermelon I bought yesterday and more of the black currant before breakfast :) Sad moments- cucumbers in breakfast were cut already yesterday and storaged in the fridge overnight so they were super dry. I also had to be the first in history to complain about how clean is our bathroom. The problem was that every morning our towels were changed. Despite the fact that green sheet in the bathroom says that they will be changed only if left on floor, but left to use more if on the hangers. We have all left our towels on hangers, but they were still changed every day. So I had to make sure this unstustainable practice is not continued today and spoke to very nice people of the hotel :) And it worked!! I have the same towel! Little victory every day might save the planet.

Today at EYM we had to present our recommendation statements (one of them available in previous post). Well, they had to be shortened even more comparing to the one of day before, so great part of today's work was redefining, cutting, rephrasing to come up with something that would both not lose the meaning and would fit in the provided format. So here are all of the aspects our working group wanted to include in the final policy paper that will go to UN:

• City planning - urban spaces should be re-designed and adjusted into new multifunctional contents. City planning must not endanger the social and cultural heritage of cities and should be co-ordinated with rural development. We invite cities to implement already existing good practices and methodologies, as well as certification and confirmation of cities efforts toward sustainable urban development. We call for participatory decision making approach as green budgeting and online consultations in order to build trust between cities and their inhabitants.

• Transport - cities should focus on fast, effective and renewable energy powered transport that is affordable and accessible for different social groups in all city areas. Authorities should be exemplary and supportive in using eco-friendly transport in cities (bicycles, electric and hybrid cars, carpooling, park and ride), and increase awareness among the population. Satellite technologies must be used for route optimising and
monitoring systems.

• Housing, work and services
- policy makers should develop residential areas with locally provided services contributing to social cohesion. These areas should be economically decentralised with local businesses, goods production and urban farming nearby, that will prevent unnecessary commuting. We suggest authorities to offer online services, as well.

• Waste management, water and energy distribution - strategic public funding programmes should be created and aimed at raising efficiency and modernisation of supply networks and households. Awareness raising campaigns on sustainable consumption and saving technologies should be run. Furthermore, the cities must secure re-use of resources, primary waste separation, waste collection coverage and ensure adequate treatment.

• Green architecture
- governments should establish and support entities that will develop new standards to ensure the introduction of innovative and sustainable technologies in architecture. The standards will include national criteria, indicators and benchmarks that will serve as the base of sustainable green architecture along with a pool of available green features and cities are asked to introduce validation system of projects  according to these. Environmental budgets should have expenditures towards financial incentives to popularize innovative and sustainable technologies.

Well, it does sound more of as political statement rather than an exact recommendation now, however, this is what it is supposed to be- a policy suggestion. Will it look like this in final paper- that's up to drafting commission.
We hope that the people interpreting this document and applying it in real life will be professional, green in their minds and enthusiastic to develop the cities sustainably, and will take all the best practices available around them and implement in their jurisdictions. Sometimes, however, I wish we could have had a whole detailed annex to each of the points explaining more in detail what we want. But that's on us this time- how we bring this document home and what we say to our local authorities!
Very interesting idea was shared on green carpet today- about the renewable energy supplies to the cities. Some are strong on advocating the smart grid, however, this also makes a lot of sense, even though then there should be decentralised system. Each city should have its energy provided as locally as possible. Sea side cities could live on tidal energy and sea snakes, mountain cities on wind etc. And then I come to think, that both systems could be linked, the decentralised local energy providers could be incorporated in the smart grid (that would be based on solar energy, of course), so whenever there's more energy than needed, it would go where it's needed more at that moment, so none is harvested unnecessary.
Just an idea of how our future could look like :)

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