Asia Pacific accord grows cities through shared innovation

Friday, 12 July

Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith signed an accord with 146 other countries this week that commits local government to sharing innovation to grow cities across the Asia Pacific region.

Councillor Smith met with other heads of local government for the Mayors’ Forum at the 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Summit in Brisbane to share insights, discuss challenges facing their cities, and develop strategies to promote growth and prosperity.

He said a central theme of the final Mayors’ Forum Accord was that cities should work together to exchange good policy, ideas and resources to create meaningful change and implement good projects quickly.

“There was a recognition that we have really inconsistent policies across all levels of government and that at a local level we’re more flexible and adaptable to make change happen fast,” Cr Smith said.

“When we discussed things like climate change, there was a general feeling that we should just get on and implement change at a city level and not wait for governments to guide us.

“Not surprisingly, most of our objectives were about making our communities more liveable and sustainable into the future.”

Cr Smith said he spoke at length with many mayors, from North America to our own neighbouring Australian states, about projects where Lismore could collaborate.

“I was talking with Canberra's Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, about their fantastic electric vehicle policy,” he explained.

“We discussed how Lismore could partner with them in order to establish our own electric vehicle fleet as Canberra has better buying power and a policy and management structure that’s already in place.

“There was discussion among mayors from all countries about what our best and most innovative ideas are and how we can share them. It was exciting because it gives us the power to adopt proven models others have tested, to reach out to private partners, and to grow and innovate in our cities, right now, without waiting for other levels of government to act.”

Key areas looked at in the Mayors’ Forum included:

  • Innovation of cities; empowering residents and businesses. How to integrate innovation into existing cities and how to adopt innovation for better cities.
  • Mobility and options for people to move around. Connectivity within the city and beyond.
  • Livability. How to ensure livability, vibrancy, diversity and inclusion for all. Using social engagement as the key to making cities an attractive place to live.
  • Resilient and healthy cities; cities that are productive.
  • Sustainability; cities are at the forefront of the sustainability challenge, we cannot wait for others to act.

Mayor Isaac Smith attended the forum with Lismore City Council General Manager Shelley Oldham. He was the sixth mayor to sign the accord.

Image: Mayor Isaac Smith signing the 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Summit Mayors’ Forum Accord in Brisbane this week

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