Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Sustainable Cities

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 24th June, 2018

61FE9C9F-3DBF-422F-BA46-EA249C559737The key theme of the 200th Executive Committee of Liberal International, which finished in Berlin last night was climate justice — how climate change and other environmental problems can be tackled in a way that improves people’s lives. A striking difference between Green and Liberal political parties is that whereas the former are eco-centric, the latter see the quality of human life as central to political priorities. With parties from more than 50 countries (both developed and developing) represented at the Berlin gathering, there was inevitably a wide range of views, but also common cause in stressing the urgency of action to address the issue, as reflected in a new LI Berlin Declaration that was passed nem con and will be available through the organisation’s website. As more than half the world’s population now lives in cities, the challenges of urban sustainability were a topic for special consideration by a panel of politicians from the Philippines, Senegal and Poland. Josephine Sato and Diene Farba Sarr spoke respectively about what is being done to enhance living conditions in Manila and Dakar, while Marek Szolc posed the question of how far governments should either encourage or force citizens to be more environmentally responsible. Certainly this is something that cannot be left to market forces alone, but a balance between incentives and punitive measures needs to be struck. Doubtless further discussion on such matters will take place at the Liberal International Congress in Dakar at the end of November.

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