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ICLEI in Europe News
December 2013

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. ICLEI Regional Director Wolfgang Teubner looks back at 2013
2. ICLEI Member News
3. COP19 strengthens position of cities in global climate action
4. SOLUTIONS project fosters exchange between cities worldwide
5. Waste-Less in Chianti releases final report
6. BUMP project supports local governments in developing mobility plans
7. URBAN-LEDS cities join forces and knowledge to lower city emissions
8. Guidelines to combine heritage protection and energy efficiency released
9. Events calendar

1. ICLEI Regional Director Wolfgang Teubner looks back at 2013

Another year comes to an end and seems to have passed by much too fast. It was my first year as Regional Director in Europe and I would like to thank you all for your great support and collaboration in our joint efforts to push forward the agenda of local sustainability, both in Europe and globally. The urbanisation agenda has moved cities to the centre, and generates a lot of interest for local governments. However, at present there seems to be more talk about cities than with cities. There is much work ahead to achieve better recognition for the role of cities globally and in Europe.

European policy has still been very much dominated by the economic and financial crisis and therefore focused on economic development and growth. Although the terms green growth and sustainable economic development are well represented, we notice strong hesitation when it comes to the introduction of clear regulation and ambitious goals and standards that would lead towards more sustainable solutions. Issues like a forward leading reform of the carbon market, fleet emission limits for the car industry and many others have shown the reluctance of European leaders to courageously move forward. On a positive note, the back loading of the carbon market has been finally agreed following a wave of protest, including an open letter from ICLEI.

To continue driving the discussion around the green urban economy, ICLEI would like to further explore the productive and economic potential of cities, and the balance of protection and sustainable ecosystem services within cities and urban regions. In the follow-up to Rio+20 expert groups have met and structures have been formed but the real discussion and process for the definition of the global Sustainable Development Goals will mainly be conducted in 2015. Early signs indicate wide support for independent goals for cities and urban areas - we will keep you informed, and seek your input, as this develops.

To read the text in full, click here.

2. ICLEI Member News

Augsburg is Germany's most sustainable city

2013’s most sustainable German city is ICLEI member Augsburg. Julia Glöckner, the Deputy Federal Chairwoman for the CDU, awarded the German Sustainability Award 2013 to Augsburg’s Lord Mayor, Dr Kurt Gribl, at the Awards Ceremony in Düsseldorf on 21 November 2013.

Augsburg’s impressive commitment to climate change mitigation and resource conservation, as well as its efforts in encouraging green job growth, was commended by the jury. Additionally, the NANU-Network that promotes nature conservation and education on environmental topics was highlighted by the jury as an excellent method for spreading the message of sustainability among the city’s inhabitants.

These features contributed to a convincing case put forward by Augsburg, securing its victory over fellow nominees in the category, Dortmund and Mainz.

For more information, click here [in German].

Birmingham and Rotterdam release adaptation strategies

Building on the work of the EU Cities Adapt project, ICLEI members Birmingham (UK) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands) recently published their climate change adaptation strategies. The project worked with a range of cities across the EU to provide capacity building and assistance in developing and implementing adaptation strategies for the future.

The major climate change issue for Rotterdam is the risk of flooding for parts of the city lying below sea level. Rotterdam will continue its flood prevention techniques such as partial rises in landmass. The core of the strategy is continuing to maintain and strengthen the existing protective system of surge barriers, dykes, sewage pumps and drains.

Reducing flood risk is also a key part of Birmingham’s plans, which include locating emergency services outside at-risk areas so that they can respond effectively, and upgrading sewerage systems to cope with periods of increased rainfall. The city is equally focused on increasing the number of green roofs on buildings, planting more trees for shade and incorporating cooling measures and natural ventilation in the design of new buildings.

For more information, read Birmingham and Rotterdam’s adaptation strategies.

Barcelona keeps innovating as one of Europe's smartest cities

In hosting the Smart City Expo from 19 – 21 November this year, ICLEI member Barcelona (Spain) is demonstrating its commitment to using innovative technologies for better sustainability. Barcelona is a leading Spanish and European city in adopting new technologies that make sustainable lifestyles easier and more attractive for citizens. Innovations include a more efficient bus system with smart bus shelters updating passengers with travel information. Smart technology is also used to show available city bicycles at over 400 stations.

Energy efficiency is another area where innovations have been implemented. There are already around 700 electric vehicles on the city streets as well as 262 charging stations, making the choice to switch to an electric car easier for inhabitants. LED street lighting is now used in 50 locations across the city, and one street, Avda Josep Tarradellas, is the first in the city to use motion sensors to brighten the street for pedestrians.

For more information, click here.

3. COP19 strengthens position of cities in global climate action

Among the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw (Poland), which concluded on 22 November, is a strengthened platform for cities and local governments to engage in global climate action. Receiving increased recognition from UN figures and international institutions, subnational governments are now better placed than ever to lead on this issue.

Specific measures include facilitating the exchange of experiences and best practice between cities and local governments in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and climate change adaptation. Cities and local governments will convene at their own forum as part of the UN Climate Conference in Bonn (Germany) in June 2014.

Speaking at the first Cities Day at the UN Climate Change Conference, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon affirmed cities’ crucial role against climate change. “Cities are central in tackling climate change. They are proving grounds for our efforts in ensuring a low carbon future that benefits people and the planet.” Cities Day began with a dialogue between mayors and government ministers on how cities can contribute to global efforts on scaling up climate actions, and continued with city-focused events showcasing local climate action.

For more information, click here.

4. SOLUTIONS fosters exchange between cities worldwide

Transportation and mobility is a key enabler of economic activity and social connectivity. Launched at the EcoMobility Congress in Suwon (South Korea) in September 2013, the SOLUTIONS project brings together a wealth of experience and technical knowledge, focusing on the exchange of innovative green transport solutions between cities from Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean.

The possibility to transfer sustainable urban mobility solutions between Europe, China, Singapore and Latin America will be a key aspect of the project. Participating European ICLEI members include Aalborg (Denmark), Barcelona (Spain) and Bremen (Germany), as well as ICLEI members from other regions such as Belo Horizonte and Curitiba (Brazil) and Matale (Sri Lanka).

The project’s overall objective is to facilitate dialogue and exchange, promote successful policy, provide guidance and tailored advice to city officials, and foster future cooperation on research, development and innovation. It is organised around six broad themes: public transport, transport infrastructure, city logistics, integrated planning, network and mobility management, and clean vehicles.

For more information, click here.

5. Waste-Less in Chianti releases final report

The Waste-Less in Chianti project has produced a final report, outlining the successes that have been made in reducing per capita waste in four municipalities in the Chianti region (Italy). Co-funded by the EU LIFE+ programme and the Tuscany region, the project ran from late 2010 until earlier this year.

In 2010 the average per capita production of waste in the project area was 588 kilograms per year, with 43 percent of waste collected separately. The project implemented a strategy to reduce waste with three key steps: increased measures to prevent and reduce waste, an improved waste management system, and the promotion of recycled materials.

The results of the project have vastly exceeded expectations. Average waste production was reduced by 113 kg, surpassing the target of 100 kg. All schools and more than 100 cafes, restaurants and offices in the municipalities are now using recycled and reusable products with the Waste-Less label. Home composting is now much more widespread, and 50 percent of all municipal tenders have been made environmentally friendly.

For more information, click here.

6. BUMP project supports local governments in developing mobility plans

Developing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) can be a daunting task for local governments. The BUMP (Boosting Urban Mobility Plans) project aims to help local governments in this process. Working in nine EU countries, BUMP provides city planners and environmental and technical officers with the knowledge and skills to plan and manage sustainable mobility in urban and peri-urban areas.

An initial training programme comprising six modules will aid local governments in developing a SUMP. Thereafter, a series of mutual learning exchanges will take place, to allow participants to share knowledge and expertise. The most committed local authorities will be selected to receive further help and guidance.

Finally, BUMP will organise a series of visits to towns and cities where BUMP projects have been put into practice. Guest delegations will be able to see example mobility projects in action, learn about their development and understand how they can be replicated.

For more information, click here.

7. URBAN-LEDS cities join forces and knowledge to lower city emissions

Cities from Brazil, South Africa, India and Indonesia met with ICLEI Europe members Almada (Portugal), and Gaziantep (Turkey) on 29 November in Nelson Mandela Bay (South Africa) to discuss decisive steps to lower cities’ emissions. This event was the first networking seminar in the framework of the Promoting Low Emission Urban Development Strategies in Emerging Economy Countries (URBAN-LEDS) project aimed at providing an opportunity for senior representatives of all participating local governments to meet, learn and exchange with each other.

The URBAN-LEDS project, funded by the European Commission (EC), and implemented by UN-Habitat and ICLEI, aims to respond to the EC’s objective of climate change mitigation. To enhance this transition to low emission urban development URBAN-LEDS offers a comprehensive methodological framework to integrate low carbon and resilience strategies, as well as tools and opportunities for peer exchanges.

Through URBAN-LEDS selected European cities, including Almada, Gaziantep, Copenhagen, Hannover, Warsaw, and Zagreb have committed to support their counterparts in emerging economies in both planning and monitoring emissions reductions by sharing experiences and knowledge. The next exchange opportunities will take place in April 2014 through participation in a study tour and at ICLEI´s Global Town Hall at Metropolitan Solutions in Hannover (Germany).

For more information, click here.

8. Guidelines for heritage protection and energy efficiency released

The refurbishment of existing buildings to very low energy demand is increasingly economically feasible. However, the main issue for historic buildings is how to balance building protection requirements with optimised energy efficiency. The 3ENCULT project has been researching and developing solutions for this, and has recently developed a series of guidelines especially targeted to local authorities.

The guidelines developed by ICLEI Europe support local leaders who need to make informed decisions regarding what is possible in the planning phase and in choosing suitable technologies. The technical guidance on energy efficient renovation of historic buildings offers a brief summary of technical solutions on the energetic retrofit of historic buildings as identified and used in the 3ENCULT project.  The guidelines on Integrating energy efficient retrofit of historic buildings into policy and planning outline how local governments can link making historic buildings energy efficient to the development of the Urban Master Plan and broader municipal strategy.

3ENCULT is now developing a set of recommendations on integrating energy efficiency retrofits of historic buildings into local sustainability processes and strategies. Local governments across Europe are invited to take part in a discussion on overcoming barriers and exploring solutions for the advancement of this sustainability target. To do so, contact

For more information, click here.

9. Events calendar

European Sustainable Events Conference
28 – 30 January 2014 – Copenhagen (Denmark)

3ENCULT Workshop – Energy Efficiency and Heritage Protection
4 March 2014 – Alba Iulia, (Romania)

4. Kongress Energieautonome Kommunen
2 – 4 April 2014 – Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany)

Global Town Hall at Metropolitan Solutions
7 – 11 April 2014 – Hannover, (Germany)

Covenant capaCity study tour
16 April 2014 – Padua (Italy)

EcoProcura 2014
24 – 26 September 2014, Ghent (Belgium)

Local Renewables Freiburg 2014
23 – 24 October 2014, Freiburg im Breisgau (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 2013 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany. All rights reserved.