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ICLEI in Europe News
February 2017

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. Transformative Actions Database offers inspiration for cities and regions
  3. European Covenant of Mayors Board launched to steer ambitious cities
  4. Networks encouraged to join SPP Regions project
  5. Want a SUMP in your city but don’t have the expertise or tools?
  6. Amsterdam Water Week invites submission of case studies
  7. Event news
  8. Event calendar

            1. ICLEI Member News

            Essen officially takes over title of European Green Capital

            The German City of Essen has officially become the European Green Capital 2017, taking over from Ljubljana (Slovenia). The European Green Capital Award rewards efforts and commitment to improving the urban environment, boosting awareness of the need for environmental change at the city level.

            Essen will act as role model for sustainable urban development, sharing and promoting best practices that have been tried and tested in the German city. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “The impressive transformation from coal and steel industry to the greenest city in North Rhine-Westphalia is proof of Essen’s successful structural change.

            “Great progress in environmental sustainability required vision, good governance, strong leadership and citizens’ involvement. I look forward to Essen’s programme of activities, and I wish Mayor Kufen, his team, and the people of Essen the very best.”

            For more information, visit Eltis.
            Image copyright: Wikipedia by Stefan Baguette, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5

            Lappeenranta is the latest city to join ICLEI

            The Finnish city of Lappeenranta has joined ICLEI to strengthen its already impressive sustainability activities. The city achieved its target of reducing CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2020 in 2014, recording a decrease of 38 percent compared to 1990 levels.

            Lappeenranta is particularly advanced in the field of sustainable energy, and is one of Finland's largest users of bioenergy. The city boasts seven windmills, producing enough energy to heat around 3,600 homes. A local hydrogen plant additionally creates energy, leaving only water as an emission.

            In the field of transport, the city strongly encourages citizens to opt for low-carbon forms of mobility. Lappeenranta spent 1.5 million euros on upgrading cycling lanes in 2015, leading to its designation as cycling city of the year in Finland. With a recycling rate of over 90 percent, investments in green technology, and one of the world's most sustainable university campuses, the small city is well positioned as a champion of sustainability.

            For more information, visit the city website.
            Image copyright: Wikipedia by "Japsi2", licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

            Concerns and optimism expressed by citizens at Rome Smartathon

            In Casa della Cittá, a glass building that physically represents the transparency between the City of Rome and its citizens, Romans gathered on 21 January 2017 to take part in Italy‘s first Smartathon. Citizens discussed the future of the smarticipate platform, sharing their concerns, ideas and needs with the project consortium. As with other Smartathons, opinions were varied, ranging from the sceptical to the favourable.

            After a series of presentations outlining smarticipate and the intended use of the smarticipate platform, attendees broke into four groups to discuss in greater detail. Among the most prominent concerns was the idea that technology cannot replace human interaction, and that at some point automation must give way to person-to-person contact.

            Data privacy was also expressed as an issue, while others worried that certain users could hijack the planning process to push their ideas above all else, tarnishing the cooperative spirit in which the smarticipate platform is intended to be used. The outcome of the discussions will be used to further refine the smarticipate platform, tweaking it from a technical and governance standpoint.

            For more information, visit the smarticipate website.
            Image copyright: Flickr by "Bert Kaufmann", licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

            2. Transformative Actions Database offers inspiration for cities and regions

            The new Sustainable Cities Platform, launched at the Habitat III Conference in Quito (Ecuador) and supported by ICLEI, the Basque Country and the City of Aalborg (Denmark), is showcasing transformative actions being carried out by cities and regions inspired by the Basque Declaration. The platform’s Transformative Action Database aims to inspire others with stories of transformation submitted by cities and organisations that have endorsed the Basque Declaration. Transformative actions involve a variety of stakeholders and follow innovative pathways to achieve inclusiveness and productivity.

            Cities, regions and organisations looking for inspiration to implement transformative actions based on the Basque Declaration, designed to create a movement towards more sustainable, healthy and resilient societies, are invited to consult the Transformative Actions Database.

            Endorsers of the Basque Declaration - the main outcome of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns - are encouraged to share their experience with other cities and towns facing similar challenges. Transformative actions can be searched by different criteria, such as topics covered, pathways of the Basque Declaration followed, and country. All actions follow the same structure so that visitors can easily compare them and understand the process followed by the implementers. Further details on the Transformative Action Award, rewarding successful, already running or concluded Transformative Actions, will soon be announced. The call for applications will open in the coming weeks.

            To submit an action, click here.
            Image copyright: Pixabay

            3. European Covenant of Mayors Board launched to steer ambitious cities

            The European Commission’s Covenant of Mayors held its first political board meeting on 10 February in the presence of European Commission Vice- President Maroš Šefčovič, former UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, Member of the European Parliament Claude Turmes and European Committee of the Regions Vice-President Karl-Heinz Lambertz. The launch of the European Covenant of Mayors Board affirms the initiative as a unique political movement steered by mayors.

            “There is no choice to be less ambitious or to be less involved. The only answer is to let cities play a bigger role in political commitments, especially here in Europe. The role of this policy board is to represent this leadership and to be a clear voice for cities and their ambitions,” said Vice-Mayor of Växjö (Sweden) and ICLEI European Regional Executive Committee Member Åsa Karlsson Björkmarker, speaking at the event. The European Covenant of Mayors Board is also linked to the board of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, the world’s largest coalition of cities and local governments leading the fight against climate change.

            For more information, visit
            Image copyright: Covenant of Mayors

            4. Networks encouraged to join SPP Regions project

            New and established regional procurement networks looking to gain access to useful resources and networking opportunities are invited to join the EU-funded SPP Regions project. By joining the project, procurers will be put in touch with other networks from across Europe, allowing them to learn from others’ experience of implementing sustainable and innovative procurement and to share their own.

            All regional networks that include municipalities working together on sustainable public procurement (SPP) and public procurement of innovation (PPI) are encouraged to join. SPP Regions offers support with developing networks, assistance with sustainable tendering, access to specialist workshops and webinars and mentoring from existing SPP Regions Networks.

            Regional networks are extremely helpful in developing a successful sustainable procurement strategy, as they allow public authorities to learn from others’ good practice. They also enable procurers to develop a regional supply base, increase influence through joint market engagement and benefit from economies of scale through joint procurement.

            For more information, visit If you are interested in joining SPP Regions as a regional network, contact:
            Image copyright: Pixabay

            5. Want a SUMP in your city but don’t have the expertise or tools?

            Three new EU-funded mobility projects have launched a survey to help them understand cities’ needs and barriers when trying to develop Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs). A SUMP is a strategic plan that aims to create an urban transport system for all citizens that improves safety and security, reduces air and noise pollution, greenhouse gases and energy consumption, and boosts the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the transport of people and goods.

            The three new CIVITAS projects – PROSPERITY, SUITS and SUMPs-Up - hope the survey will gather valuable insights to enable them to design training courses, tools and guidance to help cities develop high-quality SUMPs. City representatives that complete the survey before 28 February 2017 will get priority for the projects’ training and support activities, and have a chance to win up to €600 towards travel and accommodation costs for the 4th European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans in Dubrovnik (Croatia).

            “This survey will gather crucial details on what’s holding back or driving forward urban mobility planning in cities across Europe. It will enable our experts to create high-quality products and services that local authorities can use to develop SUMPs,” said Cristina Garzillo, the SUMPs-Up project co-ordinator.

            To take part in the survey, click here.
            Image copyright: Flickr by "EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK", licensed under CC BY 2.0

            6. Amsterdam Water Week invites submission of case studies

            A major conference on European water has issued a call for solutions and real life cases on the topic of transitioning to a circular and resilient water environment in high density areas. The Amsterdam International Water Week conference will take place from 30 October - 3 November 2017 under the title 'Water... and nine billion people'.

            Experts in the water sector are encouraged to submit their solutions, insights, innovations and best practices. The conference - which is open to cities, industries, regions, countries, and institutions - aims to match real-life problems to solutions, and to partner attendees to reach their goals.

            The call for cases and solutions is available online. Deadline for submission is 31 March 2017.

            For more information, visit the website.
            Image copyright: Pixabay

            7. Event News

            Registration now open for 4th European Conference on SUMPs

            The registration for the European Conference for Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, which is taking place in Dubrovnik (Croatia) on 29-30 March 2017, is now open. The conference is the principal annual event enabling an international community of practitioners, policy makers, city staff and academics from across Europe to come together to debate key issues, highlight developments in mobility planning and exchange ideas and experience.

            Four years after the publication of the European Commission’s Urban Mobility Package (2013) and related SUMP Guidelines (2014), there is now a large and expanding network of cities committed to preparing and implementing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans.

            The continuous development of cities and associated population growth, congestion and pollution has pushed sustainable urban mobility up the agenda. The need for more sustainable, intelligent and integrative planning processes as a way of dealing with these challenges and identifying an appropriate set of policies has been widely recognised. Based on these considerations, the theme for this years’ conference is 'Intelligent Planning for Sustainable Mobility'. A free training session will additionally be held on the Urban Transport Roadmaps online scenario building tool on 28 March in Dubrovnik. To register for this event, click here.

            For more information, visit or see the draft conference programme.

            8. Event Calendar

            Heat Roadmap Europe 4 Workshop
            7 March 2017 - Brussels (Belgium)

            22nd Breakfast at Sustainability's - Money seeks ideas, ideas seek money
            13 March 2017 - Brussels (Belgium)

            PPI4Waste Workshop for innovative procurement in waste management
            29 March 2017 - Frankfurt (Germany)

            4th European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans
            29 - 30 March 2017 - Dubrovnik (Croatia)

            Annual Conference on European Public Procurement Law 2017
            30 - 31 March 2017 - Trier (Germany)

            2nd RAMSES Training Event
            3 - 4 April 2017 - Bonn (Germany)

            Open European Day 2017
            3 May 2017 - Bonn (Germany)

            Embrace the Water Conference
            12 - 14 June 2017 - Gothenburg (Sweden)

            CIVITAS FORUM Conference 2017
            27 - 29 September 2017 - Torres Vedras (Portugal)

            Amsterdam International Water Week
            30 October - 3 November 2017 - Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

            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 2017 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany. All rights reserved.