2016 Barbara Ward Lecture

On 11 October, 2016, Debra Roberts became the latest 'Outstanding woman in development' to give the Barbara Ward Lecture. Ahead of the Habitat III global summit the following week, Roberts said more needs to be done to join the dots between the 'New Urban Agenda' and the realities of implementation at the local level

  1. Roberts is the head of the Sustainable City Initiatives portfolio in eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa. She was also lead author of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, and is currently co-chair of Working Group II for the IPCC's sixth assessment cycle.
  2. The Barbara Ward Lectures, organised by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), celebrate outstanding women in development in honour of the institute's founder, who pioneered work in linking environment and development.
  3. Ward was a renowned speaker whose lectures influenced audiences around the world. Previous speakers have included former Ireland President Mary Robinson Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action; South Africa MP Lindiwe Sisulu; Cristiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; and Fatima Denton, director of the special initiatives division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
  4. Tonight, Debra Roberts will become the latest "outstanding woman in development" to give the Barbara Ward Lecture…  https://twitter.com/i/web/status/785789687352922112 
  5. IIED's preparations for the event were meticulous, even including Scooby Doo characters...
  6. The final preparations are being made for tomorrow's #BW2016. Here's a run through we conducted earlier today... -->  https://vine.co/v/5XuWM7alWav 
  7. The 2016 lecture took place at London's Savoy Place, the home of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and around 150 policymakers, researchers and academics were present to hear from Roberts.
  8. At #BW2016 to hear Debra Roberts talk about cities, climate change and new urban agenda.
  9. Guests discuss the #NewUrbanAgenda ahead of Debra Roberts' comments in the Barbara Ward Lecture #BW2016 #Habitat3 https://t.co/5svbpuWSWL
    Guests discuss the #NewUrbanAgenda ahead of Debra Roberts' comments in the Barbara Ward Lecture #BW2016 #Habitat3 pic.twitter.com/5svbpuWSWL
  10. n Before the lecture got under way, there was the opportunity to hear from Barbara Ward herself, courtesy of a video showing archive footage of interviews with IIED's founder and even US President John F Kennedy.
  11. The 2016 Barbara Ward Lecture starts with a tribute to IIED's founder, a giant of #susdev. Here's why -->  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiYE4setnsI  #BW2016
  12. The lecture began with an introduction from Andrew Norton, director of IIED, who emphasised the timely nature of the event ahead of the global Habitat III summit the following week.
  13. This #BW2016 lecture comes at a vital time, ahead of #Habitat3 & drive to make cities sustainable, says @andynortondev #NewUrbanAgenda
  14. We need a focus on how the #NewUrbanAgenda will be implemented. Lack of focus on local govt accountability, says @andynortondev #BW2016
  15. @andynortondev @IIED The New Urban Agenda is flawed: at best the poor are seen as passive recipients, or their needs are invisible #BW2016
  16. Barbara Ward was famed for being a brilliant public speaker. "No pressure Debra" @andynortondev jokes to guest speaker Debra Roberts #BW2016
  17. Barbara Ward was one of the first people to articulate sustainable development @IIED #BW2016
  18. Watch Norton's entire introduction:
  19. 2016 Barbara Ward Lecture: Andrew Norton introduction
  20. There was great anticipation when Roberts took to the stage, and then no small amount of trepidation among organisers when she immediately announced that she had no intention of doing a lecture at all...
  21. Debra Roberts has just joked she doesn't want to deliver a lecture. Bit of an issue at #BW2016! Instead, she is going to tell a story...
  22. Debra Roberts is telling us a #story, instead of a lecture for #BW2016, because as she explains, "storytelling is intellectually liberating"
  23. Debra Roberts: The story if the 21st century is changing... Allowing us to connect to real people and audience…  https://twitter.com/i/web/status/785903284989128704 
  24. Debra Roberts is reflecting on her position as a local govt official from an ordinary city in Africa, not a president et al #BW2016
  25. Debra Roberts: The #NewUrbanAgenda is not the end of the story of #cities in the 21st century #BW2016 https://t.co/pW4gtTXFxa
    Debra Roberts: The #NewUrbanAgenda is not the end of the story of #cities in the 21st century #BW2016 pic.twitter.com/pW4gtTXFxa
  26. Roberts: the #NewUrbanAgenda should form the full stop at the end of this period of global agreements #BW2016
  27. "But it is merely the full stop, it's not the end of the story of sustainable cities in the 21st century." #BW2016 https://twitter.com/i/web/status/785904664004952064 
  28. 'The tale of 10,000 cities in the 21st century is only just beginning' says Debra Roberts giving the @IIED 2016 Bar…  https://twitter.com/i/web/status/785904571541512192 
  29. A central theme of Roberts' 'story' was her questioning if the New Urban Agenda − to be agreed at Habitat III − is actually capable of driving sustainable urban development at the local level and in the real world, outside of United Nations' negotiating halls.
  30. There's a growing disconnect between urban policy & reality, says Roberts. Need to focus more intently on implementation #BW2016
  31. Roberts: My concern is that we become too obsessed with the idea of an urban agenda we forget why we started it in the first place. #BW2016
  32. Story of world's cities only half told - global recognition #Habitat3 will not get job done says Debra Roberts #BW2016
  33. In planet of cities can't only have half transform says Deborah Roberts #BW2016 @IIED
  34. "There is no call to action in the #NewUrbanAgenda" says Roberts. "I find that truly troubling" #BW2016
  35. Roberts: every city dweller will have to become an activist... to tie the high level discussions to the local level #BW2016
  36. "We need to take high level altruistic statements & tie them to real people & real places around the world" #BW2016 https://twitter.com/i/web/status/785906193210417152 
  37. Throughout her talk, Roberts cleverly wove in examples of how IIED, and founder Barbara Ward, had played their part in engaging with urban issues and promoting the voices of communities and the most vulnerable.
  38. Debra Roberts gives a shout out to IIED's @Dsatterthwaite! Pays credit to his listening to what local people say on…  https://twitter.com/i/web/status/785908474999873537 
  39. @Dsatterthwaite offered Durban & Roberts the chance to document the #urban lessons they had learned so others could…  https://twitter.com/i/web/status/785908848074850305 
  40. Empowerment means being able to tell your story in your own words, #BW2016
  41. "Telling our own story" at the heart of urban sustainability esp in global south - Debra Roberts, Durban susty supremo giving #BW2016
  42. Interesting from Roberts: The problem we have at city level is that we are not hearing enough from people what is important to them. #BW2016
  43. Having conversations to draw out local people's priority is key - co creating solutions #BW2016
  44. Many cities are excluded from global conversation for lack of access and resources: we need to find those voices - Debra Roberts #BW2016
  45. Roberts also reflected on what others could learn from her successful work in Durban.
  46. Durban became one of first cities to meet its #climatechange goals, and to lead way in local adaptation action, says Roberts #BW2016
  47. It's only by people working together as equals that change really happens: joined up governance, joined up funds & joined up people #BW2016
  48. I want to send message to local govt officials at #Habitat3. Global policymakers don't lead global revolutions, local people do #BW2016
  49. Roberts goes on to praise @IIED: Without IIED many global actors & thinkers around the world who would be secluded and not connected #BW2016
  50. We have the policy bricks to build new cities. But we need the people - the cement - to build the best cities for the future #BW2016
  51. Watch Roberts' entire lecture:
  52. 2016 Barbara Ward Lecture: Debra Roberts
  53. With Norton returning to the stage to act as moderater, a lively question-and-answer session followed, with Roberts responding to queries from the invited audience on the urban, climate and resilience agenda, looking beyond Habitat III in Quito, and giving further examples of her respected work.
  54. Debra Roberts thinking ahead: Post-Quito we need to address how we practically link local & national govts for best cities #BW2016 #Habitat3
  55. Achieving #SDGs etc isn't about top-down, or bottom-up, but a pincer movement to bring everyone together #BW2016 #NewUrbanAgenda #Habitat3
  56. Pathway to resilience for cities in south is to use local ecosystem - create jobs 4 poor & restore catchments - Debra Roberts #BW2016 @IIED
  57. Debra Roberts: we now live in a scenario where history is no longer a good predictor of the future #BW2016
  58. One of the questions focused on the role of business in the 'New Urban Agenda', while Roberts explained that we couldn't rely on technology to solve all the problems of every city...
  59. The word 'business' isn't mentioned until paragraph 133 of the #NewUrbanAgenda, points out @EmmaHLCox during the Q&A #BW2016
  60. People can't relate to the #NewUrbanAgenda & can't turn it into practical solutions as it's so high-level. Maybe business can help? #BW2016
  61. Role of biz in #NewUrbanAgenda in providing foresight and identifying opportunities - reqs true common objectives #BW2016
  62. Agree with this from Roberts: There is a sense that one of the big global opportunities to bend the curve lies in the cities. #BW2016
  63. We seem to be defaulting to technology to solve our problems. In many cities, technology is not the answer. Local cohesion is key. #BW2016
  64. #BW2016 For many of the cities around the world, technology is not the silver bullet - practical localise solution is important
  65. We need to reimagine the developmental role of cities as part of valuing ecosystems - now they can protect species and people #BW2016
  66. City planning has moved beyond demonstrating that solar panels work 2 actually making big changes 4 citizens - it's a big challenge #BW2016
  67. Scientists think in 1000yr cycles. Policymakers think in 5yr cycles. A brave city should think in 100yr cycles to become a champion #BW2016
  68. This is particularly vital with, as Roberts says, an anticipated further 2.9 billion people living in cities by 205…  https://twitter.com/i/web/status/785918779217805312 
  69. African urban agenda has unique difficulties and advantages. Requires direct agency. #BW2016
  70. Roberts: Many national governments see successful city governments as a threat. Such politics creates a need for local activism. #BW2016
  71. Cities need scientists: only by a practical demonstration of change do you capture leaders' minds - Debra Roberts #BW2016
  72. Roberts: We need to find a forum where #SDGs, the #ParisAgreement and #NewUrbanAgenda fit together for cities of 21st century #BW2016
  73. The climate agenda is the new development agenda says Debra Roberts #BW2016 #SDGs #ParisAgreement by #IIED
  74. @andynortondev thanks #BW2016 speaker, sorry, storyteller Debra Roberts for weaving such fascinating tales. And that's it!
  75. Thanks to all those who tuned into the live stream & who followed our coverage here. Hope it provided plenty to pon…  https://twitter.com/i/web/status/785922950893539328 
  76. Watch the entire Q&A:
  77. 2016 Barbara Ward Lecture: Q&A with Debra Roberts
  78. The lecture was also live streamed online to a global audience, and guests present at Savoy Place and around the world reacted to what they had seen...
  79. Great #BW2016 lecture - Debra Roberts on igniting individual activism and reimaging forms of government that bring everyone to the table
  80. Fantastic presentation from Debra Roberts of #Durban on future of urban agenda @IIED #BW2016 https://t.co/VLX9ICRJXc
    Fantastic presentation from Debra Roberts of #Durban on future of urban agenda @IIED #BW2016 pic.twitter.com/VLX9ICRJXc
  81. Inspired, as always, listening to Debra Roberts speak, this evening at @IIED 2016 Barbara Ward Lecture.
  82. Thanks for streaming #BW2016 @IIED. I could watch whilst prepping dinner. Very interesting talk by Debra Roberts https://t.co/kQgrrbrM9t
    Thanks for streaming #BW2016 @IIED. I could watch whilst prepping dinner. Very interesting talk by Debra Roberts pic.twitter.com/kQgrrbrM9t