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.

Search Result ( 1 - 7 from 7 )

Edinburgh Declaration on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

In order to protect biodiversity and foster resilience across the world, all levels of government and society must work together. In this regard, the role of cities, subnational governments, and local authorities cannot be underestimated.
The Edinburgh Process and Edinburgh Declaration are central ...

A European Green Deal

The European Green Deal encompasses a set of policies, actions and agreements meant to spark transformation in the EU to overcome the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degredation, while also strengthening the economy. The concept harkens back to policies created by U.S. president...

Cities With Nature

A unique initiative that recognizes and enhances the value of nature in and around cities across the world.
It provides a shared platform for cities and their partners to engage and connect, working with shared commitment towards a more sustainable urban world.


RegionsWithNature is a partnership initiative that supports regional and subnational government officials and other stakeholders to enhance ecosystem restoration, biodiversity conservation and nature-based solutions in their regions
RegionsWithNature provides the UN Biodiversity-recognized platform...

Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework builds on the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and sets ambitious goals to further transformation with society's relationship to biodiversity.

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

As biodiversity rapidly decreases, ecosystem restoration is becoming an ever increasing priority. This is why the United Nations has launched the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and is calling on everyone to join #GenerationRestoration. This campaign aims to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degr...

EU Nature Restoration law

A new law proposed by the European Commission which would advocate for restored ecosystems for people, planet and climate.

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.


Find out more

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.


Find out more

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.

Find out more

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.


Find out more


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