urban best practice exchange agreement, 2005-12-08

This proposal for an urban best practice exchange agreement, 2005-12-08, was distributed alongside the World Mayors and Municipal Leaders Declaration on Climate Change, 2005-12-07 and the 6C declaration, regarding urban best practice for conservation. As of 2006-03 some relevant commitments had been made by ICLEI to work on metrics and measures and urban best practice identification. No single template agreement of this style has been ratified but is under review by the FCM Environment committees.

urban best practice exchange agreement (draft by Craig Hubley)

Whereas, greenhouse gas levels in the Earth's atmosphere have risen to dangerous extremes that have already affected climate in the Arctic and the North Atlantic; and

Whereas, consensus of all Nobel Prize winning scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that greenhoue gas emissions must be drastically cut; and

Whereas, it is the duty of peoples who benefitted most from free disposal of greenhouse gas (the industrialized nations) to do the most to alleviate and prevent regrets from future disposal; and

Whereas, conflict arising from climate disruption will certainly send refugees, migrants and other displaced persons to cities, which will remain also primary targets for any vengeance or political attacks upon climate-disrupting peoples; and

Whereas, cities are the centres of global trade and credit, but also of the arts, religion, education, design creativity and overall cultural diversity; and

Whereas, cities have similar needs, problems and infrastructures and can exploit innovations from each other more rapidly than can rural or agricultural regions; and

Whereas, smog, runoff flooding, traffic jams, ambient noise, sick buildings and other urban problems related to sprawl and poor building and work practices have been consistently shown to cause stress, human health problems and dangerous responses such as road rage, domestic violence and racism; and

Whereas, urban experts can more readily gather in groups and exchange their best practices than can rural or agricultural experts, and can incent a wide range of urban-based industries to likewise exchange, e.g. in Chambers of Commerce, etc.; and

Whereas, in light of the above, the skills, motives, dangers, duties and people (especially youth) who will be most affected in their own lifetimes, are all concentrated in the urban regions of industrialized nations; and

Whereas, global banking and trade regimes are now open for debate (in the Hong Kong trade talks and other US-China talks on monetary reform, in IMF and WTO protests, in recent controversy over leadership of the World Bank, and proposals to price oil in Euros, and other proposals to carbon-neutralize all world trade); and

Whereas carbon-neutral events and transactions are now relatively easy to verify to high standards given active trading markets in greenhouse gas emission reduction projects, with high quality tonnes of CO2 equivalent readily available; and;

Whereas in December 2005 there is an unprecedented degree of attention and only one opportunity to combine the debates on climate and trade and money into one:

We the undersigned recommend that urban best practices and proposals to reform global banking, credit and trade be actively shared in an open mass peer review Internet forum, similar to other successful topic-focused open content forums:
  • to make optimal use of scarce live conference time, all meeting agendas for any substantial global meeting should be compiled and critiqued via such open forum;
  • to make optimal use of NGO and academic research and advice, all backgrounders and factual briefings must be distributed at well-advertised memorable web URIs;
  • to make optimal use of news sources and mobile technology, news relevant to any of the above should be integrated directly into the forum from RSS feeds (again as memorable web URIs) and notice of changes and news be available by email/web;
  • for maximum citizen participation, that all proposals, integration, review, reports, audits and translations be available as open content at memorable URIs;
  • that 'mediawiki' tools compatible with over one million articles existing today in open content form, in dozens of languages, be used as base technology;
  • that putting 'open politics in force' be the primary administrative motive, ensuring maximum diversity and minimal risk of any faction taking over the forum

We believe that all such efforts must be carbon-neutralized by investment in ecologically and socially responsible projects, and that purchasing by urban governments likewise be carbon-neutral, ecologically audited (via ISO 14000 and ISO 19011) and socially responsible. The above forums can be complemented by an online means to verify purchases and suppliers to guarantee carbon-neutrality IF no better and standard means emerges to verify/enforce municipal/institutional buying criteria before the onset of Kyoto in 2008.

We believe that these, or any similar, best practice exchange efforts, must also involve and include:
  • integration of all published and proposed best practices by any government as open content, into a form fit for mass peer review, including anonymous parties
  • rapid translation of published practices and their inclusion in educational programs & municipal training, and followup funding to determine effectiveness
  • deep focused funded research into contentious issues, integrating all positions and scenarios including those that contradict popular belief (e.g. that nations will not war over climate) or assume new tools (e.g. sonofusion or tidal power)
  • active liaison with all trade and central bank officials including WTO, IMF, WB and BIS, to ensure that at least all G20 nations are directly notified/involved

While overall goals of any such service must remain up to the participants who actually choose to participate, we suggest the following as the default goals:
  1. codify localized and traditional lifeways and practices that are sustainable and naturally immunized not only from climate impacts but invasive species and diseases, which do not externalize harms on others nor require harmful inputs
  2. reform global trade, credit and banking reserve rules: to cease rewarding doing damage to nature's services to humanity; to expose and limit slavery or torture
  3. "green" government operations so as to provide the best possible example to all corporations and nonprofits, of how to meet Kyoto and increase biodiversity (e.g. by reducing use of cement and lumber and relying more on hemp, straw, bamboo)
  4. apply and extend ISO 19011 to explicitly cover energy and ecological footprint