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News (January, 2017)

 

31 January 2017

Challenges of a changing world: Embracing opportunities with vision, optimism and hope in 2017

By Wolfgang Teubner, ICLEI Europe Regional Director
Dear Members, Partners, Colleagues and Friends,

It is always hard to believe that another year has passed and we are already in full swing working on our 2017 agenda.

A bit more than a year ago we were able to celebrate major breakthroughs and successes for global sustainability with the conclusion of the UN 2030 sustainable development agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement. These new global frameworks, based on scientific research and political agreement, are asking for change and transformation in our societies that goes far beyond technological innovation or the modernisation of infrastructure. As the Basque Declaration spells out, we need significant socio-cultural, socio-economic and technological change, one spurred by transformative actions across all levels. However, today we feel severely challenged by the question of how we can ensure that these agreements are transferred to and implemented on the local level in the current political and societal situation in Europe and elsewhere.

To read the full article, click here.
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27 January 2017

Country-specific heat maps to be released by HRE4 project

The third edition of the Heat Roadmap Europe (HRE) studies alerted local and national decision-makers to Europe’s incredible energy inefficiency, showing that the amount of heat wasted is currently larger than the total heat demand of Europe’s entire building stock. Rightly, the first formulated strategic policy package of the EU to achieve a resilient Energy Union regards efficiency as an energy source, one which is vital to decarbonising the energy system.

The Energy Union seeks to enhance the interconnectivity of the electricity grid of European nations to make efficiency gains, as well as to balance volatile renewable supplies. It is a new and crucial step in the energy transition, together with the “winter package” released in November last year. However, it falls short of adequately addressing heating and cooling issues such as the interconnectivity of the thermal system or electricity-to-heat integration, despite the latter being up to 100 times cheaper to store in comparison to electrical storage.

On 7 March, HRE4 will launch country-specific heat maps in Brussels (Belgium) that display the current status of heat demand and resources. These maps will contribute to identifying the most economically feasible and technologically effective pathway to decarbonisation by 2050 for 14 EU Member States. It also provides policy recommendations to the Energy Union and its market actors. Local and regional governments are invited to attend the Brussels event, discuss and engage in the HRE process.

For more information and to subscribe to the newsletter, visit heatroadmap.eu.
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26 January 2017

Paris to test out new climate change adaptation measures

ICLEI Member Paris (France) has announced that the Bercy-Charenton area will test out and co-create adaptation measures through the EU-funded RESIN project. Located in the south-east of inner Paris, the city’s aim is to turn the site “from an industrial landscape into a new and integrated piece of city fabric”.

Over the next months, the RESIN project will help the City of Paris to find the best adaptation options for the site regarding fluvial and pluvial flood risk, heat waves and drought. The development of public spaces and housing construction is scheduled to take place from 2018 to 2030.

RESIN partners and officials from Paris will meet in March 2017 to discuss the criteria to be considered for the selection of the adaptation options and to discuss the resulting options. Through knowledge brokerage between cities and researchers, the RESIN project works to develop practical and applicable tools to support cities in designing and implementing climate adaptation strategies for their local contexts.

For more information, visit the RESIN website.
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24 January 2017

ICLEI Members outline experience of hosting a citizen forum

ICLEI Members Rome (Italy) and Hamburg (Germany) have detailed their experiences around holding a Smartathon, a forum in which citizens are invited to give feedback on plans by the smarticipate project to use technology to increase citizen involvement in urban planning decisions. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London (United Kingdom) has also published a blog post outlining their Smartathon experience.

Rome’s post looks towards the Smartathon, detailing the challenges of organising such an event. To give Smartathon participants a better understanding of what the event will involve, Rome held two pre-meetings. “The second meeting was a simulation of the Smartathon,” said Patricia Hernandez, international relations expert with the City of Rome. “We showed participants how the London and Hamburg editions were held, screening the event videos and showing pictures and so on, and giving them a hint of the type of data they will be dealing with. By showing them the previous Smartathons we made it clear that they will run the show!”

In Hamburg, participants at the event agreed that ICT platforms can play an important role in citizen engagement, but had different ideas of how to realise a fruitful cooperation between citizens and the city administration. “I think there are many people who joined the first Smartathon who want to see how it develops,” said Fritz Boysen, a participant at the Hamburg Smartathon. “One participant told me that next time she would come back with all her friends and colleagues.”

For more information, visit the smarticipate website.
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20 January 2017

URBACT issues call for good practices in European cities

Cities across Europe engaged in innovative activities in the field of sustainable urban development are invited to submit their experience as part of the URBACT Good Practice call. If selected, the good practice will be promoted at EU and international level, while the city will be awarded the title of URBACT Good Practice City.

URBACT is looking for good practices on a wide range of topics, from demographic change and climate and environmental targets, to unemployment and urban poverty. Gaining a Good Practice City label will allow cities to share their experience with others by becoming part of a "Transfer Network". A Good Practice Festival will be organised in September 2017 to showcase the selected practices and to give submitters a chance to network with other policy makers.

Interested stakeholders can submit their good practice by filling in an online application form, and mailing it to goodpracticecall@urbact.eu. Supporting materials such as documents, infographics, videos, etc. are also welcome. The URBACT programme aims to foster sustainable integrated urban development in cities across Europe.

For more information, visit urbact.eu
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16 January 2017

Eindhoven rolls out electric bus fleet

ICLEI Member Eindhoven (the Netherlands) in conjunction with fellow Dutch city Helmond introduced 43 fully electric buses late last month, achieving Europe's largest zero-emission bus fleet. The new buses use advanced technology that enables them to be fully recharged in 30 minutes.

“This is an important step leading to sustainable bus transportation and a glimpse at the future of public transport,” said Bart Schmeink, CEO of public transport operator Transdev Netherlands.

The new trams, which are almost silent in operation, have been fitted with bells to warn pedestrians and cyclists of their approach. Their introduction to urban streets is part of the province of North Brabant’s strategy to have only sustainable transport in place by 2024.

For more information, visit Eltis.
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13 January 2017

PPI4Waste to hold trainings on innovation procurement in waste sector

A series of training workshops to build capacity in public procurement of innovation (PPI) in the municipal waste sector will be held in January 2017 by the EU-funded PPI4Waste project. The training sessions will take place in Germany, Spain, Croatia and Sweden.

The training will be divided into six modules, providing an introduction to the project and identifying areas within the European waste sector where greater innovation is needed. Public procurement of innovation will also be outlined more generally, encompassing definitions, methodologies and approaches.

The German city of Frankfurt will host a training session on 31 January, focusing on how public procurers can apply innovation to their waste management activities. Further details on the session are available in the programme. Following the training, useful resources will be provided to help procurers build on the lessons learned. The PPI4Waste project aims to promote public procurement of innovation within the waste sector across Europe.

For more information, visit the PPI4Waste website.
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12 January 2017

UrbanWINS releases first newsletter

UrbanWINS, an EU-funded project aimed at developing and testing eco-innovative waste prevention and management strategies in eight pilot cities, has released its first newsletter, providing an introduction to the project and round up of related news. A new edition of the newsletter will be released every four months.

The newsletter opens with an explanation of UrbanWINS, outlining how the project will achieve its objectives. Measures include carrying out an analysis of waste prevention and management strategies in 24 cities across six countries, and testing plans for urban waste prevention and management in pilot cities.

Newsletter highlights include an overview of the UrbanWINS kick-off meeting in Cremona (Italy), information on events attended by the UrbanWINS consortium, and details on how to become part of the UrbanWINS community. Upcoming events on the topic of waste management are also listed. The newsletter can be subscribed to on the UrbanWINS website.

To view the newsletter, click here.
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11 January 2017

Global Learning Forum 2017 to discuss transition to renewable energy

Over 400 leaders from local governments, the private sector, and NGOs will gather at Renewable Cities’ Global Learning Forum 2017 in Vancouver (Canada) to discuss the transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Workshops and plenary sessions will see debate on pathways to achieve renewable energy powered electricity, heating and cooling, and transportation in urban areas. The event will take place from 17 – 19 May.

Participants will have a chance to meet and learn from international policy and technology innovators in Vancouver, a city that’s committed to 100 percent renewable energy. Asked what attendees can expect from the event, Zachary Shahan, Director of CleanTechnica, said: "Previous Renewable Cities' Forums I've attended have placed an emphasis on practical implementation lessons, information, and specific suggestions from other forum participants.”

Renewable Cities, the programme behind the event, supports cities to transition to 100 percent renewable energy and to improve their energy efficiency. The Global Learning Forum is the organisation's signature vehicle for bringing together leading cities, innovators, companies, researchers, and groups to discuss urban solutions.

For more information, visit the Renewable Cities website.
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