ICLEI European Secretariat

ICLEI European Secretariat



Sustainability Management

Do we manage our cities smartly? How professional are our local management systems, instruments and tools – is action based on strategy, and strategy based on information? How efficient are we in delivering services and ensuring the well-being of our citizens?

Balancing citizen welfare with resources available

Local governments (LGs) have positions of responsibility, as their ultimate goal is to improve their citizens' quality of life. However they also face the ongoing challenge of how to provide services to their citizens and address these issues with the scarce human, financial and natural resources available to them. At the same time, LG leaders are responsible for the availability and use of the city, town or region's capital, for asset, debt and property management.

Within the next two decades, 60 percent of the world's population will reside in urban areas, increasing an already growing rate of resource consumption. Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to maintain current lifestyles.

Sustainability management supports cities in developing and maintaining quality of life, while taking care of the resource base and balancing our eco footprint in order for cities to take global responsibility.

Successfully implementing change

With ecoBUDGET, ICLEI has invented an environmental management system that uses the logic of municipal budgets for managing natural resources. Based on its successful implementation in many cities in Europe and beyond, ecoBUDGET has been developed further into a cyclical, integrated management and governance system

Based on this Sustainability Cycle ICLEI offers guidance and consultancy services to local governments in assessing their local sustainability situation, setting measurable targets together with local stakeholders, and evaluating success in achieving them.  

Cities leading the way

An ever increasing number of ICLEI Members across the continent are implementing integrated management strategies and are reaping the rewards of this structured and systematic approach. 

Leaders in the field include the pioneering city of Växjö (Sweden), along with Ludwigsburg (Germany) and Bologna (Italy).

ICLEI is involved in a number of projects, initiatives and campaigns, current activities include:

  • CHAMP local response to climate - is a project which aims to train and support local and sub-regional authorities in implementing an integrated management system for climate change mitigation and adaptation. CHAMP draws on the Managing the Urban Europe Initiative, which is a framework model incorporated into all European policies by the European Commission.

  • Small towns can benefit from our adapted approach developed in German, such as Projekt21.

  • Nachhaltigkeit Kommunal gives further information regarding local sustainability management in German.


Additional activities fall under a number of sectors:

Advocacy & Research

Advocacy and research are intertwined as research can be used as a basis for advocacy work and can improve the quality of the work being carried out at the ground level.

More information

Go to our search or contact sustainability.management@iclei.org.