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ICLEI in Europe News
March 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. Cities and regions explore smart energy grids and smart solutions
  3. Countdown on to CARE-North Final Conference
  4. Webinar examines link between national security and sustainability
  5. Latest edition of Sustainable Energy Communities Newsletter now available
  6. Video competition on the future of sustainability for young Europeans
  7. New events
  8. Event reminders

1. ICLEI Member News

REXCom 2012-2015 Election now open!

The election process for the 2012-2015 ICLEI European Regional Executive Committee (REXCom) is now underway. European full ICLEI members are asked to vote on the proposal for the composition of the ICLEI European REXCom. The election closes at midnight on 6 March 2012 (CET).

For more information, click here.



Stockholm unveils plans to develop model green urban district

Stockholm harbour Copyright: Flickr PalestrinaICLEI member city Stockholm (Sweden) has taken a step further in consolidating its reputation as a global leader in green urban planning with its latest project, Stockholm Royal Seaport. The ambitious initiative is part of the European Green Capital 2010’s plan to create a district that can function as a model for other growing cities around the world.

The plan envisages the development of 10,000 new apartments and 30,000 new work places. In addition to housing and offices, the area will include parks, an art gallery and a harbour for cruise ships. Constituting one of the largest urban planning projects in Europe, the initiative outlines goals, such as being fossil fuel free by introducing energy efficient transportation and converting food waste to biogas.

The project also seeks to enhance Stockholm’s biodiversity by planting oak trees and creating green-design buildings. The views of citizens will also be taken on board in the development phase, as several participatory programmes are planned.

For more information, click here.

New deal on peer-to-peer car rental in Helsinki

Peer-to-peer car-sharing is taking off in HelsinkiFinnish capital city and ICLEI member Helsinki has made an arrangement with two local companies to support peer-to-peer car rental. Citizens can now offer their cars for rental, as an alternative to paying for expensive parking spaces during the long cold winter. Car-sharing has become increasingly popular among European authorities, and Finland is now considering new ways of supporting peer-to-peer car rental throughout the country.

The initiative is run online, making it easy to manage bookings and track the cars through GPS. Both companies in Helsinki will start their service in phases. It is intended that later in spring 2012 the entire service will also function via smart phones.

Since the concept of shared cars has gained popularity in other parts of Europe and the USA, Finland has now raised a discussion on providing free parking spaces to the car owners as an extra incentive for them to offer their car for peer-to-peer use in the near future.

For more information, click here.

Climate protection project educates Freiburg’s citizens

Internationally renowned ICLEI member city Freiburg (Germany) has joined forces with ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) campaign to respond to the complex challenge of initiating behavioural change in citizens by involving them in the “200 families active for climate protection” project. In collaboration with sister city Besançon (France), the project targets Freiburg’s single and family households.

Over the course of one year participants are motivated to integrate the idea of climate protection into their daily routines. Free energy checks at home, guidance in the field of energy, mobility, food and consumption, as well as activities such as “climate cuisine classes” will encourage voluntary change. Already halfway through this one-year project many people were surprised by how easy it is to become climate friendly without losing out.

Recently one of Germany’s most well-known actors, Andreas Hoppe, organised a public reading event to promote his book Alone with cucumbers, which recounts his “adventurous attempt to eat regional”, as part of the project event series. Afterwards families exchanged their own experiences on a “50-kilometre-diet”, which saw them only eat food produced and processed within 50km for one week.

For more information, click here. [In German]

Vitoria-Gasteiz introduces innovative bicycle parking concept

Copyright: CIVITASEuropean Green Capital 2012 Vitoria-Gasteiz's plans to revitalise its historic centre is on the right track, with the introduction of an innovative solution to bicycle parking by setting up facilities in refurbished basements. The first of its kind in Spain, the initiative was developed by the city in response to the increasing number of bicycle trips in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

User groups manage the facilities with the first basement run by a group of 43 users in a publicly owned building leased free of charge to the city. Works on a second facility have recently concluded, which will soon provide space for 39 users, with some bikes to be stored hanging from the wall. Its construction included electrical installations, the removal of architectural barriers to facilitate access, as well as the installation of toilets, lockers and bike racks.

Developed as part of the city's involvement in the CIVITAS Initiative, these parking facilities will offer a solution to residents who live in small apartments and have no room to store their bikes safely. They will also strengthen the relationship between residents as they manage the facilities, having a positive impact on the atmosphere in the neighbourhood.

For more information, click here.


Birmingham opens public consultation on future development and investment

Birmingham City HallICLEI member city Birmingham (United Kingdom) has started a public consultation on a new Sustainable Development guidance document called Places for the Future. The Supplementary Planning Document´s (SPD) draft provides detailed guidance for future development and investment in Birmingham, with particular emphasis on safeguarding resources for future generations.

The SPD aims to set out how national and strategic policy will be interpreted in Birmingham’s development, as well as to identify the elements of sustainable development to consider in all future development. It will also ensure the city meets its carbon reduction targets, adapts itself to future climate change, and maintains its natural environment, biodiversity, ecology and historical heritage.

A consultation event will take place on 12 March 2012 and Birmingham City Council expects to adopt the Places for the Future guidance by the end of the year, after taking all comments received into consideration. The consultation period lasts until 22 March.

For more information, contact

2. Cities and regions explore smart energy grids and smart solutions

LR logoThe fifth Local Renewables Conference will take place in Freiburg (Germany) from 25-26 October 2012, and focuses on the combination of locally generated renewable energy, smart grids and smart end-users. The connection and need for close cooperation between cities and regions is essential in this context, as becoming a low- carbon and a 100 percent renewable community is challenging, but possible.

Representatives from cities and towns, decision-makers from various levels of government, energy service providers and energy experts will present and discuss ways in which smart grids and solutions can be shaped – with urban- regional links seen as a core element in this. How can we ensure stable grids with stable energy provision in the energy transition towards renewable? What is local government´s role in this? And where should key actors connect and cooperate to make it work?

Following a symposium on 24 October 2012, which will celebrate the 20-year collaboration between the City of Freiburg and the ICLEI European Secretariat, Local Renewables 2012 will explore these fascinating concepts, identifying critical elements needed to roll out smart grids in European cities and towns.

For more information, click here.

3. Countdown on to CARE-North Final Conference

There is just three weeks left until the CARE-North Final Conference kicks off in Bremen (Germany) from 20-21 March 2012.  The event will examine obstacles to the progress in sustainable mobility and foster discussion on the various approaches to carbon responsible transport strategies, and the full programme is now online.

Representatives of local and regional decision-makers, urban planners, business representatives, technical experts, researchers and members of the public will have the opportunity to share their cities’ sustainability strategies at the Care-North Final Conference. Experience the most innovative aspects of mobility in Bremen by joining one of the various site visits.

Learn from insights of trailblazing pilot cities on the potential of alternative transport options such as electric mobility, car-sharing and clean fuels and discuss comprehensive and practical approaches in sustainable mobility, while linking the topic to the EU perspective, as well as to the Rio+20 process. Registration is now open and attendance is free of charge.

For more information, click here.

4. Webinar examines link between national security and sustainability

Jeb BrugmannThe Security and Sustainability Forum is holding the fifth and final webinar in their free Adaptation and Security webinar series on 22 March 2012. The ‘Maintaining Economic Vitality’ workshop is co-produced by ICLEI and explores successful local and national approaches to maintain business continuity and jobs while responding to extreme weather events, energy impacts and threats from other disruptions to national systems.

ICLEI founder and holder of the Millennium Award and Stockholm Partnerships Award, Jeb Brugmann, will be joined by an expert panel from business, government and NGO's for this thought-provoking webinar. Exemplary sustainability practices from across the globe will be showcased and the secrets to their success analysed.

The Security and Sustainability Forum facilitates discussion on the environmental impacts that threaten national security. Its webinars give technical experts and national decision-makers a platform to discuss programmes to address and adapt to these challenges, as well as the steps being taken by the government and industry to protect the environment and plan for better solutions to deal with natural and manmade threats.

For more information, click here.

5. Latest edition of Sustainable Energy Communities Newsletter now available

The latest edition of the Sustainable Energy Communities News electronic Newsletter is now available – with inspiring brief articles from five different energy projects, showcasing actions in regions and communities throughout Europe. These include come2CoM, which is comprised of partners committed themselves to support cities and local authorities to become a member of the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) and to develop Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SUMPs).

Highlights from the Energy for Mayors project, in which ICLEI Europe is a partner, include an update on the Toolbox with useful resources, showing that Attica municipalities (Greece) are taking action despite obstacles such as the economic recession and the need for financing actions. The newsletter also includes the latest from the Covenant of Mayors initiative, where 44 Mayors of the province of Limburg (Belgium) have signed up and committed to becoming climate-neutral.

There is also news from the Municipality of Modena (Italy), which has developed its SUMP with the support of come2CoM. Partners from the five Sustainable Energy Communities projects have been involved in several events with reports, presentations and conclusions from these past events since the previous issue of the newsletter. Many more local communities are engaging – with impressive examples shared in this new edition.

To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.

6. Video competition on the future of sustainability for young Europeans

Copyright: sxc.huTo mark the first ever Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1992 and tie into the upcoming Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development the European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched a video competition entitled Generation ´92 for Europeans born in 1991, 1992 or 1993. The Earth Summit was a historic event, leading to several environmental treaties and Rio+20 and is expected to mark another positive turning point for the environment.

To enter the competition, citizens of EEA member countries must submit a video showing their vision of sustainable living in 20 years’ time. The contest is open to a range of approaches – journalism or fiction, live action or animation, interviews or images. If the films are in a language other than English, they must have English subtitles. The winners will be chosen by a jury made up of notable journalists, environmentalists and communication professionals.

They will travel to the EEA headquarters in Copenhagen (Denmark) to take part in an event on sustainable development on 5 June 2012. They will receive cash prizes, and their videos will be promoted by the EEA. There will also be an additional prize for the public's favourite – the Buzz Prize. All shortlisted entries will be open for the public's vote via social media. The deadline for submissions is 2 April 2012.

For more information, contact

7. New events

Helsinki hosts international workshop on sustainable housing

ICLEI member city Helsinki (Finland) will host the international workshop on sustainable housing, Workshop II Housing, from 15-16 March 2012 at the Ministry of the Environment. The event, organised by The CORPUS consortium, aims to connect scientific evidence on sustainable production and consumption (SCP) with policy makers’ needs in decision-making on SCP issues.

The workshop aims at bringing together researchers and policy makers working on sustainable mobility. During the various sessions, the audience will be able to learn from good policy practices in sustainable housing from other EU countries as well as to use a networking opportunity with other European policy-makers and researchers in the field. The workshop covers the costs of accommodation and all meals. The number of places is limited, with the closing date for registration 10 March 2012.

To register, click here.

8. Event reminders

TEEB Conference 2012
19-22 March 2012, Leipzig (Germany)

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)

Resilient Cities 2012
12-15 May 2012, Bonn (Germany)

Global Town Hall
13-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

ICLEI World Congress 2012
14-17 June 2012, Belo Horizonte (Brazil)

Covenant capaCITY Conference -Energy Action Planning made easy
18-19 September 2012, Malmö (Sweden)

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

Local Renewables 2012
25 – 26 October 2012, Freiburg (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: Miren Hurtado, Ailish O'Donoghue, Ciara Leonard (responsible).

Comments and questions are welcome - please write to Miren Hurtado 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.