Development of Port Cities Discussed during International Meeting

Last weekend, Riga welcomed a meeting of AIVP, the Worldwide Network of Port Cities. AIVP is an international organisation that has served for 30 years as a forum for the many public and private stakeholders who are involved in port-to-city interaction and development processes. This network is made up of port authorities, state and municipal bodies, port services providers, urban planning experts and landscape architects, universities, and research institutes. It aims to improve port-to-city relations and contribute to sustainable development. The meeting was organised by the Freeport of Riga Authority, which joined the AIVP in 2006.

Ansis Zeltiņš, CEO of the Freeport of Riga: “AIVP is the only international organisation, in which developmental issues that are important to port cities are jointly addressed by port and city stakeholders. Membership in this body is very important to us, as the development of Riga City and Riga Port is closely interlinked. In the future, this development should be holistic and sustainable, both from the point of view of local residents and port businesses, as well as transport logistics and environmental protection.”

During this meeting, AIVP members and experts discussed topical issues that are on the agenda of many port cities, including Riga, e.g. how to facilitate a dialogue between ports and cities, how to ensure that port operations and development do not undermine the environment and the quality of life of local residents, and how to maintain the identity and culture of port cities. This year, challenges presented by climate change, digitalisation of the economy and ever faster movement of goods and persons that affect all ports were at the top of the agenda. 

Environmental issues have always been very important in this cooperation format, too. In his address, Juris Pūce, the Minister of Environment and Regional Development, underlined: “Ports are hotspots, where the interests of the shipping sector, fishery traditions and quite often also environmental concerns intersect. I am convinced that port operations can go hand in hand with biodiversity. Many ports are a testament to that. Ports operate in a specific place and environment. Thus, I am happy that Latvian ports have become ever more active in the protection of environment and natural heritage.”

During the meeting, AIVP members adopted Agenda 2030 outlining 10 commitments that should be met by 2030. In 2019, this document will be submitted to the United Nations as the contribution of port cities towards 17 sustainable development goals set in the 2015 UN Resolution “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.