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News (June, 2017)

 

30 June 2017

Public consultation on the Urban Water Agenda 2030 extended to 5 July

The Urban Water Agenda 2030 (UWA2030) process aims to enable local governments to accelerate the implementation of local policies and practices for sustainable urban water management. It was initiated by the European Commission’s DG Environment and contributes to the European Union’s ambitious water policy.

ICLEI and EUROCITIES, on behalf of the European Commission, are conducting a public consultation to gather input to further develop the initiative.
The consultation is based on a draft strategy for the UWA2030, which has been developed together with a group of cities close to the initiative.

The draft strategy suggests that cities can voluntarily commit themselves to actions in five strategic directions: action at local level, action between cities, action at river basin level, action at EU level, and action in a global context.

The consultation targets European cities of all sizes as well as water sector stakeholders, such as water utilities and providers, researchers, and the academic community.

Open until 5 July 2017, the consultation consists of four sections: personal information, framework of the initiative, strategic directions, and commitment process. Having read the UWA2030 draft strategy, the survey takes around 15 minutes to complete. The feedback will be taken into account in the future design of the Urban Water Agenda.

For more information, visit urbanwateragenda2030.eu or contact water@iclei.org

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29 June 2017

Registration open for urban metabolism webinar

The UrbanWINS project will host a webinar for local authorities, procurers and waste experts on urban metabolism, comparing cities to living organisms that eat, digest and discard what is not need. Understanding what resources are required to nourish city activities, how these resources are used, what the flow of energy and materials is, and what kind of waste is produced can be useful for cities aiming to improve strategies to prevent, reduce, reuse, recycle and manage waste.

The webinar will focus on how urban metabolism can lead to a circular economy and more sustainable cities. Leonardo Rosado, Assistant Professor at the University of Chalmers (Sweden) will present the urban metabolism approach and how the pilot cities taking part in UrbanWINS will use the results of the analysis. Line Brogaard, from the City of Copenhagen (Denmark), will introduce the Urban Waste project and show how the city is using urban metabolism for tourism and waste management.

ICLEI Europe’s Estela Grana will give an insight into the circular economy, and Paul Mul, Sustainability Consultant at Royal Haskoning DHV, will outline the links between urban metabolism and circular cities. The webinar will take place on 5 July from 11.00 am to 12.30 pm (CET).

To take part in the event, contact urbanwins@iclei.org or click here.

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28 June 2017

European Commission launches financial incentive for green cities

The European Commission has launched the competition for the 2020 European Green Capital and 2019 European Green Leaf Awards. With more than two thirds of Europeans now living in towns and cities, finding innovative and better environmentally sustainable solutions is necessary to manage and improve how we live, travel, and work. European Green Capitals and Green Leafs provide inspiration and motivation to help other cities find solutions, on both a European and a global stage.

To celebrate the 10th year of the European Green Capital competition and to encourage more cities to apply, the European Commission will award a financial incentive of €350,000 to the winning city of the 2020 European Green Capital title (cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants) and €75,000 to the winner of the European Green Leaf 2019 title (smaller cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants).

Winning Green Capital and Green Leaf cities enjoy increased levels of tourism, positive international media coverage, increased international profiles, networks and alliance opportunities, foreign investment, and momentum to continue improving their environmental sustainability.

To help cities get started, the European Commission has organised a dedicated Applicant Workshop to be held on 27 June 2017 in Brussels (Belgium). The day will provide an overview of the competition process, include tips on how to complete the application, and will provide an opportunity to meet cities that have gone through the application process before. To register, contact applicantworkshop@europeangreencapital.eu

Both the European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards are open to cities in EU Member States, EU Candidate Countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The deadline for applications for both competitions is 18 October 2017.

For more information, visit the European Green Capital Award website.

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27 June 2017

European Commission event to explore innovation in European cities

Registration is now open for the Joint Hearing on Cities as actors of Open Innovation event, co-organised by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (DG RTD). The event will be held at the CoR Premises in Brussels (Belgium) on Wednesday 28 June 2017 from 11.00 – 16.30.

Cities are established as key actors for achieving a range of international agreements, from the Paris Declaration on Climate Change to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Habitat III New Urban Agenda acknowledges research and innovation as a means for cities to meet the objectives of these agreements.

This joint hearing will look at how EU research and innovation support can bridge the gap between technological, digital, social, cultural and nature-based innovation in cities.

Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions, and Kurt Vandenberghe, Director of Policy Development and Coordination of DG RTD, will open the session. The event will be webstreamed for those who cannot attend.

To register for the event, click here.

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26 June 2017

Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo & Leeuwarden to outline Urban Water Agenda support at B@S

Since early 2016, the Urban Water Agenda 2030 has slowly but surely gained momentum. Initiated by the European Commission to promote city action for more sustainable urban water management, a core group of more than 20 cities is taking the process further.

In the 24th edition of ICLEI’s Breakfast at Sustainability’s (B@S) - taking place at the ICLEI Brussels Office on 28 June 2017 from 9.30 to 12.00 (followed by a light lunch) - representatives of five of these cities will share why they support the Urban Water Agenda 2030 strategy development and why they think cities are crucial to achieving the European Union’s water policy objectives.

The event will start with Karen Dalgaard-Sanning from the Clean Water unit of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment who will give a presentation on sustainable water management at EU level.

This event is coorganised by ICLEI and EUROCITIES in the context of a joint contract with the European Commission for the development of a strategy for the Urban Water Agenda 2030. A consultation process on the agenda is open until 5 July 2017.

To register (free of charge), contact Serena Scotton at brussels-office@iclei.org by 26 June 2017.

To download the agenda, click here.

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23 June 2017

Hamburg invests in electromobility

The City of Hamburg (Germany) together with Daimler will soon implement a range of measures to improve electromobility in the city.

By 2019, 1,000 charging points for electric vehicles will be built in the city together with 150 charging points exclusively for the use of cars in sharing schemes. Extensive parking facilities for electric vehicles and car sharing cars are also envisaged.

Hamburg will also purchase only emission-free buses as of 2020.

Hamburg's transport authority mobility app, Switchh, will integrate car sharing information so that users can check car sharing, bike sharing and public transport information in the same app.

For more information, click here.
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22 June 2017

Local government leaders urge MEPs to engage cities for successful EU energy transition

Today, local and regional leaders representing five major networks of local governments met with Members of the European Parliament to drive home the importance of local level involvement in EU energy and climate policy. Known as the Urban 5, these networks point to the local level’s power to provide jobs, its proximity to the people and its swift ability to deliver change as essential components for energy transition success.

Prior to the policy debate in the European Parliament, the Urban 5, comprised of Climate Alliance, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Energy Cities, EUROCITIES, and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability – outlined their position in a joint policy statement.

The paper targets EU policy makers as they negotiate the Clean Energy Package and EU budget and calls for a governance framework that empowers local governments to contribute to the energy transition. One important pillar of such a framework would be better access to finance for cities, towns, and regions to foster investments in local renewable energy. The right to self-produce and consume electricity is also cited as a way to encourage broad participation in the energy transition.

European local governments further call for a planning and reporting system that addresses barriers to delivering the Energy Union at the local level as well as for ambitious 2030 and 2050 energy and climate targets. This would put Europe on a path to meet its international commitments whilst improving the quality of life of its people.

MEP Theresa Griffin echoed the importance of the local level and the Urban 5’s calls, stating,"Citizens, cities, local governments and regions are the backbone of the energy transition. The Energy Union should provide an adequate framework to promote their full participation as this will enable us to respond to key challenges including the question of energy poverty."

The political leaders present reiterated that delivery of the objectives of the Energy Union and the Paris Agreement will require engagement of the people in the transition process, shifting them from energy consumers to energy producers.

"Multilevel governance is the future of clean energy deployment in Europe. Regions and cities will play a crucial role to capture the multiple benefits of the energy transition: price lowering, citizen empowerment, local production, new jobs, cleaner air," agreed MEP Claude Turmes.

At the end of the successful event, MEP Claude Turmes invited the local and regional leaders of the Urban 5 to regular exchange meetings on crucial issues related to EU energy and climate policies. The next meeting is envisaged to take place by end of September 2017.

The following speakers attended the meeting: MEPs Claude Turmes and Theresa Griffin (hosts); Manon Dufour, E3G Head of Office (moderator); Abdeluheb Choho, Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam, The Netherlands (EUROCITIES Representative); Tjisse Stelpstra, Committee of the Regions Member for the Province of Drenthe, The Netherlands (CEMR Representative); Åsa Karlsson Björkmarker, Deputy Mayor of Växjö, Sweden (ICLEI Representative); Ann Cloet, Deputy Mayor of Mouscron, Belgium (Energy Cities Representative); and Ronald van Meygaarden, Alderman and Deputy Mayor of Geldermalsen, The Netherlands (Climate Alliance Representative).

For more information, see the joint policy statement or contact sean.carroll@iclei.org.

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21 June 2017

Moving Europe towards a greener plastic lifecycle

A new EU-funded initiative aims to transform plastic waste into a resource by developing a more sustainable, re-usable form of packaging. CIRC-PACK (Towards circular economy in the plastic packaging value chain) will create, test and validate alternative bio-based and recyclable (including biodegradable or compostable) plastics for the manufacturing of trays, bottles, coffee capsules, jars, films and pallets, and new types of multilayer and multimaterial packaging.

The ICLEI European Secretariat is part of the 22-partner consortium, led by the Zaragoza-based Research Centre for Energy Resources and Consumption (CIRCE), running the project. The CIRC-PACK team will carry out three large-scale demonstrations through an eco-innovative approach that will involve actors across the whole value chain, including consumers, plastic suppliers, converters and retailers, as well as those responsible for waste recovery.

Launched in May, the project will support market uptake of the new packaging, promoting a transition to a circular economy. CIRC-PACK will last three years.

For more information, read the press release.

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20 June 2017

Urban 5 releases statement urging greater city involvement in energy transition policy

The five leading city networks focused on sustainable development in Europe, known as the Urban 5, have released a joint statement asserting that for the energy transition to be a success, cities must be closely involved in policy discussions. The leaders stated that local governments are the level best positioned to engage the public, create green jobs, and swiftly implement the shift to renewable energy.

Aimed at EU policy makers as they negotiate the Clean Energy Package and EU budget, the paper calls for a governance framework that empowers local governments to contribute to the energy transition; better access to finance for cities, towns, and regions to foster investments in local renewable energy; and a regulatory framework that encourages citizens and energy communities to participate in the energy transition through the right to self-produce and consume electricity.

The Urban 5, which is comprised of Climate Alliance, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Energy Cities, EUROCITIES, and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, state that to deliver on the objectives of the Energy Union and Paris Agreement citizens must be empowered to engage in the transition process, shifting from being consumers of energy to energy producers. As the level closest to the people, local governments are best equipped to facilitate this change.

For more information, read the joint statement.

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19 June 2017

ICLEI is pleased to welcome Florence as our latest member

The Metropolitan City of Florence (Italy) is the latest European city to join ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. Universally acknowledged as the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is famed for its beauty, the wealth of artistic treasures and the excellence of its food products and recipes. Its efforts to develop a more sustainable urban area are gaining momentum among a variety of international stakeholders.

"Sustainability inspires and informs all our policies: that is why we decided to join ICLEI,” said Dario Nardella, Mayor of the Metropolitan City of Florence.

The city is committed to improving urban air quality, creating a healthier and more pleasant environment for residents and visitors alike. Private vehicles are the main culprit behind air pollution in the city, an issue that the Mayor has been eager to tackle.

“I am convinced that one of the most important environmental problems of the urban areas in the near future is air pollution. The main cause of this is undoubtedly private mobility, particularly propelled by fossil fuels. Our mobility supervisor, a central control system for making traffic more fluid on the metropolitan scale, is the tool we have developed to fight against this plague, because an equitable and sustainable wellbeing for present and future generations is the most important goal for our local government," said Mayor Nardella.

In addition to setting goals for traffic management and air quality, Florence will aim to mainstream the principles of sustainability through each area under its control.

ICLEI looks forward to working with the local government to create a more sustainable future for the Renaissance city.

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16 June 2017

ICLEI Europe hosts Korean GPP delegation

ICLEI's European Secretariat hosted a delegation of Korean public sector and development organisations on 14 June to explore Green Public Procurement in policy and practice in European cities and regions. The delegation, organised by the Korean Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI), included representatives from Korean ministries, research institutes, city development corporations and several national agencies for tourism and shipping.

The visit focused on various aspects of sustainable public procurement, including GPP target setting, implementation strategies, monitoring mechanisms and the scope and definition of green product and service categories addressed by European GPP criteria. Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre, presented ICLEI's background in sustainable and innovation procurement and exemplified current GPP projects, platforms and initiatives on the European and global levels involving cities and local governments.

ICLEI and KEITI are partners in the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement, involving 14 cities acting as ambassadors for sustainable procurement to lead to a resource efficient, low carbon and socially responsible society. They also cooperate with UNEP on the 10 Year Framework Programme for Sustainable Consumption and Production.

For more information, visit the ICLEI Sustainable Economy and Procurement and KEITI websites.

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15 June 2017

Submission deadline for Transformative Action Award extended

The Transformative Action Award has extended its deadline for submissions until 14 July. The award recognises current or concluded Transformative Actions that address the pathways of the Basque Declaration related to socio-cultural, socio-economic or technological transformations.

Already a range of European cities have applied, with applications received from Belgium, Denmark, France, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Each applicant outlines how their city is tackling different local agendas by implementing sustainable pathways. Cities, networks, and organisations who want to inspire others are encouraged to complete the application form.

The winner of the award will be recognised as a leader of sustainable urban transformation in Europe, and will be presented with a promotional video, a trophy, and the right to use ‘Transformative Action of the year 2017’ for promotional purposes.

Applications can be submitted online.

For more information on the award, click here.
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12 June 2017

New project launched in Dublin to solve cities' problems using nature

The Connecting Nature project kicked off yesterday at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland). Connecting Nature is a €12 million European-funded project to position Europe as a global leader in the innovation and implementation of nature-based solutions. Three cities: Glasgow (United Kingdom), Poznan (Poland) and Genk (Belgium) will invest in multi-million-euro large scale implementation test-beds of nature-based solutions, followed by eight further cities: A Coruna (Spain), Bologna (Italy), Burgas (Bulgaria), Ioannina (Greece), Malaga (Spain), Nicosia (Cyprus), Pavlos Melas (Greece) and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The city of Genk aims to use nature-based solutions to tackle city issues like water management, and to provide multifunctional recreational areas, for example by developing the Stiemerbeek Valley. Glasgow aims to help provide convenient access to high-quality green spaces to its citizens and to continue the innovative flood management measures that are already in place, for example climbing walls and outdoor public seating areas that also help soak up flood water. Poznan has also transformed parts of the city with some impressive innovations, for example mobile greenery and furniture in the courtyard of the City Hall, rain gardens and four new municipal beaches along the Warta river.

The project will try out natural approaches to tackle challenges related to climate change adaptation, health and well-being, social cohesion as well as sustainable economic development. A number of businesses are also partners of the project, with the aim to spur new green companies and social enterprises. ICLEI is a partner of the project, and will engage cities internationally in China, Brazil and Korea to allow international peer-to-peer learning to scale up urban resilience, innovation and governance via nature-based solutions.

For more information, click here.

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8 June 2017

Oslo and Växjö take home prestigious Green City Awards

ICLEI Member city Oslo (Norway) has won the European Green Capital Award for 2019, while ICLEI Member Växjö (Sweden) was awarded the title of European Green Leaf 2018 in tandem with the Belgian city of Leuven. The titles were presented by the EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, at an awards ceremony in Essen (Germany), the current European Green Capital.

Commissioner Vella said: “I am delighted to be awarding the tenth European Green Capital Award and the fourth and fifth European Green Leaf Awards. More than two thirds of Europeans live in our cities and towns. The European Green Capital award shows us that cities can grow in size while keeping their green hearts beating. Good urban planning grows each time one city inspires another - that is the secret of the green capital award.”

The jury was particularly impressed by the holistic approach demonstrated by Oslo on topics such as biodiversity, public transport, social integration and citizen health. The jury appreciated Oslo’s approach to connecting with citizens through technology, such as text message invitations to public consultations and politician speed-dating. The jury also appreciated Oslo’s efforts to address challenges such as reclaiming space for citizens over cars.

Växjö has demonstrated strong leadership in sustainable development, making a commitment in 1996 to be fossil fuel free. It was also the first Swedish city to use biomass for district heating and one of the first to start implementing Agenda 2030.

For more information, visit the European Green Capital website.
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2 June 2017

ICLEI reacts to US withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

At a press conference from the White House, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General, has issued the following response:

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is out of step with reality and the current drive towards a global low-carbon transition. Making abundant use of 'alternative facts', he has painted the US and its citizens as victims of this groundbreaking Accord.

"On the contrary, the Paris Agreement and its fulfillment are the best chance for the US and the world to create green jobs and save millions of lives and billions of dollars, avoiding the worst case scenarios of climate inaction.

"Climate action is not going to stop. Local governments, in the U.S. and globally, will keep moving forward on clean energy, sustainable transport and resilience, as most countries have again pledged to do, from the most vulnerable to major emitters.

"A heavy burden falls now on the shoulders of local governments in the U.S. and all climate stakeholders worldwide, as the Trump administration fails to recognize the stark reality of climate change and the urgency of acting on it.

"It's now imperative for all levels of government and non-state actors to build even stronger and wider coalitions for rapid implementation, to keep the world on the right track.”

For more information, visit iclei.org
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1 June 2017

INCOVER workshop to look at turning wastewater into energy

The EU-funded INCOVER project will hold its 1st Stakeholder Dialogue Workshop at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig (Germany) on 29 June 2017.

The event will focus on research that UFZ has conducted into yeast-based production of citric acid and black carbon, in combination with the generation of biogas from waste water.

The research represents a promising innovation that can contribute to closing life cycles in the bio-economy. As a first step, grey wastewater is used to produce organic acid. After critic acid is extracted, the left-over residue can be used for bio-gas production.

The workshop will take place from 9.00 to 14.00 and is organised by ICLEI Europe in collaboration with UFZ.

For more information, contact water@iclei.org
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