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ICLEI in Europe News
August 2011

Dear members, partners and friends of ICLEI,

We are pleased to send you the latest news on ICLEI in Europe and our partners for urban sustainability!

You can also read these news articles and find more information on the topics at

Don't hesitate to send your news and information to

In this issue:

  1. Member News
  2. Bresso and Maćkowiak-Pandera to speak at ICLEI European Convention
  3. Effective solutions for green urban transport at CIVITAS results workshop
  4. ICLEI leads discussion on role of regional and local authorities in adapting to climate change
  5. Improving energy efficiency of European buildings on the agenda at Local Renewables 2011
  6. Rio+20 Secretary-General praises cities and counter passes 1,400
  7. Puebla de Sanabria crowned Spanish Capital of Biodiversity 2011
  8. New issue of Informed Cities Update
  9. European cities and towns identify main climate and energy challenges
  10. Over 700 cities register for European Mobility Week 2011
  11. Book of the month
  12. New events
  13. Event reminders

1. ICLEI Member News

Vitoria-Gasteiz is best in Dubai

Vitoria-Gasteiz Copyright: CIVITASThe Sustainable Mobility and Public Space Plan of ICLEI member Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), has been rated "Best" at the eighth Dubai International Awards for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment. The award aims to identify effective sustainable urban policies and actions to improve living conditions in towns and cities.

It is further recognition of the ambitious international commitment undertaken by the European Green Capital 2012 towards sustainable mobility and public space policies. The Plan will be included in the UN Habitat Best Practices Database in Improving the Living Environment, as well in the eighth Spanish Catalogue of Best Practices. Its main objective is to develop a practical outline of city mobility to minimise problems caused by the high use of motorised modes of transport, especially the private car.

Vitoria-Gasteiz is also a member of the CIVITAS Initiative, which focuses on sustainable urban mobility. As part of the initiative the city has introduced a number of measures, such as new Park and Ride facilities, a bicycle mobility plan, parking policies and energy saving trainings.

For more information, click here.


Introducing eco buses in Newcastle city fleet

ICLEI member city Newcastle (United Kingdom) is on the road to more sustainable public transport, with a local bus operator launching a £7.2million fleet of 26 hybrid electric buses. The investment follows the receipt of £2.2 million from the English Government’s Green Bus Fund, to which a further £5 million was added by the bus operator. The award from the Green Bus Fund was the second most successful bid outside London.

Councillor Nick Forbes said, “As the UK’s most sustainable city, we are at the forefront of promoting and delivering the low carbon agenda and we recognise that the benefits of hybrid engine technology extend beyond those than can be measured purely in terms of fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”

The city council plans to support these services by introducing an environmental zone and air quality management area in a central location and stepping up enforcement measures to improve reliability. The bus operator, Stagecoach says the buses will reduce the carbon emissions on these two routes alone by 30 percent. The fleet of  new buses went into service on 1 July 2011.

For more information, click here.

Freiburg lights up cycle path with LED technology

Copyright: DreamstimeThe City of Freiburg has installed the first solar-powered LED street lighting system in Germany. The lights are located on a paved cycle path and pedestrian intersection close to the river Dreisam and automatically go on at dusk. Up to 10,000 cyclists use the path on a daily basis and there have been several accidents in the past as it was difficult to know whether cyclists or car drivers had the right of way.

The lights alert car drivers from a distance so they can reduce their speed as they approach. There is now also a crosswalk for pedestrians and they have precedence over the traffic on the cycle path, a unique situation in the ICLEI member city.  Frank Uekermann from the Freiburg Civil Engineering Department says the city is pleased with the result and that, "safety is a priority for all."

The project cost €45,000 and the lights took three weeks to install. Freiburg has a long-standing reputation as a leader in environmental practices and innovative thinking. For example, its football stadium, which is located close to the LED lit cycle path, was the first stadium in the country to install photovoltaic solar panels on the roof.

For more information, click here. [In German]

Citizens say Tartu has best living environment in Estonia

A survey conducted by Eesti Päevaleht, one of the biggest daily newspapers in Estonia showed that people consider ICLEI member Tartu to have the best living environment in the country. It has always been a priority for Tartu to maintain and develop a clean and citizen-friendly environment, something which has been clearly expressed both in the city development plan for 2007-2013 and in the development strategy Tartu 2030.

When developing the plans each citizen had the opportunity to contribute to the procedure, either by participating in public discussions, giving their opinion on the website or by writing a letter. Tartu is also in constant communication with more than 20 cities in Europe, and is learning from the experiences shared.

This year the city will construct two frequently used light traffic roads and also seeks to improve conditions for cyclists. Tartu has the makings of a great bicycle city as it is compact, with the area of 38.8 square kilometres. A development plan has already been developed in cooperation with bicycle enthusiasts. According to this plan, the network of bicycle routes will cover the whole city and there will be phased construction of the bicycle lanes.

For more information, click here.

2. Bresso and Maćkowiak-Pandera to speak at ICLEI European Convention

Joanna Maćkowiak-PanderaMercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and Joanna Maćkowiak-Pandera, Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Environment, responsible for the Polish Presidency in the Council of the European Union have been added to the ICLEI European Convention programme.

Ms Bresso made history when she was elected as the first woman President of the CoR in 2010. She will speak on the opening day of the event, as part of a panel discussion on whether the Europe 2020 Strategy and the overall policy objectives for the EU and its Member States are sufficiently sustainable to guarantee a secure foundation for this and future generations.

Maćkowiak-Pandera is an expert in international environment protection issues and will speak at the closing plenary, where she will react to the local governments recommendations on how European cities can effectively implement the EU 2020 Strategy from the point of view of the Polish Presidency. The convention takes place from 12-14 September in Brussels (Belgium) and online registration is now available.

For more information, click here.

3. Effective solutions for green urban transport at CIVITAS results workshop

Local authorities’, transport experts and others in the field of sustainable mobility are invited to participate in the first workshop in the Effective solutions for green urban transport – Learning from CIVITAS cities series. The workshop will take place on 13 September 2011 in parallel with the ICLEI European Convention 2011. CIVITAS cities will share results from the innovative urban transport solutions they have been testing.

The workshop is generously hosted by the Representation of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen to the EU. The workshop will focus on two thematic building blocks of CIVITAS: collective passenger transport and safety and security. It is free of charge and open to representatives of cities, public transport operators, research programmes and others working in the field of sustainable urban mobility.

To register, contact or click here.

4. ICLEI leads discussion on role of regional and local authorities in adapting to climate change

Climate change was the main topic at the meeting of European Environment Ministers on the second day of an EU delegate meeting during the Informal Council for Environment. The event was held within the new European environmental framework of the Polish Presidency of the EU and Executive Director of ICLEI Europe, Wolfgang Teubner, shared his thoughts on the role of regional and local authorities and the major issues preventing successful adaptation.

Teubner said local governments need to make adaptation, “an underlying principle of urban and regional planning. Often we tend to think about the big singular measures, like building a dam or a flood wall, but in reality changing the adaptive capacity of an urban system is a combination of potentially hundreds of small measures.”

The EU Clearinghouse Mechanism will be launched in 2012 and is being viewed as a useful tool to support local and regional adaptation strategies. It will be an outcome of the 2009 European Commission White Paper, Adapting to climate change: Towards a European framework for action and will help to develop a knowledge network on adaptation.

For more information, click here.

5. Improving energy efficiency of European buildings on the agenda at Local Renewables 2011

Despite the abundance of cutting-edge technologies available for greening buildings, many are not commonly used. What needs to be done to ensure these innovative ideas and technologies are made standard? This year’s Local Renewables Conference: Green Buildings and Renewable Energy –The Way Forward in Urban Development, will tackle these questions and ask what cities can do to go beyond existing rules and regulations.

The event will take place from 27-28 October 2011 in Freiburg (Germany), and will explore clever heating and cooling technologies, as well as best practice examples from various European cities in the fields of retrofitting projects and historical buildings and zero emission districts. The question of how to finance such projects will be the central theme and the conference will culminate with a plenary on financing, in which different models and mechanisms for financing including the new Energy Efficiency Fund will be discussed.

Taking place in Freiburg’s Solar Center, the event will have a session dedicated to project findings from the Sustainable Construction & Innovation through Procurement (SCI) network, an expert network that connects public authorities looking to procure innovative and sustainable solutions for their construction projects.

For more information, contact

6. Rio+20 Secretary-General praises cities and counter passes 1,400

The Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang has invited the world's mayors and local authorities to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) for the Rio+20 conference, held from 4 – 6 June, 2012. Speaking to the National Press Club in Washington (USA), Mr. Zukang explained why Rio+20 is not, “just another UN conference” but an event of great importance for sustainable development.

Mr. Zukang described cities as centres of human energy and creativity and asked all world mayors and local authorities to, “bring your concrete initiatives to scale up and build on the valuable work you’ve been doing”. He also emphasised the significance of ICLEI’s work and those of similar organisations, engaging local governments in sustainable development action.

Cities can also demonstrate their dedication to sustainability by making sure they appear in the ICLEI Rio+20 Counter. Over 1,400 cities are already present, with Europe by far the best represented region. Anyone can enter a city if it is implementing a sustainability initiative, so put your city on the map today.

To register your city, click here.

7. Puebla de Sanabria crowned Spanish Capital of Biodiversity 2011

The 1,571 inhabitant municipality of Puebla de Sanabria has been announced as the Spanish Capital of Biodiversity 2011. The town was singled out for its excellent planning regulations that ensure it grows in both a systematic and sustainable way. This includes landscape protection criteria that regulates industrial area sprawl. In addition, the municipality strives to protect native fauna and flora through several projects, such as one which seeks to recover urban river shores by planting river species, and another that is developing a thematic centre for the Iberian wolf.

The LIFE+ European Biodiversity Capitals project, in which ICLEI is a partner, is run in four other countries: Germany, Slovakia, France and Hungary. The other winners will be announced in the coming months and they will receive their official award during the next ICLEI Breakfast at Sustainability’s event, which is entitled Capitals of Biodiversity – European municipalities lead the way in local biodiversity protection. The event will take place on 24 November in Brussels (Belgium). The 2010 winner of the Spanish competition was ICLEI member El Real Sitio de San Idelfonso.

For more information, click here.

8. New issue of Informed Cities Update

Looking for the latest on bridging the gap between research and policy-making? The fourth issue of Informed Cities Update, the eNewsletter of the Informed Cities initiative explores this and more. With the Rio+20 Conference less than a year away, discover more about European initiatives that aim to provide input to Rio+20 discussions, highlighting the important legacy of Local Agenda 21 movement.

Last but not least, find out more about the second Informed Cities Forum, focusing on the Rio+20 preparations, local sustainability performance and the role of research. The conference will take place in Naples, Italy on 26-27 October 2011. Register now to secure a place.

To read the newsletter, click here.

9. European cities and towns identify main climate and energy challenges

The 3rd and Final European Local Government Positioning Paper on Climate and Energy, launched at the end of June 2011, provides an interesting overview of trends relevant to local governments (LGs) across Europe. It was based on input provided by local government representatives from 30 European countries: the EU-27 Member States, Croatia, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The paper is a result of the concluding LG Action project, which explored the challenges and needs of LGs in the current climate and energy debate.

The main conclusions are that sustainable energy and climate protection at the local level are complex fields, requiring commitment, the involvement of multiple stakeholders, financing, supportive policy, and a stable framework in which work can continue. The paper feeds into the ongoing international and European climate negotiations for the post-2012 era, including the Local Government Climate Roadmap.

At the European level, it is clear that this dynamic movement reflects the interest in local climate and energy action, especially when considering the growth of the Covenant of Mayors (CoM). The CoM has doubled in size since the launch of the 2nd Positioning Paper in 2010. Cities and towns are encouraged to join this growing movement and to commit, connect and engage together.

For more information, click here.

10. Over 700 cities register for European Mobility Week 2011

The number of registered cities for European Mobility Week 2011 keeps growing as cities demonstrate their commitment to sustainable urban mobility. Running from 16-22 September, the annual campaign encourages citizens to use public transport, cycle, walk and leave their car at home.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the event, the European Commission has developed a brochure, 10 years of European Mobility Week, which focuses on the 22 cities that have featured in the Mobility Week awards thus far. These include the many winning ICLEI member cities, such as Almada (Portugal), Budapest (Hungary), Koprivnica (Croatia), Copenhagen (Denmark), Nantes (France) and Ferrara (Italy). With less that 50 days until the event kicks off, registration is still open and cities and towns in Europe and beyond are invited to sign up and get planning their activities.

For more information, click here.

11. Book of the month

Renewable Energy - The Facts

Countries around the globe have been dependent on oil for many years. However, according to research, crude oil reserves are going to be depleted in 30 years. This clearly affects climate change with an increase of 0.7° C in recent years. In this context the book stresses the important role renewable energy sources can play in manage these issues. It offers an overview of the main alternatives to oil and nuclear energy sources showing all the related figures about countries, projects and data available.

The first part lists all the renewable energy sources available, such as solar thermal, solar electric photovoltaic, solar architecture, biomass, wind power, water power, geothermal and the new trend represented by fuel cell technology. The book goes further, investigating the potential of solar energy and its current use in Germany, other European countries and worldwide.

The second part focuses on three issues and identifies and answers the key questions related to renewable energy issues. The promotion measures taken by the EU and Member States to improve and support their usage (directives, acts, feed-in-tariffs, CDM) are explored. Finally, a marketing approach to best practices and projects is delivered, with possible scenario and the necessary tools and conditions to succeed in this field.

D. Seifried and W. Witzel, Earthscan London, 2010, Energieagentur Regio Freiburg, ISBN 978-1-84971-160-9

12. New events

LAKs project to present results at final conference

The inventories, planned actions and results from municipalities working in the European project Local Accountability for Kyoto goalS (LAKs) will be presented at the project’s final conference Cities for climate – Local policies to reduce CO2, on 14 October 2011 in Reggio Emilia (Italy). LAKs aims to provide European cities with the necessary tools to monitor greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, assess their impact on the environment and implement corrective measures by reporting their results through a Mitigation and Adaptation Plan.

Final conference participants include Daniele Furfari from DG Energy at the European Commission, Antonio Lumicisi from the Italian Ministry for the Environment and Paolo Rotelli from the UN International Task force for Kyoto Protocol, together with technicians from partner cities. Among its achievements, the LAKs project provided free software to local authorities, allowing them to convert energy consumption information into GHG emission data.

For more information, click here.

Workshop to focus on scientific evidence for sustainable mobility policy making

The second of three workshops on sustainable mobility held in Szentendre (Hungary) will give participants the opportunity to network with researchers and policy-makers from all over Europe, including the EU Commission. The workshop takes place from 6-7 October 2011 and is run by CORPUS, a project that aims to translate scientific evidence and research into effective environmental policy-making. The workshop will also focus on practical assistance for drafting sustainable consumption policies.

Susanne Weide of the German Council for Sustainable Development praised previous CORPUS workshops, saying that the group exercises were “very effective in learning about national approaches to sustainable consumption policies. The CORPUS platform provides access to a great network and knowledge pool in the area of sustainable consumption.”

For more information and to register, click here.

Hamburg to host International Environmental Law Conference 2011

From 15-16 September 2011, ICLEI member city Hamburg (Germany), will host the International Conference on Environmental Law for the first time. Hamburg is the current European Green Capital and will host the event as part of its programme of activities.

The conference will assemble lawyers and decision-makers from governments, law firms, public administration, universities and NGO and will provide a high level forum for international dialogue on the strengthening and further development of environmental law. Climate protection will be one of the two thematic focuses of presentations and panel discussions. Limiting environmental hazards caused by the growing shipping sector will be the second focus, an issue that is extremely important to the busy harbour city.

Forums discussing the Protection of the Marine Environment and Climate Change, and Offshore Wind Energy will complete the programme. In the scope of its European Green Capital 2011 activities Hamburg is also supporting the ICLEI European Convention 2011, which runs from 12-14 September 2011 in Brussels (Belgium).

For more information, click here.

13. Event reminders

Stockholm World Water Week
21 – 28 August 2011, Stockholm (Sweden)

ICLEI European Convention
12 – 14 September 2011, Brussels (Belgium)

Street Space for Citizens: Car-sharing replaces car ownership
15 September 2011, Brussels (Belgium)

Changing the Energy System to Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency (RESS)
15 – 16 January 2011, Freiburg (Germany)

UITP - Urban Governance: Getting people on board
5 – 7 October 2011, Gothenburg (Sweden)

CIVITAS Forum conference
17 – 19 October 2011, Funchal (Portugal)

Informed Cities Forum 201: Rio+20, local performance and the role of research
26 – 27 October 2011, Naples (Italy)

Local Renewables 2011: Green Buildings and Renewable Energy
27 – 28 October 2011, Freiburg (Germany)

Bonn 2011 Conference: Water Resources in the Green Economy
16 – 18 November 2011, Bonn (Germany)

Feedback? Questions? Let us know! If you have any further questions, would like to give feedback on ICLEI's work in Europe or would like to be taken off this mailing list, contact us at:

The ICLEI in Europe newsletter is produced by the European Secretariat of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. Copies are available on request. Editor: Ailish O'Donoghue, Ciara Leonard (responsible).

Comments and questions are welcome - please write to Ailish O'Donoghue at, Leopoldring 3, 79098 Freiburg, Germany,Tel: +49-761/36 89 2-0,

ICLEI is a membership organisation of local governments and their associations. To date more than 1,000 municipalities and municipal associations of all sizes from around the world have made a unique commitment to sustainable development by joining ICLEI. They support the work of ICLEI through their membership fees as well as through their experience and creativity in the development and implementation of projects and campaigns to address the globe's biggest problems. Within the organisation they are part of a network of peers that can profit from each other's knowledge. For membership information please have a look at our website or contact:

Copyright 2011 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany. All rights reserved.