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AIVP Venice 2023: record number of participants at the international summit of maritime cities

AIVP Venice 2023, the world conference of port cities, came to an end on Saturday 18 November 2023 with technical visits to the port infrastructures in Venice – Marghera. Attendance figures were truly remarkable: 45 speakers, 320 accredited delegates from 41 countries for 30 hours of proceedings.

The event achieved its stated goal of discussing a new partnership model for bringing together port institutions, citizens and stakeholders in a joint effort to overcome the increasingly urgent challenges that every city is facing because of a climate emergency that – at times- is compounded by economic and social crisis.

Best practices from New York, Sydney, Jamaica, Dakar, Maputo, Antwerp, Marseille, Barcelona and the Balearic islands and other places were presented.

From around the world, a message emerged loud and clear, ready to be brought to the next COP 28: when facing sustainability challenges, ports can act as a driving force and accelerator for the green transition; more generally ports can help to implement innovative solutions for more sustainable cities because of their daily experience in dealing with far-reaching exchange flows and technical innovation in an international context.

The President of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority and co-organiser of the event Mr Fulvio Lino Di Blasio said: “Today is the right time – perhaps our last chance? – to reshape the identity of port cities, which are on the ‘front line’ of very difficult challenges, such as defending coasts from rising seas, protecting ecosystems, circular economy, alternative energies, etc..
If we see these challenges as a source of ‘conflict’, and different stakeholders bring demands that are too difficult or impossible to reconcile, we will not succeed in overcoming them. Port cities are ‘bridges’ between land and sea, they are excellent ‘hinges’ that unite, they are ‘laboratories’ where we can experiment with coexistence and capacity building according to a commonality of purpose that brings together all the dimensions of sustainability in a ‘holistic’ manner. Such is the approach we have adopted in managing the Veneto port system: we believe this is the only way to generate lasting values for our territory”.

To prove that port cities can help shape new models of interaction worldwide, AIVP has launched the Antoine Rufenacht Award, in honour of the founder of the Association, former Mayor of the maritime city of Le Havre. The award will be given to exemplary city-port management projects that meet the Agenda 2030’s goals by pursuing a global strategy for the combined development of the cities and their relevant ecosystem.

“The creation of the AIVP Award is part of this logic: it is aimed at promoting the exchange of best practices for the purpose of a safer and more sustainable future, so that our port cities can remain sources of life, work and pride” stated AIVP President and current Mayor of Le Havre Mr Édouard Philippe.

The first edition of the Award will see the light of day in 2024 with the award ceremony to be held in Lisbon, the port city that will host AIVP world conference next year.