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 ICLEI in Europe News

   March 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. Commissioner for the Environment to speak at ICLEI European Convention 2011
  3. Eighth Breakfast at Sustainability’s to take place in Brussels
  4. Capitals of Biodiversity competition opens in France and Hungary
  5. Bidding opens for 7th European Sustainable Cities and Towns Conference
  6. Sustainable NOW made official partner of Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign
  7. Fifth edition of SMART SPP newsletter out now
  8. Energy efficiency reports focus on Eastern European municipalities
  9. European Week for Waste Reduction invites public authorities to get involved
  10. Submissions open for European Energy Service Awards
  11. New UN panel to advise on biodiversity protection
  12. Report focuses on European cities’ vulnerability to climate change impacts
  13. Public consultation on EU procurement strategy launched
  14. Book of the month
  15. New Events
  16. Events Reminder



1. ICLEI Member News

Call for electric car testers receives huge response in Aalborg

More than 700 individuals and families have signed up to test out ten new electric cars in ICLEI member city Aalborg (Denmark). The two year long test is being carried out as part of the CIVITAS Initiative in co-operation with private company ChoosEV. CIVITAS is a European Commission initiative that promotes and implements sustainable, clean and energy efficient transport measures. ICLEI supports the CIVITAS Initiative as partner in the communication and dissemination of the Initiative and its results.

Out of the 700 persons or families that applied 80 will be invited to test one of the cars. The aim of the project is to gather information on the situations when the electric cars are useful and to find out when other alternatives are more appropriate. The information gathered by the City of Aalborg will then contribute to policies on electric vehicles at a European level.

The first ten drivers will be given their cars on 5 March. Each group of ten will have the cars for a period of three months, before they are handed over to the next set of testers. The ten electric cars come from manufacturers Peugeot, Mitsubishi and Citroën.

For further information, click here.

Cascais involves manufacturers to lower street light energy use

In an effort to purchase as sustainable street lighting as possible, ICLEI member Cascais (Portugal) undertook a marketing engagement process to discuss energy efficiency possibilities with manufacturers. Eleven light emitting diodes (LED) suppliers responded and talked with the local Environment and Procurement departments about environmental product characteristics and the opportunities available for increased sustainable product innovation.

The information gathered contributed to the sustainability requirements in the streetlights tender document. Included in the tender are requirements on the level of toxic substances in the lights, requirements on the recyclability of the parts used and requirements on the overall energy efficiency of the lights. Eco-design and life-cycle costing are also outlined. By implementing the new lighting system Cascais expects to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 34,600 kg per year.

In 2005, energy consumption for public lighting in Cascais represented 79 percent of total electricity consumed by the local government (for public infrastructure). Cascais’ Local Energy Agency decided to lower this percentage and joined the European project Public Procurement boosts Energy Efficiency and engaged with SMART SPP. SMART SPP encourages market engagement between public authority procurers and suppliers, and developers of innovative products and services. It is an initiative of the Procura+ Campaign which is run by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and designed to help support public authorities across Europe in implementing Sustainable Procurement.

For further information, click here.

Video highlights European Bus System of the Future project

The European Commission’s Greentransport-TV has produced a video on the achievements of the European Bus System of the Future (EBSF) research project, highlighting the innovative bus service improvements in ICLEI member city Madrid (Spain) and Rouen (France).

In Madrid commuters can now access real time information about the arrival and departure times of suburban buses, urban buses and the metro thanks to a new integrated information system. The idea is to allow commuters to easily coordinate different methods of transport within the same journey, with the overall aim of getting people to switch from private vehicles to public transport. In Rouen barriers have been removed so that the disabled can more easily board buses.

Public authorities will be able to use the results of the project to adapt the ideas and technologies to their own communities. The EBSF is one of the largest surface transport research and development projects ever undertaken by the European Union, with 47 partners involved in the scheme.

For further information, click here.



2. Commissioner for the Environment to speak at ICLEI European Convention 2011

Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, has been confirmed as a key note speaker at the ICLEI European Convention 2011. On 12 September 2011, during the opening plenary, the commissioner will address attendees on the advancement of European local sustainability in the context of the EU2020 strategy, looking beyond GDP for a resource and an energy efficient Europe. UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, has also been confirmed as an official endorser of the event.

The convention will be held in Brussels (Belgium) from 12 – 14 September and promises to be an important and rewarding experience for local governments, business leaders and interested stakeholders. It is an opportunity for ICLEI members to come together to tackle the most pressing sustainability issues facing their societies in the surroundings of one of Europe’s most impressive cities. The primary question of the conference is, should Europe change its focus from "growth" to enhancing sustainability, or are these concepts compatible? This question will frame debates and discussions.

The title of this year's conference is Cities in Europe 2020 - Enhance Sustainability Now!, reflecting the urgency of the issue. Participants will have the opportunity to network with representatives from the European Commission, European Parliament, Committee of the Regions and many more institutions based in Brussels. There will also be the chance to explore the Hamburg European Green Capital 2011 “Train of Ideas”, an interactive exhibition promoting innovative green ideas on its stop-over in Belgium. Registration for the conference is available here.

For further information, click here.



3. Eighth Breakfast at Sustainability’s to focus on sustainable meetings in Brussels

Over 60,000 registered meetings and events take place in Brussels (Belgium) every year, most of which can be made more sustainable, however due to a lack of information many organisers are unsure of how to do so. The upcoming Breakfast at Sustainability’s (B@S) seminar will address this, focusing on how to organise sustainable meetings and events in the Belgian capital.

The conference is the eighth in ICLEI’s early morning sustainability series, and will take place at the Brussels Europe Liaison Office (BELO) on 6 April 2011. Breakfast at Sustainability’s are small informal meetings between representatives of regional and local governments that address the issue of sustainable urban development and the actions required by local authorities to achieve it. April’s breakfast will focus on the issue of greening meetings and events and will present concrete examples and guidelines on the different way to reduce the environmental impact of gatherings in the heart of the European Union. Following ICLEI’s experience with the UNEP Green Meeting Guide, a practical guideline will be developed for the 8th B@S with the financial contribution of BELO. The guideline will touch upon different areas of sustainable organisation, such as communication (electronic communication preferred over print), catering (preference for local and seasonal food), management of resources and the corresponding production of waste (reduce, re-use, recycle) and much more.

The meetings follow the format of breakfast, a short address by an expert and then a moderated interactive discussion, followed by a networking lunch. Peter Defranceschi of the ICLEI Brussels office will act as moderator and participants will be addressed by speakers from the European Commission, ACR+ and the Brussels Convention Bureau. To register for the event free of cost email brussels-office@iclei.org by 1 April.

For further information, click here.



4. Capitals of Biodiversity competition opens in France and Hungary

The 2011 European Capitals of Biodiversity competition has officially been launched in France and Hungary. Cities across the two countries will compete in national competitions to find the municipality with the strongest commitment to preserving biodiversity. The European Capitals of Biodiversity project offers training workshops on different aspects of biodiversity, including ways to get citizens involved and the correlation between biodiversity loss and climate change.

In France, all municipalities with a population above 2,000 are eligible to take part, with the focus of this year’s competition on land use planning. The Hungarian competition’s focus is varied, ranging from planning instruments for biodiversity management, to green areas and water bodies, to PR environmental education. A new award will also be up for grabs this year - the best biodiversity project will have a professional tourist / environmental website developed to promote their municipality.

2010 competition winners include ICLEI member Grande-Synthe (France), and the City of Tata (Hungary). In Hungary another ICLEI member to receive honours was the City of Miskolc, which finished first in the category for above 100,000 inhabitants. The competition was launched earlier this year in Spain and Slovakia and is co-funded by LIFE+ and coordinated by Deutsche Umwelthilfe.

For further information, click here.



5. Bidding opens for 7th European Sustainable Cities and Towns Conference

The bidding process for the 7th European Sustainable Cities and Towns (ESCT) conference is now open. The prestigious conference is a mix of analysis, interaction, innovation and examples that attracted a record 1,800 participants last year. The core event runs for a maximum of three days, leaving the possibility for pre-events and side events open. The next host will join a list which includes previous host cities such as Lisbon (Portugal), Hannover (Germany) and Seville (Spain).

The conference will be held in 2013 and will build on the success of the 6th ESCT Conference, which took place in Dunkerque (France) in 2010. At the Dunkerque conference local governments presented two momentous political declarations that will continue to shape the role of local governments in years to come. The ESCT conference is the largest event in sustainability and has a major impact on sustainable policy throughout Europe. Potential host cities or co-funders are encouraged to review the Bidding Package and the Call for Interest for further information.

The event supports local governments in their efforts to implement the Aalborg charter and Aalborg commitments, and other local initiatives to increase their sustainability measures and promote sustainable action as a mainstream concern. Cities at the ESCT conference are often at the forefront of innovation and exemplary action in the field of sustainability.

For further information, contact events.europe@iclei.org.



6. Sustainable NOW made official partner of Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign

The Sustainable Energy Europe (SEE) Campaign, an initiative which showcases activities dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions, has welcomed Sustainable NOW as an official partner. Sustainable NOW is a three year project that acts to strengthen the role of local governments in guiding communities towards sustainability, focusing in the field of energy. City partners develop and implement local sustainable energy action plans, in line with the Covenant of Mayors Initiative and the EU’s 20/20/20 goal. ICLEI is one of fifteen European partners of Sustainable NOW.

Sustainable NOW’s innovative member projects helped it to secure a place as SEE partner. ICLEI member Woking Borough Council (United Kingdom), for example, implemented an array of progressive sustainability measures. The council held Energy Weeks to communicate energy issues to residents and enacted the Action Woking project, which encourages householders to improve the energy performance of their homes. The city of Bologna (Italy), also an ICLEI member, organised Cycling Towards Kyoto, an event promoting cycling as a form of sustainable transport involving about 3,000 people.

The Sustainable Energy Europe project aims to spread best practice in sustainable energy technology and inspire new energy ideas and actions in order to reach the objectives of the EU 2020 campaign. More than 1,200 organisations across Europe are involved in the campaign. The SEE gives organisations a chance to put their project in the spotlight, so that others may view and benefit from their experience.

For further information, click here.



7. Fifth edition of SMART SPP newsletter out now

SMART SPP, a European project which promotes the introduction of new, innovative low carbon emission technologies and integrated solutions, has launched the fifth edition of its newsletter, containing all of the latest SMART SPP member news from around Europe.

This edition looks at the Czech Republic and Hungary, the most recent countries to be trained to use the life-cycle costing and carbon dioxide emissions assessment tool (LCC-CO2 Tool), a new version of which will be available in May. Also featured is the Smart procurement - Reducing costs & saving energy conference. The conference will be held in Brussels (Belgium) on 29 June 2011 and will see European policy makers discuss how public purchasing can be used strategically to boost innovation and sustainability.

The newsletter also highlights the latest developments in the sustainable procurement activities of municipal and public authority partners from Spain, Denmark, Portugal and the United Kingdom. SMART SPP is part of the Procura+ Sustainable Procurement Campaign, an initiative established by ICLEI. The project involves experts from organisations across Europe and facilitates market engagement between public authority procurers and suppliers, and developers of new innovative products and services. To subscribe to the SMART SPP e-newsletter, click here.

For further information, click here.



8. Energy efficiency reports focus on Eastern European municipalities

Two reports have been produced as part of the project “Increasing energy efficiency of Chişinău and Sevastopol municipalities based on existing positive experience", focusing on making urban mobility more sustainable and on sustainable investment respectively. The production of these reports represents ICLEI Europe's expansion into Eastern Europe, and its commitment to helping local governments reach their sustainability targets across the continent.

The first report, Strategising sustainable urban mobility in EU neighbour countries, focuses on the need to invest in an efficient, integrated public transport system. It states that the need to act in the transport sector is imminent, as it lags behind others in its efforts to contribute to more resilient and sustainable cities, arguing that citizens need to be educated on the impact of their mobility choices and should be deterred from using cars through a "polluter-pays" scheme. Switching to sustainable transport will have a number of benefits, including better congestion levels, an increase in air quality and a positive impact on human health, the report says.

The other report, titled Report on criteria for sustainable investments in the cities of Chişinău and Sevastopol, looks at sustainable procurement strategies. It details ways in which applying sustainability criteria can lessen the environmental impact of the production and sale of goods. The report specifically focuses on street lights, insulation for buildings and transport circulation. The report also says that an effective procurement strategy can ultimately aid with other local goals, such as resource efficiency, economic stability and climate mitigation.

For further information, click here.



9. European Week for Waste Reduction invites public authorities to get involved

The third official European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) is inviting European public authorities to participate in the organisation of the event, which runs from 19 – 27 November 2011. The week promotes sustainable waste reduction actions and highlights the impact of consumption on the environment and on climate change across Europe.

Events will take place throughout the continent, with the overall aim of raising awareness of Member States and the European Union’s strategies and policies on waste reduction. Throughout the week a variety of actors, including associative networks, schools, universities, administrations, businesses, etc., will implement waste prevention actions focused on the different stages of a product cycle, ranging from production to consumption and reuse. Organisers will be expected to promote and coordinate the registration and validation of events carried out by interested stakeholders. As an organiser, local authorities will get an opportunity to discuss experiences and best practices with other countries, benefit from the media visibility resulting from participation in a European project, and have their municipality mentioned on the EWWR website.

The 2010 edition of the European Week for Waste Reduction saw more than 4,300 actions implemented in 22 European countries. The project is an initiative of the European Commission’s LIFE+ programme. To become an organiser, interested parties must complete and return the Organisers' Commitment Charter by email to contact@ewwr.eu.

For further information, click here.



10. Submissions open for European Energy Service Awards

Applications for the sixth European Energy Service Awards are open. The awards recognise and honour innovation in the creation, promotion and implementation of efficient energy services and projects. The awards aim to highlight the ability and openness of the public sector towards innovation and to provide outstanding examples for energy providers to follow.

There are three categories, Best Energy Service Promoter, Best Energy Service Provider and Best Energy Service Project. The first category recognises persons and institutions that have overcome barriers to promote energy services in Europe. The second focuses on energy service providers’ contribution to market development and the risks taken in achieving their aims, as well as examining technical innovations and the final category looks at energy projects in terms of replication potential, contribution to new market development, energy savings and environmental impact.

Intelligent Energy Europe and the Berliner Energieagentur are both official supporters of the award. The European Energy Service Initiative, an EU body which aims to improve energy service markets in Europe, created the award in 2005. Submission forms are available online, the closing date for entries is 29 April 2011.

For further information, click here.



11. New UN panel to advise on biodiversity protection

A new UN body is to be created early this year to advise governments on biodiversity loss and Ecosystem management. In December 2010 the UN General Assembly passed a resolution establishing the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The body is modelled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and will be staffed by environmental and sustainability experts. Its ultimate aim is to produce “gold-standard reports” to advise governments, and to offer “transformational policy options” on ecosystem protection and reversing biodiversity decline.

The EU has welcomed the creation of IPBES, stating that authoritative and peer-reviewed scientific information furnished by the body is needed to "increase public understanding and trigger better-informed decision-making to safeguard nature and ecosystems". EU environmental ministers also said that the elimination of subsidies that harm biodiversity should be implemented. The body will examine the link between biodiversity, ecosystems and economics.

The UN is currently looking at possible methods to integrate biodiversity into economic systems through its Green Economy initiative. ICLEI has also examined the link between biodiversity, ecosystems and economics, and contributed to the publication of various TEEB reports. The reports appraised the economic contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services to human well-being and advocated policies that reverse the loss of biodiversity. TEEB will also collaborate with Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB), an ICLEI project that helps local authorities manage and conserve biodiversity at a local government level.

For further information, click here.



12. Report focuses on European cities’ vulnerability to climate change impacts

The European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change, on behalf of the European Environment Agency (EEA), has produced a report on climate change titled Urban regions: vulnerabilities, vulnerability assessments by indicators and adaptation options for climate change impacts.


Co-authored by ICLEI, the study assesses the feasibility of developing climate change related, policy-relevant and scientifically‐sound vulnerability indicators. Vulnerability to climate change is a measure of possible future harm caused by climate change impacts. Vulnerability assessment by indicators has a number of different uses, such as raising awareness, determining allocations of money or other forms of support and measuring effectiveness of adaptation activities. This information helps to then inform investment decisions and structural policies.

Prior to this report, a structured information dataset to understand vulnerability to climate change across the EU was lacking. The report contains an overview of climate related vulnerabilities of European urban regions, an analysis of existing vulnerability indicators for different climatic threats, an overview of adaption activities in European cities, and recommendations for the development of vulnerability indicators. There is also an extensive annex listing past and current research projects related to vulnerability assessment and adaptation options of European cities. The study will be followed by a dedicated EEA report in early 2012.

For further information, click here.



13. Public consultation on EU procurement strategy launched

The European Commission is inviting citizens to give their suggestions on modernising EU procurement strategy. A public consultation was launched on 27 January with the publication of a Green Paper identifying potential areas for reform. The paper also includes 114 specific questions on procurement aimed at generating discussion and debate. This report will then be used to form the Commission’s draft legislative proposals.

One of the Commission’s main objectives is to use public procurement to support common societal goals, such as increasing environmental protection and fighting climate change. They also want to reduce red tape and ensure efficient competition can take place in the awarding of contracts. It is also important that in a time of economic austerity for many Member States, public procurement policy allocates public funds efficiently and supports growth and job creation.

It is hoped that the methods for meeting EU procurement criteria will be made more direct, more flexible and easier to understand. If uncertainty around the environmental procurement rules is dealt with then authorities may be more willing to consistently implement them. Submissions can address some or all of the questions raised and will be published on DG Internal Market’s website, where the Green Paper is also available. The deadline for submissions is 18 April 2011.

For further information, click here.



14. Book of the month


100% Renewable - Energy Autonomy in Action

Peter Droege introduces this collection of 17 essays by saying, “You cannot tackle climate change by trading, you have to actually do things”. The essays review the technical potential, policy and political paths that will lead the world to energy autonomy.

The focus is on topics such as policies, planning and practical implementation information for renewable transport, improving the housing stock, growing food in cities and raising a renewable family, amongst others. Innovative policies and practical programmes introduced in cities such as Munich and Masdar are shared. For environmental and sustainability staff in cities this book offers helpful advice on setting targets – including pursuing becoming 100 percent renewable as a practical goal.

For cities that no longer own the local energy infrastructure, and particularly for smaller communities, one essay addresses ideas such as the establishment of virtual utilities that allow the development of collective responsibility and raising income from energy efficiency savings and renewable energy production.

P. Droege (ed.), Earthscan, 2009, ISBN 9781844077182



15. New events


World Sustainable Energy Days conference to be held in March

Four separate conferences will be held from 2 – 4 March 2011 in Wels (Austria), titled “World Sustainable Energy Days”. World Sustainable Energy Days is the largest annual conference on the topic of sustainable energy in Europe. The conference covers energy efficiency and renewable energy sources for buildings, industry and transport, and presents the latest technology trends, outstanding examples and European strategies on the issue.

The event is organised by the O.O. Energiesparverband, an energy agency that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. As well as raising awareness of green technologies and the need for sustainable energy, the conference also offers an ideal opportunity for participants to establish new partnerships. Last year the conference attracted more than 750 participants from 51 countries. A number of high profile speakers will address the conference, including LR Rudi Anschober, Austrian Regional Minister for Energy and Michaela Holl, DG Energy policy officer with the European Commission.

Topics such as solar heating, European wood pellets and energy efficient building renovation will be discussed at the event. A series of networking meetings will also take place, along with a trade show. The conference languages are English and German, with some events available in Italian.

For further infomation, click here.


Stockholm World Water Week conference targets high-level decision makers

Responding to Global Changes - Water in an Urbanising World is the title of this year’s annual Stockholm World Water Week conference, taking place from 21 – 28 August 2011. Representatives from around the world will descend on the Swedish ICLEI member city to discuss the most pressing and important water-related issues. According to organisers this year’s conference is especially relevant for high-level decision makers.

Over 2,500 participants are expected to attend, including experts, practitioners, and business innovators. The conference is organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute and aims to foster new ideas, encourage innovative thinking and develop practical solutions to water challenges.

ICLEI is also committed to addressing water problems, and the organisation’s water programme helps local governments manage their water supplies sustainably, ensuring that the water and sanitation requirements of citizens are met. ICLEI promotes integrated and cyclical approaches to water management in order to reduce consumption and significantly decrease pollution to water resources. The ICLEI European Secretariat is currently developing training materials on Integrated Urban Water Management as part of the global project SWITCH – Managing Water for the City of the Future.

For further information, click here.



16. Event reminders


Global City Forum 2011
15 – 17 March 2011, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)



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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