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ICLEI World Congress 2024 Overview

What a week in São Paulo!

The ICLEI World Congress 2024, hosted by the City of São Paulo, Brazil, was a pivotal gathering focused on advancing sustainable urban development and equitable adaptation to local and regional challenges. Running from 18 – 21 June, this year’s Congress was a journey of reflection and forward-looking vision, emphasizing the critical challenges and opportunities facing cities, towns, and regions due to rising global risks and changes. 

We were joined by over 1500 local and regional government representatives, urban practitioners, researchers and stakeholders who exchanged with and inspired one another on the best practices in sustainable urban development, brought to life by the City of São Paulo as our 2024 host.

Program Overview

This year's Congress

Central themes in 2024 included leveraging ICLEI’s strategic pathways for sustainability, understanding the unique role of regions like the Amazonia in global biodiversity and sustainability, and exploring the impact of climate and sustainability at all levels of government. Through these thematic lenses, the ICLEI World Congress 2024 inspired, equiped, and mobilized local and regional governments towards a sustainable and resilient future.

Through high-level plenaries led by international luminaries, site visits to special destinations throughout São Paulo, deep dive interactive sessions, memorable networking opportunities, and an expert-led Research & Innovation Symposium, the ICLEI World Congress 2024 was an action-oriented event ensured a space for local and regional government representatives to experience the power of reconnecting on sustainability goals.

Thanks to the generosity of the City of São Paulo, attendance at the ICLEI World Congress 2024 was free of charge.

ICLEI World Congress 2024 Theme: Equity and Resilience

The most pressing topics related to sustainable local development to enable a systemic transformation across all levels were presented through the lens of building community resilience in equitable ways. The Malmö Commitment, launched at The Malmö Summit the ICLEI World Congress 2021-2022, puts equity at the center of sustainable development. This emphasis on people and community was carried over into the program for 2024.

We want to expand who is in the room

As instability threatens the globe, we need to prepare our communities to adapt and respond to current and future challenges. Local and regional governments need to prioritize inclusive approaches to policy making and implementation, actively engaging and collaborating with underrepresented segments of the community. This means a transition for the role of local and regional governments from service providers to community enablers. The ICLEI World Congress 2024 featured the stories of communities that are doing precisely that.

Our goal was to showcase approaches that ICLEI Members can use to equitably and sustainably adapt, anticipate and respond to present and future challenges. In particular, approaches that bring new voices to the table, including youth, vulnerable groups, incubators, start-ups, and community-based groups.

Learn how ICLEI Members are taking a whole-of-community, inclusive approach to sustainability

A just and equitable transition is a requirement of achieving sustainable development. Through deep-dive sessions and site visits in São Paulo, we  explored how to engage community stakeholders in innovative, constructive, and empowering ways to develop a better understanding of how stakeholder engagement processes can be made more inclusive, sustained, and can be mutually beneficial to stakeholders and decision-makers.

Anchoring the São Paulo Urban Summit

The ICLEI World Congress was the main event of the São Paulo Urban Summit, a week full of activities that highlighted the fundamental role of cities. As Brazil officially assumes the presidency of the G20, replacing India, Brazilian cities will lead the U20, elevating the voices of urban centers at the heart of the G20 economies.

During the week, in addition to the congress, there was a preparatory meeting of Urban 20, a G20 Engagement Group that brings together cities from G20 countries to inform and influence national leaders’ discussions. The aim of the U20 is to facilitate lasting engagement between the G20 and cities, raise the profile of urban issues on the G20 agenda, and establish a forum for cities to develop a collective message and perspective to formally contribute to the G20 negotiations.

The week also included the Metropolis Board of Directors Meeting, further reinforcing the importance of cities on the global stage.

Partner events at the ICLEI World Congress 2024

Alongside the main program of the ICLEI World Congress 2024, a number of partner meetings also took place. Attendance to many of these partner events was limited and by invitation only. 

Partner events