SSN members shared knowledge and experience on strategy development and delivery at a Network event on 29 May at Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation. Around 70 members gathered to consider how to set targets, galvanise leadership and embed a credible blueprint to deliver on the Climate Change Plan.
Cities and regions lead the way
Lolita Jackson, Special Advisor to the NYC Mayor’s Office on Climate Policy and Programmes, opened the event. SSN Chair Kate Dapré welcomed Lolita on behalf of the network and asked members to lean into a day of work on creating strategy – asking why, how, when and who.
Addressing a packed room of SSN peers keen to hear every word, Ms Jackson spoke of her own extensive experience helping the City of New York put together its climate and resilience strategy while coping with real climate emergencies such as Hurricane Sandy. Ms Jackson is the architect of the One NYC plan which galvanised leadership to build resilience and deliver a green new deal for the region.
From aligning with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and Paris Agreement to getting buy-in from senior leaders and key finance and investment figures, Ms Jackson emphasised the need to work on the basis of shared context and positive benefits. Delivering on a sustainability strategy can and should spell opportunities that cut across political lines and policy siloes. Delivering better opportunities and benefits for all.
Network leadership and experience
Following the keynote, SSN steering group members took the stage – leading a panel discussion to share their own strategy work. Delegates heard from Lesley Hinshelwood (South Lanarkshire Council), Dr Mark Williams (Scottish Water), Lorna Jarvie (South Ayrshire Council) and Dr Mairi Davies (Historic Environment Scotland). Each was asked: ‘Has your strategy performed and transformed?’ All shared their own experience and top tips on effective buy-in from key stakeholders.
“Wow. Really energised to get back to the office and reboot – thanks SSN!”
The afternoon gave delegates an opportunity to reflect on what they had heard and engage in facilitated discussion groups. Sharing their own work and hearing from peers, members exchanged tips and considered tools that help. Each discussion was scribed and content and suggestions will be fed directly to the SSN Action Groups on Reporting, Governance and Finance. The Action Groups are using the work of the event to take forward their recommendations for action and support on these key areas.
A Nature Rich Future
Closing the day, Alan Hampson from Scottish Natural Heritage, delivered ‘Investing in a Nature-rich Future’. Calling for a critical alignment of effort with budgets and the importance of place-based collaboration to deliver the hardest-to-reach final targets.
Summing up, Kate Dapré encouraged all SSN members to seize the opportunities afforded by new waves of awareness on climate while not losing sight of the hard work of embedding strategic planning.
For the day’s slides and full programme visit our Resources area where you can also find additional reading materials on the theme.