ICLEI European Secretariat

ICLEI European Secretariat



News (November, 2017)


20 November 2017

Transformative Action Award Ceremony to take place at the European Committee of the Regions

The Tranformative Action Award Ceremony is set to take place on 22 November 2017 at 12:30 (CET) in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Brussels (Belgium). The award ceremony, organised by ICLEI and funded by the Basque Country and the City of Aalborg (Denmark), rewards current or concluded Transformative Actions that address the pathways of the Basque Declaration related to three categories: socio-cultural transformation, socio-economic transformation, and technological transformation.

Speaking about the upcoming event, President of the Committee of the Regions Karl Heinz Lambertz, said: “The European Committee of the Regions is proud to host the Transformative Action Award which celebrates the ambition of cities and municipalities to create sustainable communities. By showcasing some of the most innovative projects in Europe, it sends a clear message that local democracy and citizen engagement are the driving force for a sustainable future.”

The shortlisted candidates for this year’s award include: Mannheim (Germany), for making energy and climate measures more visible; Nilüfer (Turkey), for using neighbourhood committees to increase civic engagement; Udaltalde 21, Nerbioi-Ibaizabal (Spain), for joining forces for a common sustainability agenda in neighbouring municipalities; and Zaragoza (Spain), for turning citizens into “city makers”, through putting their ideas into action.

Although the award ceremony is only open to media, live streaming will be available on the day (12:30 – 13:00 CET).

For more information about the Transformative Action Award and the shortlisted candidates, visit the European Sustainable Cities Platform.
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17 November 2017

Cities set new targets at Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement during COP23

Mayors, Deputy Mayors and other political representatives from the cities of Auckland (New Zealand), Budapest (Hungary), Cape Town (South Africa), Denver (USA), Ghent (Belgium), Oslo (Norway), Seoul (South Korea) and Tshwane (South Africa) came together at the 3rd annual High Level Assembly of the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement (GLCN on SP) on 11 November 2017 at COP23 in Bonn (Germany). The cities presented their sustainable procurement commitments and achievements, and shared their knowledge and experience. In leading by example, participants of the Network aim to accelerate the implementation of sustainable purchasing worldwide.

Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo, explained how the capital of Norway is addressing climate change through the city’s new procurement strategy. He said: “By launching our new Procurement Strategy, the City of Oslo wants to ensure that our spending contributes to more sustainable economies and societies. As part of the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement, we want to influence other cities in doing the same.”

The City of Budapest has set ambitious targets which will see 100% of its procurement processes integrating sustainability and green aspects by 2020. These include having 70% of new vehicle purchases being 'clean', 21% CO2 reduction - all by 2020. Budapest will also implement yearly training programmes in sustainable procurement and will introduce 1100 electric vehicle chargers to the city by 2018.

Park Won Soon, Mayor of Seoul Metropolitan Government and chair of the GLCN on SP said: “Leaders of cities around the world convened in Seoul in April 2015 and agreed to launch a network of cities committed to 100 percent sustainable procurement. Much progress has been made since then and our interactions today will be the foundation on which we strive for a better, brighter, and more sustainable future.”

The Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement is a group of 14 cities committed to drive a transition to sustainable consumption and production by implementing sustainable and innovation procurement. All participating cities are acting as ambassadors of sustainable procurement to lead to a resource efficient, low carbon and socially responsible society.

For more information, visit the GLCN on SP website.

16 November 2017

European cities join with global partners at EU-backed City to City event

New partnerships between European cities and cities across the world were formally launched on Friday 10 November in Brussels (Belgium) under the European Union’s International Urban Cooperation (IUC) programme. The one-day event saw more than 120 delegates both from the EU and from China, Asia, India, Japan and North and South America.

“One of the main aims of the IUC programme is to take direct action on a global scale to promote more sustainable patterns of urban development in economic, social and environmental terms. Connecting European cities and regions with their counterparts around the world, in order to share knowledge and learn from one another, can make an important contribution to achieving this end. It will help cities in the EU and around the world to improve policy and practice for the benefit of their citizens,” said Ronald Hall, Principal Adviser on International Relations, DG REGIO.

The first stage of implementation of IUC took place earlier this year when cities from Asia, North America, India, and Latin America and the Caribbean were invited to take part in a pairing programme that would see them link up with a European city to work on sustainable development. The call for proposals received a positive response, with over 30 pairings matched so far.

Each participating local government agrees to cooperate with their partner city for at least 18 months, jointly developing a Local Action Plan that sets out a series of measures to tackle a defined challenge. A second round of pairings will be opened in 2018.

Speaking at the event, Nicola De Michelis, Head of Cabinet for Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Creţu, praised the mission of the IUC programme and commended local and regional governments for their determination to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and to achieve ambitious climate targets.

The event saw presentations from paired cities Chongqing (China) and Mannheim (Germany), Montreal (Canada) and Manchester (United Kingdom), and Yokohama (Japan) and Frankfurt (Germany), providing an insight into the sustainable development actions that will be carried out in these cities through the IUC programme.

Representatives of Malaka (Malaysia), Belo Horizonte (Brazil), Bologna (Italy), and Ottawa (Canada), each a signatory to the Global Covenant of Mayors, took the podium to provide examples of inspiring local climate action. The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is also supported under the IUC programme, forming one of the programme’s three components, along with that to promote region-to-region cooperation between the EU and Latin America on innovation for economic transformation.

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy formally brings together the Compact of Mayors and the EU Covenant of Mayors, the world’s two primary initiatives of cities to assist cities and local governments in their transition to a low-carbon economy, and demonstrate their global impact. Led by European Commission Vice President, Maroš Šefčovič, and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael R. Bloomberg, the coalition comprises more than 7,400 cities across 6 continents and 119 countries, representing over 684 million people or 9.31% of the global population.

The IUC programme is funded by the EU's Partnership Instrument.

For more information on the IUC programme, visit the IUC website.
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15 November 2017

9 new cities join the Smart Mature Resilience project at Thessaloniki launch event

19 cities and municipalities met in Thessaloniki (Greece) on 7 November for the Smart Mature Resilience (SMR) project's Stakeholder Dialogue. At the event, nine new cities joined the SMR project’s seven cities, who have been working for over two years to develop tools for strategic resilience development in cities.

Four of the new members are experienced in this area through ICLEI membership: The Greater Amman Municipality (Jordan), Malmö (Sweden), Münster (Germany) and Rekjavik (Iceland), or participation with ICLEI in projects, for example the Greater Manchester (United Kingdom) through the RESIN project, or are part of other international networks: Athens (Greece), Malaga (Spain), Stirling (United Kingdom) and Thessaloniki (Greece).

Giorgos Dimarelos, Deputy Mayor for Urban Resilience and Development Planning, shared Thessaloniki’s journey towards resilience amid intense challenges and demonstrated how the city had successfully won regional support to develop the coastline area in collaboration with neighbouring municipalities.

Kristiansand (Norway), Greater Manchester and San Sebastian (Spain) are, like Thessaloniki, coastal cities, and each city shared their experience with preparing for crises caused by flooding. Kristiansand and San Sebastian are applying the SMR tools to self-assess the city's policies and levels of resilience investment and to better understand risk interdependencies.

Clara Grimes, ICLEI Europe, trained the cities on communicating best practices for resilience in cities using narrative methods. Effectively communicating projects in cities is essential so that citizens and stakeholders can better understand and connect with a city’s resilience efforts.

Stirling, Malmö, Glasgow (UK), Vejle (Denmark) and Rome (Italy) shared their local best practices, including community group activities in Stirling, crisis management in Malmö, resilience education in schools, and a design school ‘designing’ ways for severely disabled people to make meaningful friendships in Glasgow.

For more information, visit the project website.

14 November 2017

Applicants for the European Green Capital 2020 and European Green Leaf Award 2019 revealed

The names of the cities and towns competing for the European Green Capital 2020 and European Green Leaf 2019 awards have been officially announced. In total, 28 towns and cities from across 21 European countries are in the running to win the coveted awards.

Applicants for the European Green Capital 2020 award include: Reykjavik (Iceland), Aberdeen (UK), Seville (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), Guimarães (Portugal), Ghent (Belgium) Prato (Italy), Bursa (Turkey), Budapest (Hungary), Lahti (Finland), Tallinn (Estonia), Wrocław (Poland) and Ostava (Poland).

Competing for the European Green Leaf award are: Joensuu (Finland), Pärnu (Estonia), Valmiera (Latvia), Tauragė (Lithuania), Horst aan de Maas (Netherlands), Mechelen (Belgium), Delitzsch (Germany), Avignon (France), Cornellà de Llobregat (Spain), Santarém (Portugal), Roman (Romania), Strovolos (Cyprus), Gabrovo (Bulgaria), Serres (Greece), and Nagykőrös (Hungary).

A panel of 12 independent, internationally acknowledged experts will now carry out a technical assessment of the applications based on 12 environmental indicators for the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) and six topic areas for the European Green Leaf Award (EGLA).

In April 2018, the Expert Panel will select a shortlist of cities that will go onto the next stage of each of the competitions to present their case to an international jury. Next summer, one city will win the European Green Capital 2020 title and up to two towns or cities will be awarded the European Green Leaf 2019 Award.

To celebrate the tenth year of the European Green Capital competition, the European Commission will, for the first time, award a financial prize of €350,000 to the winner of the European Green Capital Award 2020 and €75,000 to the winner(s) of the European Green Leaf 2019 title.

For more information about the awards and the applicants, click here.
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13 November 2017

Cities and regions adopt the Bonn-Fiji Commitment at COP23

On 12 November 2017, attendees at the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, which took place during COP23, adopted the Bonn-Fiji Commitment, signaling their commitment to deliver the Paris Agreement at all levels.

The event was co-hosted by Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn (Germany) and First Vice President of ICLEI, and Armin Laschet, Minister-President of State of North-Rhine Westphalia (Germany), and was guided by Cathy Oke, Councillor of Melbourne (Australia) and member of the ICLEI Global Executive Committee.

Mayor Sridharan welcomed the 330 political leaders and more than 1,000 delegates in attendance, saying: "We are here to be part of the process from the first step onward. We are here to forge new coalitions, to act and collaborate for our climate and to encourage civil society, businesses and our peers in cities and regions to join the #Uniting4Climate movement."

Throughout the day, speakers from all levels of government presented their actions, announced new initiatives and looked at ways to advance cooperation between all levels of government, with the community and with the private sector. They highlighted the key role of local and regional governments.

"Cities cannot win the fight on their own, but without cities, the fight cannot be won at all," said Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany.

Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and COP23 President, underscored sub-national power: "We can draw from the power and enthusiasm of local and regional leaders in the mission to tackle climate change. So many of you have already demonstrated how to make decisions and implement them."

This historic summit was a celebration of the many commitments of local and regional governments and their partners who support and work alongside them. It featured the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and the Under2 Coalition, two key global coalitions of local and regional governments committed to climate action.

The Bonn-Fiji commitment solidifies their dedication to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement and to keep the global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius.

For more information about the Bonn-Fiji Commitment, visit here.

10 November 2017

EU Smart City projects featured at Expo World Congress in Barcelona

Smart City projects from across Europe will be featured at the 7th Smart City Expo World Congress set to take place in Barcelona (Spain) from 14-16 November.

These smart city projects, also known as Lighthouse projects, are testing and implementing a range of innovative solutions in specific city districts with the aim of stimulating uptake and growth in the market and the transition to a more sustainable Europe.

The Expo, which takes place annually in Barcelona brings together more than 17,000 visitors, 650 exhibitors and over 700 cities from across the world to share research, best practices and potential common solutions, achieved through effective collaboration. A mix of keynote speeches, discussion sessions and presentations make up the conference programme, with a wide range of topics under discussion.

‘The Lighthouse Projects Stand’ showcases thirteen European Commission funded-projects and initiatives working together to shape the market of smart cities in Europe: EIP-SCC; Smarter Together; Replicate; My Smart Life; Remo Urban; Espresso; EU Smart Cities Information System; SmartEnCity; Sharing Cities; Triangulum; Ruggedised; GrowSmarter and Green Digital Charter.

The Stand will also host a number of discussion sessions, ranging in topic from district heating solutions to smart waste collection.

For more information about the event, visit the event website.
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8 November 2017

COP23 Table Talks - international approaches to local climate action

As part of COP23, a series of seven breakfast talks will examine local approaches to dealing with climate-related challenges in a German and international context.

Organised by the ICLEI European Secretariat in collaboration with the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), each of these talks brings together a public representative from a German city or region and one from elsewhere in the world.

They will discuss and compare their local solutions for tackling climate issues, whilst assessing the potential of applying these in different geographical, political, and cultural contexts.

With speakers coming from the Australia, Japan, Canada, and across Europe, the talks provide a global perspective on climate actions occurring at a local level.

Topics covered are amongst others smart solutions, adaptation, energy, civic participation and multilevel governance. Specific sessions include:

• Creating attractive rural communities supported by renewable energy;
• Motivating and involving citizens in actions to fight climate change;
• Making climate change work across levels of governance.

The talks strike at heart of what is needed to address climate change - international cooperation efforts underpinned by innovative and effective actions developed and adapted to the situation in local communities and areas.

The talks run from 09:30 - 10:30 and take place from 8-11 and 13-15 November in the Cities and Regions Pavilion in the Bonn Zone of COP23.

For more information on the seven sessions and the other events taking place in the Cities and Regions Pavilion throughout COP23, click here.

6 November 2017

European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference to take place in Budapest

The 2nd European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference (EUGIC) is set to take place in Budapest (Hungary) from 29 - 30 November 2017.

The conference will bring together urban green infrastructure leaders, cities and businesses from across the world to share projects, visions and research on working with nature to make cities more livable.

A mix of keynote speeches, audience discussions and group sessions make up the conference programme, with workshops on a wide range of urban greening topics included. Holger Robrecht, Deputy Director of ICLEI Europe, will deliver a presentation titled “Sustainable cities and the benefits of green infrastructure to reach our goals.”

Two unique sessions will be held during the event: “Industry Speed Dating”, which gives industry a chance to show recent developments in urban green infrastructure, and “Spotlight on Horizon 2020”, which focuses on projects from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme in cities across Europe.

The conference is organised by CEEweb for Biodiversity, Livingroofs.org and the EFB, hosted by the City of Budapest and endorsed by ICLEI Europe.

For more information and to register for the event, click here.
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3 November 2017

Urban Pathways towards low carbon development launched in Berlin

The Urban Pathways project was launched on 16 October 2017 in Berlin (Germany) by UN-Habitat, together with partners the Wuppertal Institute and UN Environment.

Urban Pathways aims to support cities in designing and implementing Low Carbon Plans for basic services within the context of the UN’s New Urban Agenda.

The project was launched with a two-day workshop at the BMUB German Federal Ministry for Environment offices in Berlin, which brought together organisations working on delivering the objectives of the New Urban Agenda.

The first day of the workshop focused on barriers that are often faced by governments in transitioning to low carbon development, with experiences shared from South Africa, Fiji, Malaysia, Nepal and India. The second day looked at the options available to cities for low carbon development, with examples from cities that have implemented such strategies. A panel comprised of representatives from WRI, UN Environment, UN-Habitat, and representatives from governments in Indonesia, Nepal and Zambia shared their perspectives on the priorities for international cooperation for urban development.

For more information about the Urban Pathways Project, visit their website.

2 November 2017

UNDP Belarus delegation visit Freiburg to gain insight into ‘green growth’ measures

A delegation from UNDP Belarus visited ICLEI Member Freiburg (Germany) for a week-long study tour at the end of October, 2017 to see good examples of green urban development in practice. Coordinated by ICLEI Europe, the twenty-member delegation was welcomed to Freiburg at the City Hall by Günter Burger from the city’s International Relations department, and Ruud Schuthof, ICLEI Europe’s Deputy Regional Director.

A model "Green City", Freiburg is internationally recognised for its achievements in public transport, renewable energy, participatory planning and pedestrianised energy-efficient districts. The Belarus delegation visited the model district “Vauban”, a former French military barracks redeveloped into an eco-district, and “Rieselfeld”, a former sewage field turned into a model greenfield district. The delegation also visited the Solar Info Centre, where they had the opportunity to learn more about the “Freiburg Mix” of political, economic, geographic, and attitudinal factors that puts solar energy at the heart of sustainable regional and urban development.

Thanks to Freiburg’s closeness to the French border, one day of the study visit was dedicated to visiting ICLEI Member Strasbourg. The challenge of energy transition is strongly felt the Strasbourg Eurométropole, one of the pioneer territories in renewable energies in France, whose goal is to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

Alongside these visits, the delegation received presentations and workshops from experts on a variety of topics including climate policy (mitigation, adaptation and energy), urban governance and social innovation, resource efficiency, biodiversity, and smart cities.

Lessons learned from Freiburg and Strasbourg on successful urban development initiatives will be used as part of plans to reduce CO2 emissions and stimulate green urban growth in small and medium sized cities across Belarus.

For more information on the UNDP Belarus programme, click here.
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