📩 08/11/2022 12:37
The 2019th General Assembly of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly, hosted by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in 13, continues this year. İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor, who mentioned the importance of the general assembly in terms of the needs of the regions and new collaborations. Tunç Soyer“Not only we, but also future generations are affected by the results of the decisions we make. Our responsibility also includes the natural ecosystems that make our urban civilization possible. I invite from our meeting today to make a strong call to establish an Alliance for Cities with Circular Culture for the upcoming COP 27 in Egypt.”
The 13th General Assembly of the Europe-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM), which was established to encourage the cooperation of local governments in the north and south of the Mediterranean, is held in Özdere, hosted by İzmir Metropolitan Municipality. In the 7th General Assembly of ARLEM, which started on 13 November, coordination meetings of the Mediterranean/European partners were held on the first day. The 13th General Assembly was held by the Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Mediterranean Cities Network (MedCities) under the roof of ARLEM. Tunç Soyer also followed. The program started with the 8th ARLEM plenary session on 13 November. At the meeting where cooperation between regions was on the agenda, the President Tunç Soyer also called for the establishment of an Alliance for Cities with Circular Culture at the COP 27 to be held in Egypt.
Soyer: “How will cyclicality in city life be possible?”
Stating that the rate of people living in rural areas is expected to increase to 2050 percent by 68, Mayor Soyer said, “It is clear that we cannot reverse this trend as a human civilization. There is not the slightest possibility of dispersing our urban population into natural ecosystems. There is only one way out; to develop our cities as part of natural ecosystems. We need to find a definitive answer to the crucial question: How will a circular city life be possible? As the mayor of a city of more than 4 million people, I know this is not an easy question. Yet if we are sincere about maintaining our existence on this planet, we must challenge ourselves to move forward into the difficult. Our magnificent cities are destined to act like cancer cells of this extraordinarily beautiful globe. We must be brave enough to develop our cities as spaces that act as an integral part of the web of life. I call it circular urbanism,” he said.
“We have failed to develop cities that embrace nature as a whole”
Talking about the Circular Culture and its four main components, harmony with nature, harmony with each other, harmony with the past and harmony with change, announced at the UCLG Culture Summit in Izmir in September 2021, President Soyer said, “Nature is not an environment that surrounds humanity. It is life itself. We cannot describe nature as if we were at its centre. We must accept that we are only a part of it. Today, we have failed to develop cities that embrace nature as a whole. From this emerged the multiple crises of our age: the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis, the plastic crisis, and others. Therefore, the first title of circular culture is based on harmony with nature and increases the value we place on nature-rights. If we want to realize the transformation that the world needs so much, the second heading of circular culture is another fundamental starting point: Harmony with each other. This means democracy that ensures equal citizenship for all in every minute of our lives. The third title emphasizes that it is not possible to design the future of cities without adapting to the past, to the multiple cultures of the past. In an ever-changing world, ancient civilizations around the world have developed and accumulated endless sources of inspiration for the future. Heraclitus, an ancient thinker from Izmir, said, 'The only thing that does not change is change'. This phrase precludes any possibility of transforming culture into a dogma, an ideology, or oppressive domination. For this reason, in alliance with other cities of the world, we consider adaptation with change as our fourth heading in order to establish a more fair city that is open to change.”
“Our responsibility is not limited to serving our citizens”
Stating that they have adopted the four headings of circular culture as a concrete strategy to nurture circular urbanism in Izmir, starting from the Mediterranean, Mayor Soyer said, “Many other local governments and networks around the world have started to develop tools to support cities with circular culture. Citta Slow, Green Cities, Biophilic Cities, National Park Cities, Rewilding Cities, Net Zero Cities, Fair Cities are just a few of them. I believe that we need to strongly follow such networks in order to prevent cities from being central places that cause damage, emit carbon and generate waste. Gathering today in 8500-year-old Izmir, I would like to express our urgent demand to consolidate and accelerate our efforts to grow circular urbanism in our region. As the representatives of local and regional governments in the Mediterranean, our responsibility is not limited to serving our citizens today. Not only we, but also future generations are affected by the results of the decisions we make. Our responsibility also includes the natural ecosystems that make our urban civilization possible. From our meeting today, I invite you to make a strong call to establish an “Alliance for Cities with Circular Culture” for the upcoming COP 27 in Egypt. "Such an alliance can provide substantial progress and synergy to our local, regional and global efforts to transform our cities into breathing landscapes for people and the entire web of life."
“Nothing will suddenly fix itself in the morning”
President Soyer ended his speech with the following sentences: “Nothing will get better by itself one morning. If our world is going to change for the better one day, we will have to achieve it with our great efforts and our determined stance despite all obstacles. It is clear that our individual efforts to resolve global crises will not work alone. Harmony between our actions is as important as harmony with nature. Our meeting is therefore invaluable in inspiring the urban world to build a global alliance of cities with circular cultures, starting with the Mediterranean.”
“Soyer's rhetoric needs to be spread among us”
Vincenzo Bianco, President of the European Committee of the Regions CIVEX Commission, Italy Catania City Councilor, said: “He did not give a traditional welcome speech. The speech was full of projects and information. I believe that it will be useful to have the text of this speech and to distribute it among our communities. Unity between cities is very important. Soyer's rhetoric needs to be spread among us. We need to continue cooperation. Minister Tunç SoyerWe liked the words used by . On behalf of all of us, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the city of Izmir and its esteemed president. Tunç Soyer'to. It represents such a beautiful city magnificently. The fact that you are here in such a qualified way shows us once again the continuity of ARLEM and the importance of its constructive project. We are going through such difficult times for the Mediterranean and Europe. It re-emphasizes the importance of dialogue and cooperation. This participation is a very positive indicator.”