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News (December, 2017)

 

19 December 2017

Nilüfer wins the first edition of the Transformative Action Award

For Nilüfer, one of the 17 districts of Bursa Province in Turkey, winning the Transformative Action Award 2017 was truly unexpected.

"I would like to thank the jury one by one!" said Nilüfer Municipality Councillor Pelin Sevgi, who accepted the award. "We were competing against some very strong candidates, who put forward very impressive actions, so it’s a great honour to receive this award."

The Nilüfer city administration helped to organise previously disorganised sections of civil society, ensuring they could participate in decision making through the establishment of neighbourhood committees (NCs). These NCs represent their neighbourhoods at city council level. Quotas were set to ensure that the NCs are also comprised of women, youth, disabled citizens and LGTBI residents.

Within the council, the NCs have a mandate to: ensure increased and effective participation of women in urban life and to focus on gender issues in decision making processes; protect cultural-historical heritage; expand urban rights and the awareness of them; develop necessary local participation infrastructure and facilities for citizens; and prioritise and attach importance to policies that aim to create equal opportunities for LGTBI residents, elderly people, the youth, and disabled people.

The Turkish city’s work to increase civic engagement was deemed to be the most impressive Transformative Action, as it innovatively addressed the pathways of the Basque Declaration: socio-cultural transformation; socio-economic transformation; and technological transformation.

The Transformative Action Award allows for the exchange of innovative best practice and experience in the fight against climate change; benefitting local and regional authorities, who work on the ground to implement sustainability measures,” said Cor Lamers, ENVE Commission Chair and jury member.

The award ceremony was held in Brussels (Belgium) at the European Committee of the Regions, during an ENVE Commission session with delegates from across the continent. Nilüfer was competing against fellow nominees Mannheim (Germany), who were shortlisted for making energy and climate measures more visible; Udaltalde 21, Nerbioi-Ibaizabal (Basque Country, 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.

"When it comes to sustainable development and our shared fight against climate change, the level of ambition seen locally often outshines national governments. At the local level we witness innovative thinking on sustainability that is making a difference. This award is a celebration of these efforts. It shows that local leadership is making millions of citizens’ lives more liveable, sustainable and inclusive," said Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions and host of the ceremony.

“I think for all of the nominees, but particularly the winning city, the Transformative Action Award shows that their city has courage, it shows inspiration and innovation. It also shows that one can stand up beyond the ‘business as usual’ political agenda and think outside the box and try to do something in a different way,” said ICLEI Secretary General Gino van Begin. “Some of the nominated cities have come from a very difficult situation, have had a legacy of industrial problems, or other issues, also from a democratic perspective, so I think overcoming those challenges really should inspire all of us. And it is worthwhile to reward that innovation and action that they have undertaken.”

During the award ceremony the jury singled out Udaltalde 21 (Basque Country, Spain) for a special mention.

“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.

The Basque Declaration played a central role in inspiring and guiding each of the nominated cities’ actions.

"The Basque Declaration brings together the SDGs, the Paris Climate Agreement, the New Urban Agenda, the Climate Framework Convention and others in a comprehensive way and translates them into practical agendas local and regional governments can follow in order to become sustainable. In that way the Basque Declaration is really a guidance tool for all those in Europe who would like to understand how to implement SDGs locally," said ICLEI Secretary General van Begin.

During the Award Ceremony Basque Country Minister for the Enviornment Iñaki Arriola López called upon cities to join the Basque Declaration by undertaking their own transformative actions, so that a multiplier effect can be achieved across the European Union.

For those cities thinking of applying for the Transformative Action award 2018, Councillor Sevgi has the following advice: "If you want to share your sustainability actions with others and if you want to be visible, just apply for it. If you decide to go for it, you too could be the winner!”
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18 December 2017

Bidding open for the ninth ESCT conference

The bidding process for the ninth European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns is now open. The purpose of the conference is to share the most advanced approaches, tools and inspiring ideas for local transformation, to foster governance innovation, and to strengthen local value chains and assets. It will facilitate dialogue on the local sustainability agenda across levels of governance and with relevant stakeholders from business, NGOs and research.

The core event runs for a maximum of three days, leaving the possibility for pre-events and side events open. The next host will join a list which includes previous host cities such as Aalborg 1994, Lisbon 1996, Hanover 2000, Aalborg 2004, Seville 2007, Dunkerque 2010, Geneva 2013 and the Basque Country 2016.

The conference is tentatively planned for 2019 and will build on the success of the 8th ESCT Conference, which took place in the Basque Country. The 8th conference saw 1,000 participants discuss the major challenges facing Europe: the economic and financial crisis, the massive influx of refugees, and the rise of anti-European sentiment. During the conference, European cities and towns acclaimed the Basque Declaration, the new roadmap to address challenges facing urban societies.

The envisaged 9th edition of the conference will again put the spotlight on innovative approaches to local governance and financing for the transformation agenda in the spirit of the Basque Declaration.

Cities interested in hosting the conference are invited to review the bidding package and the call for interest. Deadline for submission of bids is 15 March, 2018.

For more information about the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Conference, visit the Sustainable Cities Platform.
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14 December 2017

Hannover is named Germany’s most sustainable city at tenth German Sustainability Awards

The winners of the 10th German Sustainability Award were announced on 8 December at an award ceremony attended by 1,200 invited guests in Düsseldorf (Germany). During the ceremony, ICLEI Member Hannover bet off competition from Aachen and Gelsenkirchen to receive the title of ‘Germany’s most sustainable city’.

The German Sustainability Award is the national award for excellence in sustainability, rewarding the achievements of cities and municipalities, businesses and researchers. With over 800 applicants, the prize is the largest of its kind in Europe.

Other awards handed out during the ceremony include: Germany’s most sustainable large company, Germany’s most sustainable brand, and Germany’s most sustainable community.

The ceremony was attended by a number of notable figures, including German politicians Armin Laschet and Prof Klaus Töpfer, comedian Otto Waalkes and model Sara Nuru. It also included musical performances from Annie Lennox, Marius Müller-Westernhagen and Max Giesinger.

For more information about the award and the winners, click here. [in German]
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13 December 2017

CoR recognises climate finance as essential tool for Paris Agreement implementation

During its Plenary Session, which took place from 9-11 October in Brussels (Belgium), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) recognised climate finance as an essential tool for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and called on the European Commission to promote the Global Covenant of Mayors through providing financial and technical assistance, especially in countries where national ambition is lacking.

The CoR also called on the European Commission to make environment and climate investments more appealing.

It was further proposed that climate change and sustainability issues become a cross-cutting trend across all funding programmes, and that minimum allocation targets for climate be included both for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and for the main funding programmes.

It was also suggested that impact assessments of EU legislative proposals be accompanied by a climate impact assessment, as well as an assessment of how they will contribute to the Paris Agreement objectives.

For more information and to read the session outcome in full, click here.
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12 December 2017

Global city networks announce 'One Planet Charter' on Paris Agreement

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy have announced the One Planet Charter to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement through sustainable public procurement, and other policy measures, in cities and local governments across the world at the One Planet Summit in Paris (France) on 12 December.

The One Planet Charter builds on the Bonn-Fiji commitment at the COP23 international climate conference in November and sustainable procurement initiatives such as ICLEI's Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement and the 100% Renewable Energy Cities & Regions Campaign, as well as C40 Cities’ Fossil Fuel Free Streets. Through the Charter, cities will commit to specific climate action that drives investments, sustainable public procurement, and policy decisions in renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and efforts for zero emission buildings and zero waste.

Seoul Mayor, ICLEI President, Global Covenant of Mayors Board Member and Chair of the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement Park Won Soon said, "I encourage all Mayors to join this commitment campaign to mobilize the huge demand-side power of cities, and drive the market for sustainable infrastructure, products and services worldwide to accelerate climate action through ambitious GHG reduction targets and robust adaptation strategies.”

The Charter is being announced on the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, and is aimed at giving cities momentum to realise ambitious global climate goals through public and private sector collaboration and sustainable public procurement.

For more information, read the press release on the ICLEI Europe website.
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7 December 2017

Aalborg uses student-government partnership to bolster sustainability campaign

This week seven students from around the world will handover formal recommendations to Aalborg Municipality (Denmark) about how the city should approach their new sustainability campaign, ‘make us all greener.’

This innovative student-government partnership is the first of its kind in Europe, in which students have worked closely with local government over three months under a program called International Network of Green Agents (INGA).

The recommendations draw on research and experience from a broad range of fields including architecture, philosophy, business, psychology and sustainable energy systems.

‘A city’s identity crosses economic, political, social and environmental boundaries’ says INGA project manager, Timothy Shue, ‘so we needed a sophisticated response that was able to deal with this level of complexity, and with around 60,000 higher education students in the city it made complete sense to draw on their knowledge, both international and local.

Aalborg Municipality is hoping to continue the partnership with the group into 2018.

For other cities in Europe and around the world, INGA has demonstrated that local students may offer untapped resources of knowledge and creativity to bolster local transformative actions.

For more information about the programme, visit here.
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5 December 2017

ICLEI announces two major procurement events for 2018

Two major conferences on Sustainable and Innovation Procurement have been announced by ICLEI in conjunction with the host cities of Oslo (Norway) and Nijmegen (Netherlands). The 15th Procura+ Seminar will take place on 21-22 March 2018 in Oslo; and the 10th EcoProcura conference will take place from 3-5 October 2018 in Nijmegen.

The 2018 Procura+ Seminar will be opened by Mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen and ICLEI's Global Director of Sustainable Procurement, Mark Hidson. Procura+ Seminars bring together Procura+ Network participants, practitioners, experts, and policy makers from across Europe. The interactive programme offers the chance to explore procurement concepts and issues through the lens of real-life examples and experiences, take part in dynamic and interactive sessions, and build practical capacity.

The 2018 EcoProcura Conference has been announced by Nijmegen mayor Hubert Bruls and will host 400 procurers, policy makers, businesses, researchers and international organisations to discuss the latest developments in sustainable and innovation procurement, including current best practice in implementation; European policy developments and international initiatives and opportunities for collaboration between procurers in Europe. The conference will present practical tools for implementation and feature market dialogue, joint procurement, social issues and professionalisation. EcoProcura Conferences take place approximately every 3 years.

Mark Hidson, Global Director ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre, said: “We are delighted that these two complimentary and significant events are happening in the same year. The Procura+ Seminar provides scope for participants to go in-depth into the issues that matter to them and build capacity with their peers. EcoProcura follows this up with high level discussion and advocacy in the context of policy such as the recent European Commission communication on Making Public Procurement work in and for Europe.”

To find out more about EcoProcura, visit the EcoProcura website. To register for the Procura+ Seminar, visit the Procura+ website.
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4 December 2017

Cyclists in Ghent will soon be able to find free bicycle spaces online

New technology installed in the Belgian city of Ghent will enable cyclists to check online to see if there are free bicycle spaces in Korenmarkt and Braunplein, two bicycle parks located in the historic city centre.

The bicycle parks will be equipped with sensors and cameras which will scan the room and calculate the amount of storage space available. The number of empty spaces will be registered at least once per minute and the data transmitted digitally. Cyclists will be able to see the amount of available spaces online, as well as on a screen at the front of the bicycle park.

The equipment also makes it possible to detect abandoned bicycles. The scanners can highlight bicycle spaces which have been occupied for longer than average, allowing authorities to identify and remove the abandoned bicycles.

For more information, click here (in Dutch).
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1 December 2017

RESIN meeting looks to the future of urban climate change adaptation

The RESIN project consortium met in Brussels (Belgium) on 23-24 November 2017 to consider the project outputs in an international policy context and to plan for the project’s final year.

Cities in Europe are approaching a crucial time in terms of finding solutions for climate change adaptation. RESIN is optimally placed to advise and guide policy developments on a local and international level on the topic of urban adaptation.

The RESIN partner cities have been central players in the RESIN project, providing knowledge to improve the project tools’ quality. Alberto Terenzi, ICLEI Europe, explained: “We wanted to adjust the timing of the tool development to match cities’ needs.” The RESIN cities have already begun using the tools, and have made progress on adaptation with them despite the tools not being developed to completion.

The Impact and Vulnerability Analysis (IVAVIA) tool helps to link vulnerability and risk. Manchester and Bilbao (Spain) have been central in the development of this tool and have both developed impact chains as part of the process. Up to now, Greater Manchester has completed a case study, baseline assessment, priority impact chains and a two-stage risk assessment, with flood risk and transport infrastructure a particular focus.

Mikel González-Vara, Manager of Environmental Strategy, City of Bilbao, said: “We have to connect to our environment. We are four cities, but surrounding us there are further cities with related problems.”

Bilbao is looking ahead to the city’s new Adaptation Plan, which will be submitted next year. As part of RESIN, Bilbao developed an impact chain for flooding in built-up areas. This is a very real and immediate risk for the rainy coastal city. Similarly, Bratislava (Slovakia) is planning to use the RESIN adaptation options library to evaluate the action plan for climate change adaptation progress every two years.

The tools of the RESIN project are useful as a complementary combined suite of tools, hosted in an online guidance platform called the “eGuide”. The final RESIN tools will be launched in spring 2018. RESIN will hold its first public event aimed at city practitioners in Greater Manchester on 1 February 2018.

For more information, visit the RESIN project website.
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EMAS at ICLEI