Brisbane was this week inducted into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Cities Program, just days ahead of Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner’s address to the COP27 conference in Egypt.
“Not only are we Australia’s largest carbon neutral government organisation, we’re now the only Australian city and one of just six cities worldwide to be a certified member of this international program,” said Lord Mayor Schrinner.
“The world’s cities can lead the way on delivering better climate outcomes and this certification demonstrates our ongoing commitment to making Brisbane a cleaner, greener and more sustainable city.”
The Lord Mayor said Council’s aspirations for the future were reflected in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which address the social, economic and environmental challenges that impact all humans on a global and local level. The UN SDGs are 17 transformational goals aiming to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
“Our residents highly value the ideals behind these goals which include fit-for-purpose infrastructure, services, economic growth, diversity, inclusion, and a clean and safe environment,” he said.
The Lord Mayor is currently in Egypt, where he has told COP27 conference delegates that the world’s cities can lead the way on delivering better climate outcomes by taking practical action.
“Brisbane is recognised as Australia’s cleanest and greenest capital city and this hasn’t happened by accident,” he said.
“Our council is the largest carbon neutral government entity in the country and every day our practical approach is helping to reduce emissions.
“From major investments in the fully-electric Brisbane Metro to planting water-smart street trees, the initiatives we undertake don’t just protect our city’s enviable lifestyle, they have real environmental benefits.
“While other jurisdictions do things like declare climate emergency and congratulate themselves, Brisbane is a real global leader when it comes to practical action.
“There’s plenty more work to do, particularly on our waterways after the devastating February flood.
“I strongly believe Brisbane’s approach making clean and green a fundamental priority in all actions is a model that can be adopted by cities around the world.”
Lord Mayor Schrinner outlined a range of Brisbane initiatives, including:
- The new Brisbane Metro all-electric, high capacity mass transit system that will save 50,000 tonnes of emissions over 20 year;
- Investment in green bridges to reduce vehicle trips and facilitate active transport solutions;
- World-class landfill site that produces 46,000 megawatt hours of energy using methane from decomposing waste;
- A new green building incentive to support and encourage development of greener and more energy efficient buildings across Brisbane;
- Active programs to help residents reduce waste, including yellow and green recycling bins, community compost hubs and food organics trial;
- Bushland acquisition program to preserve ecosystems and create ecological corridors;
- Establishment of the Brisbane Sustainability Agency to accelerate Council’s long-term plan for positive environmental outcomes across biodiversity, water, waste, energy and climate change.
The Lord Mayor also briefed delegates about how Brisbane is improving resilience following two major floods in just over a decade and the threat of more frequent natural disasters.
“Brisbane is the fastest growing capital city in Australia yet at the same time we are also the capital city that is the most exposed to severe and catastrophic weather events,” he said.
“After two devastating floods in just over a decade, building back better has become part of our ethos.
“We’ve adapted our city’s ferry terminals, so they are far more resilient to flood and invested in backflow devices to reduce inundation from the river.
“From free detailed flood mapping and stricter building standards in flood-prone areas to our flood resilient homes program, our Council is very experienced when it comes to improving resilience.”
Cities eager to improve their resilience in the face of more frequent natural disasters can learn a lot from Brisbane and we stand ready to help them, the Lord Mayor said.