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News (December, 2014)

 

29 December 2014

Transport sharing initiatives form focus of Breakfast at Sustainability’s meeting

ICLEI and the Liaison agency Flanders-Europe are inviting participants to take part in the 17th Breakfast at Sustainability’s (B@S) on 4 February 2015 in Brussels (Belgium) to discuss urban transport under the heading Sharing – the new concept for sustainable mobility. The topic is in response to the number of European cities and towns that are experiencing a rise in interest in sharing initiatives related to innovative and sustainable transport and mobility (carsharing, bikesharing, transport pooling, etc.).

Among the confirmed speakers are Michael Cramer, MEP, Chair of the EP Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee; Nikolaus van Peter, Member of the Cabinet of Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc; and Jan Vermeulen, Mayor of the inspiring Belgian city of Deinze.

B@S events are small informal meetings held periodically throughout the year, hosted by Brussels Representations of regional and local governments. Topics covered are related to sustainable community development essential to public authorities. At the 16th B@S meeting on 25 November 2014, the role of local and regional authorities in supporting community-led Renewable Energy projects took centre stage. Registration for the 17th B@S closes on 30 January 2015.

To register, contact brussels-office@iclei.org. For more information, download the programme.
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23 December 2014

ICLEI joins discussions on COP21 approach in Copenhagen

ICLEI member and European Green Capital 2014 Copenhagen (Denmark) hosted representatives from ICLEI, major international clean-tech companies, Europe’s greenest cities, and global city networks to discuss approaches towards COP21 at the conference Sharing Copenhagen - Green Capital Days from 8 – 9 December. The talks were aimed at creating a streamlined, united voice for the non-state actors at COP21 in Paris (France) next year.

The participants, including ICLEI Regional Director for Europe Wolfgang Teubner, debated a common approach towards the 2015 climate summit. Mr. Teubner said: "Through this event, city leaders in Europe ensured a united approach towards the upcoming climate talks in Paris. By reaching a consensus beforehand, we are in a better position to strongly push for a meaningful agreement, one that fully supports the forward leading actions taken by local governments and their partners in reaching ambitious climate targets".

In the wake of the COP20 outcomes in Lima (Peru), the roundtable participants called for governments to take ambitious action, and to recognise the importance of multi-level participation in finding local solutions to climate change.

For more information, visit the Sharing Copenhagen website.
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22 December 2014

The City of Freiburg to publish first sustainability report

The City of Freiburg (Germany) will soon publish its first Sustainability Report, a 100-page document that determines which urban activities contribute to sustainability goals, how financial resources are used, and what actions are available to further drive sustainable urban development. The ICLEI member has developed structures and instruments for sustainability monitoring in order to focus urban actions towards sustainability principles. The document will be released in conjunction with the 2015 – 2016 double budget.

Dieter Salomon, the Mayor of Freiburg, has stated that combining finance and sustainability reporting has the capacity for more comprehensive municipal actions, and is unique nationwide. He also defined sustainability in the context of Freiburg and other small cities and towns as a combination of ecological responsibility, economic growth and life quality. In order to connect sustainability goals with the new municipal budget law, Freiburg´s Regional Council has selected five focal sectors to be represented in the budget and named six associated departments: children/youth & family; property and housing; social affairs and senior citizens; forestry and parks; civil engineering; and personnel.

The combination of financial and sustainability reporting has been developed in the context of the research and development network Sustainable Local Authorities in Germany in collaboration with the Leuphana University of Lüneburg. Since 2011 it has been developed in close cooperation with the city treasury project group Finance Freiburg 2015.

For more information, visit the City of Freiburg website [in German].
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19 December 2014

Ludwigsburg wins German Sustainability Award

ICLEI member Ludwigsburg (Germany) has taken first place in the medium-sized cities category of the German Sustainability Awards. The awards, endorsed by the German Federal Government, business associations, UNESCO and UNICEF, recognises outstanding commitments to sustainability. Through the award, companies, cities and towns, buildings and construction projects, and research are acknowledged, while achievements in ecological, social and humanitarian, and economic dimensions are affirmed.

In accordance with the definition of the United Nations, the German Sustainability Awards understand sustainability as the balance and interplay of three factors: protection of the environment and natural resources; improvement of living conditions for as many people as possible; and consolidation of the economic foundation for acting ecologically and with social conscience.

The finalists accompanying Ludwigsburg in the cities and towns categories included Nuremburg, Dortmund and Karlsruhe. Business winners included Miele, Scandic Hotels, GEPA - The Fair Trade Company, NATURSTROM and the German Youth Hostel Association (Deutsche Jugendherberge). The award, presented for the seventh time this year, has become the national award for sustainability excellence, and one of the most prestigious sustainability awards in Europe.

For more information, visit the German Sustainability Awards website.
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18 December 2014

ICLEI member Barcelona joins 100RC Challenge

The 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) Challenge assists cities across the globe in becoming more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges faced by urban areas in the 21st century. The Challenge, established in 2013, invites cities to participate in a resilience-strengthening regime covering various shocks – including emergencies and disasters – and stresses such as food and water shortages. The goal is to enable cities to respond to adverse events, and better deliver basic services throughout all conditions.

Earlier this month, the involvement of 35 new cities was announced including ICLEI member Barcelona (Spain). The first batch of cities, announced one year ago, included ICLEI members Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Rome (Italy), Bristol (United Kingdom) and Glasgow (United Kingdom). In the last decade, Barcelona has faced infrastructure failures including the loss of main transportation lines and a significant power outage. In response, the city has established resilience teams to analyse shocks and deliver coordinated responses, reflecting Barcelona’s commitment to resilience planning and thinking.

This ability to respond, partnered with the city’s charge to utilise solar energy, improve public transport and reduce fossil fuels, establishes Barcelona as a leader in European sustainability and adaptability. 2014 saw the cities involved in the 100RC tackle issues such as resource scarcity, rapid growth, flooding, and social inequality. The next challenge will start in 2015.

For more information, visit the 100 Resilient Cities website.
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17 December 2014

Tools for local authorities to be showcased in Brussels

Resilient cities - novel tools for local authorities will take place in Brussels (Belgium) on 13 January 2015. The conference is a showcase event for the TURAS project in which the Brussels Region is collaborating with 11 European cities and regions to create innovative tools in support of urban sustainable development.

TURAS undertook the initiative in response to the estimate that by 2050 an expected 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Following an assessment of potential environmental challenges European cities may face - from the loss of biodiversity, to increased flood risk - local authorities from Dublin (Ireland), Stuttgart (Germany), London (United Kingdom), Rome (Italy), Brussels (Belgium), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands) will showcase the outcomes of their research at the conference. Experts will outline the tools that have been designed to assist local authorities in facing these environmental challenges, and lead dialogue on their experiences during the research period, and in their respective cities.

The event will be hosted by Brussels Environment in cooperation with the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN)at the new offices of Brussels Environment at Tour et Taxis in Brussels. The TURAS initiative is coordinated by University College Dublin (UCD) and funded by the European Commission.

For more information, contact pvandenabeele@environnement.irisnet.be or visit the resilient cities event website.
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16 December 2014

Final URBES training session to take place in Brussels

The final training session of the EU-funded Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (URBES) project will take place on 14 January 2015 in Brussels (Belgium), providing an opportunity to learn from the outcomes of the three-year project, and explore ways to strengthen the connection between science and practice to enhance urban sustainable development . The URBES project aimed to better understand how urban ecosystems work, how they change, and what limits their performance, with a view to comprehending ecosystem change more broadly.

Titled ‘Bridging the gap between Science and Practice’, practitioners and researchers from cities involved in URBES, namely Stockholm (Sweden), Berlin (Germany), Salzburg (Austria), Barcelona (Spain), Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Helsinki (Finland) and New York (USA), will present their experiences at the training and discuss the project outcomes.

Through the session, practitioners and scientists will have the opportunity to explore the added values of the project’s research results in greater depth. The training will be held directly following the final conference of the URBES project, taking place from 9.30 – 14.00, which will see discussion on how best to integrate the natural environment into city planning. Registration for the training is free, but places are limited – early registration is advised.

For more information, contact pamela.muehlmann@iclei.org.
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12 December 2014

Guidelines for Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans for poly-centric regions now available

The Poly-SUMP project, Planning sustainable mobility together, has released the Poly-SUMP Methodology Guidelines together with a series of useful tools aimed at aiding local authorities in poly-centric regions in designing cross-border Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs). These guidelines, developed by experts and practitioners, are now available for free from the Poly-SUMP website.

Over the last three years, the Intelligent Energy Europe-funded project provided support for the development of SUMPs in areas in which transport flows stem from outside of municipal borders, including areas with separate political, social or financial centres. The project has worked with six regions in Europe - Regione Marche (Italy), Central Alentejo (Portugal), Central Macedonia (Greece), Parkstad Limburg (The Netherlands), Rhine Alp (Austria), and the Heart of Slovenia - helping them to engage with different administrative levels and relevant stakeholders to plan mobility measures for their areas.

The Poly-SUMP Methodology Guidelines describe how to use a proven methodology to initiate the development of an effective Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan in a poly-centric region. In addition to English, the guidelines will soon be available in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Polish, Romanian, Greek and Slovenian.

For more information, visit the Poly-SUMP website.
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11 December 2014

ICLEI assists Emmendingen in regional development financing

The City of Emmendingen (Germany) has won the Baden-Wüttemberg state competition Systematic Climate Protection for its new energy efficiency campaign, qualifying it for the European Regional Development Fund. Deputy Mayor of Emmendingen, Ute Haarer Jenne, was presented the award certificate by the Minister of Environment for Baden-Württemberg Franz Untersteller at a ceremony last week.

In the framework of the EU project SEAP PLUS, ICLEI Europe supported Emmendingen in the proposal development. On the basis of the experience gained from the city’s district campaign Bürkle-Bleiche in refurbishing residential buildings, the new energy efficiency campaign E-House seeks to extend its efforts to the entire city. The municipal advocacy and advisory program will be available to all homeowners in all urban and local areas. The existing network of energy advisors will be further developed in order to create and implement cost-effective and innovative refurbishment projects for the benefit of homeowners.

The material and personnel costs of the three-year campaign amounted to €570,000. As this initiative is not an exclusive investment project, the City of Emmendingen receives an increased co-funding rate of 70 percent from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

For more information, contact carsten.rothballer@iclei.org.
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9 December 2014

ICLEI-organised COP20 side event sees local leaders commit to climate action

Lima (Peru) was host to a crucial ICLEI-organised climate change meeting yesterday, held as a side event of the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences (UNFCCC COP20/CMP10). At the meeting, world mayors and international experts showed their engagement in the new climate regime to be adopted in 2015 at COP21 in Paris (France). The key outcome of the Lima Dialogues – High level event, the “Lima Communiqué”, underlines the scientific basis for climate action, and cements the commitment of local governments to step up collaborative climate action and scale down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Communiqué will feed into the ongoing UNFCCC negotiations, where over 190 countries are conferring on the draft text of new international climate change agreement.

“Cities are made up of its citizens, and if the changes are not coming from new generations, from the community, we are walking through unknown paths into our planet’s uncertainty. We cannot allow that,” said Susana Villarán, Mayor of Lima. “The legacy of this COP20 in Lima should be for a greater, more robust engagement of local governments beginning with us, starting today in Lima, towards Paris and beyond.”

The meeting highlighted the Compact of Mayors - an ambitious agreement among city leaders to reduce city-level emissions and enhance resilience to climate change - as one of the key accords for local governments to engage in. The side event also saw the World Resources Institute (WRI), C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and ICLEI unveil the first unified global standard for cities to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions. The Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) is the first harmonised standard to track emissions from cities, empowering cities and local governments to set credible emission reduction targets and take action.

For more information, download the press release in English or Spanish.
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8 December 2014

Natura 2000 Award 2015 opens for applications

The 2015 instalment of the Natura 2000 Award is open for applications, celebrating and promoting best practices for nature conservation in Europe. The award was first launched by the European Commission in 2014 in the framework of Natura 2000, the EU-wide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive. The network’s overall goal is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats, and is the centrepiece of the EU's nature and biodiversity policy.

From bird conservation in Bulgaria, to educating citizens in the Czech Republic, the inaugural 2014 Natura 2000 Award highlighted examples of different actors across Europe investing in nature in effective and innovative ways. The 2014 award received 163 applications, with five winners announced at a Ceremony in Brussels (Belgium) in May.

For next year’s instalment, nominees may submit applications in any or all of the five categories: conservation, socio-economic benefits, communication, reconciling interests/perceptions, and networking and cross-border cooperation. Applications are assessed on effectiveness, originality, durability, cost-benefit, and replicability. Those interested can apply until 21 January 2015. A list of finalists will be made public in April.

For more information, download the guidelines or visit the Natura 2000 Award website.
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5 December 2014

Barcelona’s commitment to solar energy highlighted in ICLEI case study

In 2000, ICLEI member city Barcelona (Spain) became the first European city to develop and implement a Solar Thermal Ordinance (STO). The STO made it compulsory to use solar energy to supply 60 percent of running hot water in all new buildings, renovated buildings, or buildings changing their use. The ordinance has been integrated into the overarching political and planning framework for climate change mitigation in the city.

Within this framework, Barcelona aims to achieve energy self-sufficiency in the long term through the use of renewable energy resources and the promotion of energy efficiency. The local government is leading by example, having installed renewable energy systems in its own buildings and facilities, including the use of solar thermal energy for water heating.

The commitment by Barcelona to an energy efficient future is further explored in the ICLEI Case Study series, in which the role of ICLEI members and other local governments as key drivers and implementers of urban sustainable development across the globe are illustrated. Emphasis is given to successful approaches, innovative models and transferable best practices in the field of sustainable urban development.

For more information, read the full Barcelona Case Study.
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4 December 2014

20th UN Climate Conference of the Parties underway in Lima

The 20th session of the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences (UNFCCC COP20/CMP10) commenced on Monday 1 December in Lima (Peru), and will run until 12 December. The yearly conference, held as part of the UNFCCC treaty, determines and reviews the progress of climate change intervention. The 2014 conference is expected to deliver the draft of a new, universal climate change agreement and clarification of how national contributions will be communicated, to be agreed in Paris (France) at the next conference in December 2015.

ICLEI is participating in the conference in its role as Focal Point for Local Government and Municipal Associations (LGMA), is facilitating the Local Government Climate Roadmap process, and endorsing Friends of Cities. The roadmap, an advocacy process that has provided a united voice for local governments since 2007, aims to ensure that a strong and ambitious global climate regime is designed and implemented in the post-2015 period. It sets out to secure collaboration with nations and a financial framework through which local governments can fund ambitious climate actions.

Enhanced understanding for climate action at the local, subnational, national, regional, and global level will be addressed by ICLEI via several activities and resources. As part of the Lima Dialogues, one of the most significant actions being undertaken by ICLEI is the hosting of the side event Raising Global level of ambition through Local Climate Action. Taking place on 8 December, the occasion will provide a platform for reaching a conclusion on the need to enhance local climate action, with the specific goal of adopting a 10-Year Action Plan as a part of the outcomes of Paris 2015.

For updates on ICLEI’s activities, visit the City Talk blog.
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2 December 2014

Reykjavik wins Nordic Council Nature and Environment Prize 2014

ICLEI member city Reykjavik (Iceland) has been awarded the Nordic Council Nature and Environment Prize 2014. Reykjavik’s green achievements were highlighted during a ceremony held in Stockholm (Sweden), including the city’s environmentally friendly use of drinking water and its use of geothermal energy for electricity and district heating.

“The prize goes to the City of Reykjavik in recognition of its wide-ranging and determined commitment to the environment […] Reykjavik makes ‘green’ use of urban spaces not currently occupied or due to become vacant soon, and this stops them ending up as parking lots. Although Reykjavik is a small city, 87 percent of the council’s vehicles run on electricity or gas. We know of no other council with a fleet of vehicles anywhere nearly as environmentally friendly,” said last year’s winner, Selina Juul of Denmark from the Stop Wasting Food movement, on behalf of the adjudicating committee.

The Nordic Council Nature and Environment Prize is awarded to a Nordic enterprise, organisation or individual, that stands as a role model by integrating regard for nature and the environment into their business or work, or that has contributed remarkably to the protection of nature and the environment. Next year’s prize will go to a company, organisation or individual that has developed an exemplary product, initiative, invention or other creative endeavour that assists in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information, visit the Nordic Council website.
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