Council strengthens international relationships at twin towns' sustainable development forum

Developing sustainable cities and communities was at the forefront of a conference in Guildford's twin town Freiburg recently. The Council joined cities from around the world to focus on sustainable development at a local level.

Council Leader Paul Spooner and Deputy Leader Matt Furniss led a small group from Guildford to attend the first International Sister Cities Conference.

Freiburg sustainable cities conference
Cllr Paul Spooner, Council Leader, comments: "The new Mayor of Freiburg invited us to join over 70 representatives from Freiburg's sister cities across the world. The main aim was to meet, exchange ideas and discuss effective ways to work together, focusing on sustainable development at a local level. Transport, modal shift and air quality were also major themes presented by other sister cities.

"Some of the key points covered how local government is delivering the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as set out by the United Nations. Although this is a topic of global importance, our visit was fundamentally about Guildford and what advantages this can bring to our communities, economy and visitors."

Adds Deputy Leader and Lead Councillor responsible for Twinning, Cllr Matt Furniss: "We have an excellent long-standing international relationship as a result of our twinning agreement with Freiburg in Germany. By opening up and strengthening our relationships with Freiburg and other countries we are linked to, we aim to increase our understanding and improve the lives of people in our communities. The conference allowed us to share best practice, and we have arranged for further sharing with the sister cities we met, on our current and planned projects."

Published on Thursday 8 November.