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 (UN), 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 with local and regional sustainability governance. Below are key pieces of advocacy work at ICLEI and their broader impacts in the sustainability field.

Those working for a city are often approached to join initiatives or to become signatories of Commitments, Declarations and Messages in the area of sustainable development. You may ask yourself, “why are these important and why should my city participate?”

As a global network of politically strong cities, towns and regions, ICLEI and its Members have the opportunity to shape the debate and profile their cities at a European and international levels.

Learn about how your city can take advantage of these European and global initiatives to support your work locally.

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Climate Heritage Network

The Climate Heritage Network (CHN) is an international network of government agencies, NGOs, universities, businesses, and other organizations committed to tackling climate change and achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.
Mobilised in 2018 during the Global Climate Action Summit and launc...

European Commission expert group on cultural heritage

With a view to maintaining the spirit of cooperation and policy dialogue achieved during the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018, this expert group will provide the Commission with ongoing advice and expertise. 
It will also serve as a platform for consultation and exchange of informati...

EU R&I Task Force for Climate Neutral and Resilient Historic Urban Districts

The mission of the EU R&I Task Force for Climate Neutral and Resilient Historic Urban Districts is to co-ordinate EU efforts to make historic and contemporary urban districts climate neutral and strengthen their resilience to the effects of climate change and natural hazards as well as the resil...

The New European Bauhaus

ICLEI Europe is an official partner of the New European Bauhaus, which is a creative and interdisciplinary European Commission-led initiative that connects the European Green Deal to our living spaces and experiences.
The New European Bauhaus initiative calls on all of us to imagine and build ...

Sustainable Tourism Partnership

The Urban Agenda for the EU represents a new multi-level working method, for urban policy and practice, promoting cooperation between Member States, cities, the European Commission, and other stakeholders.
It was launched in May 2016 with the Pact of Amsterdam and reconfirmed as a valuabl...

Since its founding, ICLEI has been one of Europe's primary advocates for local sustainable development. ICLEI strives to localise the European Green Deal by working with local governments to co-create Local Green Deals (LGDs). As well through its European Sustainable Cities and Towns conferences and its series of initiatives and documents, ICLEI has mobilised thousands of local governments in Europe and beyond in the name of sustainability. There have been some key milestones on this journey:

Driving the European movement for local sustainable development


The Aalborg Charter

The 1994 Charter marked a turning point for local sustainable development in Europe. Inspired by the Rio Earth Summit’s Local Agenda 21, it was developed by individuals, municipalities, NGOs, national & international organisations, and scientific bodies.


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The Aalborg Commitments

The Aalborg Commitments (10 years after the Aalborg Charter) encompass a list of qualitative objectives organised into 10 holistic themes providing a local level framework for embedding sustainability across municipality sectors.


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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 15 pathways to localise the 17 SDGs for socio-economic, cultural and technological transformation for a more liveable, sustainable and inclusive Europe.

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The Mannheim Message

The Mannheim Message was launched at the 9th European Sustainable Cities & Towns Conference in 2020. It outlines five core systemic changes and nine policy shifts needed to bring about transformation for a sustainable Europe.


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To connect with ICLEI Europe on advocacy, please contact Goksen Sahin Licha.