First Swedish-Brazilian forum on urban sustainability takes place in São Paulo

The event was officially opened by the International Relations Secretary

The swedish embassy, the swedish trade council and the são paulo municipal government held an urban sustainability forum entitled symbiocity at the renaissance são paulo hotel on march 24 and 25 that united visions of sustainable development from not only governmental sources but also input from the academic community and the private sector.

This event was the first Swedish-Brazilian forum to promote sustainable urban development and included already existing examples of the SymbioCity project in Sweden and an overview of ongoing efforts by the São Paulo Municipal Government to restructure and improve the urban living conditions in a megalopolis the size of São Paulo. The event was made possible by the participation of sponsorships from ABB, ITT – Water & Wastewater, SAAB, Scania and the Swedish Institute, as well as the support of the Swedish Consulate General in São Paulo and Elanders Artcopy.

Swedish Ambassador Annika MarkovicThe complex forum that was months in the planning covered two days of information exchange on subjects that included sustainable urban development, transportation and infrastructure, waste, energy and water; and a variety of parallel workshops on sustainable strategic transport and the challenges offered by waste residuals for energy.

The two-day event was officially opened by the Swedish Ambassador to Brazil, Annika Markovic, the Swedish Minister of Trade, Ewa Björling, and Alfredo Cotait Neto, International Relations Secretary, representing the Mayor of São Paulo. The forum presented eleven speakers from Sweden and eight Brazilians who spoke on subjects as wide ranging as the restructuring of “favelas” (shantytowns) to the reduction of carbon emissions and also the necessity of creating a dialogue that not only encompasses the visions of various sectors of government and the private sector but includes the citizens who live and work within the city of São Paulo.

At a press conference at the Renaissance Hotel, the Swedish Trade Minister, Ewa Björling, emphasized the beginning of an increased dialogue between Brazil and Sweden and cited the visit of President Lula to Sweden last year. “The SymbioCity event is a fine example of the cultural exchange that is growing between our two countries. It is more than just exchanging technologies and experiences but rather a learning process that will benefit both nations and cement future relations between our citizens.”

The participants from São Paulo concentrated their presentations on an approach that was designed to deal with the basic necessities like waste management, clean water for both human use as well as the cleaning of the Pinheiros and Tiete Rivers and improving housing for citizens of the city, especially those of lower income brackets that already live in the precarious suburbs that today house “favelas” or along the small rivers and streams in the metropolitan area.

In addition to the question of sustainable urban development, a federal representative from the Ministry of Extraordinary Strategic Affairs, a ministry attached to the President’s Office, gave a presentation that informed those who participated of the federal government’s view with respect to the sustainable development and preservation of the Amazon, which is always a controversial issue outside of Brazil.

Source: Swedcham