Policy & advocacy

ICLEI connects ambitious local and regional governments with leading peers, national  governments, as well as the European Commission and related institutions, the United Nations, business, academia, finance and NGOs. By doing so, they can learn and advance at a quicker pace.

ICLEI represents local and regional governments in European and global policy processes. We work with the European institutions and other networks to influence and shape the debate on urban sustainability policies and legislation and ensure that project financing is formulated to address sustainability challenges, and is accessible to cities, regions and public authorities.

Working with partners to influence change


As an organisation, ICLEI is involved in a number of processes and initiatives.


Climate change mitigation / adaptation & governance


Energy & climate

Driving the European movement for local sustainable development

Since its founding, ICLEI has been one of Europe's primary advocates for local sustainable development. Through the eight European Sustainable Cities and Towns conferences and a series of initiatives and documents, housed on the European Sustainable Cities Platform, it has mobilised thousands of local governments in Europe and beyond in the name of sustainability. There have been some key milestones on this journey:

The Aalborg Charter

The Charter marked a turning point for local sustainable development in Europe. Inspired by the Rio Earth Summit’s Local Agenda 21,  it was developed in 1994 by individuals, municipalities, NGOs, national and international organisations, and scientific bodies. More than 3,000 local authorities from over 40 countries are signatories.

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The Aalborg Commitments

The Aalborg Commitments came a decade after the Charter. The Commitments  encompass a list of qualitative objectives organised into 10 holistic themes that provide a framework at local level for how to embed sustainability across municipality sectors.  So far, over 700 cities and towns have signed the Commitments.

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The Basque Declaration

The Basque Declaration was the main outcome of the 8th European Sustainable Cities & Towns Conference in 2016. It outlines new pathways to create more productive, sustainable, and resilient cities for a liveable and inclusive Europe. Close to 500 towns and cities are signatories, alongside over 100 organisations and individuals.

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