The «Zurich International» newsletter brings you all the latest information from other cities and reports on how the various international relations which the City of Zurich maintains are developing
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Newsletter «Zurich International»

October 2017
The «Zurich International» newsletter brings you all the latest information from other cities and reports on how the various international relations which the City of Zurich maintains are developing. Please feel free to recommend the newsletter to your colleagues.  

Zurich meets Hong Kong – A Festival of Two Cities

The «Zurich meets Hong Kong» festival will be held from 21 – 29 October 2017 in Hong Kong, with representatives from both locations, from the sectors of finance, science and culture, coming together to exchange and make the most of networking opportunities.

There will be over 30 events at different locations throughout Hong Kong, many of which will showcase various facets of Zurich, whilst promoting economic, scientific and cultural exchanges between the two cities. The programme includes concerts and dance performances, academic conferences and workshops, exhibitions and film screenings. One of the events being organised by the City of Zurich is a conference on the subject of mobility and energy systems in smart cities, combining science, the business and administration.

The event will be hosted by the City and Canton of Zurich, Zurich Tourism, the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) Zurich, the University of Zurich, the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), in conjunction with the Consulate General of Switzerland in Hong Kong.

Stefan Ege, Urban Development, Department of the Mayor

Taiwan interested in Zurich’s Urban Development and Energy Policy
High-ranking administration officials from Taiwan in the Musiksaal in Zurich’s city hall

On 13 September, the City of Zurich was delighted to host a delegation of high-ranking administration officials from Taiwan. The invitation was part of the University of Lausanne’s «Strategy and Leadership Development Programme». The delegation of around 30 was headed by Dr. Pei-Chih Hao, Deputy Minister of Civil Service Protection and Training Commission, and enjoyed an exchange with the City of Zurich on the subject of participation in relation to urban development and city energy policy. Electricity strategy was of particular interest here, as Taiwan – like Zurich – is looking to develop alternatives to nuclear power.

The City of Zurich’s comprehensive conceptional approach via the target of the 2000-Watt society was also discussed in great depth. Along with high standards for buildings and the increased usage of renewable energy, buildings’ energy efficiency in terms of operations, mobility and the proportion of energy which is required for example to provide energy as well as for materials and construction of the buildings, is also considered. The administrative experts were particularly interested to learn how the cross-sectional task of energy policy in the City of Zurich is implemented via the Energy Masterplan, with 17 service departements involved.

Martina Blum, Energy Expert, City of Zurich Energy Specialists, Industrial Businesses Department

«A new Concept of Refugee Protection»
Statement of Mayor Corine Mauch for «Solidarity Cities»

This year’s Zurich Migration Conference focused on the global refugee protection system and the issue of how to find a new concept for it. Daniel Endres and Gerald Knaus outlined European and international approaches, and pointed out that in terms of refugees, networking between cities is more important than ever. The European «Solidarity Cities» initiative, presented by Mayor Corine Mauch and to which the City of Zurich is committed, can serve as a good example in this respect, particularly since it also enjoys the support of cities such as Amsterdam, Stockholm, Vienna, Barcelona and Milan. Driving an exchange of information and knowledge on the refugee situation, and also city-to-city mentoring, are some of the main priorities of the initiative. In the flood of necessary, but often overwhelming guidelines, rules and conventions, there is a pragmatic and concrete approach that can tend to be overlooked.

The expert panel agreed that new impulses in terms of asylum-handling can be drawn both from the past, and from looking beyond Europe’s borders. Relevant historical references can be found, for example, from when cities were first being founded – Tyre, going back to ancient times, and then the emergence of the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages – when refugees were offered not only protection but also new economic perspectives. In modern times however, it is East-African countries such as Uganda and Ethiopia who are setting the trend in terms of refugees.

Natalia Huser, Urban Development, Department of the Mayor

«Fun and Function» – Helsinki's City Strategy

«Fun and functional» are the target-orientated watchwords of the new city strategy laid down by Helsinki to significantly simplify the administrative structures of the Finnish capital, and they also apply to the city’s work on integration. An example of this is the «Skill centre» project which provides a one-stop-shop for work-orientated educational measures for refugees and other target groups, using various innovative approaches.

Helsinki’s integration policy was, however, just one of the topics on the table at a Eurocities meeting of the Migration and Integration working group, which featured 30 participants from 23 different cities. There were also discussions on the collaboration with the UNHCR, the «Urban Partnership on Migration», the basic rights of «Sans Papiers» (people without legal documents), as well as on current developments both in individual cities and across the EU. This revealed, amongst other things, problems affecting many cities, namely that at present, only 23% of rejected asylum-seekers are returned to their homelands. Also, many of the unaccompanied minors who came to the EU in 2015 are now over the age of 18 and have been refused asylum, and that popular acceptance of refugees is now at very low levels, with Latvia for example having 50% of the population with a negative impression of migrants from EU countries – a figure which rises to no less than 86% for migrants from non-member countries.

Christof Meier, Urban Development, Department of the Mayor

World Habitat Award Peer Review at the «mehr als wohnen» Building Cooperative
«mehr als wohnen» cooperative buildings at the Hunzikerplatz in central Zurich (photo: mehr als wohnen)

Winning the first ever World Habitat Award in the northern hemisphere in March 2017 provided the «mehr als wohnen» building cooperative not just with silverware but also duties – but of a pleasant kind. And thus it was that the cooperative hosted the «Peer Exchange Week» from 18–21 September 2017, featuring interesting projects from all around the world.

The focus of the content was an exchange about the functioning, the strengths and weaknesses and the promotion both of mehr als wohnen and of the other «pro-active movements» involved (and which are often organised as cooperatives) in the accommodation sector, in various local contexts. Guests attended the week from Greece, the UK, Italy, Cameroon, Nicaragua, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and Switzerland (Geneva).

It emerged that the legal, historical and economic contexts in the various countries involved are all very different, but that the initiatives that form the basis, particularly in cooperative form for future solutions to housing problems, can and should play an important role, as they form an important extension of other private and particularly state-run offers.

Alex Martinovits, Urban Development, Department of the Mayor

MKZ star at the World Youth Music Festival in Zurich
The MKZ «Bucket-Drummers» busy rehearsing

150 children and youngsters, featuring drummers, percussionists, Alpine horn players and even break-dancers, along with their teachers, provided top-notch musical entertainment at the World Youth Music Festival, to the delight of the various audiences.

As well as an opening ceremony and gala concerts, the WJMF had plenty of musical competitions, and no fewer than 3500 youngsters from 80 groups, ensembles and orchestras from around the world headed to Zurich from 6 – 10 July to do battle on the musical stage. The Zurich Music School and Conservatory (MKZ) ensembles enjoyed plenty of success, none more so than the City of Zurich’s youth music percussion ensemble, whose interpretation of «Breaking all Illusions» took first place and scored more points than any other ensemble in the whole canton of Zurich. Seeing how the various groups compared with their international counterparts was of course an important aspect, but it was also a great opportunity to make new contacts and friends. The public concerts turned Zurich into a giant festival for four days, and the organisers are already looking forward to hosting the next one.

Rainer Fröhlich, Department of Schools and Sports


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