2. ICLEI Member News
Cities and Regions Pavilion at COP21 sees European cities present local action
European cities showcased the sustainable projects that are transforming their societies at the ICLEI organised Cities and Regions Pavilion, held as part of COP21 in Paris. Current European Green Capital Bristol (UK) hosted several sessions, looking at topics such as creating smart and sustainable cities through innovative Public-Private partnerships, and increasing resilience to the effects of climate change. On 1 December the city took part in a debate with other winners of the European Green Capital award, including Copenhagen (Denmark), Essen (Germany), Hamburg (Germany), Nantes (France), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Stockholm (Sweden), while on 2 December Bristol held a workshop on how local leaders can build effective partnerships that will help to make cities more sustainable.
Bristol’s final session took place on Friday 11 December, outlining the council’s plans for the future of the city. French region Nord-Pas de Calais also held a series of talks, including a session on the "Third Industrial Revolution", which put the spotlight on the region’s plan for a large-scale refurbishment that would see 100,000 houses made more energy efficient.
Scandinavian cities gave TAP Pavilion attendees the benefit of their considerable sustainability knowledge on Thursday 3 December, with the City of Oslo (Norway) looking at transformative change in transport systems and Stockholm (Sweden) discussing its ambitious plans to be fossil fuel free by 2040. Financing the green transformation was picked up by Gothenburg (Sweden), who looked at green bonds and sustainable urban development. On Saturday 5 December, the City of Copenhagen (Denmark) held a session on its plan to be carbon neutral by 2025. The Basque Country, host of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, also presented at the Cities and Regions Pavilion, outlining its Climate Change strategy KLIMA 2050.
For more information, visit the Cities & Regions Pavilion website.
Image copyright: ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
Warsaw joins ICLEI to enhance sustainable development
The Polish capital of Warsaw has become an official member of ICLEI, signalling its ongoing commitment to developing a more sustainable future. As host of the 2013 Convention of the Parties (COP), Warsaw is highly attuned to the importance of climate change mitigation and aware of the important role that international processes such as COP play in this transition. Prior to COP21, the city organised the conference "From Warsaw to Paris via Lima", which examined climate challenges in the context of the climate negotiations, gathering input from the local level, civil society, and the business sector.
The city is widely renowned in the field of sustainable energy, partly thanks to its extensive district energy system, which heats 70 percent of its 1.7 million inhabitants. The city has also developed a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) for the period 2011 – 2020. Warsaw’s energy mix has grown from being coal-based to incorporating a diverse mix of sustainable sources; since 2008, street lights in the city have been powered by energy generated from treated sewage sludge. To further aid the transition away from coal, a biomass energy plant was recently launched, estimated to save 227,000 tonnes of carbon annually.
On 10 December 2015, Warsaw City Council accepted the "Low-carbon Economy Action Plan for Warsaw”, a policy which aims to improve air quality by reducing CO2 emissions, increasing the share of renewable energy, and improving energy efficiency in the city. As part of the drive to develop a more energy-efficient building stock, Warsaw is investing in thermal retrofit schemes and is rolling out smart grids and metering. Last year the city produced a sustainability report, providing objective data on sustainable development and quality of life in the city, enabling decision-makers to take stock and better plan for the future.
For more information, visit Urban-LEDS.
Image copyright: Warsaw (photo on Flickr) by "Kamil Porembiński", licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Bristol Summits bring together business and civic leaders
At the culmination of its year as European Green Capital, ICLEI member Bristol (UK) gathered a pioneering group of businesses at the Business Summit and innovative civic leaders at the City Leadership Summit to explore how creative civic governance and forward-thinking businesses can build healthy and happy communities.
The two summits showcased how cities and regions are at the forefront of sustainable development, and how they must play a leadership role in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and driving forward the low-carbon economy. Throughout the sessions, local authorities demonstrated that they are ideally positioned to facilitate the roll-out of policies and actions while fostering community participation and inclusiveness.
Within the Transformative Actions Program (TAP) session, co-organised by ICLEI, city leaders explained their ambitious, cross-cutting and inclusive actions, focusing on mitigation and adaptation to climate change. George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, presented Bristol’s TAP proposal to retrofit around 50,000 homes to make them more energy efficient. The potential of innovation to bring social and economic change was also emphasised. A series of interviews capture the outlook of local authorities participating at the Bristol Summits.
For more information, visit the Summits website.
Image copyright: Paul Box