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 ICLEI in Europe News

   July 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

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In this issue:

  1. Member News
  2. Innovation and inspiration in Brussels
  3. Learn how to make sustainable urban mobility work at CIVITAS workshop
  4. Green buildings the focus at Local Renewables 2011
  5. ICLEI’s Local Action Counter passes 500 cities mark
  6. ICLEI releases handbook on adapting urban water systems for climate change
  7. C40 and ICLEI announce global standard for emissions reporting
  8. Commission launches search for European Green Capital 2014
  9. Resilient Cities 2011 advocates climate adaptation funding reform
  10. Get the latest urban freight news from the second Trailblazer newsletter
  11. Book of the month
  12. New events
  13. Event reminders

1. ICLEI Member News

Águeda Environment & Sustainability Week showcases Local Agenda 21 concepts

The city of Águeda (Portugal) presented its official application for ICLEI membership at a ceremony that took place during its Environment & Sustainability Week at the beginning of June. The week focused on a variety of topics, encompassing the social, economic and environmental components of sustainability. ICLEI’s Ruud Schuthof spoke at the event, addressing participants on urban sustainability.

In preparation for its ICLEI membership, Águeda follows a strategy based on the tenets of Local Agenda 21, a UN initiative that facilitates sustainable development at community level. A number of events took place during Environment & Sustainability Week, including activities for schools, workshops on sustainable consumption and visits to examples of sustainability in practice across Portugal.

The week also saw the launch of an electric bikes pilot project. In addition, the city has opened an application process for an award recognising the best sustainable project proposals, called the Águeda 21 award. Both individuals and organisations can apply for the award, which will finance local actions for sustainable development.

For further information, click here. [In Portuguese]

Study shows German cities among most sustainable in Europe

A recent study has found that German cities, including ICLEI members Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Hannover and Heidelberg, rank among the most environmentally sustainable in Europe. The study, commissioned by Siemens from the independent research institute Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked ten of the twelve German cities examined "above average", when compared to their international and European counterparts.

German cities show particularly strong performances in the areas of environmental strategies, water, recycling and energy-efficient buildings. The study also found that despite differences in income and population, all cities performed similarly. This was attributed to federal German legislation and a high level of environmental awareness amongst German citizens.

However, the cities fall down in the areas of CO2 output and renewable energy use, which perform poorly against European averages. Today, three-quarters of all Germans live in cities – a number expected to be ten percent higher by 2050.

For further information, click here.

Zagreb launches online carpooling scheme

ICLEI member Zagreb (Croatia) has introduced an online application giving users the chance to arrange carpooling schemes with other users. The application is the first of its kind in the city and the website was designed by the Zagreb Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences, as part of its CIVITAS activities.

The idea behind the web application, named Autozasve (Car-for-all), is to create a recognisable, user-friendly system that the citizens of Zagreb will actually want to use. Carpooling has the potential to significantly reduce the impact of motor vehicles on the environment, as well as reducing congestion and noise pollution. The website also caters for companies, who are encouraged to use the application for commuting employees.

To view the application, click here.

Mayor of London launches Cycle Challenge

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London (United Kingdom), is encouraging citizens to sign up for the London Cycle Challenge. Friends, families, work colleagues and schools can organise teams and challenge others to see who accumulates the most miles. Points are awarded for miles cycled and the winners receive a prize.

Mayor Johnson said, “As part of my ongoing work to create a 'cyclised' London, the challenge is out there every year to teams to take part in this terrific event. With bragging rights at stake I would urge all teams that have not already registered to do so by the start date and give themselves the best chance of victory.”

Thousands are already taking part in the event, which runs from 18 June to 15 July 2011. New entrants can still join by visiting the Cycle Challenge website. The challenge is run by Transport for London and registration is free for anyone living, studying or working in London. Last year over 10,000 cyclists participated.

For further information, click here.

2. Innovation and inspiration in Brussels

The ICLEI European Convention takes place from 12-14 September 2011 and is set to be a diverse event with over 20 plenary and parallel sessions, more than 80 speakers, special events, workshops, exhibits, and more. Plenary session highlights include contributions by Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, Keith Whitmore, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, H.E. Sonam Tobden Rabgye, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bhutan to Belgium and the European Union and Christophe Bouvier, UNEP’s Regional Director for Europe.

The Convention provides an opportunity for local leaders and other stakeholders to connect locally, nationally and globally with innovative ideas and thinkers. On day two of the Convention the relevance of the Europe 2020 strategy at the local level will be discussed in parallel sessions with a view to examining the transformations needed to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive cities. Participants will discuss and share ideas, experiences, and information on Water, Energy, Quality of Life, Digital Democracy, Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity, Resilience and Building Design & Construction.

The morning sessions will focus on political discussions, whilst the afternoon sessions will look into practical and technical challenges and solutions. A Mayors Session, organised by the City of Rotterdam and ICLEI, will also take place in the afternoon. This closed-door meeting is upon invitation only. The Mayors Session will offer the opportunity to discuss political messages calling for the recognition of local governments in the implementation of the EU 2020 Strategy.

For further information on these sessions, click here.

3. Learn how to make sustainable urban mobility work at CIVITAS workshop

The new EC White Paper for Transport 2011 outlines ambitious initiatives to ensure a 60 percent cut in Europe’s transport emissions by 2050. CIVITAS cities have implemented many ambitious strategies to meet this target, and a results workshop for local authorities’ transport experts will take place on 13 September 2011 in Brussels, in parallel with the ICLEI European Convention 2011: Cities in Europe 2020 - Enhance Sustainability Now!

The full-day workshop aims to give participants an insight into innovative, sustainable, urban solutions tested through CIVITAS, particularly in the areas of safety and security and collective passenger transport. Participants will learn what pioneer cities have achieved and how, and will gain the knowledge to replicate these measures in their own cities.

The workshops will be an interactive mix of presentations and discussions, with participants encouraged to engage with the speakers. It is the first workshop in a series of four.

To register, contact

4. Green buildings the focus at Local Renewables 2011

Registration is now open for Local Renewables 2011: Green Buildings and the Future of Urban Development. This conference takes place from 27-28 October 2011 and is a must for those interested in the design, construction and urban planning of low energy buildings. The conference will explore current developments and challenges in rolling out renewable energy in sustainable buildings, both from a technological and city perspective. The city of Freiburg (Germany) will host the conference.

Recognising that a holistic approach is needed to create low-energy buildings and districts, the event is aimed at decision-makers, architects, engineers and urban planners – all play a vital role when planning, designing and constructing green buildings and urban areas. The conference offers practical, relevant information from experts, workshop opportunities to discuss and exchange, and great study tours for practical examples.

The focus is not solely on new buildings, but also on renovation of existing building stock – an important topic in many European cities and towns today.  Energy efficiency, the integration of renewable energy solutions and solar design will be explored, linked to the overall aim of making communities carbon neutral.

For further information, click here.

5. ICLEI’s Local Action Counter passes 500 cities mark

Over 500 cities from around the world have registered with ICLEI’s Local Action Counter, each city joining a growing list of urban areas working towards a sustainable future. This global initiative seeks to show world leaders that cities are key to getting our planet back on track and building a just, sustainable and secure future for all. The tool also counts down the days until the Rio+20 conference, as a reminder of the urgent need to take action.

Tallinn (Estonia), Cape Town (South Africa), Kiev (Ukraine) and Buenos Aires (Argentina) are present in the counter, along with cities from over fifty countries. Europe is by far the best represented continent in the counter and Spain the best represented country, followed by the United Kingdom. To be a success the counter needs to be truly international, and nations in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas are encouraged to get going and add their cities. Registering a city is easy and can be completed in seconds.

Websites and blogs can embed the counter in a matter of moments and give cities more opportunities to be added. The Rio+20 conference takes place from 4-6 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and aims to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development. ICLEI is acting as Local Authority Major Group Organizing Partner,coordinating the input and participation of local authorities at the conference. 

To register your city, click here.

6. ICLEI releases handbook on adapting urban water systems for climate change

ICLEI, UNESCO-IHE and IWA have written a handbook on adapting urban water systems to climate change, as part of the ‘SWITCH – Managing Water for the City of the Future’ project. While a wealth of information is available on various adaptation topics, there is a lack of guidance for local authority decision-makers working on urban water issues who wish to proactively prepare for and adapt to climate change. This handbook fills this gap.

The publication examines some of the key areas of vulnerability to climate change within urban water systems. Urban water systems can be affected by many manifestations of climate change; for example, droughts can affect water supply directly and indirectly, higher temperatures can lead to deterioration of wastewater pipes. Increased heavy rainfall can cause sewer overflows. The handbook then proposes flexible and future-oriented urban water planning as a means to address climate change and implement adaptation actions.

Finally, the handbook presents case studies of cities throughout the world that have already planned for adaptation or implemented specific actions aiming at increasing their resilience to climate change.

For further information, click here.

7. C40 and ICLEI announce global standard for emissions reporting

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and ICLEI will together establish a global standard for accounting and reporting community-scale greenhouse gas emissions. The announcement was made at the C40 Cities Mayors Summit in Sao Paulo (Brazil) and will provide the organisations with the ability to analyse and report emissions. This will fulfil national monitoring and reporting requirements and allow local governments to compare their progress in relation to other cities.

C40 Chair, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, said “Cities of all sizes play an important role in combating the impact of climate change. Establishing a single global standard for reporting greenhouse gas emissions will empower local governments to accelerate their actions and also allow them to access funding for mitigation and adaptation projects.”

Currently there are a number of different standards used by local governments to measure and report emissions, with many resorting to establishing their own methodologies. This variation in standards has lead to inconsistencies in reporting, lessening the ability of local governments to act on emissions information. The new global standard will alleviate this problem and help cities meet climate targets.

For more information, click here.

8. Commission launches search for European Green Capital 2014

Applications for the prestigious European Green Capital Award 2014 are now open. The award recognises and rewards cities for incorporating environmental projects and schemes, and encourages cities to commit to ambitious goals for the future. Those applying can follow in the footsteps of ICLEI members Stockholm (Sweden), Hamburg (Germany),Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) and Nantes (France), all recipients of the title.

European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik says, “The European Green Capital Award is a powerful incentive to help convince local authorities that sustainable urban development is the key to a successful future. I am looking forward to receiving new applications from all over Europe showing how investing in environmental protection can be combined with economic growth and improved wellbeing.”

Cities can apply via an online application form and the deadline for applications for the 2014 title is 14 October 2011. ICLEI has been a member of the jury for the previous two years, which is supported by a panel of renowned experts in different environmental fields. The winner will be announced in June 2012. 

For further information, click here.

9. Resilient Cities 2011 advocates climate adaptation funding reform

The Resilient Cities 2011 conference concluded that to cover the shortfall of finance for urban adaptation, there needs to be a change in global financing systems from the current top-down approach to a locally orientated demand-driven approach. A white paper on Financing the Resilient City was launched at the conference, which took place in Bonn (Germany) from 3-5 June 2011. The paper identifies shortfalls in the global funding structure for adaptation, and sets out innovative ways to overcome them.

The European Partnership for Integrated Sustainability Management was also launched at the conference. This Europe-wide initiative consists of several National Training Hubs in different countries throughout the EU-27, made up of organisations capable of training other cities or regions. During the Launch ceremony five new organisations were welcomed to the partnership: SES efficiency, Observatory for Sustainability, Sendzimir Foundation Poland, Forum of Adriatic and Ionian Cities and the regional training center for local public administration Sibiu.

Over 30 mayors discussed the adaptation and financing challenges that their cities are facing at the Mayors Adaptation Forum, with Andrew Steer of the World Bank, Christiana Figueres of the UNFCCC, UN-HABITAT’s Joan Clos and Michel Liès of SwissRe.

For further information, click here.

10. Get the latest urban freight news from the second Trailblazer newsletter

The second edition of the bi-annual Trailblazer Newsletter has been released, covering a range of issues around Delivery and Servicing Plans (DSPs) and urban freight transport in Europe. The June edition looks at the DSP enacted by the London Borough of Sutton (United Kingdom), features the views of transport expert Steve Steele on DSPs in London, and provides a step-by-step guide to creating a DSP to make freight transport more efficient for municipalities. The newsletter also contains its usual mix of news, events, policy updates, and resources.

Registrations are being taken for the second TRAILBLAZER Delivery and Servicing Plan Workshop, which will be held in Borlänge (Sweden) on 6 October 2011. The workshop will provide an update on approaches, practices and experiences in developing and implementing DSPs and related measures since the start of the project. To receive more information on opportunities to participate in the project contact

To view the newsletter, click here.

11. Book of the month

The Law of Green and Social Procurement in Europe

With public procurement accounting for some 2 trillion euros annually in the EU, the public sector exercises considerable power through awarding contracts. How can governments ensure their spending delivers on environmental and social objectives? Legal and administrative frameworks have traditionally focused on value for money and transparency. Meanwhile the EU Procurement Directives have aimed to open up public contracts to competition across the internal market. The challenge for local, regional and national authorities is to include environmental and social considerations when identifying the best tender and managing contracts.

This book is a welcome contribution to the literature in this field – presenting for the first time reports from a wide range of Member States with diverse approaches to sustainable public procurement (SPP). A number of key themes are addressed, such as how SPP criteria can be applied at the various stages of a tender procedure and what the legal requirements are. Eight country chapters examine SPP at the national level, and in several cases first-hand research has been done to quantify the extent to which SPP criteria are being applied in the country.

Only a handful of Member States are well known for their commitment to SPP, however the chapters from Romania and Poland highlight the efforts in newer Member States to meet this challenge. While a strong focus is placed on the legal aspects of procurement, several of the chapters are accessible to non-lawyers or those without specialist knowledge of procurement. The introduction provides a useful overview of the EU legal framework while a closing chapter offers insight into a comparative approach to examining procurement practice across Europe. This is a valuable reference source on the topic and provides a basis for future comparative scholarship on SPP.

Roberto Caranta/Martin Trybus (eds.) The Law of Green and Social Procurement in Europe, DJØF Publishing Copenhagen, 2010

12. New events

Stockholm World Water Week: get up to speed on the latest water solutions for cities

This year’s Stockholm World Water Week will focus on Water in an Urbanising World. Meet city colleagues and other international professionals to share the latest insights into water management and water-conscious urban planning and design, as well as other issues that form the current water debate. The conference will run from 21 - 27 August 2011.

Cities of the future, financing urban infrastructure, and water for sustainable urban growth are some of the themes up for discussion. One of the highlights of the conference will be the Mayors Panel on 22 August, which includes leaders from major urban centres on four continents, including the mayors of ICLEI members eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (South Africa) and Mexico City (Mexico). The panel will explore water in the context of planning, design, and governance of urban areas.

More details are available in the Second Announcement. Before registering ICLEI members should check the last Global Members Bulletin, which provides information on further incentives to participate in the event this year.

For further information, contact

13. Event reminders

21 – 28 August 2011, Stockholm (Sweden)

12 – 14 September 2011, Brussels (Belgium)

Changing the Energy System to Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency (RESS)

15 – 16 September 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 2011: Rio+20, local performance and the role of research

26 – 27 October 2011, Naples (Italy)

Local Renewables 2011: Green Buildings and Renewable Energ
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: Sean Carroll, Ailish O'Donoghue (responsible).

Comments and questions are welcome - please write to Sean Carroll 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.