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ICLEI in Europe News
November 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

  1. Member News
  2. Renovation, innovation and inspiration at Local Renewables 2011
  3. Put your city on the map in the run up to Rio+20
  4. New edition of Buying Green! Handbook available now
  5. Informed Cities Forum: cities and universities need each other
  6. SMART SPP project offers guidance on sustainable procurement
  7. European cities prove dedication to clean urban transportation solutions
  8. Agenda+ cities examine the future of urban sustainability
  9. Exploring and supporting sustainable energy partnerships
  10. Book of the month
  11. Event reminders

1. ICLEI Member News

Eight ICLEI members in the running for European Green Capital 2014          

ty of Nantes will be the 2012 Green CapitalNineteen cities from across the continent have entered the race to become the European Green Capital 2014. Eight of these are ICLEI members: Bristol and Newcastle (United Kingdom), Brussels (Belgium), Bursa (Turkey), Copenhagen (Denmark), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Tampere (Finland) and Zaragoza (Spain).

The award rewards local efforts to improve the environment, the economy and the quality of life in cities.  Each city will hope to emulate the achievements of previous winners, all ICLEI members. Europe’s first Green Capital was Stockholm (Sweden) in 2010, Hamburg (Germany) is the current title holder, the Spanish city of Vitoria-Gasteiz will inherit the title in 2012 and in 2013 the crown will be passed to Nantes (France).

The applications will now be evaluated by an expert panel based on 12 indicator areas and the winner will be announced at a prestigious award ceremony in June 2012.

For further information, click here.

ICLEI member Hannover comments on European Convention Declaration

Deputy Mayor of ICLEI member city Hannover (Germany) Hans MönninghofOn 14 September 2011, municipalities across Europe released the ICLEI European Convention Declaration, calling upon the EU to support local and regional authorities in their activities to implement the Europe 2020 Strategy. Using this declaration as a starting point, Deputy Mayor of ICLEI member city Hannover (Germany) Hans Mönninghof has described how he would like to see ICLEI and its members tackle additional important issues.

Mönninghof calls for stricter measures, including penalties for member states that fail to meet targets and strict regulation of fuel and energy consumption. He further advocates a withdrawal from nuclear energy and the introduction of stricter safety measures for nuclear sites. Mönninghof also believes that cities must give priority to conserving existing buildings rather than building new ones and calls for adequate state funding for this.

A move away from the privatisation of energy and water to a communal utility system, where sustainable development takes priority over profit, also forms part of Mönninghof’s vision. Finally, he is critical of certain aspects of EU policy in the area of climate protection, namely the funding of biofuel for cars and the storage of CO₂ from coal plants. Members interested in exploring these ideas further can contact: or ICLEI Regional Director for Europe, Gino Van Begin:

To view the comments in full, click here.

Montpellier honoured as French Capital of Biodiversity

ICLEI member city Montpellier (France) has been named the French Capital of Biodiversity 2011. A dynamic city with over 250,000 inhabitants, Montpellier boasts numerous green areas and a wide variety of flora and fauna.

One of the many exciting initiatives being undertaken by the municipality is the development of a guidance framework that seeks to continuously improve the city’s planning and development from an environmental and social viewpoint. Furthermore, Montpellier is committed to the creation of a 42km Green Network linking the city’s natural areas.

The LIFE+ European Biodiversity Capitals project, in which ICLEI is a partner, is run in five European countries: Germany, Slovakia, France, Hungary and Spain. ICLEI member Hannover (Germany) and Puebla de Sanabria (Spain) have already been honoured, with the remaining two winners to be announced. Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, will officially award the winners of the Capitals of Biodiversity competition during the next ICLEI Breakfast at Sustainability’s event on 24 November 2011.

For further information, click here.

Agueda’s e-bicycle project takes off

Copyright: CIVITASThe be Agueda electric bicycle project was launched by ICLEI member city Agueda (Portugal) last year. The project aims to encourage citizens to pick up more eco-friendly mobility habits, thereby reducing CO₂ emissions and freeing up public areas previously subject to traffic congestion.

Lord Mayor of Agueda, Gil Nadais Resente da Fonseca, has called for support for similar projects, saying, “urban mobility projects dealing specifically with bicycle usage should receive more visibility and financial support at national and European level, mainly due to their impacts on health, on the environment and consequently on the quality of life”.

The initiative, undertaken thanks to a generous contribution by the European Regional Development Fund, has proven an outstanding success so far and local police have even taken to using the bikes in their daily patrols. The number of vehicles on the streets has also dropped, with the local bike manufacturing industry receiving a much-needed boost.

For further information, click here.


Exploring opportunities to enhance urban sustainability in Turku

City of TurkuSustainability experts from six multinational companies have developed a report identifying opportunities to enhance urban sustainability in ICLEI member city Turku (Finland). Collaborating under the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Urban Infrastructure Initiative, it marks the first time a city has worked with global businesses to achieve sustainability goals. ICLEI Europe helped to facilitate the initiation of the process and will carry out this role again in future collaborations with the WBCSD.

Turku’s Deputy Mayor in charge of infrastructure, Mr Jarkko Virtanen said, “We have ambitious sustainability targets and this strategic, early-stage collaboration has helped us see how to achieve our vision. Sustainability cuts across different departments and working with companies from several sectors has helped us make the necessary connections and find the right solutions.”

The Urban Infrastructure Initiative team and Turku city officials debated various energy saving initiatives in a series of workshops, which resulted in the identification of three broad areas where businesses could provide expertise to support the city’s ambitious goals: city centre development, land use and energy.

To view the report, click here.

2. Renovation, innovation and inspiration at Local Renewables 2011

Peter Odermatt speaks about district heating and coolingLocal Renewables 2011 concluded on 28 October following two days of intense discussions and debates about green buildings and renewable energy. The conference was opened by Gino Van Begin, Regional Director for ICLEI Europe who explained that the topic is more pressing than ever. “It is important to acknowledge that today buildings use up to 40 percent of all energy consumed in the European Union and account for 36 percent of Europe’s CO2 emissions.”

Mr. Dieter Wörner, Director, Environment Protection Authority, City of Freiburg spoke on behalf of the host city saying, “We have chosen to talk about local concepts, because it is mainly cities and local organisations, which have to find answers locally and make their contribution locally. Above all, effective climate protection is a task of the communities, of the environmental organisations and of every citizen.”

The event brought together local and regional decision-makers, representatives of the European institutions, urban planners, industry representatives, architects and business from more than 20 different countries. Examples of innovative solutions to energy efficiency problems in buildings, district heating and cooling initiatives and zero emissions districts were shared by cities such as Aberdeen (Scotland), Copenhagen (Denmark), Växjö (Sweden) and London (UK).

For further information, click here.

3. Put your city on the map in the run up to Rio+20

With the Rio+20 Conference fast approaching, it is vital that local governments worldwide take a stand and reaffirm their leadership in implementing sustainable development. Acting as Local Authority Major Group organising partner, ICLEI ensures that local governments are being represented in the global preparatory process.

ICLEI launched the Local Action Counter in June, a simple tool aiming to create a global map of local sustainability initiatives. Today there are over 1,800 cities from 129 countries registered, with new cities being added every day. Anyone can add one or more cities in less than a minute. With one click, information about the counter can be shared on Facebook or Twitter.

As the Counter grows, so too does the number of exciting features that allow users to compare the number of entries in different regions and countries. In the coming months, ICLEI will publish a global Local Sustainability 2012 study and organise several events, ahead of and in parallel to the Rio+20 Conference.

For further information, click here.

4. New edition of Buying Green! Handbook available now

Copyright: DreamstimeOver 2 trillion Euros is spent on public contracts on a yearly basis in the EU, translating to 19 percent of its GDP. ICLEI has been working on new guidance produced by the European Commission on green public procurement (GPP) which will help public authorities to reduce their environmental impact, while complying with the procurement rules. The result is the new edition of the Buying Green! Handbook.

The Handbook identifies strategies for GPP, and explains in detail how these can be implemented at each stage of the procurement process. It is intended for public sector procurers but is also a useful reference for policy makers and businesses who are either implementing their own green purchasing or responding to tenders.

In addition to explaining how GPP can be implemented under the EU procurement rules, the Handbook includes examples of green contracts from across the EU-27. The resource has been fully updated from the previous 2004 edition and includes expanded sections on life-cycle costing (LCC) and the construction, timber, electricity and food and drink sectors. A shorter summary document has also been prepared by ICLEI.

To access both documents, click here.

5. Informed Cities Forum: cities and universities need each other

Participants in discussion at the Informed Cities ForumThe second Informed Cities Forum concluded on 27 October in Naples (Italy), where it was reaffirmed that cities and researchers go together like mozzarella and tomatoes in an Italian pizza. Opened by the Mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, the conference brought together over 150 local government representatives and researchers from 26 countries, showcasing excellent examples of ongoing cooperation and posing pertinent questions about the future of cities.

The participants brought knowledge and experience and have several opportunities to take centre stage thanks to a variety of interactive tools and formats, such as live voting and a world café. The contributions from selected high-level speakers, including Nicholas You, Chair of World Urban Campaign and former UN-HABITAT Advisor and Dr. Joe Ravetz, Director of Centre for Urban & Regional Ecology at the University of Manchester, delved deeper into the concept of sustainable urbanisation and the city, calling for a transition towards intelligent cities.

From lunch lectures at Tilburg City Hall (Netherlands) to sustainable construction projects in Zaragoza (Spain), the partnerships between cities and universities are building blocks for local sustainable development. With a growing number of European schemes for local sustainability, cities increasingly turn to researchers looking for advice and experience rooted in the local context. How to make this cooperation happen? The Informed Cities initiative has the answer to both this and many more questions

For further information, click here.

6. SMART SPP project offers guidance on sustainable procurement

Faced with the challenge of shrinking budgets and strict CO₂ reduction targets, public bodies across Europe are recognising the need to dramatically change their purchasing practices. ICLEI coordinated the European SMART SPP project focusing on innovation through sustainable procurement, which emphasised the value of engaging with potential suppliers.

The project, which came to an end in August 2011, developed new guidance for public authorities on how to make the most of their spending power. This includes a tool to calculate life-cycle costs and CO₂ emissions of products and a collection of case studies that show how to use procurement effectively.

ICLEI member Kolding (Denmark) is an example of a municipality putting sustainability into action through its procurement. Earlier this year, the council led a joint multi-city purchase of innovative energy efficient office lighting, generating an impressive €2.5 million in savings. Kolding’s engagement with the market before going out to tender was instrumental in securing the deal.

For further information, click here.

7. European cities prove dedication to clean urban transportation solutions

Winners of the CIVITAS Award Copyright: CIVITASThe CIVITAS Forum Conference in Funchal (Portugal) came to a close on 19 October 2011, following three days of exchange between politicians, urban transport experts and representatives of many European cities. The highlight of the event was the announcement of the winners of the CIVITAS Awards.

Utrecht (Netherlands) and Ghent (Belgium) were announced as the victors thanks to their efforts to implement ambitious transport policies and engage the public. Awards were named in three categories: City of the Year, Technical Innovation and Public Participation. Utrecht was named City of the Year, and also took honours in the Technical Innovation category. Ghent was the winner in the Public Participation category.

Now in its ninth edition, the CIVITAS Awards are given to cities that demonstrate ambitious urban transport activities, programmes or policies supporting cleaner and better city transportation. At the closing plenary in Funchal, ICLEI member and European Green Capital 2012, Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), was unveiled as the host of next year’s forum. Since 2002, CIVITAS, in which ICLEI is a partner, has facilitated the sharing of best practice among more than 200 European cities.

For further information, click here.

8. Agenda+ cities examine the future of urban sustainability

Meeting in Brussels in September 2011, the agenda+ cities explored the future of urban sustainability, both at a local and global level. The discussions revolved around the opportunities and difficulties related to introducing innovation, as well as the positive role of crisis, both economic and environmental, in opening people’s minds to new, radical solutions.

To kick-start the exchange, Derk Loorbach from the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions, explained how transitions occur and how cities can accelerate the process. Domenico Rossetti di Valdalbero from the Directorate General for Research and Innovation looked at the development of European Forward Looking Activities over the years. Also up for discussion was the response of cities to these global trends. Silvia Hesse from Hannover (Germany) presented the city’s Transition Town movement, focusing on its bottom-up approach.

Risto Veivo from Turku (Finland) then showed how the city’s municipal budget integrates sustainability objectives into the daily work of city departments. Emanuela Gastaldi (Cittalia), representing Bologna (Italy) presented the city’s climate adaptation initiative, based on an innovative public-private partnership model. agenda+ is a local sustainability leaders network bringing together local governments that have advanced experience in local sustainability policies and processes.

For further information, click here.

9. Exploring and supporting sustainable energy partnerships

MAKE IT BE logoSpeaking at the final conference of the Ben, BioEnerGIS and MAKE-IT-BE projects, Giulio Volpi – DG Energy, Renewable Energy Policy affirmed that, "regions will play a key role in promoting sustainable biomass production and streamlining permitting procedures for bioenergy plans." Local and regional policy makers from across Europe and representatives from EU institutions took part in the event that took place in Brussels (Belgium) on 5 October 2011.

ICLEI is a partner in the MAKE-IT-BE initiative which focuses on decision-making and implementation tools for the delivery of local and regional bioenergy chains. Project coordinator Maria Grazia Tommasini believes, “Biomass has become a significant and reliable renewable energy source. It is inherently a local fuel choice and there are significant supply chain challenges in making this form of energy available to local communities. We are proud to have developed practical guidance to support the roll-out of bioenergy partnerships.”

For further information, click here.

10. Book of the month

Powering the GREEN ECONOMY – The feed-in tariff handbook

Powering the green economyEffective policy is vital for the move towards a green economy, for the creation of new jobs and industries, for securing energy supplies and for safeguarding the climate and environment. As renewable energy is vital to achieving these objectives it needs to be driven by innovative policies.

A feed-in tariff is an effective tool to accelerate the transition towards a fair and innovative low-carbon economy. It allows anyone to sell renewable energy into the grid and get a long term, guaranteed return. However, this can only be achieved through sound policy design and adequate implementation. This publication explores technical, social and political issues involved in the process as well as effective design and other support schemes.

It presents a blueprint for campaigning successfully for feed-in tariffs and offers a compilation of further resources. The case studies from around the globe clearly illustrate that feed-in tariffs are among an array of smart and effective market mechanisms. Written in a clear, practical style, this book is an interesting read that could prove very useful for all levels of government.

M Mendonça, D Jacobs and B Sovacool Earthscan London 2010 ISBN: 978-1-84407-857-8 

11. Event reminders

Eco-Region conference
16 November 2011, Gdynia (Poland)

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

Breakfast at Sustainability’s
24 November 2011, Brussels (Belgium)

Landmarken Setzen/Creating Landmarks
1 December, Munich (Germany)

Durban Local Government Convention
2 - 4 December 2011, Durban (South Africa)

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: Angela Kennedy, Ailish O'Donoghue, Ciara Leonard (responsible).

Comments and questions are welcome - please write to Angela Kennedy 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.