ICLEI European Secretariat

ICLEI European Secretariat



Advocating for sustainable change

ICLEI is actively involved in a number of processes and initiatives which fall under several topics:


  • ICLEI was selected as a member of the jury for the European Green Capital Award for both the 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 cycles. The organisation has been asked to take on this role once again for the 2014 award.

  • The Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign has been co-managed and supported by ICLEI since its launch at the first conference in Aalborg, Denmark, in 1994.  In 2004 the conference was staged in Aalborg once again and served as starting point for the next decade of action for local sustainabilty in the Campaign framework, with the agreement on the Aalborg Commitments. In 2006, the renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy was adopted in the European Council. The Strategy acknowledges the important role of Local Agenda 21 processes and the Aalborg Commitments in implementing its objectives.

  • ICLEI's campaigns, programmes, and projects promote Local Agenda 21 as a participatory, long-term, strategic planning process that addresses local sustainability while protecting global common goods. Linking local action to internationally agreed upon goals and targets such as Agenda 21, the Rio Conventions, the Habitat Agenda, the Millennium Development Goals and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation is an essential component.


  • ICLEI has been running sustainable public procurement awareness-raising campaigns since 1996, with peak periods between 2002 and 2004 in connection with the ruling from the European Court of Justice in favor of environmental criteria, and during the negotiations on the then new EU Public Procurement Directives - 2004/17 and 2004/18. Since 2006, ICLEI has been supporting the work of the European Commission regarding green public procurement (GPP), contributing expertise to discussions held by the GPP Expert Group of the EU-27, chaired by DG Environment. ICLEI also takes part in the United Nations Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Public Procurement, launched in June 2007.

  • In April 2011 ICLEI submitted a response to the Consultation on the Modernisation of EU Public Procurement Policy. The Green Paper published by the European Commission sets out a number of areas which may be addressed in the upcoming revision of the EU Procurement Directives (2004/18/EC and 2004/17/EC). This includes the strategic use of public procurement in response to new challenges - such as environmental, social and innovation objectives. ICLEI's response looks at the use of life-cycle costing, technical specifications, award criteria and contract performance clauses to further sustainable procurement. It also analyses some of the general barriers to broader uptake of SPP, such as lack of capacity and expertise, legal uncertainty and verification issues. Download ICLEI's submission here.

  • ICLEI is a member of the European Commission's Public Procurement Stakeholder Expert Group Chaired by DG Internal Market, advising the Commission on sustainable public procurement.

    To learn more about ICLEI's work in this area, visit our page on Sustainable Procurement.

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation:

ICLEI engages as an advocate for local government to the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in several roles:

ICLEI is the facilitator of the Local Government Climate Roadmap, an international process started in 2007 by ICLEI and several leading local government networks. The Roadmap is used to present key issues towards the UNFCCC that local governments want to include for consideration in the international climate negotiations. This has ensured:

  • High visibility of local action examples at the COP15 (Copenhagen) at the LOUNGE.

  • Success was achieved at the COP16 (Cancún) with formal recognition of the role of local and sub-national governments in climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

  • COP17 (Durban) saw the release of the Durban Adaptation Charter for Local Governments. It was adopted at an ICLEI-organised event held in parallel with COP17, the Durban Local Government Convention: adapting to a changing climate. The Charter sees local governments make a concrete political commitment to strengthen local resilience to climate change.

From commitment to reporting, the Mexico City Pact is a voluntary commitment of cities and towns to advance local climate action and report their progress through the international reporting platform, namely carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR). The World Mayors Council on Climate Change (WMCCC) is an alliance of committed local government leaders concerned about climate change. ICLEI acts as the secretariat for the WMCCC and facilitates the participation of its members to the UN climate negotiations.

ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Campaign in Europe, established in 1993, closely linked to the organisation’s international climate activities. The CCP Campaign ended in 2012, and building on its success the GreenClimateCities initiative (GCCI) was launched. 

Key roles of ICLEI Europe:


  • Based on a Memorandum of Understanding with DG ENER, ICLEI Europe is an active Supporter of the Covenant of Mayors. It engages in representation and lobbying, offers strategic and practical support to cities and towns. The focus is also on improving guidance of Covenant Coordinators and Supporters in optimising their approach (methodologies, tools) and offering expert input to the Covenant of Mayors Office (CoMO) and Joint Research Center (JRC).

    To learn more about ICLEI's work in this area, visit our page on Energy.


  • ICLEI is a key player in promoting sustainable water management at local level through bringing the Istanbul Water Consensus to the attention of national governments and international organisations. The Consensus was launched by Istanbul's Mayor Kadir Topbaş in March 2008, and developed in collaboration with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the World Water Council.

    To learn more about ICLEI's work in this area, visit our page on Water.


  • ICLEI is category A liaison in ISO Standard setting on sustainable communities and cities (ISO TC 268).

  • ICLEI has contributed to the EU Joint Research Centre-led EMAS Reference Document for the Public Administration Centre. ICLEI developed a detailed background study for the technical document to be published later this year, which will aid local authorities in improving their environmental standards in line with the European Eco-management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), as well as environmental auditors in reviewing public authorities.

  • ICLEI contributed expert knowledge to the EU Thematic strategies on the Urban Environment and Soil.

  • ICLEI has contributed to the EEA processes /studies on Quality of Life and Urban Monitoring.

  • ICLEI is member of the European Green Capital Jury since its first edition in 2009.