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News (November, 2017)

 

30 November 2017

COP23 commitment sees local and regional governments raise ambition

The small island nation of Fiji held the presidency of the 23rd annual "conference of the parties" event, which took place in Bonn (Germany) from 6 to 17 November. For the first time, an island nation at immediate and profound risk from climate change was in charge of the annual meeting of global leaders to discuss climate mitigation.

For Fiji, climate change is a pressing threat, with sea-level rise and the increase in extreme weather liable to cause tremendous damage. The London School of Economics estimates that across the Pacific Islands, up to 1.7 million people could be displaced due to climate change by 2050. For Fijians, success at COP23 was not simply a diplomatic imperative, but vital for safeguarding the future of the country.

ICLEI worked to raise the voice of cities and regions at COP23 through the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, the extended Summit Dialogues, and a diverse programme hosted within the Cities and Regions Pavilion.

One of ICLEI’s most significant achievements was the acclimation of the Bonn – Fiji commitment. Hundreds of participants at the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders adopted the commitment by acclamation, signaling their intention to work in partnership with all levels of government to successfully deliver the Paris Agreement.

The summit was attended by over 330 political leaders and more than 1000 delegates.

"Welcome to the power and potential of local and regional governments from all continents!" said Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn and First Vice President of ICLEI. "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."

Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the current and former governors of California gave keynote addresses at the summit.

"Cities, states and regions hold tremendous power, especially when you work together," said Arnold Schwarzenegger. "We are the laboratories of reform, we are the engines of innovation and we are where the action is."

“We are at a closer level to the people, so that gives us a particular directness and energy with which we can carry out our work of dealing with this overarching challenge of climate change,” stated Governor Brown.

Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly for local and regional politicians, said: "Paris will be remembered for uniting the world's national governments against climate change. This declaration will ensure Bonn is remembered for uniting the world's regions and cities to deliver on those promises. The declaration shows a huge number of mayors and governors are more united now and showing more ambition on climate action than ever before".

"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.

Mayor Sridharan delivered the Bonn - Fiji Commitment to António Guterres, the UN Secretary General, at the COP23 closing ceremony.

Speaking at the ceremony, Nicola Sturgeon, Prime Minister of Scotland, made clear that climate action is needed at the level of local and regional governments. “We must now urgently meet the specific requirements of the Paris Agreement. This entails not only more ambitious goals in the next two decades, but also immediate action in the next two years. Addressing climate change is a moral obligation,” said Sturgeon.

In the run up to the event, much was made in the media of the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and the lack of US engagement with the COP. Christiana Figueres, one of the chief negotiators of the agreement, noted that there has been a surge of support for the Paris Agreement at local and regional level as a result.

At the end of COP23, delegates agreed to launch the next steps towards higher climate action ambition before 2020.

“There has been positive momentum all around us. And Fiji is especially gratified how the global community has embraced our concept of a Grand Coalition for greater ambition linking national governments with states and cities, civil society, the private sector and ordinary men and women around the world,” said Frank Bainimarama, President of the conference and Prime Minister of Fiji.

The ICLEI-supported Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement (GLCN on SP) held its 3rd annual High Level Assembly at COP23. The event saw cities involved in the network share their sustainable purchasing strategies.

For more information, visit citiesandregions.org
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29 November 2017

Yerevan works with residents to plant 10,000 trees in citywide campaign

Yerevan (Armenia) organised a citywide tree planting and clean-up campaign on 11 November.

The campaign brought together state and municipal employees, students, NGO workers, members of the Council of Elders of Yerevan (the legislative body responsible for the city of Yerevan), and residents of the city to plant trees and clean-up public areas. Cleaning was carried out in all administrative districts, with rubbish being removed from parks, squares and public building surroundings.

The initiative, running through the month of November, saw 10,000 trees planted so far, with a further 5,000 estimated to be planted by the end of the end of the month. To date 310 tonnes of rubbish have been collected.

For more information about the initiative, click here.
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29 November 2017

City of Lahti switches to biodegradable de-icing agents to protect groundwater

The City of Lahti (Finland) will replace salt in de-icing agents with biodegradable EcoMelter products in a move to protect groundwater. The products are used in street maintenance, not only for the purpose of de-icing and anti-icing, but also for dust control in winter and summer.

The EcoMelter product was used for the first time in Lahti on 23 October 2017. This winter the biodegradable product will be used across the city centre.

The change to EcoMelter aims to protect groundwater in the city and Lahti region. Salinisation is one of the key variables used in monitoring the chemical status of groundwater throughout the EU. In Lahti, the environmental quality standard for chloride content is exceeded in many areas. Groundwater in the city centre area has been recorded up to four times over the limit.

Ismo Malin, Manager of Water Conservation in Lahti, believes the reduction in salting will significantly protect the groundwater resources.

For more information, click here.
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28 November 2017

Paris to host “One Planet Summit” to step up fight against climate change

Paris (France) will host One Planet Summit, an international summit on climate on 12 December, the second anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement.

The summit, co-organised by the United Nations and the World Bank, will seek to mobilise the international community, the financial sector, local governments, the research community and civil society to step up the fight against climate change. The event will have a particular focus on measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and methods to protect people from the effects of climate change.

One of the main themes to be explored at the event will be ways to incentivise economic and financial stakeholders to redirect financing towards low-carbon projects. The event will also provide an opportunity to showcase practical initiatives in sectors related to the energy transition and low-carbon development, such as renewable energies, clean transport, energy efficiency, construction, agriculture, and forestry.

For more information, click here.
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27 November 2017

ICLEI's SMR project website wins .eu Web Award

The Smart Mature Resilience (SMR) website, developed and managed by the ICLEI European Secretariat in Freiburg (Germany), was awarded the .eu Web Award 2017 in "The Laurels" category at a prestigious ceremony in Brussels (Belgium) on 21 November. The award ceremony was organised by EURid, the registration system for the .eu domain name on behalf of the European Commission.

In “The Laurels” category, the best websites for education, institutions and European projects compete for the award. Thanks to consistently high communication competence and content quality, ICLEI was able to win the award for a second year in a row. In 2016, ICLEI won the award in the “Better World” category for the www.mobilityweek.eu website. The winning website receives a video about the project and the website.

Speaking about the award, Ruud Schuthof, ICLEI Europe Deputy Regional Director for communications, said: "The .eu web award is a great honour for ICLEI and is a recognition of ICLEI's quality and longstanding experience in the field of communication on the topic of sustainability in cities. To have won the award for the second time confirms our work's merit."

Jose Maria Sarriegi, coordinator of the SMR project, added: “It is an honor to be recognised as the best webpage in the Laurels category of the Eurid web awards. We hope this award will increase the number of cities using the tools available in our website, which is our main objective.”

For more information about the SMR project, visit the project website.
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23 November 2017

Nilüfer wins Transformative Action Award 2017

Nilüfer (Turkey) was announced as the winner of the Transformative Action Award 2017 at a ceremony held yesterday at the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels (Belgium).

The award, organised by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, 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.

Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions and host of the ceremony, said: "In the shared fight against climate change, we need action, not words. During COP23, we witnessed once again how the level of climate ambition seen locally often outshines national governments. The Transformative Action Awards are an inspiration to all local and regional actors without whose leadership and decisive action we would not have any chance of winning the battle against global warming."

Nilüfer
won the award for their transformative action which focuses on using neighbourhood committees to increase civic engagement. Cor Lamers, ENVE Commission Chair and jury member, said: “I congratulate Nilüfer on their extraordinary achievements in promoting citizen engagement and participatory local democracy in their transformation towards a sustainable, liveable and inclusive city.”

Nilüfer Municipality Councillor Pelin Sevgi, who accepted the award, said: "It's a great honour to win as we were competing against strong candidates that implemented highly impressive actions. The visibility that it brings to our city is very beneficial. This award and the Basque Declaration, which we have endorsed, are of great importance to us. The Basque Declaration is the perfect tool to create a sustainable city and to promote sustainable development."

During the award ceremony the jury singled out one of the shortlisted candidates, Udaltalde 21 (Basque Country), for a special mention. “Udaltalde 21 deserves particular recognition for acting as the voice of several municipalities that have bundled forces to bring about environmental, economic and energy efficiency in each of their communities despite all financial constraints,” said Mr. Lamers.

“We are proud to have been given a special mention as part of the award ceremony. Small and medium-sized municipalities, working together, can develop quality sustainability policies,” said Miguel Ángel Herrero Miravalles, President of Udaltalde 21. “We know there is no room for complacency. We know that we have much to improve. And it is awards such as this that motivate us to continue working to transform our area and to continue developing the culture of sustainability.”

For more information about Nilüfer’s Transformative Action, visit the European Sustainable Cities Platform.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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EMAS at ICLEI