Set your alarm clock now. Book your annual leave, your baby-sitter, your helicopter. Rearrange your botox, your detox, and your retox. The first annual Stakeholder conference for the “Manchester Climate Change Action Plan” will happen on Tuesday November 30th, at a central Manchester location. It will be a crucial day for those who want a greener, climate-safe Manchester.
The Action Plan was launched in December 2009, and commits Manchester to a 41% reduction in its Carbon Dioxide emissions by 2020, and to the creation of a ‘low carbon culture.’ You can find out more at the website www.manchesterclimate.com
The Stakeholder Conference will be the first opportunity that ordinary people get to have their say on the Plan, and the Council’s attempt to meet its own obligations (the Council’s Delivery Plan will be agreed on September 15). The Conference, which will be an annual event, can either become a rubber stamp or else a space for innovation, genuine scrutiny , dialogue instead of the dread ‘engagement’, ideas and networking. That is up for grabs.
Setting the shape and tone of the Stakeholder Conference is down to the “Steering Group” (see MCFly #51 lead story: “At last: Steering Group meets”). The Steering Group, chaired by Steve Connor of Creative Concern, is made up of Council officers and elected members, people from the Manchester Board and people from the Environmental Advisory Panel. It is curretnly approaching other members to join, to address a slight tendency to pale male-ness.
Meanwhile, the grass-roots Call to Real Action, which caused a (productive) stir last year and helped turn the writing of the Action Plan into a more participative process, is seeking the opinions of the people of Manchester. It will present them to the Steering Group ahead of its next meeting, in late July. It wants people who live or work in Manchester to answer these five questions, (via a form on its website.)
1) What’s the most important thing for the November 30th Stakeholder Conference to achieve? (e.g. In topics discussed, people present, outcomes agreed)
2) What is the main danger for the November 30th Stakeholder Conference (and how can it be avoided)
3) What methods should the organisers use to keep people informed before the November 30th Stakeholder Conference?
4) How can the second headline objective of the Climate Change Action Plan be achieved? (“To engage all individuals, neighbourhoods and organisations in Manchester in a process of cultural change that embeds ‘low-carbon thinking’ into the lifestyles and operations of the city.”)
5) Anything else you’d like to say about Manchester’s response to climate change?