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ICLEI in Europe News
January 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. Carbon report celebrates local climate action
  3. EcoProcura 2012 to present the latest developments in sustainable public procurement
  4. ICLEI launches websites to aid move towards sustainable procurement
  5. CIVITAS Initiative goes from strength to strength
  6. RE Regions discovers overwhelming support for renewable energy
  7. Book of the month
  8. New events
  9. Event reminders

1. ICLEI Member News

International spotlight highlights Birmingham’s trailblazing work

Birmingham City Council aims to retrofit almost 200,000 buildings in the coming years, Copyright: iStockICLEI member Birmingham City Council (UK) has taken its place among the world’s environmental heavyweights after being honoured with a prestigious award at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban (South Africa).

The city’s Energy Savers programme was named winner of the Urban Retrofit Award, in recognition of its trailblazing plans to carry out £1.5 billion of green retrofit work over the next 15 years. Councilor Paul Tilsley said, “This award validates and acknowledges years of effort we have put in as a council to ensure that we tackle the challenges of climate change and fuel poverty.”

The programme aims to deliver energy efficiency improvements along with renewable energy and heat technologies to almost 200,000 domestic and public buildings in Birmingham and the surrounding region. By 2020, a 4.3 percent reduction on current CO2 emission figures is expected from domestic retrofits performed under the programme, with a further 7.8 percent for public buildings.

For more information, click here.


Electric vehicle adds a spark to Woking’s green car scheme

Woking WeCar scheme's first electric vehicleSustainable transport in ICLEI member city Woking (UK) has received a much-needed boost. In December 2011, the city’s WeCar car-sharing scheme welcomed a new addition to its fleet of sustainable vehicles with the launch of its first electric vehicle and dedicated electric charging bays.

The award-winning Peugeot iOn is fully electric, has zero CO2 emissions and a maximum range of 93 miles. Senior Policy Officer for Woking Borough Council, Lara Beattie said, “Through its Climate Change Strategy, the Council is committed to reducing carbon emissions, adapting to climate change issues and promoting sustainable, smarter ways to travel around the Borough.”

Over the course of a year long trial, WeCar members will test the electric car’s feasibility as a practical and sustainable car club vehicle. If the pilot is successful, the scheme’s partners will consider replacing the current fuel-efficient diesel WeCars with electric vehicles. The scheme was developed by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and is expected to deliver significant practical, environmental and financial benefits.

For more information, click here.


Westminster looks to Bremen for advice on car-sharing development

Car-sharing aims to reduce the number of cars on our roads, copyright: iStockThe UK has turned to ICLEI member Bremen (Germany) for advice on car-sharing promotion and implementation. On 1 November 2011, Michael Glotz-Richter, project manager for sustainable mobility in the City of Bremen and coordinator of the European Momo car-sharing project, addressed the House of Commons in Westminster.

The 'All-Party Parliamentary Group on Car Clubs and Car-Sharing' had gathered to discuss improved political and practical support for car-sharing in the UK. Glotz-Richter presented parking problems as a mismatch between available street space and the number of cars on the road, common in UK cities and beyond.

An introduction to the basic principles of car-sharing was followed by an overview of the scheme across Europe that highlighted the impressive progress already made by London. The Momorandum, Momo’s final political document at the end of three successful years, describes the political settings required on a European level to fully exploit the potential of car-sharing, thus reclaiming space for 600,000 cars.

For more information, click here.

2. Carbonn report casts COP17 spotlight on local climate action

Continued action is needed to combat climate change, copyright: iStockIn December 2011, the first ever Annual Report of the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR) was presented to the 17th UN Convention on Climate Change (COP17) in Durban (South Africa). The publication celebrates the contribution of local governments to measurable, reportable and verifiable climate action. It ensures that the voice of local governments is heard as national and international entities face up to the reality of climate change.

Over the past year, 51 cities in 19 countries provided data for analysis. Representing 83 million inhabitants, 106 energy and climate commitments and 89 GHG inventories that amount to annual community GHG emissions of 447 million tons of CO2 emissions, the cCCR 2011 report shows what cities are capable of. As COP17 came to a close on 9 December 2011, cities were left uncertain that the convention's achievements, the so-called Durban Outcomes, would be enough to slow down the pace of global warming.

Gino van Begin, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI, summed up the general feeling among local governments saying, “The Durban Outcomes are greatly significant in helping to bring the deniers of the Kyoto Protocol back around the table and freeing countries from the dominion of oil and coal lobbies. This is important to save our today, but too little and possibly too late to save our tomorrow.”

For more information, click here.

3. EcoProcura 2012 to present latest developments in sustainable public procurement

City of MalmöEcoProcura 2012 will take place in Malmö (Sweden) from 19-21 September 2012. The conference is organised by ICLEI and the City of Malmö and will provide participants with a dynamic and unique meeting place to exchange and discuss the latest essential information on implementing sustainable public procurement.

The event will underline the importance of sustainable public procurement to the development of a green economy. It will also examine the future of the sector, including the proposed new EU directive on public procurement, opportunities for addressing social and ethical issues in the field and the vast potential for innovation that has yet to be realised.

Procurers from all levels of government, policy-makers, suppliers, manufacturers, multipliers and representatives from the European Commission and European Parliament will benefit from good practice exchange, dialogues between businesses and the public sector and short training sessions on various topics, such as life-cycle costing.

For more information, click here.

4. ICLEI launches websites to promote sustainable procurement

Implementing sustainable procurement is no mean feat and the multi-layered challenges facing public authorities can appear daunting without the necessary supporting structures. ICLEI has launched three unique websites to equip procurers, policy makers, researchers and other stakeholders with the necessary tools.

The Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre contains key knowledge on how to effectively undertake sustainable procurement, saving money and driving the market towards environmentally responsible solutions. Users can avail of an extensive database and get up to date on the latest happenings in the field. Tools,  guidance, case studies and reports are all available free of charge with one click.

For its part, the Procurement Forum, a tailor-made online network for procurement professionals, brings the human dimension back into knowledge sharing. Public authorities are invited to delve deeper into specific aspects of sustainable procurement, with opportunities to exchange and collaborate in focused groups. Last up, the relaunched Procura+ website can help to green public purchasing, drawing on the experiences of the 30 cities and organisations at the forefront of sustainable procurement in Europe.

For more information, click here or contact

5. CIVITAS Initiative goes from strength to strength

Aalborg's travel smart card scheme is one of many CIVITAS success stories, Copyright: CIVITASAs CIVITAS enters its tenth year, its progress shows no sign of slackening. The Initiative’s work has had a hugely positive impact on sustainable transport in almost 60 countries across Europe. Recent success stories include ICLEI member cities Bologna (Italy) and Aalborg (Denmark).

In Bologna, preliminary data evaluation results show the city to be well on track to achieve its transport goals of reduced traffic accidents, enhanced safety and mobility of vulnerable road users, more user-friendly public transport and a reduction in illegal on-street parking.

For its part, Aalborg’s introduction of a travel smart card has been embraced by citizens, with the number of users far exceeding expectations. With 1,150 passengers already using the card, project leaders are confident that the city will reach its goal of 10,000 active travel cards by October 2012. Anyone with an interest in the CIVITAS Initiative can join the discussion on Twitter by following @CIVITAS_EU.

For more information, click here.

6. RE Regions discovers overwhelming support for renewable energy

Solar panels were a popular energy source among those surveyed, Copyright: iStockA recent survey has shown that residents of the German county of Lüchow-Dannenberg are overwhelmingly in favour of the county’s goal to draw solely on renewable energy sources in the future. The survey was carried out by the University of Freiburg (Germany) within the framework of the RE Regions project, which is working towards securing regional self-sufficiency through the use of renewable energy, with an emphasis on electricity, heat and energy conservation.

Over 86 percent of those surveyed supported the proposed transition to green energy. Solar panels and windmills were the most popular energy sources among those interviewed, while more than half expressed concern about the cultivation of energy crops. The results brought home a growing demand among the public for readily available information on the topic.

Participants also gave regional stakeholders a vote of confidence over national investors, operators and suppliers. Furthermore, the survey revealed a readiness among citizens to contribute financially to the renewable energy drive, with over half of those polled willing to pay more for electricity generated from alternative energy sources. The findings come hot on the heels of September’s RE Region’s conference in Freiburg (Germany) entitled, Changing the Energy System to Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency – An inter- and transdisciplinary approach.

For more information, click here.

7. Book of the month

Vulnerability in Developing Countries

Vulnerability in developing countriesIn the face of mounting environmental and social problems, vulnerability has become the defining challenge of modern times. There is a need to better understand vulnerability, particularly in developing countries where people do not have the same protective structures against risks.

This book, published by the UN University, presents several case studies dealing with vulnerability, focusing mainly on the vulnerability of households to poverty, but also to disease, food insecurity and macro-economic shocks. The household is the focus level for understanding, measuring and dealing with vulnerability.

Although the cases recognise the strong ability of households to cope with vulnerability and develop resilience to risks on their own, a common finding is that households need support from local and higher levels of government to persist and prosper. This is because impacts are frequently of too large a magnitude for a single household to absorb without the necessary support, and also because institutional support should ensure that coping strategies are based on sustainable criteria.

W. Naudé, A. Santos-Paulino & M. McGillivray, UK 2009, ISBN: 9789280811711

8. New events

Conference brings economic direction of cities into focus

With one in every two people now living in an urban setting, cities are undeniably the engines of economic growth. Yet much needs to be done to secure and maintain this growth over time. Chatham House is organising a conference entitled, The Future of Cities 2012: Investment for Urban Growth, which will run from 6-7 February 2012 in London (UK).

The event will ask how cities can attract investment and explore the innovative financing solutions at their disposal. It will look at what investment approaches are working for developed economies, as well as for rapidly emerging cities in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Experts will also weigh up the chances of established major world cities to compete with these budding economic strongholds.

Expert speakers, including Professor Edward Glaeser, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, will examine options open to cities in responding to today’s challenges. Participants are invited to register as soon as possible to secure a place. ICLEI members can benefit from a discount of up to 13 percent by contacting

For more information, click here.


Social inclusion and the urban transport professional

Coimbra (Portugal) will play host to a workshop on social inclusion organised by the CIVITAS Initiative. Taking place from 22-23 March 2012, the workshop will provide a theoretical background on the issue of social inclusion and position the topic in the mobility discussion. Urban transport professionals from across Europe will be on hand to share their experiences and contribute to the debate. Inspiring case studies will be provided, showing how innovative approaches have succeeded in our cities.

Participants are requested to register for this free-of-charge event by 9 March 2012. For more detailed information, please refer to the preliminary programme or click here.

9. Event reminders

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

                                                                         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.