ICLEI World CongressICLEI Local Governments for SustainabilityCity of São Paulo
ICLEI logoCity of Sao Paulo logo

A bigger toolbox: Leveraging a fuller set of city powers for sustainable development

Stage 2 (Ground floor)
21/06/2024, 13:30 - 15:00

Complex interactions between legal and regulatory structures can both enable and hinder local governments from acting on their sustainability policies and priorities. In some cases, a rigid system of rules and limitations — including local-to-regional and local-to-national political dynamics —may even create a sense of powerlessness.

In this session, you’ll hear diverse global perspectives on seemingly intractable legal and regulatory challenges, like a Global South city that overcame a legal challenge to sustainable development and a Global North city mounting a legal challenge against the fossil fuels industry. We’ll explore successful strategies and solutions, hearing from a private-sector innovator who tackled what seemed to be an intractable design challenge by developing a design approach and team with “the kinds of people who love problems and joyfully apply techniques from one arena to another.” We’ll also hear from a citizen activist who helped to repeal or enact a law to advance sustainable development. Attendees will then have the chance to approach a problem in three different ways – a city government working within the law; innovators that change the way they think about the law; and citizen movements that change the law – sparking meaningful engagement on the advantages and disadvantages of each route.


  • Amy Cotter, Director of Climate Strategies, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, United States
  • Diana Walker, Senior Advisor U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Office, United States
  • Eunice Prudente, Secretary of Economic Development and Labor, City of São Paulo, Brazil
  • María de la Luz Lobos Martínez, Urban Advisor, City of Renca, Chile
  • Ravinder Bhalla, Mayor, City of Hoboken, United States


David Driskell, Principal at Community Planning Collaborative and Board Member, ICLEI USA Office

Click here for the full speakers list