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ICLEI in Europe News
June 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. Member news
  2. The Basque Country to host the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns
  3. PPI Guide translated into Hungarian and Spanish
  4. Feedback on EU directive sought by Clean Fleets project
  5. E-Mobility Works is helping cities to overcome their electric vehicle anxiety
  6. Community ownership of energy sources needs local government support
  7. European Sustainable Development Week sees thousands of actions across the continent
  8. Nominations for 2015 WorldGBC Leadership Awards open
  9. Event news
  10. Events calendar

            1. ICLEI Member News

            Vitoria-Gasteiz is the cycling capital of Spain, reveals survey

            A new survey has revealed that cycling rates almost doubled in the last three years in ICLEI member Vitoria-Gasteiz, making it the Spanish city with the largest share of cycling in relation to other transport modes. The percentage of people cycling rose to 12.3 percent in 2014, up from 6.8 percent in 2011. The survey was conducted by the Polytechnic University of Madrid’s Transport Research Centre and Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council.

            MEP Michael Cramer, chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism, congratulated the city for its achievement, saying: "Vitoria-Gasteiz shows that political commitment at the top, a dedicated administration and a participative approach can quickly and considerably increase the share of cyclists in cities outside the established European cycling nations." To improve its cycling rate, the city took part in the European Biking Cities project, which brought together six European cities with ambitious cycling policies to exchange experiences.

            In 2008 the city adopted a Sustainable Mobility and Public Space Plan that was supplemented in 2010 with a Master Plan for Cyclist Mobility. As part of this, an ambitious goal of achieving a 15 percent cycling modal share by 2020 was set. The latest figures show that the city is on track to meet its target.

            For more information, visit

            Image copyright: The cycling success story of Vitoria-Gasteiz by "Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council"

            Vantaa trials self-driving minibuses

            The Finnish City of Vantaa is moving into the future with the trial of four self-driving electric minibuses. The buses will ferry up to ten passengers over a 1.5km route, and will be observed from a main control room. The trial will begin in early July and last until the start of August.

            A series of in-built sensors will enable the vehicles to detect obstacles in their path, and take action to avoid them. If the obstacle cannot be avoided, the minibus will come to a halt. As the route will be shared with cyclists and pedestrians, the vehicles are programmed to move quite slowly, mitigating the likelihood of serious accidents.

            A similar pilot took place in Oristano (Italy) in 2014, while larger-scale demonstrations are planned in La Rochelle (France), Milan (Italy) and the West Lausanne region in Switzerland. The Vantaa trial is being held as part of the CityMobil2 project.

            For more information, visit Eltis.

            Image copyright: City of Vantaa

            Southeast County Gran Canaria looks back at 25 years of cooperation

            The municipalities of Agüimes, Ingenio and Santa Lucia (Spain) are celebrating 25 years of fruitful cooperation. The Canary Islands municipalities, which came together under the banner of the Intermunicipal Association of Southeast Gran Canaria in 1990 and joined ICLEI in 2008, have been internationally recognised for their commitment to sustainable development over the years, including winning three UN-supported LIVCom Awards and coming in third place in the category of “Best Practice in Water Management” at the 2014 UN Water Awards.

            The three municipalities initially joined together as Southeast Country Gran Canaria to address poverty and water scarcity. Today the area boasts the first integral water cycle powered by renewable energy in the world. Through seawater desalination and wastewater treatment, which is partially powered by renewable energy, the county can now fully satisfy residents’ demand for potable water.

            The three municipalities have endorsed the principles of sustainability since its formation and are committed to the "Charter of European Cities towards Sustainability”, better known as the “Aalborg Charter". The association has also launched an ambitious Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development in the areas of water, energy and food self-sufficiency.

            For more information, visit the association website [in Spanish].

            Image copyright: Mancomunidad Intermunicipal del Sureste de Gran Canaria

            2. The Basque Country to host the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns

            The 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, the flagship conference on local sustainable development in Europe, is taking place from 27-29 April 2016 in Bilbao, Basque Country. Organised by the Basque Government with the involvement of Udalsarea 21 - Basque Network of Municipalities for Sustainability, and ICLEI, next year’s edition will bring together local and regional government representatives, European and international institutions, multilateral organisations, members of the research community, business leaders, and civil society.

            The conference will demonstrate the urgent need for actions by local governments in shaping Europe’s future and will allow participants to capitalise on the positive momentum for transforming cities into truly sustainable areas. The Sustainable Development Goals and the results of COP 21 in Paris (France) will be reflected in the discussions, as well as the emerging Urban Agenda for Europe and the upcoming UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development HABITAT III.

            The Basque Country reflects the capacity of European cities to transform, having changed from being industrially focused to embracing a modern service-based economy. Its newly adopted Environmental Programme for 2020 shows a firm commitment to improving the environment and aligns with current European and international strategies on job creation, enhancing standards of living, and building a low-carbon economy. The conference will provide ample opportunities for networking, as well as a chance to learn about local sustainability actions and the richness of the Basque culture and architecture.

            For more information, contact and follow #Basque2016 on Twitter.

            Image copyright: Bilbao TinyShift III (photo on Flickr) by "Cata", licensed under CC BY 2.0

            3. PPI Guide translated into Hungarian and Spanish

            Hungarian and Spanish speakers can now read the PPI Platform's "Guidance for Public Authorities on Public Procurement of Innovation" in their native tongue, as the guide has been fully translated into both languages. The translated versions maintain the formatting of the original English version, and are available from the PPI Platform Guidance page. The new versions will make it easier for a wider array of procurers and stakeholders to put the guide's recommendations into action.

            The guide is intended for all stakeholders involved in PPI, both those starting out and those looking to improve their current procurement activities. It offers explanations of procedures, definitions and answers to common questions, a selection of case studies, and useful resources for further reading. Particular emphasis is placed on ways in which procurement procedures can facilitate greater innovation.

            The guide is based on the latest EU procurement directives and will be of interest to procurers, policy makers, consultants, private companies and others who have a stake in successful PPI.

            To view the translations, download the Hungarian and Spanish versions.

            Image copyright: by "Pressureua"

            4. Feedback on EU directive sought by Clean Fleets project

            The Clean Fleets project has developed a series of policy recommendations which will form the basis of the project’s input into the review of the Clean Vehicles Directive. To help shape its recommendations further, the project is looking for stakeholder feedback. All input will be collected by the project and shared with the European Commission.

            The Clean Fleets recommendations outline ways to help increase the uptake of vehicles powered by clean energy within Europe’s publicly owned or controlled vehicle fleets. They are focused mainly on the procurement of clean vehicles, but also touch on broader issues such as financial incentives and the quality of emissions data. The deadline for providing feedback on the policy recommendations is Friday 26 June 2015.

            To provide feedback, email

            Image copyright: Toy Cars ( by Marta Tobolova

            5. E-Mobility Works is helping cities to overcome their electric vehicle anxiety

            The EU-funded E-Mobility Works project is helping cities to embrace electric mobility. In many cities, consumers worry that a lack of charging infrastructure will mean that only short journeys are possible, while private sector investors are apprehensive that uptake of electric cars will be slow, making it an unsound venture. E-Mobility Works engages cities to enact policy measures that assuage these fears and support the use of e-vehicles.

            The project helps municipalities starting on the road to electric mobility to develop and commit to an E-mobility Action Plan. By approving a dedicated planning document for e-mobility roll-out (one that feeds into the municipalities’ energy, transport and procurement targets), local governments can build trust within the private sector. Gaining feedback from local businesses in the field, such as car-sharing organisations, rental car companies, car dealerships and so on, will additionally ensure wide acceptance for the plan.

            For cities that have already achieved moderate success in stimulating e-vehicle usage, the plan can be used to shape future investment. Once e-vehicles are popular within a city, experience shows that the private sector will usually begin to extend the charging network to attract customers. Shopping centres, for example, are increasingly providing fast-charge outlets within car-parks, allowing visitors to charge their vehicles while they shop.

            For more information, visit the E-Mobility Works website.

            Image copyright: Image copyright: E-loading station (photo on Eltis) by "Harry Schiffer"

            6. Community ownership of energy sources needs local government support

            Local governments have a vital role to play in encouraging community-ownership of energy production, concluded an ICLEI-facilitated workshop on community power, held in Aalborg (Denmark) on 20 May 2015. Organised by the CO-POWER project, the workshop gathered stakeholders from a range of fields, including local government officials, representatives from civil society and public authorities.

            “The transition to green energy must take place in collaboration with local society. To reach our goal of 40 percent CO2 reduction in 2020, we are entering into various partnerships with industry, retail and citizens. As local governments we need to take responsibility for initiating and facilitating partnerships, because we do not believe that legislation and market mechanisms are capable of securing the green transition alone,” said Lasse Puertas Navarro Olsen of the Department of Environment and Energy, City of Aalborg.

            For more information, download the programme.

            Image copyright: Farm of wind turbines ( by "Carole Castelli"

            7. European Sustainable Development Week sees thousands of actions across the continent

            European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW) came to a close on 5 June, with 3359 initiatives in 27 countries held from 30 May. The ESDW is an annual, Europe-wide initiative aimed at stimulating and increasing the visibility of activities, projects and events that promote sustainable development. Activities include exhibitions, markets, film screenings, community and business initiatives and education projects.

            The ESDW builds upon existing national sustainable development weeks, spreading the concept across Europe. Public authorities, individual citizens, businesses, educational institutions, museums, foundations, civil society organisations, and more registered their projects online; all activities and events are displayed on the ESDW website.

            "I would like to express the Commission's full support for this first European Sustainable Development Week," said Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission. "The Commission's key policies to boost growth, jobs and investment can only be successful when we take a sustainable approach to tackling our economic, social and environmental challenges [...] Let this sustainable development week be the first of many in which we all work together in Europe to turn our ambitious agenda into reality."

            For more information, visit the ESDW website.

            Image copyright: Europe (photo on Flickr) by "Charles Clegg", licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

            8. Nominations for 2015 WorldGBC Leadership Awards open

            Applications are now open for the World Green Business Council Europe Regional Leadership awards, with entries invited in the categories of “building design”, “business leadership”, and “public leadership”. The awards aim to recognise leadership strategies that reduce emissions, boost the economy and result in greener cities. ICLEI sits on the jury of the award, along with the Architects Council of Europe, European Council of Engineers Chambers, and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

            Nominations close on 26 June 2015. Green Building Councils across Europe are encouraged to nominate outstanding cities, buildings and companies that are committed to a sustainable future.

            For more information, visit the WorldGBC website.

            Image copyright: Living Wall ( by Pixzzle

            9. Event News

            EU Sustainable Energy Week puts the focus on energy consumers

            The role of responsible consumers in driving the EU towards its sustainable energy goals in areas such as energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions will form the focus of this year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), taking place from 15 – 19 June 2015. Energy experts, policy-makers, stakeholders and citizens will gather in Brussels (Belgium) to discuss consumer awareness and commitment to energy sustainability, as well as EU energy policy.

            A series of sustainable energy events will take place across Europe to celebrate EUSEW, with organisers hoping to break last year’s record of 900 events involving 100,000 participants. These public events promote secure, clean and efficient energy through exhibitions, workshops, educational events and more.

            A workshop organised by ICLEI in association with Friends of the Earth Europe will see discussion on the role of local authorities and communities in shaping Europe’s energy future. Taking place on 16 June 2015, the interactive event will look at policy issues surrounding community-owned energy at EU level, and will place an emphasis on concrete ideas for putting cities and citizens at the core of the energy transition in Europe.

            For more information on the workshop, visit the EUSEW website.

            Community energy workshop looks at opportunities and challenges

            CO-POWER aims to accelerate a transition to local, sustainable energy as a means to reduce fossil fuel dependency, but many obstacles exist for this to become a reality, including lack of political will and legal and financial barriers. The project is holding a workshop on 17 June 2015 in Brussels (Belgium) that will look at how these barriers can be reduced, as well as offering examples of best practice of community-owned and operated renewables.

            The workshop will focus specifically on legislative challenges in EU Member States, financing in Central and Eastern Europe, renewable energy cooperatives, and energy efficiency.

            To register for the event, click here.

            10. Event Calendar

            Resilient Cities 2015
            8 – 10 June 2015 – Bonn (Germany)

            Community energy across Europe: opportunities and challenges
            17 June 2015 – Brussels (Belgium)

            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 2015 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany. All rights reserved.