ICTs have an important role to play helping to reduce the environmental impact of industry and society, and to increase our understanding of our environment so that we can better protect it for future generations.
The EU’s renewed Sustainable Development Strategy was adopted by the European Council in June 2006. It sets out how we can meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It deals in an integrated way with economic, environmental and social issues and lists the following seven key challenges:
• Climate change and clean energy
• Sustainable transport
• Sustainable consumption and production
• Conservation and management of natural resources
• Public health
• Social inclusion, demography and migration
• Global poverty
This one-day workshop brings together speakers from both the public and private sectors, and from the European level and regional level, to discuss and explore the actual and potential role of regions in support of their own (and Europe’s) more sustainable development (see over for draft agenda). In particular, the workshop will provide a platform for the exchange of good practice between regions but also from the private sector and the EU level to the regions.
There are growing opportunities to exploit ICTs to reduce environmental impacts - for example, in crop management systems and in various forms of eWork. Moreover, the negative distribution effects of market forced are increasingly capable of being addressed (or, at least, alleviated) by use of ICTs – including the negative urban agglomeration effects often associated with developed markets. Socially sustainable forms of development that address issues of inclusion (and the digital divide) find an increasing number of solutions among them the development of social networks, community-based networks, accessibility policy and solutions, and high-speed rural networks.
Regions, being closest to the people (relative to national and European government), have a key role to play in promoting and supporting European sustainability. The workshop will look at the ways in which regions, can, could, and do actually, contribute to this effort. The opportunities and challenges that regions face will also be debated.
The workshop format comprises a number of presentations from keynote speakers, round table discussions, and open Question & Answer sessions with panel members including general open discussions with delegates.