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 ICLEI in Europe News

   February 2011

www.iclei-europe.org


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 www.iclei-europe.org.

Don't hesitate to send your news and information to information.services@iclei.org.

If this newsletter does not display properly, click here.


In this issue:

  1. ICLEI Member News
  2. ICLEI European Convention 2011 to focus on growth and sustainability
  3. European Capitals of Biodiversity 2011 competition kicks off
  4. Newsletter aims to inspire cities to meet energy and climate targets
  5. TRAILBLAZER takes off in London
  6. EC publication highlights local and regional environmental successes
  7. Conversion of energy systems gains momentum in Germany
  8. German Ministry for the Environment launches search for adaptation pioneers
  9. UN declares 2011 International Year of Forests
  10. New events
  11. Event reminders



1. ICLEI Member News

ICLEI members shortlisted for European Mobility Week award

ICLEI members Almada (Portugal) and Riga (Latvia) have made it into the top three shortlisted cities for the European Mobility Week (EMW) award. Murcia (Spain) makes up the final space. The award recognises the municipalities that contributed most to making the week (which took place in September 2010) a success. EMW aims to raise citizen awareness of sustainable methods of transport and encourages cities to promote and invest in these methods.

ICLEI members Budapest (Hungary) and Zagreb (Croatia) also performed well, and were within the top ten shortlisted cities before it was reduced to three. The overall winner will be announced on 14 March in ICLEI member city Brussels (Belgium). To take part in the award cities had to fulfil the EMW Charter criteria - organise a week of activities, implement at least one new permanent measure, and organise the “In Town Without My Car!” (a designated car free day) event.

The grand prize is the funding of a three minute promotional video to highlight the city’s achievement. Every year from 16 – 22 of September EMW is held, with over 2220 cities taking part. The campaign has also spread to countries outside of Europe, with cities in Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador joining in.

For further information, click here.

Hamburg kicks off European Green Capital 2011 with energetic display

European Green Capital for 2011 Hamburg (Germany) kicked off its activities in sustainable style on 14 January by inviting its citizens to dance up a storm on its “sustainable dance floor”. The ICLEI member city is organising an array of innovative environmental activities and the opening event showed citizens that everyone has something to contribute to environmental protection.
The sustainable dance floor, which was located outside of the City Hall, transformed kinetic energy into electricity. Organisers said that the dance floor symbolised how “environmental protection can begin with small steps”. Exhibitons were also on display to mark the event, taking viewers through the past and looking to the future of environmental protection in Hamburg.

Another of Hamburg’s innovative initiatives is the Train of Ideas, an actual train which houses an exhibition on environmental issues and urban sustainability. The train will depart from Hamburg in April and will visit a total of 18 European cities, acting as a platform for a Europe-wide exchange on environmental development. The train’s stop-off in Brussels will coincide with the ICLEI European Convention, which takes place from 12-14 September and is supported by the City of Hamburg.

For further information, click here.

Video highlights Bologna’s city centre traffic reduction

A video has been produced highlighting the progress made by ICLEI member city Bologna (Italy) in reducing city centre traffic. Several factors contributed to the 25 percent reduction in vehicles, including improvements in public transport, bike and car sharing schemes and restrictions in traffic access. Bologna is one of three ICLEI members that are part of the CIVITAS initiative, which promotes clean, sustainable transport in cities.

The stress caused by high levels of traffic on historic cities can be severe, and city planners decided it was imperative to decrease congestion and increase city mobility. Schemes such as car and bicycle sharing were introduced and public transport (fuelled by electricity and methane) was improved drastically. The aim was to encourage people to switch from private vehicles to sustainable travel methods, and recent statistics suggest the measures are working.

The vehicle restriction system operates through strategically placed cameras scanning license plates to check for unregistered cars. This system is supplemented by schemes that encourage alternative sustainable methods of transport, enabling citizens to access the city in an environmentally friendly way.

For further information, click here.

Barcelona’s Agenda 21 Schools Programme wins Dubai International Award

The City of Barcelona (Spain), received international recognition for its Agenda 21 Schools Programme when it scooped the Dubai International Award at the end of 2010. The ICLEI member introduced the Barcelona Schools Agenda 21 Programme in 2000 to support school centres so that they can design, carry out and appraise plans of action with the aim of becoming more sustainable.

This pioneering initiative was the first of its kind in the country and the programme has now spread to other towns in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Latin America. Schools are seen as an extremely important element in the advance towards more sustainable cities, as they both educate pupils and have a multiplying effect on the community, especially in families. During the 2010-2011 school year alone, the programme directly involved more than 80,000 pupils, 7,500 teachers and over 60,000 families.

Hundreds of projects related to a diverse range of subjects such as energy and water savings, noise reduction, paper conservation, waste prevention, composting, sustainable mobility and biodiversity have been implemented. The Dubai International Award recognises the best practices, which have a positive impact on improving the living environment.

For further information, click here.

2011 European Capitals of Culture unite to save Baltic Sea

ICLEI member Turku (Finland) and the city of Tallinn (Estonia) have joined forces to create awareness about the condition of the Baltic Sea. According to city officials, the European Capitals of Culture for 2011 want "to bring the status of the Baltic Sea to wider European attention".

The Baltic has suffered from decades of pollution caused by untreated sewage and chemical pollutants, including agricultural waste, which causes blooms of algae that choke marine life. Among the joint projects to be organised is the Night of the Ancient Bonfires in August. The idea is to join people together in a chain of bonfires with a promise of concrete action to save and protect the endangered Baltic Sea.

In addition to the cities' joint green ventures, cooperation in tourism development is also underway and some travel agencies are proposing packages that allow tourists to enjoy cultural events in both capitals. The European Capitals of Culture scheme was created by the EU in 1985, and has since become one of the most prestigious and high-profile features on Europe's cultural calendar.

For further information, click here.



2. ICLEI European Convention 2011 to focus on growth and sustainability

The ICLEI European Convention 2011 will take place in Brussels (Belgium) on 12-14 September and will provide a forum for ICLEI members, other European cities, representatives from EU institutions and businesses to discuss the most pressing issues facing cities on their path to sustainability. The title of this year's convention is Cities in Europe 2020 - Enhance Sustainability Now!

The central theme of the conference is how to pursue the appropriate balance between growth and sustainability and deliver low carbon, climate resilient and sustainable cities by 2020. This question will frame debates and make up the basis for recommendations to the European Institutions. The conference will also discuss the best way to implement and reach the objectives of the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy, which aims to turn the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020.

Participants will be addressed by politicians, senior officials from ICLEI European members, internationally renowned experts and prestigious representatives from EU institutions and other Brussels-based organisations. As well as providing networking opportunities with peers and experts, the convention will also allow participants to discover the exhibition "Brussels - sustainable city", explore the Hamburg European Green Capital 2011 "Train of Ideas" and follow up on the outcomes of the 6th ESCT Conference that took place in 2010. Registration for the event is now open.

For further information, click here.



3. European Capitals of Biodiversity 2011 competition kicks off

A competition to find the best biodiversity management practices amongst local governments kicked off in Spain and Slovakia on 28 January. They will be followed by Hungary on 4 February, and France on 7 February. The four European NGOs managing the competition are partners of the European Capitals of Biodiversity project that aims to improve biodiversity knowledge and protection. It is co-funded by LIFE+ and coordinated by Deutsche Umwelthilfe.

2010 competition winners include ICLEI member Grande-Synthe (France), the City of Želiezovce (Slovakia), the City of Tata (Hungary) and Real Sitio de San Idelfonso (Spain). Other ICLEI members to receive honours include the City of Miskolc, who finished first in the category for above 100,000 inhabitants in Hungary and Vitoria-Gasteiz, who joined ICLEI recently, finished top of the category for above 30,000 inhabitants in Spain.

The project offers training workshops on different aspects of biodiversity, including ways to get citizens involved and the correlation between biodiversity and climate change.This year the competition will focus on land use and over 200 municipalities are expected to take part.  Cities are rewarded for innovation, commitment and excellence in nature preservation and it is hoped that the winning participants will inspire other cities to take action against biodiversity loss.

For further information, click here.



4. Newsletter aims to inspire cities to meet energy and climate targets

A newsletter has been published detailing innovative actions taken by local governments to meet energy and climate objectives. The newsletter is a joint venture between five Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) projects – co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe programme. It aims to inspire other cities and regions to meet the 2020 EU targets on greenhouse gas emissions reductions, improved energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. The SEC projects involved in the newsletter cover over 100 communities throughout Europe.

One of the projects involved in disseminating the publication is Energy for Mayors. This project contributes to implementing the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) initiative, which helps European cities combat climate change. It asks the cities to go beyond the EU climate and energy goals set for 2020 by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by at least 20 percent.

In order to aid cities with this ambitious plan, CoM Supporting Structures (SSt), made up of local government networks and advanced public authorities, offer financial and technical support to municipalities that have difficulty implementing sustainable energy policies. Many SSt develop their own approaches to guide local governments. A survey has been conducted to identify the methodologies used, and a “Supporting Structure Toolbox”, which will allow members to view these methods, is currently being developed by ICLEI. Those interested in registering for the newsletter can do so online.

For further information, click here.



5. TRAILBLAZER takes off in London

The TRAILBLAZER launch conference took place on 27 – 28 January in ICLEI member city London, in the Burrough of Sutton (United Kingdom). The project encourages the use of Delivery and Servicing Plans (DSPs) across Europe and promotes best practice in freight energy efficiency.

Some of the advantages of DSPs are reduced emissions, reduced delivery costs and the opportunity to feed into a corporate social responsibility programme and ensure operations comply with health and safety legislation. DSPs also save time, increase security and lead to less noise and intrusion.

The project aims to transfer knowledge from experienced local authorities and private sector companies (known as TRAILBLAZERS) to cities and businesses who are looking to develop their own DSPs (known as PATHFINDERS). PATHFINDERS cities include ICLEI members Växjö (Sweden) and Zagreb (Croatia). A TRAILBLAZER User Group has also been set up, which includes ICLEI members Bremen (Germany), Cesena (Italy) and Berlin (Germany). These cities will provide feedback to the project.

For further information, click here.



6. EC publication highlights local and regional environmental successes

A new publication by the European Commission highlights the most successful environmental projects undertaken by European local and regional authorities. LIFE and local authorities: Helping regions and municipalities tackle environmental challenges focuses on the successes of the LIFE programme, an EU initiative which co-finances green pilot projects and demonstrations. It also looks at achievements in other projects, such as the CHAMP programme, which helps local governments tackle climate change.

The publication features extensive case studies and examples of best practice across a number of sectors including sustainable transport, waste and water management, the threat of climate change and spatial planning. It is hoped that the brochure will make eco-innovations and environmental best practices better known, as well as reinforcing the important role that local and regional authorities play in implementing EU environmental legislation.

In addition, the 60-page booklet looks at how the LIFE programme can help local and regional authorities deal with policy challenges. Many of the difficulties facing local governments are relatively new, meaning that acquiring the knowledge and expertise required to effectively tackle these problems can be a struggle. The LIFE programme, as well as projects like CHAMP, aim to alleviate this by offering experience and support structures.

For further information, click here.



7. Conversion of energy systems gains momentum in Germany

Globally, many towns and cities are looking to use renewable energy (RE) to gain energy independence. In Germany, the movement towards 100 percent renewable heat and electricity is being implemented through decentralised energy generation – using many small energy sources to generate energy rather than large centralised facilities. The 100% Renewable Energy Regions conference took place in September 2010 in Kassel (Germany), and examined the issues around this topic.

The conference illustrated that renewable energies can contribute to the economic success of local governments through improved salaries, taxes and profits at local level. Dr. Peter Moser, coordinator of the Network for decentralised energy technologies (deNEet) in Germany, pointed out that more than 50 percent of Germany´s total land area is intended to be used for generating renewable energy. The decentralised conversion of the energy system is a rapidly growing movement, thanks to the political will of the many local authorities that are implementing RE.

The RE Regions project cooperates with deNEet and contributes from the scientific angle. A group of junior researchers led by Dr. Chantal Ruppert-Winkel investigate various aspects of the transformation process. The results of this research will be compiled in a guide when the project ends. RE Regions will hold a conference entitled Changing the Energy System to Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency (RESS) – An Inter and Transdisciplinary Approach, in Freiburg (Germany) in September 2011. The event will encourage scientific discussion on the transition to more sustainable energy systems.

For further information, click here.



8. German Ministry for the Environment launches search for adaptation pioneers

The German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) and the Competence Centre on Climate Impacts and Adaptation in the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) have launched a competition to find local and regional authorities, companies, associations and individuals committed to introducing measures for climate change adaptation. Future-oriented change - act now: Adaptation Pioneers wanted, is the title of the competition, which hopes to encourage local and regional initiatives to adapt to climate change in Germany.

Many local authorities have already introduced initiatives such as flood control, climate-friendly cooling of buildings and green roofs, as Germany reacts to recent events which have seen the country subjected to flooding and extreme heat in the summer. The competition is looking for ongoing or completed initiatives and projects implemented locally or regionally. The evaluation criteria include high adjustment efficiency and good cost-benefit ratio, in addition to benefits for climate and other environmental, social and economic objectives.

To enter the competition, the measures must be independently registered in an input form which is part of a database.  Furthermore, this database shall help people not only to register their own projects, but will also be a platform for exchange and innovation. The closing date is 2 April and the jury will then select the three outstanding projects. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in autumn 2011 and will be published in the Ministry’s brochure, Best practice in adaptation.

For further information, click here.



9. UN declares 2011 International Year of Forests

The United Nations (UN) general assembly has declared 2011 the International Year of Forests. It is hoped that the year will raise awareness of the need to conserve forests and promote the sustainable management of forests globally. Forests cover 31 percent of total land area and are home to 300 million people worldwide. According to UN figures the livelihood of over 1.6 billion people depends on forests.

Several Member States are organising events to mark the occasion. Cyprus will be holding photographic exhibitions on forestry, and the Czech Republic will be organising forest field trips for school children. The UN itself is running the International Forest Film Festival, which aims to display the interdependent relationship between humanity and forests. The films will be screened from 24 January – 4 February at the UN headquarters in ICLEI member city New York (USA).

Forests are also home to 80 percent of the world’s on-land biodiversity. ICLEI’s Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) project helps local authorities manage and conserve biodiversity at a local level. ICLEI member cities Amsterdam (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain), Bonn (Germany), Leicester (United Kingdom), Liverpool (United Kingdom), Zagreb (Croatia), Tilburg (Netherlands) and Brussels (Belgium) are part of LAB, which promotes the importance of preserving and developing urban biodiversity and the role of local governments in its management.

For further information, click here.



10. New events


Bremen International Law Conference to initiate thought-provoking debate

The 2011 Bremen International Law Conference will take place from 17 -18 February. The event will give participants the opportunity to examine the legal and ethical implications of climate engineering as a means to combat global warming. The controversial concept advocates the deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the environment in order to counteract climate change.

The viability of climate engineering has provoked fierce debate internationally, and the conference aims to explain the scientific background of the subject through discussions, presentations and workshops. The conference, titled “The Law on Climate Engineering“, is organised by the University of Bremen’s Research Centre for European Environmental Law (FEU) and will be held in the Bremen chamber of commerce. Speakers include the Director of the FEU, Prof. Dr. Sabine Schlacke, and several other leading environmental academics.

The topics discussed over the two days range from ocean fertilisation, to solar radiation management and sustainability versus climate engineering. The FEU asserts that global progress to reduce greenhouse gases has not been forthcoming enough and that the 2009 Copenhagen Accord and COP16 have not provided confidence that the challenges posed by climate change can be met in time. This statement will frame the debate at a conference which promises to be informative, thought-provoking and timely.

For further information, click here.


Car-sharing workshop to focus on economic benefits

ICLEI member city Bremen (Germany) in partnership with the MOMO project (more options for energy efficient mobility through Car-Sharing) have organised a car-sharing workshop to take place on 23 - 25 February. The workshop will focus on the economic dimensions of car sharing, as well as discuss the barriers that cities and potential operators face.

The workshop will be led by car-sharing operators, public transport authorities and city council officials with experience in implementing car-sharing schemes. Three reports, each commissioned by a separate body, are to be discussed at the workshop. The first, by the City of Bremen, details how car-sharing can decrease local government expenditure. The second by the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) outlines how public transport operators can attract new target groups, and the final report by car-sharing operator Cambio reviews methods for the efficient structuring of car-sharing services.

The closing presentation of the workshop will be on Belgium’s car-sharing scheme, widely regarded as one of the most successful in Europe. The workshop is free of charge though registration is required due to space constraints. The MOMO project is an initiative of Intelligent Energy Europe and is co-financed by the European Union.

For further information, click here.


London conference set to examine the future of cities

A conference on tackling the economic and environmental problems faced by cities will be held in ICLEI member city London (United Kingdom) this February. The Future of Cities: Centres of Innovation for Urban Solutions is organised by Chatham House and aims to address the issues faced by fast growing urban areas.

Practical advice will be offered on a range of topics, from sustainability to strategic planning. The conference will also look at low carbon growth as a means to drive recovery and examine whether local government power is strong enough to face the problems of modern cities. Questions of leadership and citizen participation will be discussed by speakers across the two days. These include high level representatives, such as Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, and David Miller, Former Mayor of ICLEI member city Toronto (Canada).

The event runs from 28 February – 1 March. Registration is still open, and ICLEI members can receive a discount by using the following promotional code when booking online: ICL2802.

For further information, click here.


Visionary values for sustainable cities at Global City 2011

Join the world's top urban planners, decision-makers, mayors and international media at Global City 2011, in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). Global City 2011 runs from 15-17 March and is a unique international forum where public and private leaders can share sustainable urban strategies. ICLEI members can register with a 50 percent discount when they quote the code GC11IC50.

The fifth edition of the event will focus on the integral role of values and identity in shaping successful, sustainable cities. The conference programme, reflects the Abu Dhabi model of sustainability for cities, covering the four pillars of sustainable development: environment, culture, society, economy. These four pillars have been summarised under the overarching title “Visionary Values for Sustainable Cities”.

The event will be a platform to share experiences and expertise from Asian, European, Middle East and North American emblematic cities. Highlights include an opening keynote speech by Dr Jacques Attali on Cities and Economic Growth, the Leaders’ Panel – with mayors and CEOs from world cities discussing what it means to build a city identity, and master classes with expert advisors on the role of branding and culture for city growth and prosperity. ICLEI is co-organising the plenary session on Transforming Cities, and Regional Director of the ICLEI European Secretariat, Gino Van Begin will speak at the event and facilitate the Leaders Summit session on Social Infrastructure.

For further information, click here.



11. Event reminders



The Future of Cities: Centres of Innovation for Urban Solutions
28 Feburary – 1 March 2011, London (United Kingdom)



Resilient Cities 2011, 2nd World Congress on Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change
3 – 5 June 2011, Bonn (Germany)



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


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: information.services@iclei.org

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

Comments and questions are welcome - please write to Sean Carroll at information.services@iclei.org, Leopoldring 3, 79098 Freiburg, Germany,Tel: +49-761/36 89 2-0, www.iclei-europe.org.


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: membership.services@iclei.org.


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


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