Report on the International Cittaslow Assembly 2019

In late June this year two representatives of Katoomba-Blue Mountains Cittaslow met up with three from Goolwa (SA) and two from Yea (Victoria) for the annual International Cittaslow Assembly in Orvieto Italy. Like Katoomba-Blue Mountains, Orvieto has the double distinction of being recognised as a UNESCO ‘World Heritage’ town/region - as well as being an international Cittaslow town. In fact Orvieto is the international Cittaslow headquarters – which has now spread to 262 towns in 30 countries.
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As part of the Australian team, Nigel and Sue Bell joined in with around 350 delegates for a densely packed program of presentations, workshops, celebrations, formal declarations, musical performances, - as well as (naturally – this was Italy) local food and wine! We had the chance over three+ days to celebrate all the ‘small-town’ and ‘slow’ qualities of history, culture, arts and artisans, produce, sustainability and specialness of place, that makes for enviable Cittaslow towns across the globe. Key places to visit (and stay) internationally, shared with like-minded people.

A highlight in the program was the official celebration of 20 years of Cittaslow through a wall plaque in the historic Mancinelli Theatre, accompanied by a local orchestra playing a specially composed Cittaslow Hymn and other lively music.

An important outcome of the Assembly was the unanimous agreement to the petition proposed by Stefano Pisani (International President) regarding the ‘Universal Climate Emergency Declaration’. This commits all Cittaslow communities across the world in a concrete, stringent and proactive way to combat the climatic and environmental emergency as follows:

“We all know that the terrestrial ecosystem and our own survival are at risk due to un-heeded appeals to respect the limits imposed by the finite nature of the resources and of the planet itself. The climatic emergency – certainly not due to causes natural or unpredictable events, but by the persistent failure to comply with the international obligations assumed by the States national agreements with the Paris Agreement, the ‘Special report 2018’ of the IPCC and the SDGs to 2030 of the United nations – obliges Cittaslow Auditors representing around 25 million citizens in thirty countries .. to promote an extraordinary commitment .. for curbing climate change and the current imbalance..

Cittaslow, the World Network of Good Living Cities, strongly affirms that there can be no quality future for the next generations without a rapid awareness of the current environmental crisis … to give us a future.

Circular economy, carbon zero, environmental and social resilience, shared social responsibility and inclusion, active citizenship, respect for traditional knowledge, defence of biodiversity and health for everyone .. are the cornerstone of Cittaslow… Energy, transport and plastic stops are amongst the first fields of action 2019-2020 identified by the mayors of Cittaslow.”

Katoomba – Blue Mountains Cittaslow fully supports this call to action, noting that Blue Mountains City Council and many citizens have pro-actively declared their agreement to such political, community and personal action whilst there is still time.

[Thanks to Christine Putland, President Cittaslow Goolwa for text in part.]