5 July 2019

ICLEI Members showcase low-emissions developments to visiting global cities

Cities from 18 countries spanning the globe recently successfully wrapped-up a European Study Tour organised by ICLEI Europe. The trip featured an ambitious eight-day programme with stops in ICLEI Members Helsinki (Finland), Bologna (Italy) and Warsaw (Poland).

The trip kicked-off in Helsinki under the theme of “Climate-Smart Helsinki.” Impressively, the city is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2035. City representatives introduced the municipality’s approach, which focuses on smart and innovative solutions to adapt to the expected rise of flooding and heat waves, and to bring down the environmental impact of heating, which is currently the city’s largest source of emissions. A visit to the former harbour quarter of Kalasatama – now becoming a living lab for climate adaptation and low-emissions solutions – enabled participants to explore an example of Helsinki’s smart and low-emissions urban development strategy.

During the second stop in Bologna, participants explored the benefits and necessity of active citizen involvement in the development and implementation of local sustainability action plans and strategies. Like every city, Bologna has unique context – it has ambitions to improve air quality, is equipped with a large historic and privately-owned building stock, and holds a long tradition of food production and farming. Within this context, the city shared its practices and approaches to incentivising citizens and businesses to become responsible stakeholders and decision-makers in the socially- and environmentally-sustainable development of their neighbourhoods and homes.

The final stop of the study tour brought participants to Warsaw (Poland). This stop included presenting the challenges and processes required to develop Warsaw’s recent Sustainable Energy and Climate Adaptation Plan; its regenerated Vistula riverbank boulevard; and its largest wastewater treatment plant, “Cyajka.” The city manages the largest district-heating network in Europe in a region with a long history of coal dependence. This prompted discussion of waste-to-energy solutions, the energy-water nexus, and synergies between waste management and the operation of energy efficient thermal district networks.

The trip concluded with participants sharing their impressions from the tour with a global audience at the 10th edition of the Resilient Cities conference on adaptation, resilience and multi-level climate governance, which took place in ICLEI Member Bonn (Germany).

The partnerships formed on the tour, and the exchange around the best-practice examples presented by host cities, will promote integrated climate action and emission reduction in all participating cities.

This study trip was organised as part of the UrbanLEDS project, and built on its previous editions that also brought together city officials and expert staff to foster low-emissions development strategies in emerging economies and developing countries across the globe. The lessons shared from this most recent study tour are set to inform the development of participating cities’ low-emissions development and adaptation strategies, which will be developed within the project over the coming months.

For more information about the trip, the UrbanLEDS project, or participating cities, click here or contact