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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. Member news
  2. Early bird registration opens for the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns
  3. SOLUTIONS expertise contributes to Johannesburg Declaration on EcoMobility in Cities
  4. Austrian wastewater recycling system wins prize for most innovative procurement in Europe
  5. Experts invited to drive uptake of innovation in Europe’s waste management sector
  6. Cities invited to learn and exchange on sustainable urban mobility
  7. E-Mobility Works video emphasises the benefits of electric transport
  8. Events news
  9. Events calendar

            1. ICLEI Member News

            ICLEI member event reality checks European and global policies

            The ICLEI European Membership Assembly, held during the EU Open Days in Brussels (Belgium) on 15 October 2015, proved to be an excellent opportunity for ICLEI members to engage with policy makers on the latest European and global policy frameworks. Generously hosted by the Rhône-Alpes Region, the event saw discussion on how the local level could benefit from these frameworks.

            Mikel Landabaso, Director for Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development from DG Regio, gave an insight into the latest developments of the EU Urban Agenda. He emphasised that cities' involvement is vital to translate policies into real change on the ground. Several financial instruments by DG Regio, particularly the upcoming calls for Innovative Actions will support that. With the Urban Agenda the EC does not wish to create another framework, but intends to come to a coordinated policy approach related to all urban issues. Sustainability is seen as a focus area throughout the 12 themes. Stefanos Fotiou, Head of UNEP’s Cities and Lifestyles Unit, updated the ICLEI members on the Sustainable Development Goals indicating that the local level has become more important for UNEP. He stated that cities are the areas with unparalleled potential for climate change mitigation, which proves promising for the COP21 discussions.

            ICLEI and its members called for a coordinated approach between the current frameworks on a European and global level. Cities need a combined approach for sustainability and economic agendas and a clear means of communicating these crucial messages locally. ICLEI offered continued support in the further development and implementation of the European and global frameworks. As a good example of regional transformation, Mr Iosu Madariaga, Deputy Minister for Environment and Territorial Policy of the Basque Government, presented on the transformation of the Basque Country from an industrial economy to a service-based one. This transformation provides excellent grounds for hosting the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns, as shown by this video.

            For more information, visit the event listing.

            Image copyright: ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

            Southeast County of Gran Canaria embraces renewable energy

            As part of its new sustainable development model, the Southeast County of Gran Canaria (Spain) aims to set a global benchmark for excellence in integrating renewable energy. The ICLEI member has developed a Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development (PEDSI), whose pillars are water, energy, and food self-sufficiency. The plan also addresses diverse sectors such as industry, cultural heritage, sport and leisure.

            With high sun exposure and strong winds, the county, which counts 129,000 inhabitants, is ideally situated for renewable energy production. It is estimated that the county has the potential to produce enough power to cover 55 percent of the energy demand of the whole island of Gran Canaria, which has a total population of 850,000. The PEDSI promotes the use of energy derived from wind, photovoltaic panels and biomass, and outlines how best to use the cycles of water treatment for food production.

            The strategy has also led to the implementation of good practices in waste management, resulting in the most significant waste reduction per inhabitant recorded at both regional and national level. The proliferation of carbon-free transport and the move towards low-carbon buildings are also included in the document. The PEDSI was launched following the signing of the Local Agenda 21 strategy in 2002, which covered long-term strategic planning in 24 development areas, adding value to the use of natural, cultural and historical-resources within a collaborative process.

            For more information, visit the Southeast County of Gran Canaria website.

            Image copyright Southeast County of Gran Canaria

            Freiburg officially signs partnership agreement with Suwon

            A delegation from Suwon (Republic of Korea), led by Mayor Yeom Tae Young, recently spent four days in Freiburg (Germany) as a further step in a partnership between the two cities. Mayor Yeom Tae Young and Mayor Dieter Salomon of Freiburg officially signed a partnership agreement based on the cities’ shared ambition and vision for sustainability. Both cities are ICLEI Members and host the Korean and European secretariats respectively. Both are also members of ICLEI’s EcoMobility Alliance, along with 10 other advanced cities around the world.

            The 25 representatives of the Korean city visited cultural and environmental sites around the German city, as well as engaging in a programme of presentations and debates. The partners were shown highlights of Freiburg’s work on sustainability, including the restoration of the Dreisam River, the city-wide cycling development plan and a hydroelectric plant. To return the favour, the Suwon delegates organised a performance by five Suwonese artists, who performed examples of traditional Korean dance and played vocal and instrumental music with a Korean harp, violin and flute.

            The EcoMobility Alliance promotes the use of sustainable transport in cities, including walking, cycling and public transport. In 2013 Suwon hosted the first ever EcoMobility World Festival, in which the city closed an entire neighborhood to cars, using the streets for exhibitions, business and leisure. Within Europe, Freiburg is seen as a leader in the field of sustainable mobility. The partnership between Suwon and Freiburg is an example of the international cooperation that allows best practice on sustainability to be shared and replicated. In addition, the two cities will engage in cultural exchanges, enrichening the lives of their citizens through music and art.

            For more information, read the press release [in German].

            Image copyright: City of Freiburg

            2. Early bird registration opens for the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns

            Registration has officially opened for the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns – Transformative Action: the potential for Europe, which takes place from 27-29 April 2016 in the Basque Country. By availing of early registration, not only will participants benefit from the early-bird discount, they will also ensure their spot at the Break-out Session or Mobile Workshop of their choosing. Through its diverse programme, the conference will offer participants a wide range of parallel Break-out Sessions addressing today’s urban challenges, as well as nine Mobile Workshops within the Basque Country counties Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa and Araba.

            At the Mobile Workshops, participants will have the possibility to explore the Basque Country transformation, as well as enjoy its rich cultural and gastronomic offerings. The conference will allow participants to capitalise on the growing momentum for actions that transform cities into truly sustainable areas. The programme will reflect the latest in the field of sustainable development, including the newly-adopted Sustainable Development Goals, the results of COP21 in Paris (France), and the emerging Urban Agenda for Europe. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss new strategies for cooperation and financing, the role of social innovation, and other ways to bring transformative actions forward.

            The 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns will be hosted by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, the Basque Government, Bizkaia County Council and Bilbao City Council, with the involvement of Udalsarea 21 - Basque Network of Municipalities for Sustainability, and in partnership with Gipuzkoa County Council, Donostia-San Sebastián City Council, Araba County Council and Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council. The latest updates can be found by following @sustain_cities #Basque2016 and Facebook.

            For more information, visit or contact

            Image copyright: Ruud Schuthof

            3. SOLUTIONS expertise contributes to Johannesburg Declaration on EcoMobility in Cities

            A paper by urban mobility experts drawn from the SOLUTIONS project has helped to shape discussions that resulted in the Johannesburg Declaration on EcoMobility in Cities, which Mpho Parks Tau, Executive Mayor of Johannesburg (South Africa), will present at COP21 this December. The paper, ‘Transferring sustainable transport and ecomobility solutions’, was one of five prepared for the EcoMobility Dialogues 2015, which brought together international, national and local decision-makers and experts to discuss the future of urban mobility and the need for innovation to meet the needs of developing cities.

            The Declaration was adopted following the conclusion of the Dialogues, which were hosted at the EcoMobility World Festival 2015 held in Johannesburg. As part of the festival, the Johannesburg district of Sandton was closed to motorised traffic for one month. The SOLUTIONS paper presented results from the project so far, which identify important aspects of transferability. The project argued that targeted and structured approaches must be applied when helping cities take up sustainable urban mobility solutions, and that take-up cities need to commit to transformational change and be open for innovative solutions from different places of the world. The SOLUTIONS paper is available to read online [PDF].

            For more information on the EcoMobility Dialogues 2015, visit

            Image copyright: ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

            4. Austrian wastewater recycling system wins prize for most innovative procurement in Europe

            The procurement of a machine that vaporises waste-water to remove waste particles saw the Federal Procurement Agency of Austria awarded the Public Procurement of Innovation Award at a ceremony in Paris (France). The Federal Procurement Agency received a trophy for innovation procurement excellence, together with the title “European innovation procurement of the year”. They will also have a case study published on the Procurement of Innovation Platform in the coming weeks.

            Four other finalists from across Europe were also in competition for the award (more information on each finalist is available on the PPI Platform website). “The quality of each of the finalists meant that choosing the overall winner was very difficult. It was an exceptionally close competition,” said Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director at ICLEI Europe and jury member. “We felt that the procurement of the vaporising system best showcased the impressive work being carried out, as well as the type of solution that public procurement of innovation can achieve. The procurement brought together the institutional knowledge of public procurers with the ingenuity of the private sector.”

            The innovative solution is used by the Austrian mint to clean water contaminated during the production of coins and notes. Vaporisation of the waste-water takes place in a vacuum, allowing for fresh water and waste particles to be separated. Once the filtering process is complete, 97 percent of the water can be reused. The ceremony was held as part of the European Assistance for Innovation Procurement event, organised by EAFIP.

            For more information, visit the PPI Platform.

            Image copyright: Matty van Sloten, Corvers

            5. Experts invited to drive uptake of innovation in Europe’s waste management sector

            The EU-funded PPI4Waste project is inviting public procurers and others interested in innovative waste solutions to work together to make the transition to better waste management a reality. In aid of this, the project has launched an Interest Group and Purchasing Community dedicated to waste. The groups were launched at the project’s Procurement Foresight Workshop in Brussels (Belgium).

            The Interest Group is an online gathering open to all stakeholders interested in waste management. It will provide useful information and peer to peer exchange for municipal waste management experts, procurers, policy makers, and suppliers. The Purchasing Community provides an exclusive opportunity to procurers who are involved in the procurement of waste management solutions in the public sector. Group members will be given the chance to improve their knowledge of the innovative solutions available on the market and take part in webinars, face-to-face meetings and trainings with other procurers.

            “Finding innovative solutions to waste management issues is a vital part of achieving the type of sustainable, resource-efficient Europe that we want to see in the future. Through the establishment of these groups, PPI4Waste will make the topic more accessible to procurers, and ensure that each region of Europe is equipped with the best knowledge and tools to fully embrace innovation in the sector," said Philipp Tepper of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, coordinator of the Interest Group and Purchasing Community. Both groups will use the Procurement Forum, an online networking space, to facilitate exchange.

            For more information, visit the PPI4Waste website.

            Image copyright: Fotolia

            6. Cities invited to learn and exchange on sustainable urban mobility

            The EU-funded BUMP (Boosting Urban Mobility Plans) project is inviting technical officers and political decision-makers working in transport from small and medium-sized European local authorities to visit one of 17 European cities to learn more about their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) development. Each of the 17 cities is considered a best practice example of SUMP development and implementation, with participants free to chose the study tour they wish to take part in.

            Visiting cities will have the opportunity to investigate the SUMP concept and understand the support package offered by BUMP to cities, and exchange with their peers in the host city. Host cities, which include fellow ICLEI members Bistrița (Romania), Bristol (United Kingdom), and Pècs (Hungary), will present their SUMP and explain the methodologies they used, the solutions they adopted, and the impacts they expect. Site visits showing the implementation of measures to solve problems will also be included.

            To take part, applicant cities must be located in an EU Member State or in Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania or Turkey and have a population of between 40,000 and 350,000 inhabitants. They must also declare their interest in developing a new SUMP or revising their existing one. The application deadline is 20 November.

            For more information and to apply, visit

            Image copyright: A tram in Krakow, Poland (Flickr) by "photobeppus", licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

            7. E-Mobility Works video emphasises the benefits of electric transport

            A new animated video produced by the E-Mobility Works project depicts a grim, pollution-choked city in which smoke-billowing cars clog the streets - only for electric mobility to enter the picture and transform the city into a clean, pleasant urban area. The video uses this representation to drive home an important message: that when enterprise and municipalities work together to embrace electric mobility, they can have a majorly positive effect on the environment.

            The contrast serves to not only depict the benefits of lower emissions on urban centres, but to make the huge potential for investment in e-mobility clear to the market. In the past the private sector has been reluctant to invest in e-mobility, fearing poor returns and low customer uptake. The E-Mobility Works project aims to change that perception, demonstrating the business potential in e-cars, e-bicycles, and e-infrastructure.

            The benefits of e-mobility to consumers are listed, including reduced fuel costs and the lower price of replacement parts. The provision of fast chargers are also encouraged, a type of infrastructure typically supplied by local authorities, but in some cases provided by the private sector (such as outside of shopping centres). The video further makes it clear that to be truly effective the energy should come from clean, renewable sources, such as solar and wind power. The E-Mobility Works project is co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme of the European Union.

            To view the video, visit the E-Mobility Works YouTube channel.

            Image copyright: E-Mobility Works

            8. Event News

            Green roofing and climate proofing at first European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference

            The European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference, the biggest annual event on urban green infrastructure, will take place from 23 - 24 November 2015, in Vienna (Austria). Organised by GREEN4CITIES and Living Roofs Enterprises, the event will bring together Europe’s leading policy makers, urban planners, developers, contractors, city architects, builders, manufacturers, community groups, utility companies and NGOs. Download the programme for a preview of its diverse sessions, designed to optimise discussion and exchange.

            ICLEI will chair a working group on economic benefits and financing of urban green infrastructure across Eastern and Western European cities in cooperation with CEEWeb for Biodiversity, a network of non-governmental organisations in Central and Eastern Europe and co-moderators of the European Learning Alliance as part of the GREEN SURGE project.

            ICLEI members are entitled to a discount on the conference fee for EUGIC 2015. Members can register at a discount by registering through Eventbrite via the EUGIC 2015 website, choosing the “Special Fee for members of selected associations”. Under "Registration Type & Tax Receipt Information: Company / Organisation", simply enter ICLEI.

            For more information, visit

            Smart cities a hot topic at Berlin conference

            How can we make the vision of a sustainable, adaptable and liveable city a reality? This is the key question to be answered at the Urban Futures Conference, which will be taking place in Berlin (Germany) from 25 - 26 November 2015. ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Follower’ cities within the GrowSmarter project will share their experiences of implementing integrated smart solutions to tackle social and environmental challenges in a number of sessions over the three days.

            Project coordinator Gustaf Landahl will be joined by colleagues from other major European Smart City projects at a high-level session to discuss the smart city agenda. GrowSmarter ‘Lighthouse’ city Cologne (Germany) will present its experiences in planning for innovation, while the five ‘Follower’ cities will discuss, together with ICLEI Europe, roadmaps for replicating smart solutions. ICLEI Europe Deputy Regional Director Holger Robrecht will moderate a session exploring the potential tensions between urban life and innovation.

            This conference is geared towards community representatives, municipal companies, solution and service providers, academics and political representatives alike, and will showcase overarching perspectives and approaches for the future development of the 21st-century city.

            For more information, visit the Urban Futures website.

            TAP Pavilion invites cities and regions at COP21 to attend

            As international climate change negotiations proceed at COP21, local and regional climate action will be in the spotlight at the Cities & Regions Pavilion – TAP2015. As the central point for the local level at COP21, the Cities & Regions Pavilion invites mayors, governors, municipal leaders, civil society leaders, businesses and financiers to engage in lively exchanges on accelerating local and regional climate action in advance of a binding agreement on a new international climate regime. European cities can avail of daily briefings on the progress of the negotiations within the pavilion, including analysis from ICLEI experts.

            At the heart of the Pavilion are daily regional “TAP Time” sessions, where selected representatives of cities and regions will present their ambitious, inclusive and cross-cutting projects from the Transformative Actions Program (TAP). During the two weeks, projects from Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa, India, China, Southeast Asia and Oceania will be highlighted.  Events will be held of particular interest to European cities, including two sessions focusing on the role of local and regional authorities in supporting community-led energy projects. The sessions will take place in the framework of the CO-POWER project and will focus on challenges and barriers, as well as success stories, in the ongoing transition to renewably sourced energy at the local level.

            On UNFCCC Action Day on 5 December sustainable public procurement will be in focus at the Pavilion. ICLEI is organising the first Global Lead Cities Network Summit on sustainable public procurement, followed by a session led by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) on the 10-year Framework Program.

            For more information, visit the TAP website.

            Informed Cities Forum 2016 to look at transitioning to urban sustainability

            The 5th edition of the Informed Cities Forum will take place in Dresden (Germany) from 16-17 June 2016, bringing together urban leaders and changemakers from across Europe. As an urban area that has consistently rebuilt itself following political and natural crises, Dresden is the natural choice to host. Participants at the event will represent different sectors and perspectives, allowing for a rich learning experience and exciting debates.

            Building on the discussions held in Rotterdam (The Netherlands), the 2016 edition will address some of the most pressing questions when it comes to urban sustainability transitions: How to increase the pace of change and yet leave no one behind? How to find allies and where to look for them? And how to bridge different worldviews and deal with conflicts?

            As well as local and national government representatives, researchers and experts, the forum will also invite artists and educators, activists and business representatives. Participation is free of charge and registration will open in November 2015. The 5th Informed Cities Forum is organised by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, and DRIFT, on behalf of all partners of the ARTS project consortium.

            For more information, visit the official website or contact

            9. Event Calendar

            1st European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference 2015
            23 – 24 November 2015 – Vienna, Austria

            Urban Futures Conference
            25 - 26 November 2015 – Berlin, Germany

            Cities & Regions Pavilion – TAP2015 at COP21
            30 November – 11 December 2015 - Paris, France

            8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns
            27 – 29 April 2016 – Bilbao, Basque Country

            Informed Cities Forum
            16 – 17 June 2016 – Dresden (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.