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ICLEI in Europe News
February 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

  1. Member News
  2. Rio+20’s zero draft recognises central role of cities to sustainable development
  3. ICLEI mentors young local leaders for a brighter tomorrow
  4. Cities and governments unite to save biodiversity in Mediterranean region
  5. Registration opens for CARE-North conference
  6. New toolbox boosts sustainable energy management
  7. Sustainable energy awards open for applications
  8. Book of the month
  9. New events
  10. Event reminders

1. ICLEI Member News

ICLEI members in final bid for European Mobility Week Award

European Mobility Week logoTwo ICLEI member cities are among the finalists for Europe’s most prestigious sustainable mobility prize. Both Bologna (Italy) and Zagreb (Croatia) have made the final of the European Mobility Week Award. Judges were impressed by the innovative approach taken by both municipalities to enhance urban transport for their citizens, as showcased during European Mobility Week (EMW) 2011.

Bologna organised an ambitious programme, featuring lectures, tours, workshops and games, as well as introducing permanent infrastructure improvements to enhance transport sustainability in Bologna. For its part, Zagreb showcased a wide range of integrated urban transport solutions, following up an impressive programme of activities with several opinion polls. Bologna and Zagreb are joined in the final by Larnaka (Cyprus).

All local authorities who participated in EMW 2011 were invited to apply for the award, which honours cities whose innovative and effective campaigns were a class apart. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Brussels (Belgium) on 5 March 2012. ICLEI, together with Eurocities and REC, will coordinate EMW 2012 – Moving in the Right Direction. Information will be posted on in the coming days.

For more information, click here.


Vitoria-Gasteiz takes the reins as European Green Capital 2012

View of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Copyright: CIVITASAfter a successful year at the helm of sustainable development in Europe, Hamburg’s reign as European Green Capital has come to an end. At a ceremony in December, the Germany city passed the title on to ICLEI member city Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain).

On the eve of the ceremony, Javier Maroto, Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz, officially revealed an ambitious programme of ten action plans to guide progress in the year to come. Biodiversity protection takes top priority for the Basque city, with additional plans to tackle water scarcity through schemes to prevent floods and improve the water cycle. The programme will also target waste management with waste strategies  to achieve zero dumping and reduce urban contamination.

With a view to enhancing quality of life for the municipality’s citizens, authorities will also focus on mobility, public space, regional improvement and urban rehabilitation, while promoting a culture of sustainability in society and business.

For more information, click here.

Bristol targets energy sector in bid to save millions of pounds

Copyright: iStockA unique project that aims to save millions of pounds in energy bills from council buildings was launched in ICLEI member city Bristol (UK) on 11 January 2012. As part of a Europe-wide project, SmartSpaces, the city council will focus on maximising the data provided by automatic meter readers, which provide regular data on energy consumption for most of the council’s 500 buildings.

Paul Isbell, energy manager at Bristol City Council, said, “For the first time ever we are hoping to be able to take ICT to the next level in this field, to use all this data on energy consumption in buildings and create a system so that we can use it meaningfully. We are estimating that we should be able to reduce the council’s energy usage by about 10 percent - approximately £1 million of savings every year.”

The challenge is to create a smart system to maximise use of data from 2,100 electricity, gas, oil and renewable energy metered points, and streamline reporting through a simple and understandable format. This will be achieved by working closely with the council’s energy management software provider and representatives at each building.

For more information, click here.


Münster makes the grade with hands-on approach to green issues

The innovative approach to green issues adopted by ICLEI member Münster (Germany) has been singled out yet again. The city, which was previously named Most Liveable City Worldwide and the German Climate Capital, recently made the top five for the coveted European Public Sector Award, which honours exemplary models of public performance.

Heiner Bruns, head of Münster’s Office for Green Spaces and Environmental Protection, credits the city council’s decision to take on a managerial role while encouraging citizens to get involved on the ground: “We still prepare political decisions, but we do it in a very efficient and sustainable way. Because we involve people in the whole process, the politicians get a much better idea of what people want.”

As part of the “Show true colours for Münster” campaign, citizens were motivated to help with the cleaning of parks, plant flowers and patronise children’s playgrounds. The success stories are numerous, with one run-down park in a disadvantaged area transformed into an animated oasis thanks to the help of locals.

For more information, click here. [in German]


Leicester leads the way with transport innovation project

The project aims to develop green traffic management systems for cities, Copyright: neoporcupine (Flickr)ICLEI member Leicester City Council (UK) has teamed up with the University of Leicester to lead a major European project aimed at delivering green traffic management systems in cities. The €2.7 million project, which is funded by the European Commission, was launched on 18 January 2012 at the National Space Centre in Leicester.

Deputy City Mayor Rory Palmer has welcomed the project as a vital step in the right direction saying, "Making Leicester a low carbon city is one of our main priorities and this kind of research will be essential to tackle issues around congestion and air quality in the future. I am proud that the city council can help make this work possible."

Called THE ISSUE (Transport Health Environment – Intelligent Solutions Sustaining Urban Economies), the three-year project will bring scientists, engineers and regional development agencies together to develop more effective methods of easing road congestion and improving the urban environment.

For more information, click here.


Heidelberg encourages citizens to embrace solar energy with online tool

ICLEI member city Heidelberg (Germany) has taken the renewable energy movement online with a new information resource on solar roofs. With just one click, citizens can find out if their roof is suitable for solar thermal or photovoltaic panels. The municipality has high hopes for the tool, with aims to bring the number of households using solar energy from 3,000 to 7,500 by 2015.

“We want to encourage our citizens to think about investing in a solar thermal or photovoltaic system, and provide them with basic information about their benefits and the potential for CO2 emission reductions" said Mayor Eckart Würzner.

The tool contains information on the surface area needed for solar panels, as well as estimated money savings and CO2 reductions. It has been developed within the context of Heidelberg’s climate protection campaign which has been running since 1992. The ambitious action plan further seeks to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2015 in comparison with 1987 figures.

For more information, click here. [in German]

Albertslund at the forefront of Nordic energy solutions

Copyright: iStockICLEI member city and Covenant of Mayors signatory Albertslund (Denmark) has been named Nordic Energy Municipality 2011 for its innovative approach to the renovation of existing buildings. Bearing in mind that buildings account for 40 percent of its total energy consumption, the city council realised the need for cost-effective solutions applicable to a large number of different building types.

The renovation of 18 of Albertslund’s 42 residential areas began in earnest, targeting buildings that were built between the 1960s and 80s. Ahead of the large-scale deployment of the scheme, a number of pilot projects have already been implemented, with a series of houses being converted into carbon-neutral buildings thanks to solar prism technologies.

This uniquely innovative model is to be applied to existing building stock all over the country. Mayor Steen Christiansen said, “Through an exciting cooperation between citizens, local industry and the municipality, we have managed to develop and test a wide range of full-scale solutions. It should be easy to be green.”

For more information, click here.

Glasgow takes on sustainable timber procurement challenge

Glasgow aims to protect forests and conserve biodiversity, Copyright: iStockICLEI member city Glasgow (UK) has committed to improving the way they purchase wood and paper, with the goal of protecting forests and conserving biodiversity, having achieved the targets set out under the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Local Authorities Timber Pledge.

Furthermore, as part of its £1 billion programme to regenerate the city’s housing stock, Glasgow Housing Association has built four prototype houses known as “The Glasgow House”. The house frames were built using timber from sustainable, local sources and it is hoped that their replication throughout Glasgow will bring significant environmental and economic benefits.

Sustainable timber procurement is currently a hot topic in the UK with the recent adoption of social criteria into the UK government’s procurement policy, aiming to respect legal and traditional tenure in forests and safeguard the labour rights of workers. In its role of coordinator of the Sustainable Timber Action project, ICLEI is at the heart of the action, working to increase public awareness in Europe about the human and environmental issues caused by deforestation in developing countries.

For more information, click here.

2. Rio+20’s zero draft recognises central role of cities to sustainable development

Rio+20 logoThe local level is taking its place at the heart of preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place in Rio De Janeiro from 20-22 June 2012, with ICLEI playing a crucial role in connecting cities to proceedings. The UN has produced a Zero Draft of the Rio+20 conference outcome entitled “The Future We Want,” based on contributions by key stakeholders including ICLEI, whose submission addressed issues such as urbanisation, climate change and biodiversity loss.

The document puts the spotlight on local strategies for sustainable development, identifying support to local authorities, efficient transport and communication networks, greener buildings and reduced waste as key to the much-needed development of sustainable cities. It further reaffirms the importance of local initiatives to achieving general environmental goals, such as improved water and air quality and increased climate resilience.  

From ICLEI’s perspective, the draft successfully addresses issues relevant to the role of cities. In addition, in terms of the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development, the draft underlines the urgent need to empower local governments to work more closely with national governments. Finally, under Sustainable Development Goals, due to take over from the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, sustainable cities are mentioned as a priority area.

For more information, click here.

3. ICLEI mentors young local leaders for a brighter tomorrow

With an eye on the future, ICLEI has developed the Future City Leaders Initiative to motivate the next generation of local leaders to take on the sustainability challenge. The two-year programme hopes to empower committed young municipal leaders to become champions for sustainability within their cities, towns and the global community.

Twenty one young municipal leaders from around the world will be selected to take part in the first course, which runs from 2012 to 2014. They will get the opportunity to attend a number of crucial networking events, including the ICLEI World Congress and Rio +20. The programme is ideal for local government representatives who have shown outstanding commitment to their community and to the principles of sustainability management.

For more information, click here.

4. Cities and governments unite to save biodiversity in Mediterranean region

Representatives at the workshop in Montpellier, Copyright: Didier BabinLocal authorities and government representatives met in ICLEI member city Montpellier (France) from 17-19 January to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 in the Mediterranean region. Eighteen countries from the Mediterranean region, including representatives of 15 cities, as well as three mayors, gathered at the first subregional workshop on capacity-building on strategies and action plans for biodiversity for the region as a whole.

Participants explored the complementary roles of strategies and action plans, subnational and local implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Strategic Plan. Montpellier was the ideal host, having recently being named French Capital of Biodiversity 2011 and European Capital of Biodiversity. The city’s mayor Hélène Mandroux says, "The City of Montpellier feels compelled to offer its example given its model urban development, with an emphasis on the human aspect, and its remarkable history. We want to be a catalyst for the creation of a possible network of cities in the Mediterranean."

The meeting provided a unique opportunity to peer-review the draft outlines of the first Global Outlook on Cities and Biodiversity to be presented at the Rio+20 Summit in June 2012 and submitted to the Hyderabad Biodiversity Summit in October. ICLEI Europe encourages all cities in the Mediterranean region to get involved in the initiative and is available to support them in their endeavours. The workshop was co-organised by the City of Montpellier, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and ICLEI with the support of the Japan Fund for Biodiversity.

For more information, click here.

5. Registration opens for CARE-North conference

Registration has opened for the CARE-North conference, which will take place from 20-21 March in Bremen (Germany). At a time when the transport sector is facing major challenges, the event seeks to examine obstacles to the advancement of sustainable mobility and discuss various approaches to carbon responsible transport strategies.

High-profile international speakers will discuss the potential of alternative transport options such as electric mobility, car-sharing and clean fuels. Other topics up for debate are the importance of changing values and the significance of transportation costs to the mobility revolution. Participants will also get the opportunity to contribute to the CARE-North statement to be presented at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
CARE-North (CArbon REsponsible transport strategies for the North Sea Area) is a three-year project which aims to develop a comprehensive, strategic and practical approach to urban transport in the context of climate change and declining oil supplies. It did so by developing lighthouse projects in a number of pilot cities in the North Sea Region to allow for an analysis of the drivers and obstacles to their potential replication across Europe. Registration and participation at the CARE-North final conference is free of charge. However places are limited, so register now to secure your place.

For more information, click here.

6. New toolbox boosts sustainable energy management

In parallel to the drafting of their Sustainable Energy Action Plans, three municipalities, Girona (Spain), Reggio Emilia and Padova (Italy) have joined forces to produce a series of tools and guidelines to support them in the fulfillment of their Covenant of Mayors commitments. The toolbox is also a vital step towards achieving the ambitious climate and renewable energy targets set by the European Commission.

The guidelines developed as a result of the project are now available to cities across Europe to ease their transition to sustainable energy. A GHG calculator tool was also developed to compile emission inventories, allowing users to convert the energy consumption of their territory into greenhouse gas emissions. The developments took place within the framework of the LIFE+ financed LAKS (Local Accountability for Kyoto goalS) project, with the three cities receiving technical assistance from Covenant supporter, ICLEI Europe.

The main objective of the now-completed LAKS project was to provide instruments to European cities to monitor CO2 emissions, assess their environmental impact, apply corrective actions and report results. Following the LAKS project, enhancements to simplify reporting to the Covenant of Mayors were incorporated into ICLEI Europe’s Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) GHG calculator, available for use by CCP participants.

For more information, click here or contact

7. Sustainable energy awards open for applications

Copyright: iStockAcross Europe, preparations are underway for Sustainable Energy Week, which will run from 18-22 June 2012. The campaign provides an invaluable opportunity to highlight the successes of the most ambitious and innovative projects in sustainable energy and energy efficiency. In order to reward and encourage outstanding initiatives in these fields, the week concludes with the Sustainable Energy Europe Awards.

Applications for the award are now being accepted in a number of categories covering communication, energy consumption reduction, capacity building, mobility and energy efficiency in buildings. To participate the project must be ongoing, implemented by EU public or private actors and be able to show significant and measurable results.

To be in with a chance to win a Sustainable Energy Europe Award, register an account and complete the online application form before 29 February 2012. ICLEI is a supporter of the Sustainable Energy Europe campaign.

For more information, click here.

8. Book of the month

Urban Governance in Europe

Urban Governance in EuropeThe issues of urban governance have attracted a lot of attention in the recent years, both from researchers and policy-makers. The editors of Urban Governance in Europe highlight that urban governance is increasingly becoming a multidimensional phenomenon in terms of the multitude of sectors, actors and levels of governance involved.

The papers collected in this volume look at the consequences and implications of an emerging new form of local politics in Europe, analysing changes in the political and social constitution of cities. The first part demonstrates how concepts such as citizen participation, central-local government relations and power are crucial dimensions of analysis in urban governance studies.

Next, a number of examples from Western European cities are presented, focusing on how cities such as Milan, Berlin or Malmö cope with conflicting urban development issues. The final part looks at urban governance in selected Eastern and Central European cities, where the experience of representative democracy is still relatively new. This is particularly valuable, as up to now there are few studies available about the development of urban governance structures in the cities of this region.

F. Eckhardt, I. Elander (ed.), Berlin 2009, ISBN: 9783830520382

9. New events

                          Resilient Cities 2012 bolsters urban areas faced with climate change

Now in its third year, the Resilient Cities series has cemented its position as a milestone event in the field of urban resilience and climate adaptation. Resilient Cities 2012 - the third Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation will take place in Bonn (Germany) from 12-15 May 2012. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with international experts and learn about groundbreaking topics covering the public and private sectors, and relevant fields of expertise.

The Mayors Adaptation Forum, where local decision-makers gather to discuss ways forward in the field of climate change adaptation, is one guaranteed highlight. There will also be a focus on ensuring participants pick up practical ideas, in particular from the Resilient Cities case studies, such as the Reality Check Workshops where selected cities can showcase their adaptation projects and receive critical feedback from the audience.

For more information, click here.

                      Economics of biodiversity to take centre stage at upcoming TEEB conference

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Initiative is holding a conference in Leipzig (Germany) from 19-22 March 2012 entitled, Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: Challenges for Science and Implementation. A major international initiative, TEEB aims to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy.

Issued in 2010, the TEEB reports explored the link between economics, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and provided guidance for decisions at the global and local levels. The upcoming conference will take stock of these developments, catalyse the still growing interest in the topic and strengthen the link between policy and research. The research and policy community are invited to discuss topics, such as environmental valuation, ecosystem services and science-policy processes.

For more information, click here.

           Effective solutions for green urban transport – learning from CIVITAS cities

The second installment in a series of four, this workshop will give participants the opportunity explore effective solutions for green urban transport based on the experiences of CIVITAS cities. The event will take place on 24 April 2012 in Athens (Greece) in parallel to the Transport Research Arena (TRA) 2012. It will present the achievements and findings of cities in two thematic areas: Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and demand management strategies.

Participants will have the possibility to learn more about the CIVITAS Initiative and will be informed as to how they can replicate CIVITAS city successes in their own cities.  In addition, during the Transport Research Arena 2012, CIVITAS will host a special session on "Sustainable Mobility in Action with CIVITAS: Innovative mobility solutions for sustainable urban transport in Europe". The session will run for 75 minutes and is open to TRA participants only. The workshop is free of charge, but places are limited.

For more information, click here.

10. Event reminders

                                                         The Future of Cities 2012: Investment for Urban Growth
                                                            6-7 February 2012, London (UK)

                                                                         CARE-North Final Conference
                                                            20-21 March 2012, Bremen (Germany)

                             Social inclusion and the urban transport professional – CIVITAS training workshop
                                                            22-23 March 2012, Coimbra (Portugal)

                                                                                 EcoProcura 2012
                                                            19-21 September 2012, Malmö (Sweden)

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 2012 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany. All rights reserved.