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News (November, 2016)

 

29 November 2016

InnProBio project issues its third newsletter with updates on bio-based products

The InnProBio team released its third newsletter, including updates on the progress and the outcomes of the project, as well as other news related to the topic of bioeconomy. InnProBio is an EU-funded three-year project which began in March 2015 and aims to develop a community of public procurement practitioners interested in innovative bio-based products and services.

The “Project news” section introduces two of the three factsheets developed in InnProBio: one on sustainability of bio-based products, and the other on biodegradability. The consortium has also mapped the existing tools for bio-based products and services in public procurement to help facilitate the public purchase of bio-based products and services. The resulting document is featured in the newsletter.

The launch of the bio-based products’ database developed by the Open-Bio project is contained in the “Other news” section. This tool presents various items which are relevant for public procurers, and are sorted by application area, product type and Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) code.

To view the newsletter, click here.
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28 November 2016

Smarticipate report looks at how smart technology is influencing governance

The scoping report Open Governance in the Smart City was launched alongside the “Manifesto on Citizen Engagement” by ICLEI Europe Regional Director Wolfgang Teubner at a ceremony in Brussels (Belgium) on 23 November. The report, which was produced as part of the EU-funded smarticipate project, provides an overview of how cities are using smart technology to enhance governance processes.

Three questions are explored by the report: What is open governance in the smart city? How do cities make use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Open Governance? What are the risks, opportunities and lessons learnt for the use of ICT in open governance? To find the answers, the authors examined the ICT activities of 11 cities in both Europe and further abroad. Amsterdam's Datapunt platform, which aims to make Open Data more accessible to citizens, is detailed, along with Decide Madrid, a one-stop shop for all open governance processes run by the city, including a city wide participatory budgeting system.

Tirana's Ime tool, which allows citizens to easily report issues in the city to the administration is looked at, as is Smart Chicago Collaborative, a non-profit organisation that promotes civic tech in the American city. Based on the analysis of the cases, the report provides seven “recommendations”, or things to be considered by cities when using ICT in open governance processes.

To read the document, click here.
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24 November 2016

Standardised reporting for cities a focus at COP22 LESC

The Low-Emissions Solutions Conference (LESC) held during COP22 in Marrakech (Morrocco) on 14-16 November, mobilised leaders from business, government, cities, science and academia to discuss solutions and new technologies for implementing the Paris Agreement. The three-day event, co-organised by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network analysed key technologies and low-carbon systems.

During the conference, experts discussed, among other topics, the importance of standardised reporting and measuring for local climate action, and presented initiatives, platforms and tools such as the Global Covenant of Mayors, the carbonn® Climate Registry and ClearPath.

Representatives from Warsaw (Poland) and Dakar (Senegal) expressed how critical these enabling frameworks are. Antoine Faye, Dakar’s chief resilience officer, said it was complex for Senegalese municipalities to implement global processes such as the Paris Agreement, which focus almost exclusively on national commitments. Warsaw’s director of infrastructure development, Leszek Drogosz, stressed the importance of using available funds to drive the low-carbon transition.

Both cities signed up to the Compact of Mayors, which has joined with the EU’s Covenant of Mayors to form the Global Covenant of Mayors. The Global Covenant will enable cities to collect and report climate data in a comparable and transparent way, allowing them to produce climate action plans and to track their progress. The Covenant of Mayors, together with a wide range of initiatives, uses carbonn® Climate Registry as one of the reporting platforms. Its latest digest reports that cities have cut an incredible 1 Gigatonne of carbon emissions in 2015-2016. In reference to the ICLEI tool on offer, ICLEI Low Carbon City Program Manager Maryke Van Staden said: “Cities often don’t have the capacity to deal with all global processes; our job is to make it simple for them to be ambitious and have their voice heard.”

For more information about the conference, visit the LESC website.
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22 November 2016

ICLEI Members discuss participation challenges in blog posts

A series of recently published blog posts provide an insight into the work of ICLEI Members Hamburg (Germany) and Rome (Italy), as well as the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London (UK), to encourage citizen participation through the use of open data. Published by the EU-funded smarticipate project, the cities provide their take on the challenges they face, as well as steps being taken to overcome them.

Patricia Hernandez, international relations expert with the City of Rome, believes that there is a need to tackle bureaucracy in the Italian capital. “The bureaucracy is so complex and old-fashioned that it just slows down the whole process. The good will is there from politicians, the initiative is there from citizens, but in reality the formalities hinder the whole process,” she said. Ms Hernandez hopes that the smarticipate platform will cut through the layers of bureaucracy that have been holding back citizen engagement.

Dr Nicole Schubbe, Project Manager with the Agency for Geoinformation and Surveying of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is positive about the future of the project, saying that the smarticipate platform will "provide citizens with a greater insight into city planning processes, and will allow them to put forward their own ideas for consideration."

To view the live case studies, visit the smarticipate website.
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21 November 2016

Embrace the Water conference extends call for abstracts deadline

The call for abstracts issued by the Embrace the Water conference has been extended until 15 December 2016. Two forms of proposal will be considered: platform presentations and poster presentations. Proposals should be in the form of an outline paper, limited to two A4 pages (with two additional pages for figures and tables) and must contain enough information to allow for a referee review.

The event, which will take place in ICLEI Member Gothenburg (Sweden) from 12 - 14 June 2017, will examine sustainable urban water planning and design. A particular emphasis will be placed on how water management methods can become more risk resilient and efficient. Urban planners and water professionals from around the globe are invited to share their experiences and ongoing urban water projects at the conference.

Topics to be discussed include managing uncertain futures, providing regenerative water services for sustainable use and management of water resources, and engaging communities. Registration for the event will open in February 2017.

For more information, download the call for abstracts [PDF].
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17 November 2016

EU Award for "The Better World" Communication goes to ICLEI's mobilityweek.eu

The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK website developed and managed by the ICLEI European Secretariat in Freiburg was awarded the eu.Web Award 2016 in the category "The Better World" at a prestigious ceremony at the Natural History Museum in Brussels (Belgium) last night. The high quality and communication competence of ICLEI’s work was underlined by the fact that two of the three websites nominated in the category were developed and managed by ICLEI. The category rewarded the best websites on the topic of environmental protection and sustainable development. The European Mobility Week website motivates European cities to engage in sustainable mobility activities and provides a common platform for inspiration and exchange for cities and national initiatives.

Ruud Schuthof, ICLEI Europe Deputy Regional Director responsible for communication, said: "The .eu Web Award is a great honour for ICLEI and a recognition of our quality and experience in the area of communicating on urban sustainability.” Gabriel Nock, Chief Web Developer at ICLEI Europe, said: "One of the primary challenges we faced in designing the website was displaying the various elements of the campaign in a way that would not be overwhelming. In close cooperation with the users we have managed to deliver a modern-looking website that can be easily navigated by all, including those who are new to the European Mobility Week campaign.”

A jury composed of communication experts selected the winner. The competition was implemented by EURid, the registry manager for the .eu country code domains on behalf of the European Commission. Previous winners have benefited from the prize through increased web traffic.

For more information on the awards, visit webawards.eurid.eu
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16 November 2016

COP22 delegates discuss new global climate change initiative

Mayors, ministers and city representatives gathered at the COP22 in Marrakech (Morocco) yesterday for a session to discuss the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, a new worldwide initiative announced in June 2016 for ambitious cities to help tackle climate change. The new initiative – which will “go live” on 1 January 2017 - is a result of the EU’s Covenant of Mayors, and the Compact of Mayors, coming together. In combination, the Global Covenant represents 7,100 cities over 119 countries. The event articulated a unified vision and provided a forum for city and local government representatives committed to addressing climate change. It introduced the new initiative, and analysed the impact of the collective city commitments.

Through mayors, the Global Covenant will enable cities to collect and report climate data in a comparable and transparent way, allowing them to produce climate action plans and to track their progress.The Global Covenant can facilitate cities' engagement with the national level, and help the UN and the global community identify contributions that cities and local governments are making toward the goals set in Paris, which will underscore how important cities are to meeting them. It will provide a path for mayors to reduce carbon emissions and strengthen resilience, while achieving other, more localised benefits such as increased access to clean and affordable energy, improved public health and strengthened local economies.

Célestine Ketcha Epse Courtes, the mayor of Bangangte (Cameroon), attended the event. She said: “The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy must use existing networks to bring together and push forward on the climate action that cities, towns and regions will implement. We need to walk all together and hand in hand to ensure our needs are understood by local governments.”

For more information on the new Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, click here.
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15 November 2016

Latin America delegation visits ICLEI Brussels Office

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Brussels (Belgium) invited political decision makers and experts on municipal and environmental issues from Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Chile to a one-week study dialogue programme titled “European Green Capitals – Models for Latin American Sustainable Urban Development”.

The dialogue programme aimed to familiarise the country representatives from Latin America with new concepts and innovative projects in the area of sustainable urban development and to encourage an exchange of experiences with partners in the field of sustainable urban planning.

The programme included a visit to the ICLEI Brussels Office to introduce ICLEI’s work on promoting global action for sustainability. The delegation was eager to hear about ICLEI’s networks and initiatives, particularly in the field of smart and green solutions for cities and municipalities. The representatives looked at the social aspects of smart cities and to what extent European good practices could be replicated in Latin America, and vice-versa. Potential collaboration between the regions was discussed, with participation in inter-regional projects such as Urban-LEDS explored.

For more information, contact peter.defranceschi@iclei.org
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14 November 2016

Procura+ Awards finalists announced

The nominees for the Procura+ Awards have been narrowed down to six finalists, representing the most remarkable procurements carried out in Europe. Copenhagen (Denmark) and Wageningen (The Netherlands) have been nominated in the category of 'Sustainable Procurement of the Year', the City of London (UK) and Rijkswaterstaat (The Netherlands) in the category of 'Tender Procedure of the Year', and the Galician Public Health Authority (Spain) and Transport for London (UK) in the category 'Innovation Procurement of the Year'.

The awards will be presented as part of the Sustainable City Development conference in Malmö (Sweden) on 30 November. The finalists were chosen after extensive deliberations of the jury, which was made up of procurement experts Simon Clement (ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability), Bertrand Wert (EASME), Livia Mazza (Ecosistemi), and Wouter Stolwijk (PIANOo).

Each of the award categories looks at a different aspect of procurement. 'Innovation Procurement of the Year' acknowledges impressive procurement of innovation and the public authority as a launch customer; 'Sustainable Procurement of the Year' rewards the outstanding environmental, social and economic impacts of a procurement; and 'Tender Procedure of the Year' recognises procurers that took an exceptional approach to sustainable and innovation procurement.

For more information on the finalists, visit the Procura+ website.
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11 November 2016

Potential of the circular economy explored at 21st Breakfast at Sustainability's

Around one hundred participants took part in the 21st ICLEI Breakfast at Sustainability's (B@S) event in Brussels (Belgium) on the potential of the circular economy, demonstrating the increasing interest that exists on the topic among European regions. Co-organiser of the event the Common Representation of the European Region Tyrol - South Tyrol and Trentino presented their work on integrating the circular economy, outlining ambitious waste treatment, smart energy, and CO2 reduction plans.

Herbert Dorfmann, Member of the European Parliament, gave a short overview on the state-of-the-art on circular economy at EU policy level, while Joanna Drake, Deputy Director General of DG Environment, provided an update on the latest developments from the European Commission. Ms Drake confirmed that the European Commission was on track with the Circular Economy package and urged cities and region to support the action plan though bottom-up initiatives, mentioning the importance of green public procurement for the implementation of the circular economy.

Following a video outlining the circular economy concept, a panel discussion featuring ACR+, Zero Waste Europe and Green Alliance was held, looking at ways to progress on circular economy solutions. The website of the Circular Europe Network was recommended as a source of circular economy good practice examples. Alessandro Carano from DG Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission announced the creation of an investment platform on circular economy within the European Investment Bank.

For more information, contact peter.defranceschi@iclei.org
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9 November 2016

POWERSTEP aims to convert wastewater treatment plants into energy suppliers

Organic matter contained in EU wastewater holds the energy equivalent of 12 large power stations, but at present the power of wastewater remains underestimated and underused. By implementing new concepts for sewage treatment using existing technologies, such as sludge digestion, the EU-funded POWERSTEP project aims to demonstrate that wastewater treatment plants can become viable energy producers without compromising water treatment quality and cost.

In 2017, the POWERSTEP partners will offer free energy audits to 10 European municipalities. Selected applicants will get detailed information on their waste water energy profile. They will also receive a full audit report with recommendations tailored specifically to the waste water treatment plants of the municipality, which will indicate steps to improve energy balance and mitigate associated greenhouse gas emissions using technologies demonstrated in the POWERSTEP project.

All European municipalities are welcome to apply before 30 November 2016. The selection of the 10 candidates will ensure broad coverage in terms of geography and technological aptitude. To apply, fill in the online form.

For more information, contact christian.remy@kompetenz-wasser.de
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8 November 2016

Nominees revealed for Procura+ Awards

The 12 nominees have been announced for the 2016 edition of the prestigious Procura+ Awards, spanning cities and public authorities from across Europe. Winners will be invited to collect their trophies at a ceremony taking place as part of the Sustainable City Development conference in Malmö (Sweden) on 30 November.

The awards will be presented in three categories: 'Innovation Procurement of the Year' acknowledges an impressive procurement of innovation and the public authority as a launch customer; 'Sustainable Procurement of the Year' rewards the outstanding environmental, social and economic impacts of a procurement; and 'Tender Procedure of the Year' recognises procurers that took an exceptional approach to sustainable and innovation procurement.

Innovative solutions procured by the nominees include a home-assistance platform for patients suffering with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a spatial modelling service to identify areas for the installation of sustainable drainage measures to reduce the risk of flooding, and the procurement of innovative cleaning solutions. As well as international recognition, award winners will receive free entry and a presentation at the next EcoProcura conference, publicity through ICLEI’s channels, and one year’s free participation in the Procura+ Network.

To view the nominees, visit procuraplus.org
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7 November 2016

Innovative waste management and prevention strategies discussed at UrbanWINS kick-off

On 27 September over 50 participants, including policy-makers, public authorities, and local businesses, from the six countries represented in the EU-funded UrbanWINS project (Austria, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden) attended the project’s kick-off conference. The three-year UrbanWINS project will develop and test eco-innovative strategies for waste prevention and management in eight pilot cities.

The Mayor of Cremona (Italy), Gianluca Galimberti, opened the conference and stressed the importance of cooperation among cities at European, national and regional level. “Today we live in a complicated time for Europe. We need to build relations between European countries and territories on future projects. This is what we are doing, starting from our city, with the UrbanWINS Project. We need to imagine our cities as large social, cultural and economic laboratories and this is also happening thanks to UrbanWINS. The project’s scope relates to research, data analysis and choices,” he said.

Leonardo Rosado of Chalmers Technology University explained how cities represent the key drivers of the economy and sustainable development. As cities “eat” resources, we need to look at them as living organisms and to work on changing urban lifestyles and closing material loops. Giulia Lucertini of Università IUAV di Venezia explained how strategic planning allows us to develop plans to reduce waste at the source.

For more information, read the press release.
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3 November 2016

Body-heat sensor gives cyclists the green light in Rotterdam

Cyclists in ICLEI Member Rotterdam (The Netherlands) crossing the Churchillplein junction will have a faster commute thanks to the installation of a thermal sensor that turns traffic lights green for cyclists. The sensor works on the basis of body heat: the greater the number of cyclists present at the red light, the quicker the green is given.

The innovative technology was made operational by Pex Langenberg, Vice Mayor for Port, Sustainability, Mobility and Governance of the City of Rotterdam and Member of ICLEI Europe’s Regional Executive Committee. Mr Langenberg turned on the sensor in front of waiting cyclists and members of the media.

Public reaction has already been positive, with cyclists praising the thermal sensor for lowering waiting times. Previously cyclists had to wait for upwards of two minutes at the busy junction. According to the municipality, the heat sensor is the first of its kind in The Netherlands.

For more information, visit adl.nl [in Dutch].
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2 November 2016

GreenS Steering Committees promote the power of green public procurement

Steering Committees comprised of municipal authority staff and procurement experts have been set up by the GreenS project in seven European countries with the aim of driving uptake of green public procurement (GPP) at local and regional level. The project aims to use GPP to help meet the EU’s goal of a 20 percent reduction in energy use in Europe by 2020.

The newly established Steering Committees in Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Latvia, Sweden, Slovenia and Bulgaria play an important role in institutionalising GPP in these countries, helping with the development and implementation of GPP strategies, including influencing GPP standards. These committees will promote training and consultation for relevant officials, and will discuss barriers and challenges with procurers in each region.

“Cities and regions will be provided with the knowledge to engage in greener procurement, benefitting from long-term support and technical assistance. This will not only have a positive impact on individual areas, but will help Europe as a whole. By turning energy agencies and local authorities on to GPP we can ensure that public money is spent in a way that is good for our environment and our cities,“ said Philipp Tepper, Coordinator at ICLEI Europe.

For more information, visit greensproject.eu.
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EMAS at ICLEI