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ICLEI in Europe News
March 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. Member News
  2. A month to go until the 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns in Geneva, Switzerland, 17-19 April 2013
  3. Green Week conference looks to connect with local air quality events
  4. Adaptation capacity building at Open European Day
  5. Smart bins encourage waste separation
  6. Climate change threatens safety of drinking water - report
  7. Events news
  8. Event calendar

1. ICLEI Member News

Fossil fuel free future on track in Växjö

The City of Växjö (Sweden) is on track to be fossil fuel free by 2030. To reach this ambitious goal the city is working with a range of sectors, and is taking advantage of the abundance of biomass fuel in the area to power its district heating scheme.

The city also has plans to reduce the emissions of fossil fuel by 55 percent per inhabitant by 2015. As of 2011, a 41 percent reduction had been achieved. CO2 rates are closely monitored, particularly in the sectors of heating, electricity and transport. 51 percent of Växjö’s energy comes from sources such as biomass, hydro power, geothermal and solar energy at present.

Transport companies, industries and firms in Växjö were favourable towards switching to renewable energy. High oil prices and subsidies have encouraged households to change their heating systems, with those not connected to the district heating system primarily using wood chip boilers. The municipality has also started investing in passive housing and greater energy efficiency measures.

For more information, click here.

Oslo to replace entire vehicle fleet with zero-emission alternatives

Pursuing its objective of having a zero emission vehicle fleet by 2015, the City of Oslo (Norway) has concluded a framework agreement to replace a thousand cars and trucks with environmentally friendly options in the years to come. The move feeds into the city’s “zero emission technology” policy, established in 2010.

Most vehicles, especially small and medium sized cars, will be replaced with an electric alternative. Under the new framework agreement the city will add another 800 electric charging stations to the 500 currently available for public use. The new framework agreement also covers fleet management, and allows users to access the status of each car through a web tool to better plan their activities.

“The framework agreement is an example of how Oslo is in the forefront when it comes to adopting smart and environmentally friendly technology, and that the municipality uses its purchasing power to promote good environmental solutions”, said Oslo Finance Commissioner Kristin Vinje.

For more information, click here.

Zagreb and Aberdeen announced as winners of prestigious mobility awards

ICLEI member Zagreb (Croatia) was revealed as the winner of the 2012 European Mobility Week (EMW) Award at a prestigious ceremony in Brussels (Belgium) on 6 March, while fellow member Aberdeen (United Kingdom) was chosen as the 2012 Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) award winner.

The Croatian capital was praised for its innovative approach to citizen engagement, which transformed EMW into a weeklong celebration. Speaking at the event, Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik praised the work of cities and citizens in embracing more sustainable transport, saying: “if we all take small steps, together we take a giant leap forward”. Siim Kallas, Vice-president of the European Commission and commissioner responsible for transport, introduced the SUMP awards, calling the mobility plans “powerful tools to achieve change”.

For more information, click here

2. A month to go until the 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns in Geneva, Switzerland, 17-19 April 2013

The 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns will explore how the development of a green and socially responsible economy can support local governments in addressing economic, social and environmental challenges. Those who register before 22 March 2013 can avail of the early bird registration fee.

Leading experts such as Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, Saskia Sassen, a top global thinker renowned for her analysis of cities and globalisation, Brice Lalonde, UN Executive Coordinator of the Rio +20 Summit and Roland Kupers, Research Director THNK (the Netherlands) and Associate Fellow of the University of Oxford (UK) will give their views on the role of local governments in providing sustainable answers to the pressing issues facing Europe. Representatives from several Directorate-Generals from the European Commission, and mayors and deputy mayors from sustainably advanced European cities will also attend.

All levels of governments will be present, and will outline their experience in finding sustainable solutions. Interactive break-out sessions will delve into the most topical developments in the field, while workshops on-site will offer participants the chance to explore a wide variety of sites in the Geneva area, and provide cutting-edge examples of citizen involvement and local partnerships.

For more information, click here.

3. Green Week conference looks to connect with local air quality events

Under the banner of “cleaner air for all”, the 2013 edition of the Green Week conference - the biggest annual conference on European environment policy - will look at ways to improve the quality of the air we breathe. Taking place from 4 – 7 June 2013 in Brussels (Belgium), the conference is looking to link with local events on air quality.

Despite progress over recent years, levels of harmful pollutants in densely populated areas of Europe still widely exceed several air quality standards. As the European Commission prepares to review its current air quality policy, cities are best-placed to help raise awareness and promote behavioural change among citizens.

Connecting with Green Week will result in greater publicity for local events, and the chance to link to a Europe-wide campaign. Selected events will also be published on the Green Week website. The theme echoes this year’s European Mobility Week theme, “Clean air – it’s your move!”, which seeks to improve air quality through encouraging better mobility choices.

For more information, click here.

4. Adaptation capacity building at Open European Day

As the effects of climate change become increasingly severe and are felt more frequently, the need for cities to develop an adaptation plan is clear. The upcoming Open European Day event, which will be held as part of Resilient Cities 2013, is a chance for cities to build capacity for adaptation, with an emphasis on city-to-city learning. Participation is free of charge.

Taking place on 3 June, the Open European Day coincides with the final conference of EU Cities Adapt, a project which supports European cities in adapting to the impacts of climate change. This key event on urban adaptation in Europe favours interactive-workshops over presentations, and will get participants to tackle such questions as: what does adaptation cost and how can we finance it?; how do we define and communicate risk levels?; and what role can the EU play in helping cities become more resilient to the impacts of climate change?

European cities and city administrations are the focus of the event, but stakeholders from other regions are welcome to participate. The event will become a regular platform for European cities to exchange experiences on practical challenges and solutions to local climate resilience. The host conference, Resilient Cities 2013, runs from 31 May – 2 June in Bonn (Germany), and will explore a wide range of topics around adaptation and resilience planning.

For more information, click here.

5. Smart bins encourage waste separation

A new collection system for residual waste is being tested in the Italian municipalities of Greve in Chianti, San Casciano in Val di Pesa and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa in the Florentine Chianti. Waste authority Quadrifoglio installed new bins that require the insertion of a personalised electronic memory stick to open, reducing the possibility of throwing out waste without first making a proper separation and encouraging more conscientious behaviour.

The testing phase involves over 10,000 users and aims to reduce total municipal waste generation by 10 percent. It is also thought that the rate of waste separation will increase by over 65 percent in all municipalities. Based on the results of the testing phase, the system will be gradually extended to the whole region.

This project is part of the ongoing actions of the LIFE+ Waste Less Chianti project, which aims to contribute to the success of the European and National policies on waste prevention and sustainable consumption through the implementation and monitoring of an integrated waste prevention and reduction programme in Chianti.

For more information, click here.

6. Climate change threatens safety of drinking water - report

Climate change will exacerbate existing drinking water problems through increasing evaporation rates, reducing the availability of freshwater and causing more frequent droughts and flooding by changing precipitation patterns, a new report has found. Conducted by the recently ended ADWICE project, the literature review examined climate change effects on both water quality and quantity. The project’s findings are now available in the form of the final report.

It was also concluded that local decision-makers should refrain from separating water issues from drinking water issues, as water use should be considered in a broad sense.

The ADWICE project ran for 12 months and was led by BIO Intelligence Service in cooperation with ICLEI Europe, Cranfield University (UK), Istituto di Ricerca sulle Acque (IRSA), and the National Institute of Hydrology and Water Management (NIHWM).

To view the report, click here.

7. Events news

Car-free mobility the focus of upcoming CIVITAS workshop

Facilitating less car-dependent lifestyles for citizens may seem like an uphill struggle, but through smart planning it can be achieved. The upcoming CIVITAS workshop “Effective solutions for green urban transport - Learning from CIVITAS cities” will examine the practicalities of this, particularly looking at car-pooling and sharing, and public bicycle schemes. Effective mobility management, including planning, marketing and conducting public consultations, is also on the agenda.

Taking place on 16 April 2013, within the margins of the 7th European Sustainable Cities and Towns Conference in Geneva (Switzerland), examples from pioneering CIVITAS cities will be showcased, with the cities themselves presenting their achievements. Ways in which participants can replicate these measures in their own city contexts will be explored.

The workshop is free of charge but places are limited. Registration is available online.

For more information, click here.

Improving the energy-efficiency of historic buildings through refurbishment

Bologna (Italy) will host a series of ICLEI-organised events providing knowledge on increasing the energy-efficiency of historic buildings through refurbishment. The workshop “Preserving community history through energy efficiency” will be held on 23 April 2013, and will explore the economic feasibility of refurbishment. Recommendations and experiences on how to save buildings of historical importance after natural disasters will also be shared.

The following day will see a study tour take place aimed at local decision-makers and technical staff working with monument protection, building upkeep and energy in the Mediterranean region. It will look at how energy-efficiency can be improved and renewable energy utilised whilst retaining the building’s cultural heritage. The benefits that can be brought to the community through such a scheme will also be explored. Both events are organised as part of the 3ENCULT project.

For more information, click here.

Local Renewables 2013 focuses on developing the solar city

Practical solutions, from planning to implementation, will be the focus of Local Renewables Freiburg 2013 - Shaping your Solar City. The City of Freiburg (Germany), awarded  in 2012 as “Germany’s Most Sustainable Major City,” and ICLEI Europe are collaborating for the sixth time to deliver an interactive, high-quality event.

The conference will focus on what local governments and stakeholders can do today to achieve low-carbon economies. Is it possible meet ambitious targets?  How does a city become a pioneer in the field of energy? What are the financing options for solar city development? The Local Renewables 2013 programme will explore answers to these questions.

Join us and find out how municipalities can embrace clean, sustainable energy solutions, and tackle financial, planning and regulatory challenges when developing their solar city. Experts will share their knowledge and guidance – offering practical advice to local decision-makers and technical municipal staff.  The programme is available online.

For more information, click here.

TRAILBLAZER – Urban Freight Conference

Four experienced European municipalities will outline practical implementation of Delivery and Servicing Plans at the upcoming TRAILBLAZER urban freight conference. The event will be held on 25 April 2013 in the City of Prague (Czech Republic).

The conference will also include the launch of the Delivery and Servicing Plan toolkit, the complete guide to implementing a Delivery and Servicing Plan. Participants will hear presentations about cleaner and energy efficient freight movements in urban areas (C-LIEGE) and methods to improve air quality and fleet operational efficiency (ECOSTARS).

Participants will also get the chance to take part in a study tour to a local urban logistics facility. The conference is organised by ICLEI, Centrum Dopravního Výzkumu (Czech Transport Research Centre) and Transport & Travel Research. Registration is available online, or by contacting

For more information, click here.

7. Event calendar

Towards sustainable energy communities – delivering on the Covenant of Mayors
18 March 2013, Brussels (Belgium)

EARTH HOUR CITY CHALLENGE - Conference and Award Ceremony
19 March 2013, Malmö (Sweden)

RECS Market Meeting 2013
20 – 21 March 2013, Berlin (Germany)

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

Informed Cities Forum 2013 & InContext Final Conference
6 – 7 June 2013, Berlin (Germany)

EcoCity World Summit
25 – 27 September 2013, Nantes (France)

Local Renewables Freiburg 2013 Conference
24 – 25 October 2013, Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany)

The Solar World Congress 2013
3 – 7 November 2013, Cancun (Mexico)

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:

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