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ICLEI in Europe News
November 2015

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. EU leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030
    3. Johannesburg to go car-free as part of EcoMobility World Festival
    4. Freiburg and Lörrach bid farewell to Local Renewables Conference 2014
    5. 2014 Biodiversity Summit pushes for integration of biodiversity into all levels of government
    6. There is no alternative to 100% renewable energy, says Mayor of Bistrita
    7. Dortmund workshop to explore innovative sustainable mobility approaches
    8. OPTIMUS helps to increase energy efficiency of public buildings
    9. Local governments called upon to support community energy
    10. Event News
    11. Event Calendarmso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";

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      1. ICLEI Member News

      ICLEI members comprise eight out of ten highest ranking green economies

      Eight ICLEI members are amongst the world’s 10 greenest cities according to the 2014 Global Green Economy Index (GGEI), produced by Dual Citizen LLC. Included in the top rankings are European member cities Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm (Sweden), Berlin (Germany), Oslo (Norway) and Helsinki (Finland). The number one urban area, Copenhagen, is renowned as the “world’s best cycling city”, and has a strong focus on green mobility as an essential part of its vision for sustainable growth and quality of life. Additionally, the city is committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2025.

      Sweden ranks as the world’s greenest country. Germany, Switzerland, Spain, the remaining Scandinavian nations and Costa Rica, the only non-European country, complete the top 10. “It is difficult to find a weak spot in the Swedish results on the GGEI,” reads the report. “Much like Germany, Sweden is a best practice case for how to translate a genuine commitment domestically to green economy into a strong global green reputation.”

      The GGEI measures both the green economic performance of 60 countries and how experts assess that performance. The index uses quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure how well each country and city performs on four key dimensions: leadership & climate change, efficiency sectors, markets & investment, and environment & natural capital. The GGEI report contains full details of how the GGEI is calculated and what the results mean for each country or city rated.

      For more information, download the GGEI report.

      ICLEI members nominated for title of European Green Capital 2017

      ICLEI members Bursa (Turkey), Cascais (Portugal), Lahti (Finland) and Pecs (Hungary) were announced in October as among 12 nominees in the running for the title of European Green Capital 2017. The winner will be announced at an Award ceremony in June 2015 in Bristol (United Kingdom) the 2015 European Green Capital.

      The European Green Capital Award recognises European cities leading the way in environmentally-friendly urban living. Judged by an international panel of experts, cities are assessed on 12 indicators including climate change, mitigation and adaptation; green urban areas incorporating sustainable land use; eco-innovation and sustainable employment; and waste production and management.

      For more information, visit the European Green Capital website.

      ICLEI member Orebro commits to going fossil-fuel free

      Orebro is the first city in Sweden, and the 30th local authority world-wide, to commit to pull all investments from fossil fuels. Following cities such as San Francisco (USA), Boxtel (The Netherlands) and Oxford (United Kingdom), Orebro will align its investments with its environmental targets, aiming to become fossil-fuel free by 2050.

      The ICLEI member has already made significant contributions to phasing out its association with fossil-fuel powered energy companies, reducing investments from €2 million to €655,000. “We have high ambitions for our work on climate change. A few years from now, Orebro will be self-sufficient with renewable energy thanks to our investments in wind and solar power” said Lena Baastad, Mayor of Orebro.

      The Swedish government has recently called on the European Union to adopt a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 50 percent by 2030, 10 percent higher than current proposals.

      For more information, visit the Go Fossil Free website.

      2. EU leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030

      European leaders have shaped a climate change pact obliging the European Union (EU) to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 40 percent by 2030. Also agreed upon are the targets of a 27 percent renewable energy market share, and an optional 27 percent increase in energy efficiency improvement.

      “We managed to reach a fair decision that sets the EU on an ambitious but cost-effective climate path,” said Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council. EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said, “We have sent a strong signal to other big economies and all other countries: we have done our homework, now we urge you to follow Europe’s example”. Presently, the EU is on track to meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, in relation to 1990 levels.

      For more information, visit the UNFCCC Newsroom website.

      3. Johannesburg to go car-free as part of EcoMobility World Festival

      There will be a noticeable absence of noise and exhaust fumes on the streets of Sandton, the second largest Central Business District in Johannesburg (South Africa), during October 2015 thanks to the EcoMobility World Festival. Organised by ICLEI and coinciding with South Africa Transport Month, the event will see several streets closed to cars and handed over to more environmentally-friendly forms of transport such as cycling and walking.

      “Driven by ICLEI, we will partner with local organisations and stakeholders to make the Transport Month and the EcoMobility World Festival a success and a beneficial experience for all those involved,” said Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau, Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg. The city will provide alternative transport for commuters to get to and from Sandton, while also hosting discussions, fun runs, cycle rides and other events that take advantage of the car-free environment.

      For more information, visit the EcoMobility World Festival website.

      4. Freiburg and Lörrach bid farewell to Local Renewables Conference 2014

      After three days of fruitful discussion on the role of towns, cities and regions in transitioning to sustainable energy, the Local Renewables Conference 2014 came to a close. The conference was organised by ICLEI, and co-hosted for the first time by two cities, the City of Freiburg (Germany) and the City of Lörrach (Germany). The event put particular emphasis on the key role of local level intervention in transitioning to sustainable energy sources, and the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

      More than 30 experts from around the globe shared their insight, experiences and thoughts on how regional development can drive the renewable energy transition. Concluding the conference, Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director for ICLEI Europe, said: “Going forward, we need to make citizens investors in renewable energy schemes through lowering the threshold to investment. In this way, we can enable them to become both consumers and producers.”

      For more information, visit the Local Renewables Conference website.

      5. 2014 Biodiversity Summit pushes for integration of biodiversity into all levels of government

      Pyeongchang (South Korea) was abuzz with talk of greening cities during the 2014 Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments, held on 14 October 2014. Organised by ICLEI, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Government of Gangwon Province, the summit saw 600 participants from 53 countries come together to promote biodiversity.

      Participants, who ranged from city and subnational leaders to representatives from international and UN organisations, discussed urban environmental topics including: bridging the science-policy interface; biodiversity planning; the creative green economy; and implementation of the Aichi Targets.

      For more information, visit the Biodiversity Summit for Cities and Subnational Governments website.

      6. There is no alternative to 100% renewable energy, says Mayor of Bistrita

      The recent SEAP-PLUS twinning meeting held in Bistrita (Romania) between the Romanian Municipalities Association (AMR) and ICLEI concluded that climate and energy action is intertwined with economic development. Ovidiu Cretu, Mayor of Bistrita, announced his support and commitment for the transition to 100 percent renewable energy at the event.

      “It is vital that cities monitor their spending in relation to fossil fuels, realising the limited value this expenditure has to the local area, while recognising the value of investing in local renewable,” said ICLEI’s Carsten Rothballer. ICLEI and AMR previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding, committing both parties to a strategic alliance within the SEAP-PLUS project.

      For more information, visit the SEAP-PLUS website.

      7. Dortmund workshop to explore innovative sustainable mobility approaches

      Using urban mobility planning as a means to enhance the use of sustainable transport modes will be explored in a workshop organised by the BUMP (Boosting Urban Mobility Plans) project on 20 November 2014 in Dortmund (Germany). Titled "sustainable urban mobility planning: innovative approaches for boosting bike use, public transport and energy efficient mobility", the free event will be held in both German and English, with simultaneous translation available. Similar BUMP workshops have already taken place in Trieste (Italy) and Sofia (Bulgaria). A workshop in Budapest (Hungary) is taking place on 6 November.

      The Dortmund event programme puts an emphasis on interaction, giving participants the opportunity to question the array of speakers. Presenters include Professor Stefan Greiving, Executive Director of the Institute of Spatial Planning, TU Dortmund University; Thomas Pott, Department of Regional Development, Ruhr Regional Association; and Dennis Steinsiek, mobility consultant, nextbike GmbH, among others.

      Participants will also have the opportunity to share knowledge, expertise and best practice. The BUMP project aims to help local governments in cities with between 40,000 and 350,000 inhabitants develop their own Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs). 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.

      For more information, visit the BUMP website.

      8. OPTIMUS to increase energy efficiency of public buildings

      Through increasing the energy efficiency of public buildings, the new OPTIMUS smart city project is helping cities shift toward cleaner, more sustainable urban environments. The OPTIMUS Decision Support System (DSS) is an integrated web-platform that utilises real-time data to seek out the most fitting energy saving opportunities available for public buildings.

      Mindful of the European Union (EU) 2020 targets, three cities are participating in the piloting of the new online platform: Savona (Italy), Sant Cugat del Vallès (Spain) and Zaanstad (The Netherlands). OPTIMUS DSS is constructed in a way that is easily adaptable to cities with differing characteristics. A series of workshops on how local authorities can use the platform will be held in The Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

      For more information, visit the OPTIMUS website.

      9. Local governments called upon to support community energy

      The CO-POWER project, co-funded by Intelligent Energy Europe, is inviting local and regional governments to develop community-owned renewable energy across Europe. The project is seeking to build a broad coalition across Europe to speed up the transition to a sustainable and responsible energy landscape.

      By joining forces with CO-POWER, local and regional governments have the benefit of advice and support and the numerous tools developed by the project such as policy recommendations, model legal frameworks, and an expert report on financing. These will help local governments to kick-off community energy projects across Europe, both inside and outside the target countries – Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Spain and the UK.

      For more information, visit the Community Power website or contact

      10. Event News

      The way to the future passes through Rotterdam at Informed Cities conference

      The City of Rotterdam (The Netherlands) will host the 4th Informed Cities Forum, themed “Which way to the future? Strategies, tools and inspiration for transforming cities” on 26 – 27 March 2015. The forum, organised as a co-production of the ARTS and MUSIC project consortia, will bring together a unique mix of dreamers, thinkers and doers from across Europe representing the public sector, research community, and local initiatives.

      The overall aims are to learn from one another, exchange experiences and build new alliances for the radical changes needed to respond to the environmental, economic and social challenges cities face. Drawing on practical experience from a diverse group of European cities, the event will address: identifying and supporting transition initiatives in cities; bringing together stakeholders from different sectors and domains; gathering, sharing and utilising knowledge for sustainability transitions; and moving beyond experiments to mainstream innovative practices.

      Rotterdam is a dynamic harbour city known for its appetite for innovation and bold environmental experiments, including its solar-powered floating pavilion and the unique water square urban storage system. Registration for the conference will open in November 2014

      For more information, contact or visit the Informed Cities website.

      Community-energy - Empowering local authorities and their communities

      Local decision-makers, planners, local government associations and networks, and energy agencies will take part in an upcoming free workshop addressing the potential for roll-out of community energy in Ireland on 20 November.

      The event is one in an ongoing series of mini workshops aimed at local government authorities specific to the host nation. The workshop will feature existing best practice from across the country, as well as the significant barriers that need to be overcome to continue this process. The Dublin event will identify these obstacles and provide insight on themes such as funding, cooperation with community groups, and how local governments can begin the process of developing community-owned renewable energy within their areas.

      For more information, download the programme, or contact

      Community energy take centre stage at B@S meeting


      The role of local and regional authorities in supporting community-led Renewable Energy projects will form the focus of the 16th Breakfast at Sustainability's (B@S) meeting, taking place in Brussels (Belgium) on 25 November 2014. Hosted by the Common Representation of the Alpeuregio (comprising the regions of Tyrol, South Tyrol, and Trentino in Italy), the half-day event will see speakers and participants discuss challenges and barriers, as well as share success stories, in the ongoing transition to renewably sourced energy at the local level.

      B@S are small, informal meetings that address topics of sustainable urban development from a local angle. Financing and implementation form core elements of the meetings. Registration is available by contacting

      For more information, download the programme.

      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.

      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 2014 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany. All rights reserved.