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ICLEI in Europe News
December 2012

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

 Introduction Messages

  1. Member News
  2. European networks call for continued EU support of Intelligent Energy Europe programme
  3. Waste-less in Chianti project leads the way in waste reduction and prevention
  4. Socially just and eco-friendly energy - Germans shape Energiewende
  5. Data challenges survey for municipalities and energy suppliers launched 
  6. Training platform for local energy action planning launched
  7. Impact of urbanisation on biodiversity and ecosystem services assessed in new publication
  8. Cities hold the key to Doha Climate Gateway
  9. EU Commissioner endorses cities as vital actors in achieving EU objectives
  10. Guide on procuring sustainable construction now available
  11. Book of the month
  12. Events news
  13. Event calendar

Year in review with an eye towards 2013

The end of a remarkable year provides an excellent moment to thank you for the continuous collaboration that is the foundation of our work to advance sustainable local development in Europe and beyond.

The past year has shown that the perceived contradiction between environmental protection and economic development reappears on the political stage. Not surprisingly, economic ministers in the EU claim the need to cut back on environmental regulations as they allegedly form an obstacle for new industries and the creation of employment. It seems a more than doubtful approach trying to win the future with solutions from the past. Alternative approaches are however being explored within the opportunities a green or a sustainable economy may offer.

That is why ICLEI will put more effort into the green urban economy agenda and seek to explore ways to strengthen the local and regional economies on a sustainable path.  It is a key element of our new strategic plan that was launched at our World Congress at Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and which you should soon receive in its final version.

Examples of ICLEI’s involvement in a green urban economy are our long-standing Sustainable Public Procurement Programme, but also evolving processes around norms and standardisation for sustainable cities. Also, the next European Sustainable Cities and Towns Conference taking place in Geneva on 17-19 April 2013, will see green economy at the core of the programme.

We also continue our strong efforts during the COP process to lobby for better support for local and regional governments to combat climate change as well as our support for the cities committed to the Covenant of Mayors. With the consequences of climate change become increasingly visible, we have considerably strengthened our efforts in the field of adaptation to climate change and local resilience.  Other important and related fields of work are urban biodiversity and the challenges of urban transport and mobility.

The completion of our governance reform and the first election of a Regional Executive Committee were other big achievements in 2012. We are grateful for our highly engaged members of this Committee that have already undertaken various actions by representing ICLEI on various occasions.

Due to the nomination of our Regional Director, Gino Van Begin as successor to our Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann we are also facing organisational changes in the European Secretariat.  Following 10 years of shared leadership with Gino in my role as Executive and Managing Director, I will assume the role of the European Regional Director as of 1 January 2013. Gladly I will be supported by four strong and experienced Deputy Regional Directors, who will also reflect the broad thematic and strategic portfolios of the ICLEI European Secretariat. I am looking forward to the new joint leadership with my colleagues Mark Hidson, Stefan Kuhn, Holger Robrecht and Ruud Schuthof.

Together we are looking forward to continue our collaboration with you and wish you all a nice Christmas and a great 2013!

Wolfgang Teubner,
On behalf of the ICLEI European Secretariat.

Thank you message to Gino Van Begin

After more than ten years of leadership we have to say farewell to our European Regional Director Gino Van Begin, who will leave his position at the end of 2012 to take on the position of Secretary General of ICLEI. During these ten years Gino managed to continuously increase the visibility of ICLEI in Europe and beyond, and at the same time the ICLEI European Secretariat saw a continued growth.  He prepared the ground for the new office in Brussels that was opened in 2008 to foster the relationships with European Institutions.

Many of you will remember the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Conferences and the ICLEI European Conventions, that became memorable events not least due to his diplomatic guidance and skills.  In recent years Gino was active in the international climate negotiations and was leading the Local Government Climate Roadmap globally. This laid the ground for the next step in his career as ICLEI’s Secretary General.

We thank Gino for all his contributions and achievements, and especially for being a great colleague for all of us during all these years. We look forward to continue working with him and wish him well in his new position as Secretary General of ICLEI!

1. ICLEI Member News

Nantes takes over the European Green Capital torch

At a ceremony in Brussels (Belgium) on 29 November 2012 Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) handed over the European Green Capital torch to Nantes (France), who will carry it through 2013. During the event these two ICLEI members were acknowledged as outstanding examples of environmentally friendly urban living. Vitoria-Gasteiz was, amongst others, praised for its citizen engagement and education, whereas Nantes' work on water use, transport and green spaces was highlighted.

European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potocnik said it is "a title that brings with it great responsibility. The Award recognizes environmental best practices, including in the areas of local contribution to sustainable transport and land use, green urban areas, water consumption, and the fight against global climate change."

After Nantes in 2013, ICLEI member Copenhagen (Denmark) will be the European Green Capital in 2014. The ceremony also announced the applicants for the 2015 title: Bristol (UK), Brussels (Belgium), Bydgoszcz (Poland), Dublin (Ireland), Glasgow (UK), Kaunas (Lithuania), Kutahya (Turkey) and Ljubljana (Slovenia). The winner will be announced in June 2013 in Nantes.

For more information, click here.

Siena wins Environmental Best Practice at the LivCom Awards

The project “Siena Carbon Free 2015” has helped the Italian province to secure its first win for Environmental Best Practice at the international LivCom Awards. The project concerns the improvement of air quality, the mitigation of climate change, and the safeguarding of exhaustible natural resources, among other objectives.

The project aims to achieve zero CO2 emissions throughout the territory of Siena Province through the development of different actions, including increasing energy production from renewable sources, energy saving, best practices dissemination, and changing citizen behaviour. To absorb CO2, forests will be planted, protecting biodiversity and agricultural resources of the area.

Launched in 1997, the LivCom Awards are endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme, (UNEP), with which it shares a Memorandum of Understanding.  The LivCom awards are the only competition focusing on International Best Practice regarding the management of the local environment.

For more information, click here.

Berlin to go 100 percent renewable

A resolution has been passed in ICLEI Member Berlin (Germany) to buy its power supply back from the private sector and switch to renewable energy. As part of the resolution, a municipal utility will be founded under the direction of Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR), the city's waste authority, who has experience with photovoltaic and waste incineration energy generation.

The moves marks a stark reversal from the privatisation policies of the 1990s, which saw several public bodies sold to large corporations, resulting in water and power prices increasing. The citizens of Berlin strongly supported the city’s move to take over the power grid.

Sweden's Vattenfall currently provides power to the German capital. The new municipal utility would work towards a 100 percent renewable supply of energy starting with distributed cogeneration units whose efficiencies are at least 80 percent. The utility would also incorporate energy conservation and efficiency goals into its objectives. The state-owned company would take over the grid in 2015.

For more information, click here.

2. European networks call for continued EU support of Intelligent Energy Europe programme

An open letter released by a coalition of European networks has called on the European Union to continue to support the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme, a key funding instrument for climate and sustainable energy action. The letter comes in light of Horizon 2020, the new financial framework programme for funding research and innovation, which aims to simplify EU innovation funding instruments through homogenising current rules. ICLEI Europe, Eurocities, Climate Alliance, Energy Cities and Fedarene jointly published the letter.

The coalition calls for the IEE programme to be made a sub-programme of Horizon 2020. It points to its importance in supporting networking and capacity building, developing innovative financing models and management schemes, and in facilitating cross sector collaboration. Local and regional authorities use it extensively to advance their sustainable energy and climate policies. IEE also finances the successful Covenant of Mayors initiative, as well as projects on Sustainable Energy Communities and various innovative new financing mechanisms.

The IEE programme, particularly through the Covenant of Mayors, has reinforced the EU’s efforts to meet its climate and energy targets, helped to create green jobs and enhance economic competiveness – contributing to a greener environment and better quality of life for EU citizens. Between the period 2007 to 2013, €750 million was allocated by IEE to over 500 energy efficiency and renewable projects, involving more than 3,500 organisations. The authors also call on Member States to support the IEE programme.

For more information, click here.

3. Waste-less in Chianti project leads the way in waste reduction and prevention

The region of Chianti (Italy) is aiming to significantly reduce the amount of waste produced through implementing and monitoring an integrated waste prevention and reduction programme. The ambitious LIFE+ Waste-less in Chianti project strives to make Chianti an EU best practice example in terms of waste reduction and prevention, with a reduction target of at least 100kg per inhabitant per year compared with 2007 figures.

Already the project has implemented several actions including the introduction of a territorial “waste-less” label that can be assigned to private or public organisations that apply waste prevention actions, the promotion of tap water over bottled water through tap water consumption awareness campaigns and the installation of high quality public drinking water fountains in schools and in public spaces, the promotion of home composting, and much more. The project newsletter, which can be subscribed to online, outlines the activities in detail.

The results gained are already significant - from 2007 to 2011 in the pilot area a 10 percent decrease in the generation of municipal waste has been observed, which implies a per capita waste reduction of -83 kg per inhabitant per year, already close to the project target. Seven partners have teamed up in this LIFE+ co-funded project: the Italian Province of Florence (lead), Ambiente Italia (an environmental consulting firm), Quadrifoglio (the waste management utility of Chianti), and the Italian Municipalities of Barberino Val d'Elsa, Greve in Chianti, San Casciano Val di Pesa and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.

For more information, click here.

4. Socially just and eco-friendly energy - Germans shape Energiewende

Since 2009 a transdisciplinary team of eight scientists have studied the acceptance and impact of the introduction of renewable energy in four German communities and countries: Morbach, Wolpertshausen, Schwäbisch-Hall and Lüchow-Dannenberg. The aim is to ascertain if local and regional governments can become entirely powered by renewable energy, and explore how the transition – the Energiewende – can remain a socially just and eco-friendly process. In October the project presented its results at a workshop in Morbach.

“Four-fifths of all Morbacher know the self-sufficiency energy target of their municipality" said Michael Kress of the Institute for Ecological Economy Research in Heidelberg. Surveys indicate that 92 percent in the area support the renewables goal. The public acceptance of solar and wind energy is 80 percent, while energy from biogas is behind with 25 percent, mainly due to citizen concerns that the land for biogas crop production will enhance monocultures and compete with local food crops. These concerns have risen by 12 percent since 2010. Patrick Becker from the University of Freiburg found that the implementation of a second biogas plant based on agricultural resources unbalanced the local supply chain, supporting knowledge that every mix of renewables needs to be carefully chosen for the local context.

However, the German energy transition won’t be successful if only focused on renewables. Citizen lifestyles and energy efficiency also play an important role. Järmo Stablo from Renewable Energy Centre (ZEE) found that in Morbach 68 percent see the link between lifestyle and energy consumption and 44 percent pursue energy savings through insulation, modern windows or heating with wood. €200,000 a year is invested into promoting measures, according to Mayor Andreas Hackethal. The Mayor also wishes to see citizens benefit financially from the renewable revenues, strengthening the social aspect of the energy transition process. In 2011 Morbach made a profit of € 432,000 from its renewable sources.

For more information, click here

5. Data challenges survey for municipalities and energy suppliers launched

A survey has been launched today inviting local governments and energy suppliers to detail how they deal with data sharing – in particular energy consumption data needed for the purpose of establishing local community Baseline Emissions Inventory (BEI) and energy assessments. The aim is to identify and solve existing challenges by exploring win-win solutions for municipalities and utilities. Follow this link to the survey.

The survey is the first step of the MESHARTILITY project, which aims to develop solutions and tools to facilitate exchange of energy data between energy utilities and local authorities assessing local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and aiming to address GHGs through increasing energy savings, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. These solutions and tools will help cities and signatories of the Covenant of Mayors to develop their Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs).

MESHARTILITY addresses energy data issues including data ”ownership”, access, quality and update of the data and approach (if any) to top-down and bottom-up data correlation. Municipalities, energy utilities and their associations can benefit from this project through engaging and sharing their knowledge and best practices, and by learning from their peers and experts.

For more information, click here.

6. Training platform for local energy action planning launched

A free online Training Platform for local political representatives and municipal staff has been launched. The aim is to provide local governments with short and easy-to-understand training modules focusing on eight key issues relevant to local energy action planning. The Platform was developed by experts (energy, local governments, and adult education) in the Covenant capaCITY project, co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme.

The platform is aimed at start-up municipalities – cities and towns that are busy exploring what local climate and sustainable energy action is all about and what their role in this could be. Eight topics, presented in modules, outline the topic relevance to local governments, offering basic guidance, as well as ideas, tips and tools – on how to deal with people, structures, and processes.

By going through the training programme, local leaders and municipal staff from different departments should have a sound idea how to develop a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP). To enter, please register and select topics you wish to explore – for example Greenhouse gas inventories, SEAP development, Procurement or Water. You can learn at your own pace! Explore this easy to use online platform.

For more information, click here.

7. Impact of urbanisation on biodiversity and ecosystem services assessed in new publications

During the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP11) the first of a two part global assessment of the impact of urbanisation on biodiversity and ecosystem services was presented by ICLEI, the CBD Secretariat, and the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC). Titled “the Cities and Biodiversity Outlook (CBO) – Action and Policy”, the document will be followed in 2013 by a more extensive publication, containing scientific analyses and assessments.

Drawing on contributions from more than 120 scientists worldwide, the CBO states that over 60 percent of the land projected to become urban by 2030 has yet to be built. This presents challenges but also major opportunities to greatly improve global urban development towards sustainability. Possibilities lie in the promotion of low-carbon, resource-efficient solutions that can reduce adverse effects on biodiversity and improve quality of life. The CBO also demonstrates how sub-national and local authorities can play a central role in achieving Biodiversity Targets.

The Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (URBES) project, of which ICLEI is a partner, is an excellent example of international cooperation to bridge the knowledge gap on the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services for human well-being. The URBES project partners have made key contributions to several chapters of the CBO project, including in the forthcoming publication, thereby translating science into action.

For more information, click here.

8. Cities hold the key to Doha Climate Gateway

At the Doha Climate Conference (COP18) negotiators agreed to the Doha Climate Gateway - a deal that extends the Kyoto Protocol for eight more years, introduces new principles on compensation of loss and damage, and opens the path to broader global climate action by drafting a new universal climate agreement by 2015. ICLEI welcomes the Doha outcomes as modest steps towards ushering in a global, rule-based system for climate change, but is concerned that the pace of intergovernmental process is far below the level needed to respond effectively to urgent climate crisis. ICLEI was present, in its role as Focal Point for local governments and municipal authorities, to facilitate advocacy efforts and support the World Climate Summit and Sustainable Innovation Forum.

ICLEI worked to raise the level of global ambition in terms of lowering emissions and tackling climate change in an increasingly urban world. “Experience over one decade demonstrates that Parties who are front runners on climate action today have also been those who have effectively engaged their local and subnational governments in climate actions” said Evelyne Huytebroeck, Chair of ICLEI Europe Regional Executive Committee and Minister of Environment of Brussels Capital Region (Belgium). Local governments have long proven their advanced commitment to action through global climate initiatives such as the Durban Adaptation Charter, the Mexico City Pact and Carbonn Cities Climate Registry, and despite the lack of a clear reference in the Doha official outcomes, ICLEI remains optimistic.

The strong statements delivered during numerous negotiation meetings before and during COP18, and at the ICLEI side event at COP18, show that developed and developing countries and the climate community increasingly recognise that a rapid, cost-effective, and equitable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climatic effects can be achieved only through partnerships and cooperative initiatives with local and subnational governments. To consolidate local efforts and to come up with a strengthened and action-oriented global advocacy and network, ICLEI will meet with mayors, councillors and governors from around the world in Nantes (France) in September 2013 - as a preparation to the Warsaw Climate Conference in 2013 and World´s Leaders Climate Summit in 2014 to be convened by the UN Secretary General.

For more information, click here.

9. EU Commissioner endorses cities as vital actors in achieving EU objectives

EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn has called for a more prominent role for EU cities in EU Regional Policy. Addressing representatives from 300 EU cities in Copenhagen (Denmark) at the URBACT Annual Conference today, Commissioner Hahn said, "I believe firmly in the need for cities to take their place as European actors and partners in tackling European objectives. This is the era of the city, and you should be taking your places on the European stage."

"Over two thirds of Europeans live in cities, where we see the greatest risks of social deprivation, and the greatest opportunities for prosperity crowded together. In cities we see the worst of our problems, and the best chances for solving them. We need to translate Europe 2020 into clear urban objectives. Cities have to be at the heart of our planning for the next 2012-14 period."

The Commissioner closed his speech by emphasising the potential of cities to influence the future path of Europe, saying, “I sincerely believe that the future of our societies is being designed in cities, and the prospects for recovery and growth are chiefly determined by how we operate in our population centres. If we can get things right in cities, we will get them right in Europe.”

For more information, click here.

10. Guide on procuring sustainable construction now available

A Guide on Procuring Innovative and Sustainable Construction Solutions has been produced by the SCI Network, containing a series of good practice recommendations. The guide is the result of more than two years of discussions, research and dialogue within the Network. A collection of over 40 best practice "Snapshots" have also been produced to accompany the Guide, offering real life examples that inspire innovative and sustainable procurement. Both can be downloaded from the project website.

The structure of the Guide is based around different issues faced in the procurement process and is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. A wide variety of other publications have been produced by the working group, from best practice reports to case studies, which can be found in the SCI-Network Resource Centre. The Guide is also available in German, Italian and Finnish. Other language version will be shortly available at the project website.

The SCI-Network connects public authorities looking to procure innovative and sustainable solutions within their construction projects. The project is now coming to an end; however, the online discussion forum will continue to be active. If you would like to participate in the forum, please email

For more information, click here.

11. Book of the month

Governance by evaluation for sustainable development: Institutional capacity and learning

This book presents lessons on how evaluation studies and systems forward the agendas of sustainable development and good governance. It also examines how political-administrative realities affect the design and use of such evaluation studies as well as the institutionalisation of monitoring and evaluation systems.

The authors review recent European experience with evaluation at the EU, national, regional and local levels and recognise that the range of instruments and approaches that influence policy-making and governance is complex and diverse. In addition, the actors and institutions having the power to address sustainability are many.

The reader is reminded of the complexities and the need for further research to investigate these issues.

Much has been written about evaluating sustainable development. This book represents an attempt to tackle these questions with a technical language and it is written having researchers and practitioners in the area of policy/programme evaluation in mind.

Edited by Michal Sedlacko and André Martinuzzi, Edward Elgar, UK 2012

11. Events news

7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns – Programme Update

With just four months to go, the countdown to the 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns is on! The timing of the conference could not have been better, in the aftermath of the Rio +20 Conference and right in the preparation phase of the 7th Environment Action Programme.

The conference programme on ‘A green and socially responsible economy: a solution in times of crisis?’ is now taking shape as the list of internationally renowned speakers grows. A myriad of Break-out sessions and Workshops on-site have also been confirmed – register now to the conference elements of your choice, as places are limited.

The interactive Break-out sessions, held on Wednesday 17th April and Thursday 18th April, will delve into the most topical developments in the field. Topics under the spotlight include amongst others, sustainable procurement, adaptation to climate change and resilient cities, funding for sustainable cities, solidarity economy, Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities, urban water management, civic engagement, diversity and equality and many more.

Workshops on-site showcase the latest developments on urban sustainability in the Geneva area. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the Geneva area and learn from this local sustainability leader.

Do not miss the opportunity to engage in this conference and make cities at the heart of the debate for Europe’s future. Register now!

For further information, please visit the official conference website or contact

Participants share experiences at final TRAILBLAZER DSP workshop

In order to promote Delivery and Servicing Plans (DSPs), the TRAILBLAZER Consortium organised the third and final DSP Workshop which took place at the DHL Innovation Centre in Troisdorf, Germany, on 26 – 27 September, 2012.

Workshop participants had the opportunity to learn about the advantages of Delivery and Servicing Planning and to discuss how to implement local policies to reduce energy use and costs. Participants learned, from a visit to the DHL Solutions & Innovations (DSI) Showroom and through the complimentary DHL presentations, all about the cutting edge activities of the workshop host. The 29 participants who attended the workshop shared their experiences and questions with project partners about the development of their own DSPs.

For the workshop report, photos and to view the presentations visit the TRAILBLAZER website. If you would like to attend the final conference (25 April 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic), please contact Emilie Doran at

For more information, click here.

12. Event calendar

7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns
17 – 19 April 2013, Geneva (Switzerland)

RECS Market Meeting 2013: Consumers demand renewable electricity
20 - 21 March 2013, Berlin (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, Ciara Leonard (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 2012 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany. All rights reserved.