"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives"

Abba Eban

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Buckminster Fuller, philosopher, futurist and global thinker (1895 - 1983)

"If there are to be problems, may they come during my life-time so that I can resolve them and give my children the chance of a good life."

Kenyan proverb



Panel: Transformational and climate-resilient cities: utopia or reality?

Moderators: Prof. Cheryl Desha, Dr. Cara Beal, Dr. Oz Sahin

As the global community becomes increasingly aware of the need to make a transformative change from the ‘business as usual’ cityscape to a more connected, climate-resilient and resource efficient city, we need to ask the question- how? Complex and ‘wicked’ challenges require equally complex and ‘wicked’ solutions and this session will draw expert opinion from the water, energy, waste, food, health, transport fields to discuss the reality of achieving such transformational change in the face of climate change and ever moving political landscapes.

Prof. Robert Costanza
Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Dr. Robert Costanza is a professor of Ecological Economics and Vice Chancellor’s Chair in Public Policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University. He is also currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Center, an Affiliate Fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, a deTao Master of Ecological Economics at the deTao Masters Academy, China, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Royal Society of Arts (UK), and an Ambassador of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance ( WEAll ). Professor Costanza’s transdisciplinary research integrates the study of humans and the rest of nature to address research, policy and management issues at multiple time and space scales, from small watersheds to the global system. His areas of expertise include: ecological economics, ecosystem services, landscape ecology, integrated ecological and socioeconomic modelling, energy and material flow analysis, environmental policy, social traps and addictions, incentive structures and institutions. He is co-founder and past-president of the International Society for Ecological Economics, and founding editor of the society’s journal, Ecological Economics. He currently serves on the editorial board of ten other international academic journals. He is also founding editor of Solutions a unique hybrid academic/popular journal and editor in chief of The Anthropocene Review. Professor Costanza is the author or co-author of over 600 scientific papers and 28 books. His work has been cited more than 100,000 times in Google Scholar with an h-index of 124. More than 350 interviews and reports on his work have appeared in various popular media and he has written over 75 articles for the popular press.
Prof. Cheryl Desha
Griffith University, Nathan, Australia
Associate Professor Cheryl Desha has been working for the past two decades, with colleagues in Australia and overseas to build capacity for place-based (geospatial), nature-loving (biophilic), and nature-inspired (biomimetic) design. This includes capacity building for whole system thinking, resource productivity, decoupling and sustainable business practice, to foster urban nature for resilient and liveable cities. Her career goal is to facilitate sustainable development by empowering society with emerging language, knowledge and skills related to achieving sustainable solutions. Through her leadership roles within the International Society of Digital Earth as leader of the Australian Chapter’s research node, the Energy Efficiency Council of Australia, she advocates for interdisciplinary problem-solving and methods towards breakthrough solutions. She has co-authored more than 100 publications including 7 books, 2 of which have been listed in the top 40 publications by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. She has co-led four projects within the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre and managed more than AUD $1.5 million of research projects in behaviour change towards sustainable development. In 2019 Griffith University joined the UN-GGIM Academic Network and is a member of ProSPER.Net.
Mr. Paul Heaton
Gold Coast, Gold Coast, Australia
Prof. Brendan Mackey
Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia
Prof. Natasha Markovska
Research Center for Energy and Sustainable Development - Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Skopje, North Macedonia
Natasa Markovska holds DSc degree from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Skopje, with thesis on solar energy technologies. At present she is a Senior Researcher at the Research Centre for Energy and Sustainable Development of MANU and Professor of the subject Energy and Climate Change at two master programs and a doctoral program of Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies. Also, she serves as a National Focal Point of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a Member of the International Scientific Committee of the Conferences on Sustainable Development of Energy Water and Environmental Systems (SDEWES Conferences). She has been participating in 87 international and national projects related to climate change mitigation, sustainable development, renewable energy sources and energy efficiency and energy strategic planning, for clients such as UNDP, USAID, WB, European Commission, GIZ, Macedonian and other governments. In these fields, Dr. Markovska co-authored 157 published contributions (38 SCI/CC publications). Since 2015 she is a member of the Editorial Board of the international journal Energy (Elsevier). She served as an editor of the Second National Communication under UNFCCC and as a guest editor of 16 special issues of international journals (incl. 7 of Energy and 5 of Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews) dedicated to SDEWES Conferences.

Benchmarking the performance of cities across energy, water and environment systems
related metrics presents an opportunity to trigger policy learning, action, and cooperation to bring cities closer to sustainable development.