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News (April, 2017)

 

27 April 2017

2017 ICLEI European Membership Assembly to look at reinventing cities

In less than three weeks, ICLEI Members will have the opportunity to meet at the ICLEI European Membership Assembly, taking place in Brussels (Belgium) from 17-18 May. The event will be an opportunity for city peers to meet and identify innovative solutions to urban sustainable development challenges. This closed event, organised in cooperation with The Brussels Capital Region, will focus on how recent political trends are affecting local policy making and how cities can reinvent themselves to achieve a much-needed societal transformation.

As a key starting point, participants will learn about how the “Basque Declaration” will support and accelerate socio-cultural, socio-economic and technological transformation. This document, acclaimed by the participants of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, outlines new pathways for European Cities and Towns to create productive, sustainable and resilient cities for a liveable and inclusive Europe.

ICLEI Members will also share their agendas and strategies on burning issues at the local level, such as civic engagement, carbon neutrality, circular economy, nature based solutions in cities, and Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans.

Places are limited so early registration is advised. Registration is available online. The event is free of charge.

For a detailed programme, please click here.
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26 April 2017

ICLEI responds to the "Energy Independence" Executive Order of the Trump Administration

Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, IA
Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General
Angie Fyfe, ICLEI USA Executive Director


Since President Trump took office, there has been growing concern among U.S. local leaders regarding the new administration’s stance on agendas critical to America’s future: namely environmental protection, clean energy, and climate action.

With his 28 March Executive Order, which adds to the recent budget proposal, President Trump has once again taken an ideologically charged approach that is out of step with the values of the majority of Americans and will harm the people it purports to help.

ICLEI USA urges the President and his administration to listen to the voice of elected officials all over the country.

Local governments – the form of government closest to the people – are actively building sustainable communities. Thousands of community greenhouse gas emissions inventories are contained in ICLEI USA’s ClearPath database – clearly demonstrating the drive toward low carbon economies.

For years, and regardless of checkered national policies on the topic, American cities and towns have kept forging a path ahead, showing by good example what can be achieved when committed leaders, engaged communities and responsible businesses partner for the well-being of the many rather than the profit of the few.

Since the early 1990s, local governments in the U.S. have been using technical tools, capacity building, and networking opportunities to quantify GHG emissions, develop local climate action plans and prepare for climate hazards. They played a tremendous leadership role in mobilising 1000+ signatories to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2005 when the Kyoto protocol entered into force and have taken center stage in UNFCCC processes in the lead-up to the landmark Paris Agreement.

The World Wildlife Fund – ICLEI USA Measuring Up analysis demonstrates that by mid-century the climate targets of just 116 U.S. cities have the potential to reduce carbon pollution equivalent to shutting down 86 coal-fired power plants. This is only a fraction of the potential of reducing carbon emissions in thousands of other cities across the country.

As U.S. climate leadership at the federal level falters, local leaders are, once again, stepping up to fill the void, by doing what they know best: listening to their citizens, bringing people and resources together to fix actual problems, keeping the community together and fostering a sense of shared responsibility towards our children and our planet.

Cities are going well beyond the Clean Power Plan now on review – they are moving toward 100% renewable energy, with Aspen, Colorado, having already achieved that goal.

Cities are made even stronger as they unite around the transition to low-carbon, highly resilient development guided by the Paris Agreement’s ultimate goal to limit global warming to 1.5 °C.

ICLEI USA commends the immediate and widespread reaction by local and state leaders across the U.S. who are showing that decades of groundwork on local sustainability have strengthened local governments’ ability to lead, uncompromisingly, on climate action and environment protection. This diverse and bold reaction provides further proof that U.S. communities and stakeholders will continue to be a part of the unstoppable and irreversible global action on climate and sustainability.

As the focal point of the local governments’ constituency at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ICLEI welcomes all local and state leaders to join us in raising our voices now and for the next months. As the 23rd UN Climate Change conference (COP23) starts taking shape in Bonn (Germany), ICLEI calls upon all national governments and all leaders from civil society and the business sector to join local leaders in doubling efforts on climate and environment protection and to build a new, inclusive climate leadership that will deliver on and go beyond the promises made in Paris at COP21.
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25 April 2017

UrbanWINS project calls for Citizen Bloggers in 8 European cities

The UrbanWINS project has issued a call for talented Citizen Bloggers to write about eco-innovative activities based in or around its eight pilot cities: Cremona, Albano Laziale, Pomezia, and Torino (Italy), Leiria (Portugal), Bucharest (Romania), Manresa (Spain) and Sabadell (Spain).

UrbanWINS is a three-year EU-funded project aimed at developing and implementing eco-innovative strategic plans for waste prevention and management that will boost urban environmental resilience and contribute to a shift towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns.

The purpose of the Citizen Bloggers initiative is to enable citizens to discover how eco-innovation happens locally, through attractive and accessible stories in the local language. Blogging tasks will be agreed with the respective pilot city, and can include e.g. interviewing local stakeholders, reporting from local meetings or contributing to the project’s online platform.

An honorarium is offered for selected bloggers, who must be based in or around one of the pilot cities, be good communicators in the local language and English, with a flair for the topics addressed within the UrbanWINS project. The deadline is 11 May 2017.

For more information and to apply, visit the UrbanWINS Citizen Bloggers page.
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24 April 2017

International Congress on Climate Change to look beyond the Paris Agreement

The Spanish Minister of Environment José Fiscal, the mayor of Huelva (Spain) Gabriel Cruz, and the president of the Provincial Council of Huelva Ignacio Caraballo, presented the objectives of the International Congress on Climate Change at an event for the European press. The congress is set to take place from 10 - 12 May in Huelva.

During the presentation, Mr. Fiscal explained that the congress began to take shape after the Paris Summit of 2015, in which 195 states signed a binding agreement to advance in the fight against climate change. The objectives of the congress are to emphasise that climate change has economic and social consequences in addition to environmental ones, to share knowledge on climate change, and to reinforce to citizens that responsibility for climate change belongs to everyone.

His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain has accepted the honorary presidency of the International Congress. The event will have 20 sessions, 60 speakers, 30 exhibitors and is expected to host around 500 attendees.

For more information, click here.
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21 April 2017

CIVITAS SUMPs-Up launches call for mobility planning authorities

The CIVITAS SUMPs-Up project has launched a call for applications for its Innovation Pilot Pool (IPP), a select group of transport and urban planning practitioners who will develop tools and services to help SUMP development in European cities. IPP participants will receive SUMPS-Up funding and participate in learning activities known as SUMP Learning Programmes (SLPs) to test and apply SUMP approaches, tools and methodologies under real conditions.

CIVITAS SUMPs-Up is an EU-funded project with a focus on helping cities develop Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) - strategic long-term planning documents that integrate all transport modes and balance environmental, social and economic factors. The project assists mobility planning authorities, especially in countries where there are few SUMPs, to overcome the barriers that stop or make it difficult for them to implement the plans.

The current call for applications seeks to fill 40 slots in the Expert Group, who will participate for six months, and 10 slots in the Leadership Group, who will participate for three years. The remaining 50 slots in the IPP scheme will be selected via similar calls for applications opening in 2018 and 2019.

For more information and to submit an application, visit ipp.sumps-up.eu
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20 April 2017

ICLEI supports the Energy Transition Leaders Forum 2017 and Visualising Energy exhibition in Brussels

The future of Energy in Europe will be discussed during the European Energy week in Brussels (Belgium) in June. ICLEI is a partner of Revolve media on two energy events happening at that time: The Energy Transition Leaders Forum 2017 and Visualising Energy.

The energy transformation is underway in many industries and sectors but there remains a gap between what we aspire to achieve and what we are doing. What are the challenges to accelerating the energy transition? What are the innovative technologies coming to market? Who are the energy transition leaders of our time? These are the core topics of Revolve’s second Energy Transition Leaders Forum, which will take place in Brussels on 22 June as the ‘finale’ of the EU Sustainable Energy Week.

Visualising Energy is a public information campaign that highlights the human dimension of the energy transition by showing workers in action on different renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around Europe and beyond. The aim is to raise awareness among citizens and policy-makers about the potential of green growth. Visualising Energy will be in Brussels throughout summer 2017. ICLEI will contribute to the exhibition with pictures from our Members that are paving the way to smarter, more resilient cities.

For more information, click here.
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19 April 2017

Kolding is ICLEI Europe's Member in the Spotlight

ICLEI Member Kolding (Denmark) is the latest Member in the Spotlight, an ongoing series that highlights the sustainability achievements of ICLEI Member cities.

Kolding recently launched the "Sustainable City" initiative, which involves citizens, especially students, in the sustainable development of the city. The initiative is situated in a repurposed container, which acts as a space for city residents and representatives from the municipality to work on sustainable projects together.

Kolding has shown itself to be advanced in several fields of sustainable development, having been presented with the Green Procurement award 2015 by the Danish Forum for Sustainable Procurement, and winning an award for its energy system in 2011. In 2018 the city plans to open a biofuel heating plant to replace the use of fossil fuels.

If you'd like to share your city's progress in building a more sustainable future, contact information.services@iclei.org.

To view Kolding’s Member in the Spotlight page, click here.
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18 April 2017

ICLEI Members among finalists announced for European Green Capital 2019

ICLEI Members Ghent (Belgium), Lahti (Finland), Lisbon (Portugal), and Oslo (Norway) have been announced as finalists shortlisted for the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) 2019. Tallinn (Estonia) was also shortlisted. For the European Green Leaf (EGL) Award 2018 for smaller cities, ICLEI Members Ludwigsburg (Germany) and Växjö (Sweden) are among the finalists.

This year’s winners will be announced at an award ceremony on 2 June 2017 in Essen (Germany), the current European Green Capital. Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “I would like to congratulate the finalists of the European Green Capital 2019 and European Green Leaf 2018 Awards. This year the competition was fierce, with a record number of applicants for both awards.”

Over two thirds of Europeans now live in urban areas, presenting cities across Europe with problems related to energy consumption, pollution, waste management, housing, unemployment, transport, and water conservation. By showcasing the achievements of European cities in tackling these issues, the EGC and EGL Awards aim to lead by example and inspire others to take action. The shortlisted cities will now have to convince the Jury of their overall commitment to ongoing environmental improvement and sustainable development, their capacity to act as a role model, and their strategy for communicating with the public.

For more information, visit the European Green Capital website.
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12 April 2017

European Commission and Indian government launch water management toolkit

The Adopting Integrated Urban Water Management (AdoptIUWM) project was closed this March after four years of work with the launch of a Toolkit for Integrated Urban Water Management for Indian Cities at an event in Delhi. The toolkit was developed to respond to the challenges Indian local governments face in securing sufficient water supply and proper waste water treatment for their rapidly growing cities.

The toolkit outlines an integrated urban water management approach in seven steps. It provides the means to analyse the local water sector and to understand how water supply, wastewater and storm water management are connected to other urban management sectors such as land use planning, transport, and energy production. The guide also presents ways of engaging the local community to find appropriate solutions and create ownership.

To find out whether the toolkit works in practice, the AdoptIUWM partners developed and tested it with four Indian cities. The cities of Jaisalmer and Kishangarh in Rajasthan, as well as Ichalkaranji and Solapur in Maharasthra have piloted the integrated urban water management approach. These pilot projects have helped to revive the traditionally interlinked water harvesting and drainage system in Jaisalmer, reduced the high water pollution in Kishangarh and the high water losses in Solapur, and improved the water quality of local streams in Ichalkaranji.

The toolkit can be downloaded on the AdoptIUWM website. A web-based version of the toolkit will be available soon.

The project was carried out through a joint cooperation between ICLEI South Asia, ICLEI Europe and the Association of Flemish Municipalities and Cities with the support of the Delegation of the European Commission to India and the Ministry of Urban Development of the Government of India.

For more information, visit the AdoptIUWM website.
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7 April 2017

Commission launches competition for young transport innovators

The European Commission has launched the European Transport Innovation Challenge 2017, a new award offered to young transport innovators for creative solutions for goods and services that will contribute to reducing CO2 emissions in transport.

The solutions can be the result of research, can be in any transport mode, and in many different sectors linked to transport, such as solutions in healthcare, retail or food sectors. The key word is innovation.

The prize will be an all-expenses trip for 12 young innovators aged 18-35 to Strasbourg (France) for the ITS Congress and Exhibition in June 2017.

In addition to receiving free travel and accommodation, and having the opportunity to network with leaders in the world of intelligent transport in Europe, the winners will receive personalised coaching at a dedicated mentoring workshop before the Congress begins.

Applications can come from a person, a team, a company (providing it is an SME) or any other type of legal entity anywhere in the European Union a country associated with the Horizon 2020 programme.

Both individuals (including those working for administrations and transport providers) and SMEs are eligible.

Entrants should describe in less than 1,500 words how mobility in Europe could be cleaner and more efficient. The deadline for applications is 2 May.

For more information, visit ec.europa.eu.
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6 April 2017

Basque Declaration presented at European Parliament meeting of European Greens

ICLEI colleagues outlined the key messages included in the Basque Declaration at a recent stakeholder meeting convened by the European Greens, attended by a select group of MEPs, NGO representatives, and others working in the field of urban sustainability policy.

Austrian MEP Monika Vana, a Member of the Greens/European Free Alliance parliamentary group, moderated the informal meeting. Former ICLEI Regional Executive Committee member Evelyne Huytebroeck, now a member of the European Green Party Committee, provided the opening welcome to participants.

Head of the ICLEI Brussels Office Peter Defranceschi and Coordinator Giorgia Rambelli gave a succinct presentation, providing information on the background of the urban sustainability movement, the launch of the Basque Declaration at the 2016 Sustainable Cities and Towns campaign in the Basque Country, and the role of local governments in meeting transnational agreements, such as the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Urban Agenda.

“Everybody is aware that there is an urgent need to transform our societies. The Basque Declaration is really about seeing the local level as agents of change, and empowering civil society to have an active role and responsibility in bringing about this change,” said Mr Defranceschi.

A networking session followed the presentation, in which representatives from the European Greens asked follow up questions about ICLEI’s vision for urban sustainability and transformative actions by cities.

For more information, contact peter.defranceschi@iclei.org.
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5 April 2017

Deadline approaches for cities to join Urban Water Agenda 2030 core group

There are only two days left until the deadline for cities to join the Urban Water Agenda 2030 core group. The group will be composed of around 20 cities volunteering to share their technical expertise and strategic advice on the Urban Water Agenda that has been initiated by the European Commission. The Urban Water Agenda aims to build on the capacities and political leadership of local governments to advance sustainable water management in Europe. Interested cities should contact barbara.anton@iclei.org by 7 April

Cities that take part in the group will gain visibility for their commitment to sustainable urban water management and readiness to apply innovative solutions in the field of water resources, systems and services.

Recognising the strengths of local action for sustainable urban water management, the European Commission is looking to work with cities in accelerating the implementation of EU water policies and legislation, such as the EU Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive.

“Personally, I am heartened to see that through the upcoming Urban Water Agenda cities' role in safeguarding Europe's water resources will be put into the limelight,” said ICLEI Europe’s Barbara Anton.

Opportunities linked to the Urban Water Agenda were further explored in an inter-departmental meeting at the European Commission’s DG ENV on 3 April. Representatives of DG REGIO, DG CLIMA, DG RTD and EASME were invited to exchange ideas with ICLEI and EUROCITIES on taking the initiative further. The participants concluded that it will be essential to first bring cities themselves around the table to better understand their needs and concerns in urban water management.

For more information, download the terms of reference.
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4 April 2017

ICLEI launches 2017 Procura+ Awards

ICLEI has launched the 2017 Procura+ Awards, which reward sustainable and innovative public procurements leading to significant improvements of public good, services, process and infrastructure. Procura+ Awards highlight sustainable and innovation procurements and tender procedures. The competition gives visibility to the most dynamic, forward-looking and innovative public authorities and their initiatives.

The 2016 edition of the Procura+ Awards saw the City of Copenhagen (Denmark), Transport for London (UK) and Rijkswaterstaat (Netherlands) win awards for Sustainable Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the Year and Tender Procedure of the Year, respectively.

The 2017 Procura+ Awards ceremony will be held at the Third Major eafip Event on Innovation Procurement in Tallinn, Estonia on 17 October. Winners will be featured in a variety of ICLEI publications and web platforms, and at the next EcoProcura conference.

For more information and to download an application form, visit the Procura+ website
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3 April 2017

SMR Risk Systemicity Questionnaire launched

The Risk Systemicity Questionnaire (RSQ) is an Excel based tool where users are asked to consider the relative likelihood of a broad range of risks in their cities. These risks are spread across nine topics: health, climate change (air pollution), climate change (flooding), social inequalities, ageing (population), riots, immigration, social cohesion and social alienation, and are considered as networks of interrelated risks. These networks of risks are presented as risk scenarios, some of which result in vicious cycles. Users progress through the tool by completing questions which ask them to consider whether defined risks scenarios are likely or not to occur in their cities.

Based on the responses to the questions contained in each of the topics of the RSQ, participants are provided with a relative risk score (an estimated risk level for the city) and an awareness score (the level of knowledge the city has about the possible risk scenarios). In addition to this, users can access policy recommendations that may be used to address risk scenarios that are of most threat to the city.

Not only does completing the RSQ help cities to assess their exposure to risk, but it also indicates their level of awareness of risk and where cities should prioritise their efforts. The questionnaire is intended to be used by groups of users with diverse areas of expertise so that it can prompt valuable discussions. Through the RSQ, different stakeholders’ experiences can be brought together to determine a city’s priorities, enabling them to anticipate and appropriately respond to future challenges.

For more information, visit the SMR website.
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