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ICLEI in Europe News
May 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. Close of World Congress 2015 sees start of new initiatives
  3. Global Lead Cities Network on sustainable public procurement launched
  4. Urban Resilience Task Force helps cities meet pressing challenges
  5. European Mobility Week and Do the Right Mix campaigns join forces
  6. Paths to urban change discussed at Informed Cities Forum
  7. Event news
  8. Events calendar

            1. ICLEI Member News

            Zurich and Copenhagen top air protection rankings

            ICLEI members Zurich (Switzerland) and Copenhagen (Denmark) have done more than any other European cities to combat urban air pollution, a new ranking by the campaign “Soot Free for the Climate” has revealed. Coming in at first and second place respectively, the Swiss and Danish cities were followed by Vienna (Austria) and Stockholm (Sweden). Previous winner and ICLEI member Berlin (Germany) placed in fifth position.

            The top five cities have either met EU limit values for local air pollution or are on track to do so within two years. Cities were evaluated based on their performance in categories including economic incentives to reduce air pollution, proliferation of low emission zones, and the promotion of public transport, walking and cycling.

            Helsinki (Finland), London (UK), Paris (France), Stuttgart (Germany), and Amsterdam (The Netherlands) completed the top 10. It is estimated that air pollution currently causes half a million premature deaths per year in the European Union. Legislation regarding stricter national emission ceilings up to 2030 is under discussion by EU lawmakers.

            For more information, visit the Soot Free Cities website.

            Image copyright: Zurich (photo on Flickr) by "Kamil Porembinski", licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

            Alba Iulia emerges as a leader in sustainable development

            The dynamic, central Romanian Municipality of Alba Iulia is home to 63,534 residents. One of the oldest settlements in the country, Alba Iulia is implementing smart, green initiatives to ensure the city’s long history can be enjoyed for generations to come. Primarily, the focus is on maintaining a high level of environmental protection and public health, while effectively contributing to the stability and prosperity of the economic and social systems.

            The Municipality’s administration aims to transform Alba Iulia into a true "green city" by allocating its resources intelligently and planning for the long-term, safeguarding a competitive, sustainable and energy efficient future. The city is establishing itself as regional leader in the fields of energy efficiency and sustainable development. Working on multiple projects at once, Alba Iulia is implementing CO₂ reduction schemes, transport initiatives, and recycling programmes.

            “The last five years has seen Alba Iulia transform into a city of green alternatives. We have implemented several projects and supported different initiatives with the aim to promote the sustainable development, education and public awareness of environmental protection and green energy use,” said Mircea Hava, Mayor of Alba Iulia Municipality.

            For more information, visit ICLEI’s Member in the Spotlight page.

            Image copyright: Darius Photography/

            Barcelona SUMP aims to cut number of traffic-related deaths

            Barcelona's (Spain) newly endorsed Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) offers increased political support for walking, cycling and public transport, with the aim of reducing the number of deaths on the city’s roads by 30 percent and the number of serious injuries by 20 percent. The plan covers the period up to 2018.

            The SUMP sets targets to for 99 percent of the city's population to have a bus stop within 250 metres of their homes, and for public transport vehicles to arrive every six minutes at peak times. To encourage more people to walk, footpaths will be widened, and the number of areas reserved for pedestrians increased.

            An upgrade of the city’s cycle paths and lanes is also foreseen, with plans underway to enhance the number of charging stations for electric bikes. More bicycle parking will also be provided at the city’s public transport hubs, making it easier to combine different modes of transport within the same journey.

            For more information, visit Eltis.

            Image copyright: iStock by "Nikada"

            2. Close of World Congress 2015 sees start of new initiatives

            The ICLEI World Congress 2015 closed on 12 April in Seoul (Republic of Korea) with ICLEI members, partners and over 1,000 other participants together charting the course for a sustainable future. “The ICLEI World Congress 2015 has been an outstanding occasion for all those interested in and committed to local action for sustainability. ICLEI and our members are committing to tangible goals and actions in order to make our future cities and regions low-carbon, resilient, productive and healthy,” said ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin.

            A packed closing plenary saw the launch of a number of flagship initiatives, including the Global Lead Cities Network, an initiative which aims to drive a transition to sustainable production and consumption through sustainable and innovation procurement (see article below); the 100% Renewable Energy ICLEI community, which develops urban action plans to greater embrace renewable energy sources, reducing the dependency on fossil fuels and nuclear energy; and CityFood, the community on urban agriculture and resilient city food systems, which comprises ICLEI members with the ambition to establish policies, programs, plans and projects on resilient urban food systems.

            The ICLEI World Congress 2015 was the second to take place in Asia. ICLEI President and Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon said: “Seoul is committed to a sustainable future, and we have seen at the ICLEI World Congress 2015 that many other cities around the world are too. The Seoul Declaration, which was adopted by all ICLEI members as part of this congress, reflects the commitment of local and regional governments. It will shape how we move forward.”

            For more information, visit the World Congress 2015 website.

            Image copyright: ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

            3. Global Lead Cities Network on sustainable public procurement launched

            Seoul Metropolitan Government and ICLEI have joined forces to establish a Global Lead Cities Network on Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP). The aim is to create a worldwide network of leading cities that share and develop their capabilities to implement sustainable and innovation procurement, driving a transition to sustainable production and consumption. The network was launched at the ICLEI World Congress in Seoul (Republic of Korea) on 11 April 2015.

            The network marks a recent growth in international interest and understanding of the importance of procurement in the fight against climate change. It has been set up to raise awareness of the benefits of sustainable and innovation procurement, and to help develop a supportive political framework. According to the United Nations Office for Project Services, an average of 15 percent of global gross domestic product is spent through public procurement systems each year, amounting to over $10 trillion. Public authority spending has real potential to change the future, achieve significant value for organisations and provide tangible benefits to the environment and the well-being of our society.

            Cities including Seoul (Republic of Korea), Cape Town (South Africa), Helsinki (Finland), Ghent (Belgium) and Rotterdam (The Netherlands) are among the founding participants. They commit to take an exemplary role globally by putting SPP into action through setting ambitious, quantified targets for its implementation, developing a clear implementation strategy and undertaking an evaluation of performance. The cities will act as global and regional champions of SPP, committing to promote and accelerate its wide-scale adoption by other cities.

            For more information, view the press release.

            Image copyright: ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

            4. Urban Resilience Task Force helps cities meet pressing challenges

            Local leaders are expected to react increasingly quickly to urban challenges, requiring foresight, expertise and dynamism. A new tool designed by ICLEI and ISOCARP helps cities to anticipate and prevent adverse impacts, take advantage of new opportunities and embrace change. The Urban Resilience Task Force (URTF) develops a dedicated, pro-active and rapid urban solution, addressing the specific needs of local and regional authorities.

            The URTF provides an international team of 10 – 14 experts from various disciplines that contribute their expertise to help cities anticipate fast-moving changes and challenges. The team works closely with local actors to develop a technical report, proposals and recommendations on how to best handle extremely challenging events. Outcomes are then promoted at international conferences to enhance recognition of the city’s achievement, and to gain input from others.

            ISOCARP and ICLEI tailor their approach for each city, ensuring an effective response team with an overview of the relevant tasks and topics within four weeks. Interested local and regional authorities are encouraged to get in touch with or

            For more information, download the PDF.

            Image copyright: iStock by "ManoAfrica"

            5. European Mobility Week and Do the Right Mix campaigns join forces

            The European Mobility Week and Do the Right Mix campaigns are coming together to promote sustainable urban mobility. The aim of the merge is to expand and complement the established European Mobility Week format with year-round activities, and to create a single online community focused on encouraging sustainable urban transport in Europe.

            On the new platform, Mobility Week campaigners, local authorities, NGOs, citizen groups, and many others will be able to register and showcase their promotional initiatives, find inspirational campaign ideas and information, and apply for sustainable urban mobility awards.

            The merged campaign will adopt the name and logo of the Do the Right Mix campaign, with European Mobility Week the annual highlight. The traditional European Mobility Week logo, a blue and yellow flower, will no longer be used – instead a new visual identity will be unveiled in the coming weeks. EMW will continue to take place from 16 – 22 September each year, with the revised campaign website set to launch this summer.

            For more information, download the official announcement [PDF].

            Image copyright: ICF-Mostra

            6. Paths to urban change discussed at Informed Cities Forum

            ICLEI Europe, together with DRIFT and the City of Rotterdam, held a lively 4th Informed Cities Forum in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) from 26-27 March 2015. The event was a co-production of the ARTS and MUSIC project consortia, both focused on accelerating urban sustainability transitions. Fittingly held in a restored historic train station in downtown Rotterdam, the theme of the conference was urban future – or, what kind of strategies, tools and inspiration we need to transform our cities.

            Conference participants were invited to discuss how local governments, citizens and other local actors can come together to co-create change, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and challenging traditional notions of public sector. Panellists from local governments, civil society, research organisations and European institutions talked about the challenges – and successes – of moving new ideas forward.

            Field workshops saw participants tour various Rotterdam locations on bike and by foot, focusing on themes like the circular economy, social resilience and entrepreneurship, and the use of technology to bolster participatory processes. The event brought together over 150 participants from 22 countries.

            For more information, visit the Informed Cities Forum website.

            Image copyright: Informed Cities

            7. Event News

            Community Energy workshops to focus on investment and collaboration

            Two free workshops will be held in Prague (Czech Republic) and Aalborg (Denmark) in the framework of the Community Power project, addressing the potential for roll-out of community-owned energy. Local decision-makers, planners, local government networks, and energy agencies are invited to participate.

            Advice on investing in community energy will be provided, as well as information on accessing funding, and how local authorities and community groups can work together to support the transition to renewable energy. Best practice from the Czech Republic and Denmark will be presented in each workshop. The Prague workshop will take place on 12 May 2015, while the Alborg workshop will take place on 20 May 2015.

            More information on the Prague and Aalborg workshops is available online.

            Innovation in urban transport under discussion at Leipzig workshop

            The TIDE and SOLUTIONS projects will host a workshop at the Annual Summit of the International Transport Forum in Leipzig (Germany) on 28 May 2015, focusing on the practical deployment of innovation in urban transport. Workshop participants will receive insight into societal trends that are shaping the future of transport in cities in Europe and beyond.

            Key urban transport innovations will be presented, providing an exchange platform for other cities from around the globe and urban mobility experts. The workshop will be opened by Alessandro Damiani (Head of Unit, Horizontal Aspects Transport Directorate, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission) and will feature business and academic representatives as well as delegates from pioneering cities.

            To register for the workshop, contact Oliver Lah (SOLUTIONS) or Ivo Cré (TIDE).

            18th Breakfast at Sustainability’s looks at engaging cities and citizens towards the Paris climate negotiations

            The 18th session in the long-running Breakfast at Sustainability's series will explore how cities and citizens can be engaged in the run up to the Paris Climate Negotiations. A major international climate change agreement is expected to be adopted at the upcoming COP in Paris (France), with the input of cities and citizens vital to ensure that the agreement recognises the roles of diverse actors in driving change. The B@S session will take place on 27 May 2015 in Brussels (Belgium).

            Lutz Ribbe, Chair of the Sustainable Development Observatory, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), will speak on the increasingly important role of civil society in tackling climate change, while Maryke Van Staden, Low Carbon Cities Program Manager, ICLEI, will outline the Local Government Climate Roadmap, an advocacy process for local authorities that aims to have the role of local governments in tackling climate change recognised and supported during international climate negotiations.

            Good practice examples gleaned from Norwegian municipalities will be presented, followed by a panel discussion led by experts in the field.

            For more information, download the programme.

            Bucharest to host European SUMP conference

            Under the theme of ‘sustainable mobility for everyone’, the European Platform on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) is organising the second European Conference on SUMPs in Bucharest (Romania) from 16 – 17 June 2015. The conference will look at tackling social exclusion through transport planning, improving transport affordability, and enhancing accessibility to jobs and services. Thematic working groups will also explore strategies for the development of mobility plans within different budgetary contexts. Technical sessions will be held to address issues such as data collection, scenario development, modelling and integrated energy planning.

            As Europe's principal event on urban mobility planning, this year’s conference is expected to attract 250 practitioners, policy makers and academics, exceeding the 144 delegates who attended the first edition held in Sopot (Poland) in 2014. Conference attendance is free of charge.

            For more information, visit the Eltis events page.

            8. Event Calendar

            RAMSES 2nd Stakeholder Dialogue
            11 May – 2015 – Copenhagen (Denmark)

            Zagreb Energy Week 2015
            11 - 16 May 2015 - Zagreb (Croatia)

            European Climate Change Adaptation Conference 2015
            12 - 14 May 2015 – Copenhagen (Denmark)

            Low-Carbon Procurement in Practice
            21 May 2015 – Riga (Latvia)

            Introducing clean vehicles into public fleets: Recommendations for EU and national decision makers
            21 May 2015 –  Brussels (Belgium)

            TIDE and SOLUTIONS workshop at ITF Annual Summit
            28 May 2015 - Leipzig (Germany)

            European Sustainable Development Week
            30 May – 5 June – Europe

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

            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.