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ICLEI in Europe News
September 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 Member News
  2. Nantes set to host World Mayors Summit on Climate Change
  3. Geneva 2013 outcomes collected in new report
  4. First EcoMobility World Festival in Suwon
  5. Urban biodiversity training opportunity for ICLEI members
  6. Preventing human rights abuses in global supply chains
  7. British interest in sustainable products growing
  8. Events calendar

1. ICLEI Member News

British ICLEI members receive cycling bonus

ICLEI member cities Birmingham, Bristol, and Newcastle (UK) were awarded £30 million in government funding in August 2013, to be spent on a major upgrade of their cycling infrastructures. Receiving £17 million, £7.7 million, and £5.6 million respectively, the cities have committed to making it easier to cycle in their urban centres and suburbs.

The awards were presented under the Cycle City Ambition Grant scheme from the UK’s Department for Transport. The scheme aims to increase the provision of cycle lanes and improve safety for cyclists across the UK. The grant funding was matched by funding raised locally. All three cities have ambitious targets. In Birmingham, it is foreseen that five percent of all journeys will be taken by bicycle within ten years, while Newcastle is projecting 12 percent over the same time frame.

In addition to the health benefits that travelling short distances by bicycle can deliver, cycling is an excellent method to reduce both congestion and carbon emissions. Making cycling an attractive and easy option for citizens with safe cycle routes and better cycle parking facilities will go a long way towards achieving these benefits in Birmingham, Bristol and Newcastle.

For more information, click here.

Endangered species identified and protected in Heidelberg

The Environment Department of ICLEI member Heidelberg (Germany) have been engaging in conservation measures in the Felsenmeer nature reserve close to the city centre. With the aim of conserving the area’s natural biodiversity, department employees have been carefully restoring the landscape to encourage local and endangered species to flourish.

Care was taken to preserve tree species such as Carpathian Birch and Mountain Ash by removing competing conifers and chestnut trees. Additionally, research was carried out to identify the different species of mosses and lichens that appear in the park. 89 types of moss and 37 types of lichen were identified, among them some particularly rare species. The reserve is also rich in bird and insect life. This conservation action is just the latest measure that the city has taken to protect this resource for local and endangered species, as well as for its citizens.

For more information, click here [in German].

New app highlights the systems that keep Rotterdam dry and safe

As a city in which even a moderate rise in sea levels could spell disaster, Rotterdam (the Netherlands) knows better than most the need to protect against the impacts of climate change. To better inform citizens and visitors, a new app has been launched describing the initiatives in place in the port city to stop flooding.

Titled “The Rotterdam Delta City App”, the downloadable programme shows Rotterdam’s history in terms of flood protections, the current actions being taken, and future actions that will ensure the city is climate proof by 2025. Action sites are displayed on an interactive map, with explanations of how these actions work, why they are necessary, and how they fit into the city’s overall resilience strategy. Water barriers, multifunctional dykes and water plazas are among the solutions included, with the app also delving into the city’s special spatial design, which in itself helps to mitigate and prevent flooding.

For more information, click here.

Rome preserves history and reclaims roads

Ignazio Marino, the new mayor of ICLEI member Rome (Italy), is committed to reclaiming the Via dei Fori Imperiali, one of the city’s busiest roads for pedestrians and cyclists, which cuts through the Forum and around the Colosseum. Traffic is now banned from part of the route. The programme is designed to increase the city’s environmental and cultural sustainability.

As well as preserving historic landmarks, an equally important aspect of the project is to encourage Romans to explore transportation options other than using their cars. Italy has one of the highest car-ownership rates in the world, and the mayor claimed that the concentration of private vehicles meant that Rome’s public transportation is therefore “one of the slowest in the world.” Mayor Marino is a keen cyclist himself, making his way between government offices and events by bicycle. He hopes to convert Roman commuters from making short trips to work by car to cycling and walking, following the lead of other European capitals.

For more information, click here.

Waste innovations in Vitoria-Gasteiz

ICLEI member and European Green Capital 2012 Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) is acting as a role model for the rest of Europe with its recycling programme. The city’s waste management has seen a real revolution and the results can be seen in quarterly statistics released by the city. In the second quarter of 2013, a total of 2,557 tonnes of paper was recycled, as well as 911 tonnes of plastic.

As part of its efforts to inform citizens, an online map has been developed showing information about recycling facilities and the impact that people’s actions are having on CO2 emissions and natural resources. Local neighbourhoods compete with one another to have the highest recycling rates.

The city also runs a service named Reutiliza (Reuse) where users can donate various items such as electronic goods and sports equipment to have a new lease of life with new owners. In the first seven months of its existence, over 5,500 items had been exchanged and reused. With this combination of innovative recycling methods and improving access to information, Vitoria-Gasteiz is wasting less than ever before.

For more information, click here.

2. Nantes set to host World Mayors Summit on Climate Change

The World Mayors Summit 2013 will bring together over 100 mayors from 30 countries in ICLEI member and European Green Capital Nantes (France), to demonstrate commitment and leadership on local climate action. Running from 27 - 28 September 2013 under the patronage of François Hollande, President of the Republic of France and with the participation of the French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, the event will be held back to back with the EcoCity World summit.

The invitation-only event is calling for a bottom-up approach for cities to access global financing mechanisms for local climate action, and will feature a high-level dialogue on financing options that will discuss current and future initiatives. The attendees include George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, United Kingdom, Virginia Sonntag-O´Brien of the UNEP National Climate Finance Institutions Support Programme, and Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility.

To solidify their commitment to stemming global warming, all mayors in attendance will be invited to sign the Nantes Declaration of Mayors and sub-national Leaders on Climate Change, which will set the foundation for the new phase of the Local Government Climate Roadmap. The document calls on local governments to work together with national governments, business, civil society and others to create a strong community working towards a low-carbon future. The first draft of the declaration is open to the public for comments until the end of the day (10 September 2013). All comments should be sent to

For more information, click here.

3. Geneva 2013 outcomes collected in new report

The 2013 European Sustainable Cities and Towns (ESCT) conference, held in Geneva (Switzerland) from 17 – 19 April 2013, brought together an international mix of local and national leaders, business representatives, interested stakeholders and the media to discuss the transition towards sustainability in the face of the current economic, environmental and social crises. Outcomes from the conference, the biggest European event on local sustainability this year, are now available to read in a new report.

Over 850 participants from more than 50 countries (including 200 speakers) took part in a total of seven plenary sessions, 17 workshops on-site, and 29 break-out sessions. The European Sustainable Cities Platform, an information hub for local governments and interested individuals, was launched at the conference on behalf of ICLEI and the City of Aalborg (Denmark).

“The 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns was a very inspirational event. Events like [Geneva 2013] federate thought and trigger collective and concerted action for a more sustainable future.” said Charlina Vitcheva of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional Policy. The event was jointly organised by ICLEI, the City of Geneva, its local partners and the European Sustainable Cities and Towns partners. The next ESCT conference will be held in 2016, and the bidding process for a host city will start soon. To apply, contact

To view the report, click here.

4. First EcoMobility World Festival in Suwon

The 2013 EcoMobility Festival and Congress began on 1 September 2013 in Suwon, (South Korea). During the month the historic area of Haenggung-dong will be made car-free so that the 4,300 residents can explore the possibilities of an eco-mobile lifestyle. The Festival will welcome more than 5,000 international visitors, mayors, leading research specialists, mobility solution providers and more than 200 other participants from 20 different countries.

The EcoMobility World Congress closed on the 4 September 2013. At the conference, mayors from around the world committed to making urban ecomobility a key strategy in combating climate change in their own cities, and shared the successes that had already been achieved in places as diverse as Freiburg (Germany), Kyoto (Japan) and Kaohsiung (Taiwan). Whether you will be in Suwon or not, you can keep up to date with the Festival on Facebook and Twitter, or you can read the ongoing blog.

For more information click here.

5. Urban biodiversity training opportunity for ICLEI members

The URBES Project is hosting a free training session for ICLEI members from the 13 – 15 November 2013 in Barcelona (Spain). The URBES Project is the leading European science policy network on urban biodiversity and ecosystem services, and will bring together European scientists and practitioners working at the highest level in an interactive and practice-oriented environment.

Participants will have the opportunity to gain scientific knowledge on the value of nature applicable to city development processes, and will learn more about the added value of the ecosystem services approach for an integrated and sustainable urban development, as well as increase their understanding of valuation tools and methods.

The URBES Project is a three-year research project funded by BiodivERsA that aims to bridge the knowledge gap on the links between urbanisation, biodiversity and ecosystem services. It informs urban managers and decision-makers on how to best integrate the natural environment and human needs. The project consortium consists of world-leading research institutes on sustainable urban development, based in Europe and the USA.

For more information, click here.

6. Preventing human rights abuses in global supply chains

The Norwegian Government has prepared a guide to ensuring human rights are respected within supply chains, providing practical information for enterprises on avoiding rights violations and rectifying situations in which rights have been contravened. The document sets out a clear method to ensure rights are respected.

Organisations should evaluate their activities and operations in relation to human rights by carrying out a due diligence process, states the guide. This process should seek to reduce and avoid direct or indirect violations of human rights. To achieve this, enterprises must collaborate with stakeholders on improvements; measure, report and communicate their human rights efforts; and integrate human rights due diligence into their core business principles. Adapting purchasing practices may also be necessary in some cases. Examples from Norwegian companies are given, along with information on tools that support the due diligence process.

For more information, click here.

7. British interest in sustainable products growing

British consumers are three times more likely to buy ethical and environmentally friendly products than they were in 2011, a new survey has found. The study, conducted by market research company Nielsen, shows that even when the cost of a Fairtrade or organic product is higher than an alternative, 25 percent of British shoppers are willing to take the green option.

The company stated that this increase could be attributed to the greater availability of these kinds of products in supermarkets and stores. As well as this, better marketing is inspiring consumers to think about sustainability and the environment when they shop. Additionally, the price difference between expensive organic products and their traditional counterparts has decreased in recent years, bringing these products within the reach of more consumers.

Another factor encouraging consumers to make this switch is the growing awareness and concern about the methods involved in mass production, through their coverage in the media and easier access to such information online.

For more information, click here.

8. Events calendar

EcoMobility World Festival 2013
1 – 30 September 2013, Suwon (South Korea)

European Mobility Week
16 – 22 September 2013, various locations

3ENCULT Study Tour: Historic buildings renovation in Bolzano and Innsbruck
19 September 2013, Bolzano (Italy)

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

World Mayors Summit 2013
27 – 28 September 2013, Nantes (France)

3ENCULT Workshop: Protect historic buildings saving energy
1 October 2013, Krakow (Poland)

RFSC Conference 2013: Towards a European Model of a Sustainable City
9 October 2013, Brussels (Belgium)

6th EuroIndia Summit on "Greening cities" and European Mission in India
16 – 23 October 2013, Hyderabad (India)

Covenant capaCITY @ Local Renewables
23 – 25 October 2013, Freiburg (Germany)

URBES training session
13 – 15 November 2013, Barcelona (Spain)

Sustainable Brands London Conference
18 – 19 November 2013, London (UK)

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.