Georgia-based companies affiliated with green design or energy efficient building construction can show off their products and services to municipal officials from around the world during a July 17-19 conference in LaGrange.

CIFAL Atlanta, an affiliate of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, is organizing a three-day best practice sharing conference for 75 municipal officials from across the United States and around the world at LaGrange College.

With panels and best practice sharing sessions, the conference is designed to encourage delegates to implement environmentally sustainable construction policies in their home communities.

It will also offer them insight into private sector green building initiatives with a trade show-like room featuring company booths and representatives.

“It allows delegates to walk away with the name of a company that’s reputable, and it gives businesses a way to meet potential clients instead of waiting for them to call,” said Jennifer Wilson, CIFAL program director for environmental sustainability projects, who is organizing the conference.

One of 12 offices around the world, CIFAL Atlanta prepares municipal officials to handle challenges associated with urban growth through best practice sharing conferences.

Since inefficient building design, operation and construction practices are responsible for more than half of the world’s green house gas emissions that cause global warming, the organization decided to take on green building construction for the first time this year, said Ms. Wilson.

While the organization invites mostly government officials and community leaders to participate in its conferences, it emphasizes public-private sector partnerships, so collaboration with local businesses is especially important, she added.

Businesses participated in a trade show-like forum that CIFAL organized last year during a conference on methane harvesting, Ms. Wilson said. The conference addressed ways municipalities can capture methane emitted from landfills to use as an alternative energy source and revenue generator.

CIFAL is organizing a similar conference in Davis, Calif., in September, and it is also expected to work with the Environmental Protection Agency to put on international methane-harvesting conferences for municipal officials in 2008.

The organization has led other environment-oriented conferences, holding in May its second annual water forum that brought more than 70 officials from 30 countries to Atlanta to discuss water resource management and waste water treatment.

In October, the organization is planning a conference on urban transportation and green space development in partnership with Atlanta’s Sister Cities Commission. Representatives from some of Atlanta’s 18 Sister Cities are expected to attend.

In addition to its environmental sustainability focus, CIFAL Atlanta also works with government officials to implement economic development initiatives.

It is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Commerce to put on an Americas Competitiveness Forum that will bring economic ministers and development officials from countries throughout the hemisphere to Atlanta June 11-13.

It is also putting on a series of airport workshops in partnership with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Airports Council International that address ways to leverage airport development to the economic benefit of a region.

It has already held two such conferences in Atlanta this year, welcoming about 40 Latin American officials to a conference in March and about the same number of North American officials to a program held at Hartsfield-Jackson in May.

A conference focusing on airport development in the Middle East and Africa is to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in October and one addressing Asian airport development will be held in Shanghai, China, in December.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for all CIFAL conferences.

To learn more about booth space or sponsorship packages at the upcoming green building conference, contact Ms. Wilson.

Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
CIFAL Atlanta – Jennifer Wilson program director, environmental sustainability (706) 614-4017