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ICLEI in Europe News
May 2016

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. Resource use and refugee crisis discussed at 8th ESCT Conference 
  3. Cities are still “underdeveloped” but cooperation can change that, Jeb Brugmann tells ESCT Conference
  4. ICLEI celebrates 20 years of work on Sustainable Public Procurement
  5. Basque Declaration now open for endorsements
  6. European Commission calls on cities to join the Urban Water Agenda 2030
  7. Procurers and suppliers invited to take part in 2016 Global Survey on Sustainable Procurement
  8. Event News
  9. Event Calendar

            1. ICLEI Member News

            New UK mayors commit to sustainability

            The newly-elected mayors of ICLEI Member Bristol and London (United Kingdom) have affirmed their cities' commitments to sustainability. Sadiq Khan of London and Marvin Rees of Bristol have both made statements on their ambitions to work on achieving a range of sustainability goals in their cities. ICLEI looks forward to working with both new mayors as they begin their terms of office.

            In an interview with ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin at COP21 in Paris (France) in December 2015, then mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan spoke about the potential of cities in global sustainability efforts. Stressing the urgent need for action on climate change, Khan said: “We have a choice. We can either be the last generation that doesn’t understand this problem, or the first generation to solve the problems. I want to be the first generation to solve the problems.”

            Marvin Rees, the new mayor of Bristol, has a vision for his city to be carbon-neutral by 2050, with all buildings owned by the city running on clean renewable energy. Mr Rees also intends to increase investment in walking and cycling as alternatives to car use. ICLEI would like to thank former Bristol mayor George Ferguson, who demonstrated an outstanding commitment to sustainability.

            For more information, visit
            Image copyright: ICLEI

            ICLEI Members among shortlisted cities for European Green Capital 2018

            ICLEI Members Nijmegen (The Netherlands) and Umeå (Sweden) are among the finalist cities to advance to the next stage of the European Green Capital 2018 competition. ‘S-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands) has also been nominated for the European Green Capital award, while Cornellà de Llobregat (Spain), Galway (Ireland), and Mikkeli (Finland) have been nominated for the 2017 European Green Leaf award.

            EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said: "Each year the quality of applications grows and it is encouraging to have previously shortlisted cities reapplying and learning from the process. They can become real role models for a sustainable future, showing us how we can make cities better places to live." The six shortlisted cities will now go forward to the next stage which involves presenting their future vision to the Jury. 

            Shortlisted cities will need to highlight their innovations and activities for citizens, and show how they would act as a role model and promote best practices in other European cities. The winners will be announced on 22 June 2016 in ICLEI Member Ljubljana (Slovenia), Europe's current Green Capital.

            For more information, visit the European Green Capital website. 
            Image copyright: Image (Photo on Flickr) by "PRACSIS"

            ICLEI Member Malmö revealed as mobility award winner

            ICLEI Member Malmö (Sweden) and Murcia (Spain) have been announced as the winners of the 2016 editions of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) and EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK awards respectively. The winning cities received the awards from Director-General for DG MOVE Henrik Hololei, and Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the Environment. 

            Malmö received particular praise for their commitment to creating a multimodal transport network, making it easier to complete journeys sustainably. The other finalists for the SUMP Award, Utrecht (The Netherlands) and Vienna (Austria) were complimented for their own work in integrating different transport modes. Mr Hololei noted that sustainable urban mobility can play a significant role in decarbonising our cities and affirmed that “Europe can and should be a world leader in sustainable mobility solutions”. Murcia was congratulated for taking steps to promote active modes of travel such as walking and cycling.

            For more information, visit
            Image copyright: Award ceremony 2016 (Photo on Flickr) by "EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK"

            2. Resource use and refugee crisis discussed as 8th ESCT comes to a close in Bilbao

            “At present, we create our wealth at the expense of others through the use of scarce resources. The refugee crisis is rooted in resources use. Our system is part of denying others resources, and so opportunities to have a good future, which is partly why refugees want to find a new life in Europe,” Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director of ICLEI Europe told participants at the closing plenary of the 8th European Sustainable Cities & Towns conference in Bilbao, Basque Country.

            The conference saw over 900 participants discuss the major challenges facing Europe: the economic and financial crisis, the massive influx of refugees, and the rise of anti-European sentiment. One conclusion was the need for greater participation from civil society in tackling these issues. The only way forward, Mr. Teubner stated, is to build a more “inclusive and democratic Europe”.

            City leaders at the event also discussed ways to overcome barriers to creating more sustainable cities, using the recent Paris Climate Agreement, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the upcoming EU Urban Agenda and Habitat III as inspiration and guidance. Mayors, representatives from international institutions, and business leaders shared their perspectives in transforming towards sustainability and resilience, providing an inspiring look at the future of Europe.

            For more information, read the press release.
            Image copyright: ICLEI Europe

            3. Cities are still “underdeveloped” but cooperation can change that, Jeb Brugmann tells ESCT Conference

            Through forming partnerships across different sectors of society, cities can transform themselves from being output based to outcome based, greatly improving their productivity and becoming even more valuable as centres of economic growth, said Jeb Brugmann, founder of ICLEI and Managing Partner of the Next Practice Ltd., speaking at the 8th European Sustainable Cities and Towns conference in Bilbao, Basque Country.

            “The primary challenge of the next 30 years is providing an orderly conversion of land to accommodate 2.5 billion more people. This will require investing 350 trillion dollars - seven times the current global GDP. If we can get experts out of their silos and to understand the broad scope of what needs to be done, we can create cities that are multifunctional areas that have the capacity to address their own needs,” Mr. Brugmann told a plenary session of around 800 participants.

            Mr. Brugmann made the point that all of our cities are underdeveloped and we can vastly increase their value by moving towards urban areas with a variety of functions. The importance of environmental conservation, including ecodistricts, energy efficient buildings, green infrastructure and embracing the circular economy were highlighted by Mr. Brugmann as key components of building a more valuable city. 

            For more information, click here.
            Image copyright: ICLEI Europe

            4. ICLEI celebrates 20 years of work on Sustainable Public Procurement

            ICLEI marked 20 years of work on sustainable procurement at a ceremony in Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum on 27 April. The event formed part of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns and provided the opportunity to showcase the new-look SP Platform and the revamped Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network.

            Over the last two decades, many ICLEI Members have included sustainability criteria in their procurement policies and procedures to achieve resource efficient, low-carbon and socially responsible societies. ICLEI has worked with cities across Europe on numerous projects and initiatives related to SPP. These include specific initiatives such as installing 20,000 energy efficient light bulbs in Copenhagen (Denmark), and European-wide initiatives such as the GPP 2020 project, which has brought together central purchasing bodies across Europe to achieve savings of over 700,000 tonnes CO2e to date.

            “In 20 years a lot has been achieved in the field of sustainable procurement. We have had the pleasure of working with committed and creative experts from cities large and small to develop and implement sustainable procurement strategies which have helped to create low-carbon, socially responsible societies. The work done so far provides a good basis for continuing to strengthen our relationships and contribute positively to the sustainable and innovation procurement community over the next 20 years,” said Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre.

            For more information, visit the SP Platform.
            Image copyright: ICLEI Europe

            5. European cities and towns acclaim the Basque Declaration

            Cities, organisations and citizens can now endorse the Basque Declaration, a document adopted by the 1,000 participants of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, held in the Basque Country from 27-29 April.

            The Basque Declaration outlines 15 new pathways for European cities and towns to create productive, sustainable and resilient cities for a liveable and inclusive Europe. The document aims to support and accelerate the socio-cultural, socio-economic and technological transformation of our societies, in order to ensure a decent quality of life whilst respecting the limits of local and global ecosystems and available natural resources. 

            The pathways include the commitment to develop a “culture of sustainability” based on equal access to municipal services, the creation of local value chains that facilitate innovative cooperation among businesses, and the desire to pursue the development of a circular economy. Cities supporting the Basque Declaration are expressing their readiness to monitor and document their Transformative Actions and to make them available for replication through the European Sustainable Cities Platform.

            To endorse the Basque Declaration, click here.
            Image copyright: ICLEI Europe

            6. European Commission calls on cities to join the Urban Water Agenda 2030

            Speaking at the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, Pavel Misiga, Head of the Water Unit within DG Environment of the European Commission, stressed that the objectives of the European Union Water Framework Directive have not yet been achieved and that local governments could be vital players in making this happen.

            Implementation of the Directive has been sluggish to date. While water quality has improved, the quantity of pesticides and industrial and household chemicals that run off into European water raises concerns about the impact on human health and aquatic ecosystems. Climate change is exacerbating the pressure on already ageing and outdated infrastructure across Europe, while the risks of flooding and drought are increasing. 

            Misiga introduced the audience at the conference in Bilbao, Basque Country, to the Urban Water Agenda 2030 as a new and promising process for local governments to accelerate progress in the water sector. The Agenda was launched in early 2016 by DG Environment, the City of Leeuwarden (The Netherlands) and the local Water Campus Leeuwarden. A team comprised of leading city representatives is planned to develop and refine the Urban Water Agenda 2030’s commitments and targets and to gather resources to put them into practice. European cities are invited to join the initiative, becoming part of the ‘Leeuwarden process’. 

            For more information, contact
            Image copyright: ICLEI Europe

            7. Procurers and suppliers invited to take part in 2016 Global Survey on Sustainable Procurement

            UNEP, ICLEI and KEITI are inviting professionals working in the field of sustainable procurement to participate in the 2016 Global Review of SPP Stakeholder Survey. The aim of the survey is to answer questions including: How much has sustainable procurement grown and evolved? What kinds of activities count as sustainable or green procurement? What are the trends in drivers and barriers? How different are sustainable purchasing programmes worldwide? And what resources and programming should be developed to advance sustainable procurement?

            The involvement of stakeholders in the field will provide a useful insight into global procurement practices. The survey can be completed online and is open until 10 June 2016. Results will be shared in the forthcoming 2016 Global Review of Sustainable Public Procurement.

            For more information contact or

            8. Event News

            Training sessions on OPTIMUS energy tool to take place in three cities 

            Three cities from across Europe will host a series of training sessions on the recently launched OPTIMUS energy optimisation tool. The trainings will take place in the cities that piloted the tool: Sant Cugat (Spain) on 31 May, Zaanstad (The Netherlands) on 7 June, and Savona (Italy) on 6 July.

            Experts working on the OPTIMUS project, funded under the European Union’s FP7 programme, have developed a tool designed to optimise energy use in buildings, titled the OPTIMUS Decision Support System (DSS). The DSS is intended to help local authorities save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fulfil energy targets. 

            The training sessions in the three pilot cities will explore different European municipal strategies and experiences in energy management and policy, including the impacts of different national frameworks. It will also provide the opportunity to hear first-hand how the OPTIMUS DSS worked in practice. The trainings are open to energy and facility mangers of public authorities, decision makers, and other relevant stakeholders. Some travel and accommodation reimbursement is available, if needed.

            For more information, visit the OPTIMUS website.

            20th B@S to look at what Sustainable Development Goals mean for cities

            The 20th edition of the Breakfast at Sustainability's (B@S) series will take place on 2 June 2016 in Brussels (Belgium), focusing on what the universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mean for European cities and how can citizens and grassroots initiatives can help to implement them. The session, titled “European Cities and Citizens delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals” will be held in the broader framework of the European Sustainable Development Week.

            Despite the stand-alone goal on sustainable cities within the SDGs, urban experts agree that all 17 SDGs are relevant for cities. Initiatives like the recently adopted Basque Declaration suggest cities and citizens have to engage on the ground if the future is to be sustainable.

            Following an EU policy overview, discussions will focus on examples of transformative and replicable actions coming from sub-national governments and civil society organisations. The meeting is organised by ICLEI in association with the EESC's Sustainable Development Observatory and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Registration is open until 30 May.

            To register, click here.

            ICLEI Europe teaming up with Stockholm for Building Sustainability SGBC 2016

            The Nordic countries´ largest conference on sustainable urban development – Building Sustainability SGBC 2016 – hosted in partnership with World GBC Congress Sweden, is gearing up to take place on 18 -19 October. This conference will be held at the Stockholm Waterfront, one of Sweden´s most versatile and sustainable venues. 

            Bringing together key actors involved in making sustainability an urban reality, the conference will host sustainability experts, business representatives, architects and a wide range of decision-makers. The conference will focus on how the built environment can contribute to sustainable living and a more stable climate, and will address topics including smart cities, climate adaptation, urban development and energy efficiency.

            Organised by the City of Stockholm and Sweden Green Building Council in conjunction with the World Green Building Council Congress, with C40 and ICLEI as supporting partners, the conference will primarily be conducted in English. Early bird registration rates are available until 30 June. The event is one of this year's biggest forums and sources of inspiration for managing large-scale investments in planning and building sustainable offices, housing, and cities.

            For more information, visit

            9. Event Calendar

            Enhancing heating & cooling strategies at local level
            24 May 2016 - Webinar

            Metropolitan Solutions
            31 May - 2 June 2016 – Berlin (Germany)

            B@S 20 - European Cities and Citizens delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals
            2 June 2016 - Brussels (Belgium)

            Urban Transport Roadmaps 2030 Webinar Series
            1 - 30 June 2016 - Webinar

            CIVITAS Summer Course: Sustainable Mobility for a Better Life
            7 - 10 June 2016 - Malaga (Spain)

            Sustainable Catering Forum in Ghent
            9 June 2016 - Ghent (Belgium)

            5th Informed Cities Forum
            16 - 17 June 2016 – Dresden (Germany)

            Real impact through timber purchasing policies
            23 June 2016 - Rotterdam (The Netherlands)

            Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities
            5 July 2016 - Bonn (Germany)

            Local Renewables 2016: Energising the smart city and region
            26 - 28 October 2016 - Freiburg (Germany) & Basel (Switzerland)

            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 2016 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany. All rights reserved.