News Home I News archives

CEMR launches Observatory website for promotion of gender equality in local life
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) is pleased to announce the launching of an online tool to support European municipalities and regions working to.promote the equality of women and men at the local level.
The website was created in the framework of the Observatory on the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life and is available in both French and English. The website’s various features will include:
- Guidelines for the elaboration, implementation and monitoring of an action plan for equality at the local level, such as the City of Malmö’s plan to integrate the issue of gender equality into all of its activities, initiatives and services by 2013. Indeed, Malmö is working towards ensuring the equal distribution of resources, power and influence among people of all sexes and backgrounds, including with regard to employment and working conditions.
- A dedicated atlas, allowing users to discover the municipalities that have signed the European Charter in Italy or Spain, for example. Users will also be able to consult and download some of the most innovative action plans developed by local authorities in Europe.
- An online platform for exchange, allowing for a municipality in Romania, for example, to exchange with a city in France on how the latter devised and implemented an action plan for the equal representation of men and women in their local administration. It will also allow these two local authorities to set up a partnership in the field of equality should they wish to continue working together.
- Information in order for users to learn more about how their municipality can become a model town for equality, while learning more about the Charter and the various issues it covers.


The EU Budget for 2014 – 2020 : invest in Europe’s young people
On the 7th and 8th of February 2013, EU leaders met in Brussels to discuss a major item on their agenda: the EU's budget for 2014-2020, known as the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The European Council finally reached an agreement. In this article we give an overview of the highlights of this agreement and their impact on European cities and regions.–_2020_invest_in_Europe’s_young_people


Belo Horizonte turns waste into power
The Municipal Waste Treatment Centre (Centro de Tratamento de Resíduos Sólidos, CTRS) in the district of Jardim Filadélfia, Belo Horizonte (Brazil) – once the city’s largest single source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions - has been successfully transformed into a cost-effective energy generating waste treatment center after operating as a conventional landfill for 32 years.[tt_news]=4986&tx_ttnews[backPid]=983&cHash=66e3b18e1b


25 technologies every smart city should have
You think cities are crowded now? By 2030, more than 5 billion people will live in urban settings. But before we get to that kind of population density, we have to optimize our cities. We need to make them smarter and better; technology can help.
Cities all around the world work with developers and contractors to make city living better, whether it's improving the timing of traffic lights or creating a useful app, which becomes more powerful as smartphone penetration continues to increase.


Adaptive urbanism: creative solutions when long term planning doesn't work by Manu Fernandez
Manu Fernandez from Spain is an independent strategic urban thinker and designer of innovative urban actions. His blog is about an adaptive strategy for municipalities. Fernandez: the current state of permanent paralysis and widespread budget cuts which municipal policies are going through has led to a landscape of stalled projects, white elephants and stationary cranes. Residential developments will take longer to accomplish, large scale regeneration projects will need extended schedules, failed transport infrastructures and projected real estate operations will keep their doors closed waiting for better times to come.


A Reference Framework for European Sustainable Cities
The Reference Framework for European Sustainable Cities (RFSC) is an online toolkit launched at the initiative of EU Member States, the European Commission and Europeanorganisations of local governments to help cities promote and enhance their work on integrated sustainable urban development.


City of Vancouver putting food on the table
To enhance the city’s urban food system resilience against climate change and addressing issues such as resource depletion, growing inequity, loss of farms and farmlands and rising health care costs for diet-related diseases, the City Council of Vancouver has unanimously passed the Vancouver Food Strategy on 30 January 2012.
Encompassing the whole spectrum of food issues “from seed to table to compost heap and back again”, the Strategy provides a comprehensive official roadmap for local governments to integrate and coordinate all policies regarding agriculture and production, processing, distribution, access and waste management.[tt_news]=4985&tx_ttnews[backPid]=983&cHash=197865f415


World Bank launches flagship report on Urbanization at Global Energy Basel
The growth of cities is driven largely by the economic prosperity that they help create. But today cities are growing at unprecedented and challenging speeds. The World Bank's Urbanization Reviews offer a framework for city leaders to make tough decisions on development in their cities by providing diagnostic tools to identify policy distortions and analyze investment priorities. What must be done to improve living conditions, especially in slums and hazard-prone areas? To create jobs? To expand the coverage and quality of basic services? The Urbanization Reviews help answer these critical questions.


High Level Working Group debates prosperity in cities
UN-Habitat and the International Council for Caring Communities (ICCC) last Friday organized an international working session in addressing one of themes of the 21st Century: Prosperity in Cities.


The IOPD calls local governments to submit their candidacies to the 7TH distinction for best practice in citizen participation
The IOPD Distinction for Best Practice in Citizen Participation is an initiative to recognize those innovative experiences and ideas coordinated by local governments in the field of participative democracy.


Safe Makó Programme
The Safe Makó Programme is a complex crime prevention and public security model for making the city a safer place by broad societal collaboration.ó_Programme


Urban ITS Expert Group guidelines available
During its 24-month mandate, the Expert Group developed guidance on the deployment of three key applications of urban ITS (travel information, traffic management (incl. urban logistics) and smart ticketing), collected a number of related best practices and reflected upon the need for further standardisation in the domain of Urban ITS.


The 2012 URBACT Tribune – Cities of Tomorrow, Action Today!
What challenges will the cities of tomorrow be facing? What actions do local and national governments need to take today in order to face the challenges of tomorrow? The URBACT Secretariat has produced a new issue of "The URBACT Tribune". Entitled "Cities of Tomorrow, Action Today ", this publication gathers articles written by URBACT Lead Experts. This year, the articles reflect on the state of play in the URBACT projects and present some of the first findings of the URBACT workstreams focusing on key urban challenges. Read "The URBACT Tribune" now available online.


Registration opens for the 3rd Forum of Dynamic Cities NEED WOMEN: ‘Women and Armed Conflict’
Abidjan will be the host city for the 3rd Forum of Dynamic Cities NEED WOMEN. The meeting will take place from the 17 to 20 September 2013. The chosen theme for the event is ‘Women and Armed Conflict’ and will gather experts, political representatives and academics from around the world for an in-depth discussion on the problems facing women in this context.


9 steps cities must take to dramatically cut carbon emissions
city of Toronto has already begun to sketch out policies that could reduce the area’s greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades. Officials have proposed greening the electric grid, banning incandescent light bulbs, promoting green roofs on commercial buildings, retrofitting 1960s-era high-rises and implementing a stricter energy-efficient building code for new construction. With transportation, the city wants to expand bike lanes and transit infrastructure, all while it anticipates that electric vehicles will grow slowly more common.


Green Digital Toolkit: new platform for cities now live
NiCE project launched its Green Digital Toolkit on 28 January 2013
NiCE (Networking intelligent Cities for Energy Efficiency) launched its Green Digital Charter (GDC) Toolkit to cities at its second training session on 28 January 2013.
It is an online platform designed to support cities in realising their GDC commitments. It enables them to browse other cities’ activities, information and tools and to share their own; exchange ideas; monitor the status of their GDC implementation; and compare with the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) reporting procedures.
While it was originally developed only for GDC signatories, the Green Digital Toolkit is now accessible to everyone: potential signatory cities, stakeholders and individuals. It is separated into public areas, accessible to everyone, and private areas, dedicated to signatories. Anyone can browse the list of shared tools and activities and access the reporting and action tools, but signatory cities benefit from additional features, such as:
sharing their own green and digital tools and activities
rating, commenting on and collecting the tools uploaded by other cities
reviewing and monitoring their activities in relation to the GDC and the CoM
posting questions and requests and exchanging with other signatories
The Green Digital Toolkit is available through the GDC and NiCE project portal, below.


Commission on Social Development discusses youth issues
On the sidelines of the Commission on Social Development meeting in New York this week, the U.S. Mission to the UN and the International Labour Organization (ILO) convened a special forum bringing together key stakeholders to explore the challenges in implementing successful strategies.


Call for cities to join Bologna for the 2013 European Cycling Challenge
The city of Bologna and the local transport authority SRM have launched a contest of European cities to challenge each other on transport cycling mileage in May 2013. Cities interested to join should get in contact before 15 February 2013.


More Jobs, Better Cities
You want to find out more about what can cities do to support and grow new jobs in the recovery? Read the scoping article "More Jobs, better Cities" published in the URBACT Tribune 2012. Written by the URBACT Experts, Mike Campbell and Alison Partridge, this article explores the central question of what cities can do to support and grow new jobs in the recovery and how they can use these jobs to develop a sustainable economy, where citizens and businesses can prosper.


Population worldwide consider education and good governance as the top priorities for a sustainable future
MY World is a global survey for citizens led by the United Nations and partners in the framework of the Post-2015 process and the elaboration of the future agenda for sustainable development agenda. It aims to capture people's voices, priorities and views and bringing them forward to global leaders to inform them as the process begins. Through an survey realised both online and door to door, MY World asks individuals which six of sixteen possible issues they think would make the most difference to their lives.


Dutch Shocked by Challenges of Shifting to Electric Cars
The Netherlands is proceeding with one of the most ambitious programs to increase electric car usage in the world. In a country with seemingly ideal conditions for adoption, and heavy subsidy, sales of such vehicles have been disappointingly low.
"Although a number of European countries and a few American states are aggressively promoting the use of electric vehicles to reduce planet-warming emissions and pollution, the Netherlands provides perhaps the ultimate feasibility test," reports Elisabeth Rosenthal. "If electric vehicles catch on anywhere, it should be here: a small country — about 100 miles east to west — with gas prices of about $8.50 a gallon and a long tradition of environmental activism."
"To encourage electric driving, the country is developing a rapidly expanding national grid of charging stations in cities and along highways; and Amsterdam offers owners of electric vehicles free street parking and charging. With hefty tax breaks, promotional leases and cheaper operating costs, the vehicles offer driving costs no more than those of conventional cars, some analysts say."
"And yet, experiments with the cars in the Netherlands and Denmark also underscore the challenges facing this new technology. Sales have been lower than politicians and automakers hoped, representing under 1 percent of new vehicles, even here. 'It seems that the industry has not convinced consumers that they can do this,' [Peder Jensen, a transportation expert at the European Environment Agency said]. 'If they fail over the next few years, I think investors will pull out, and that will be a problem.'”


EPOMM award for mobility management policy and practice transfers
Apply by 25 February 2013 for the chance to win this year's EPOMM award
As part of the European Platform on Mobility Management’s (EPOMM) policy exchange activities, EPOMM is launching an annual award for the most effective policy or best practice transfer in the field of mobility management.
Many European projects develop their own ways of transferring best practice policies and practices between partners using: best practice databases; toolkits; training sessions; working groups; and exchange mechanisms. EPOMM has decided to assess the different approaches and reward the most innovative and successful ones. This is an opportunity for winners to disseminate transferred policy, to give visibility to their projects and to promote the methodology used.
Likely candidates will come from ongoing or completed projects under Interreg IVC and Intelligent Energy Europe or others which have achieved a shift in policy as a result of the approaches they have used.
Two representatives from each winning organisation will be invited to collect their award at the European Conference on Mobility Management (ECOMM) in Gavle, Sweden on 29-31 May 2013. Travel, accommodation and ECOMM delegate fee will be paid for up to a maximum of €1,000 per person.
The deadline to apply is 25 February 2013. Click here to enter.


Sustainable and inclusive cities are essential to the post-2015 development agenda
The third meeting of the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda took place in Monrovia (Liberia), from 29 January to 2 February and was hosted by H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and Co-chair of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons.
The meeting’s main topic was “National Building Blocks for Sustained Prosperity” and convened discussions on Affecting economic transformation, Governance and institution building, Infrastructure and Sustainability and the necessity of Green Growth paths. Dr. Kadir Topbas voiced the views of local and regional governments and stressed that cities are motors of economic growth and that inclusive and sustainable cities are urban fabrics for future generations. “We need to use the power of cities to fight poverty. Cities are places for innovation and harmony among people”, he underlined.


UCLG stresses local governments’ role to ensure basic service provision
As a part of cities and local governments’ responsibility and commitment to improve universal access to basic services, reduce poverty and inequalities, UCLG contributes to GOLD (Global Observatory for Local Decentralization) Global Report.
This report aims to be an important instrument to achieve one of the strategic objectives of UCLG: to become the world reference for information and knowledge on the situation of local and regional governments, local democracy and decentralization.
After GOLD I and II, the preparation of GOLD III (centred on the Governance of Local Basic Services) is producing important inputs to support local and regional government’s contributions to the debate on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achievement and on the new UN Development Agenda Post-2015.
Following up this process, this 17th and 18th of February the headquarters of UCLG’s World Secretariat in Barcelona held the 2ndGOLD III Steering Committee. This meeting, which marks the halfway point of the GOLD III report process, brought together the report coordinator, Dr. David Satterthwaite and the team of regional experts, with the UCLG sections and project partners, to discuss the draft regional chapters and the process from now to the launch of the report.


Missoula to be Carbon Neutral by 2025
The Missoula City Council has adopted a Conservation and Climate Action Plan that sets a goal for the city to become carbon neutral by 2025. The plan would save money, reduce energy use and cut carbon emissions, according to Council commissioners. The plan sets interim goals and lays out strategies for transportation fleets, building facilities, internal policies and renewable energy purchases.


More than 200 papers selected for REAL CORP 2013
REAL CORP 2013 -18th International Conference on Urban Planning and Regional Development in the Information Society, under the general topic: PLANNING TIMES - You better keep planning or you get in deep water, for the cities they are a-changin' ...
20-23 May 2013 in ROME / Italy at the fantastic venue "House of Architecture/Acquario Romano" , Piazza Manfredo Fanti, 47, 00185 Roma, Italy.
The international programme committee has selected more then 200 very interesting papers to be presented at REAL CORP 2013, the first overview is available here:


EU Awards to honour cities at forefront of sustainable mobility
The European Commission has announced the six finalists in two awards focused on raising awareness of and developing sustainable and environmentally-friendly approaches to mobility. European Commissioners Siim Kallas and Janez Potocnik will present the winners of both awards with their prizes at a joint awards ceremony in Brussels, Belgium (Théâtre du Vaudeville) on 6 March.
The annual Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP)Award will be presented to cities and regions that show excellence in developing and implementing their sustainable urban mobility plans. SUMPs are devised by local authorities and define measures to tackle the urban mobility challenges of both today and the future. In 2012, the thematic focus of the Award was on ‘stakeholder and citizen participation.’ The winning local authority is selected by an expert jury on the basis of the Award’s evaluation and eligibility criteria, and rewarded with EUR 10 000 to support local awareness-raising activities on sustainable urban mobility. The 2012 SUMP Award attracted 29 applications from 12 countries.


IMCL announces the European Cities of Vision Study Tour
Friday, September 27 – Saturday, October 5, 2013
The 2013 "European Cities of Vision" Study Tour offers elected officials, planners and urban designers the opportunity to visit and learn in depth about two of Europe’s most livable and sustainable cities – Freiburg and Strasbourg. These cities are recognized internationally for leadership in sustainable transportation planning, promotion of walking and biking, traffic calming mechanisms, human scale mixed-use development, solar energy and sustainability. Tours and talks are given by the planning leaders and staff responsible for these achievements. All sessions are conducted in English. Participation limited to 20.
The City of Freiburg is often called Germany's "ecological capital" and has been acclaimed as one of the world’s most livable, sustainable and child-friendly cities. In 1993, IMCL awarded Freiburg the IMCL City of Vision Award. Since then, Freiburg received numerous awards for its leadership in sustainable transportation planning, promotion of walking and biking, traffic calming mechanisms, human scale mixed-use development, renewable energy, protection of nature, and sustainability.
In 1994, IMCL awarded Strasbourg the IMCL City of Vision Award for inaugurating their exemplary light rail system and for removing traffic from the city center’s innumerable squares and market places that support social life and civic engagement.
IMCL is proud to work with these Cities in organizing the European Cities of Vision Study Tour to further disseminate the innovations and improvements in livability and sustainability achieved in recent years.
The program is available at
Early registration rate available until May 1st.
For questions, please contact Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard,
Director, International Making Cities Livable LLC.


CEMR launches Observatory website for promotion of gender equality in local life
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) is pleased to announce the launching of an online tool to support European municipalities and regions working to promote the equality of women and men at the local level.
The website was created in the framework of the Observatory on the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life and is available in both French and English. The website’s various features will include:
- Guidelines for the elaboration, implementation and monitoring of an action plan for equality at the local level, such as the City of Malmö’s plan to integrate the issue of gender equality into all of its activities, initiatives and services by 2013. Indeed, Malmö is working towards ensuring the equal distribution of resources, power and influence among people of all sexes and backgrounds, including with regard to employment and working conditions.
- A dedicated atlas, allowing users to discover the municipalities that have signed the European Charter in Italy or Spain, for example. Users will also be able to consult and download some of the most innovative action plans developed by local authorities in Europe.
- An online platform for exchange, allowing for a municipality in Romania, for example, to exchange with a city in France on how the latter devised and implemented an action plan for the equal representation of men and women in their local administration. It will also allow these two local authorities to set up a partnership in the field of equality should they wish to continue working together.
- Information in order for users to learn more about how their municipality can become a model town for equality, while learning more about the Charter and the various issues it covers.
The Observatory website is still under construction and will be further developed over the coming months. New features will include: a monthly online newsletter, a search tool for finding best practices implemented at the local level, and information on funding opportunities in your country.
The website was launched at the occasion of Global conference of local elected women on “gender equality, a priority for global development”, organised in partnership with CEMR at the initiative of Bertrand Delanoë, mayor of Paris, and Anne Hidalgo, first deputy mayor of Paris and chair of the Committee on Gender Equality of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the worldwide organisation of local government.


Tallinn offers free public transport to its citizens: 15% increase of use
Since the 1st of January 2013, Polis member Tallinn is offering its citizens the right to access public transport free of charge. Although first evaluations still need to be validated, the figure of a 15% increase of public transport use is mentioned.


Cities for Active Inclusion report on Rotterdam’s South Bank regeneration
This report summarises Rotterdam's regeneration of its South Bank area, one of The Netherlands' most deprived zones
Our Cities for Active Inclusion (CfAI) organised a study visit to Rotterdam on 18-19 September 2012 to promote mutual learning amongst its partners.
The study visit looked at the National Programme for Rotterdam South (NPRZ). This programme deals with the regeneration of the South Bank area of the city, one of The Netherlands’ most deprived urban areas. This programme will run until 2030.
This new report on the visit summarises the work done so far under the NPRZ, and in particular how different but integrated and coordinated projects were developed for the active inclusion of people living in the seven most disadvantaged districts of the South Bank.
The programme centres around Rotterdam’s integrated approach to getting the people living on the South Bank and those furthest from the labour market into employment through enabling talent, developing the economy and regenerating housing and the physical infrastructure. This regeneration is seen as a pressing issue due to the scale of the problem.
Rotterdam aims to overcome deep-seated problems faced by a particular neighbourhood by integrating active inclusion strategies with urban area-based policies. A wide range of projects are being implemented or are planned in the neighbourhood.
The visit to Rotterdam showed the all-round approach the city is taking to change the situation in the South Bank. One of the striking features is that in addition to the traditional physical regeneration, there is a particular focus on the children and young people of the area. This is reflected in the main policies and activities planned to ensure the long-term benefits of the programme and guarantee a lasting legacy.


ICLEI and IRENA collaborates on 'Renewable energy policies in cities: Selected case studies'
Around the world, only a relatively few number of local governments have developed policies and mechanisms specifically aimed at utilizing renewable energy resources. IRENA and ICLEI collaborated to produce seven case
studies to present different policy tools available to local governments to harvest the renewable energy potential. ICLEI has been the proud implementing partner for the International Renewable Energy Agency
(IRENA), an intergovernmental organization dedicated to renewable energy. Renewable energy policies in cities:
Featured cities include: Austin (USA), Belo Horizonte (Brazil), Chemnitz (Germany), Dezhou (China), Nagpur (India), Malmö (Sweden), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Sydney (Australia).
Read the case studies here.


4th railway package proposed today by the European Commission
The European Commission approved today the fourth railway package. The package of measures aimed at reforming the rail transport sector will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council. The decision making process which could lead to the adoption of the proposal is expected to take more than a year.


Announcing the LivCom Awards
The LivCom Awards is a not for profit UK Registered Charity and is endorsed by and shares a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Environment Programme. The Awards were launched in 1997 and communities from over 50 countries have participated, resulting in recent years in over 500 delegates attending the Awards Ceremony at the end of the LivCom Finals weekend. The LivCom Awards is acknowledged around the world as the only event at which representatives of communities can increase their awareness of International Best Practice regarding the management of the environment.The LivCom Awards embraces one of the major objectives of the Urbanicity Organisation, being mutual cooperation and the sharing of International Best Practice to improve the local environment, the quality of life and value for money.
The LivCom Awards is totally non political and is financially independent and is firmly established as being unique and the main international initiative concerned with the local environment.
The LivCom web address is , on which there are details of the Awards in 28 languages


UCLG and UN Women sign a MoU to strengthen collaboration
The World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments has always contributed to the work of the United Nations, in development, sustainability, peace and of course gender equality. The MoU signed by the Vice Mayor of Paris and Chair of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality on behalf of the Organization, marks an important step forward as it will structure the relation with UN Women. It places special emphasis to developing information on the participation of women in local leadership.
The hope is that more data and correct analysis will support development of sound empowerment policies.
The agreement also provides a framework to develop joint advisory services, trainings and capacity development programmes to empower women.
Under the MoU UCLG will call partner countries and organizations to work with together in the promotion of basic services tailored to women empowerment and we will pay particular attention to women safety. The violence against women needs to be tackled and gender sensitive planning and service provision will be key to achieving that.
Anne Hidalgo said: "This agreement we are signing today is not an end in itself but rather a vehicle, an important instrument to support and inspire our work together". Begoña Lasagabarter of UN Women stated that the collaboration with local authorities is strategic to achieving equality. "Equality is a human right" she stressed.


EU data protection regulation will fail to improve citizen’s rights
Local and regional authorities in Europe warn that the new draft regulation on data protection has been elaborated with the private sector alone in mind and, if applied to the public sector, will create additional costs for municipalities and regions with very little benefit to the population.
This warning comes after a meeting the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) had with the European Parliament rapporteur on the issue, Jan Philipp Albrecht, as the debate on the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on data protection continues. Until now, the public sector was not adequately heard during the decision-making process despite the regulation’s strong impact on public authorities.


Cities and Flooding: A Guide to Integrated Urban Flood Risk Management for the 21st Century
Urban flooding is a serious and growing development challenge. It is a global phenomenon which causes widespread devastation, economic damages and loss of human lives.
The occurrence of floods is the most frequent among all natural disasters globally. In 2010 alone, 178 million people were affected by floods. The total losses in exceptional years such as 1998 and 2010 exceeded $40 billion.
Cities and Flooding: A Guide to Integrated Urban Flood Risk Management for the 21st Century provides forward-looking operational assistance to policy makers and technical specialists in the rapidly expanding cities and towns of the developing world on how best to manage the risk of floods. It takes a strategic approach, in which appropriate risk management measures are assessed, selected and integrated in a process that both informs and involves the full range of stakeholders.

Road Safety and Mobility Conference (SaMERU project)
This Conference , which will take place on March, 7 is organised by Polis member Southend on Sea Borough Council. It will be considering the interim findings of the SaMERU project and contribute to the content of the final report.


Covenant of Mayors e-learning course now available in five languages!
The Covenant of Mayors Office has just published four new language versions of its online learning system, now also available in German, French, Spanish and Italian.
Conducting a baseline emission inventory, developing a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) and finding the appropriate funding means to implement foreseen measures is no easy task. To comply with such ambitious commitments, Covenant of Mayors Signatories require guidance which – on top of the SEAP guidelines and other technical documents –is now available in five languages in this user-friendly, interactive format.
Learning at their own rhythm, going through seven interactive modules that can each be completed in about 20 minutes, signatory local authorities can browse through concrete examples presented in the form of videos and case studies and take self-assessment questions.
Access to this learning platform is restricted to Covenant Signatories and Coordinators, who can visit it through the “My Covenant” Extranet system, using their login information and then clicking on the “E-learning” link on the right-hand side of the page.
More languages are soon to follow, thanks to the voluntary contribution of active supporters.


Save the date! 2013 Metropolis Annual Meeting “Caring Cities”
16-19 July 2013
An opportunity to meet cities that care about their citizens and sustainable urbanization
World Mayors, who care about their cities and its people, will gather in Johannesburg, from 16-19 July 2013 to participate in the Metropolis Annual Meeting and Board of Directors.
Recognized for its innovative public policies, the host is a diverse city with a variety of cultures, languages and ethnicities.
The theme of the event, "Caring Cities", is based on the concept of Ubuntu, an African ethic or humanist philosophy focusing on people's allegiances and relations. Caring Cities arecities that strive to offera high quality of life, showing a sense of humanity and exchange, providing comfort and dignity for all citizens and deliver solutions that meet the needs of their citizens.
The Mandela Daycelebration, which coincides with the event, will translate this concept into individual and community actions.
The 2013 Metropolis Annual Meeting will showcase policies and projects focusing on key issues for sustainable urbanization such asfoodsecurity and resilience, financial sustainability, urban innovation, citizen participation, resource resilience, social cohesion, the informal economy and housing.
Registration will soon be available at the event’s website

Metropolis Initiative on Metropolitan Governance
"In 2012, the Metropolis Initiative in Metropolitan Governance, lead by the State Government of São Paulo was launched with a first meeting where more than 20 partners from different cities presented the first data to perform the Comparative Study.
For 2013, the Initiative has planned several activities such as mentoring programs and the presentation of a preliminary report of the comparative study."


Cities showcase sustainable infrastructure initiatives at 2013 Global Energy Basel Summit
Over 250 representatives from local and national governments, financial institutions, NGOs, businesses, international organizations and networks gathered in Basel, Switzerland on 22-23 January for the 3rd Global Energy Basel (GEB) Summit – an annual conference on financing sustainable infrastructure.
ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin and Ariane Pflaum, Council member of Freiburg and active member of ICLEI’s Future City Leaders Initiative, are amongst the key speakers at the event.

Cities introduce their projects at the Investment Forums, including ICLEI Member Cities such as Buenos Aires (Argentina), Shimla (India), Dumangas (The Philippines) and Cape Town (South Africa).
Buenos Aires has a proposal on incorporating hybrid electric buses into the present urban bus fleet, Shimla aims to develop a more comprehensive city mobility plan with expanded public and non-motorized transportation, Dumangas proposes reclaiming the foreshore area on Panay Island to protect shoreline and promotes tourism, while Cape Town introduces a city-owned buildings retrofit program that encompasses auditing, energy efficiency retrofits, training and behavior change programs.
Workshops and sessions covering sustainable infrastructure financing topics such as policy making, investment solutions and other best practices on energy, water use and waste management are held on both dates. The Summit also hosts a Capacity Building Day where participants learn about GEB’s self-assessment tool – a set of grading tools for evaluating the social, economic and ecological aspect of infrastructure projects.


New World Bank report offers policymakers roadmap for building resilient sustainable cities
Rapid urbanization can hold long-term economic, social and environmental promise for developing countries if investments made now in infrastructure, housing and public services are efficient and sustainable, the World Bank says in a new report “Planning, Connecting, and Financing Cities – Now: Priorities for City”.
"With many urban centers in the developing world still taking shape, we face an historic but narrow opportunity to build smart cities that encourage inclusive green growth and improve people’s lives,” said Zoubida Allaoua, Director of Urban and Disaster Risk Management at The World Bank. “But time is running out as the investments and policies put in place today will shape a city’s physical form and its carbon footprint for generations to come.”
In the next two decades, cities are expected to expand by another two billion residents, as people move in unprecedented numbers from rural areas to pursue hopes and aspirations in cities. More than 90 percent of this urban population growth is expected to occur in the developing world, where many cities are already struggling to provide basic needs such as water, electricity, transport, health services and education.
Launched at the Global Energy Basel Conference, the report provides a policy guide local officials can use to create the jobs, housing, and infrastructure needed to turn their cities into hubs of prosperity for current and future residents.
Report authors note that most new urban growth will not take place in the “megacities” of the world e.g. Rio de Janeiro, Jakarta or New Delhi but rather in less commonly recognized “secondary” cities— places like Huambo in Angola, Fushun in China, and Surat in India.
To help policymakers prepare for and manage growth, the report distills lessons learned from 12 countries across all geographic regions and stages of urbanization—from Korea, to India, to Colombia, to Uganda. It then translates these global lessons into practical policy advice.


Online Consultation for SUMP Guidelines
If you feel that important elements or activities in the SUMP planning cycle are missing or just want to give a more general feedback, you can now do that.


The Committee on Urban Strategic Planning coordinates an international learning event on intermediary cities
Intermediary cities have an important role to play not only in planning the development of fast changing territories, but also in liaising with different government tiers, building powerful rural - urban relations and involving unequal stakeholders. Associations involved in service provision, economic clusters and long term investment alliances for ncreasing employment oportunities can often be innovative and need to be better informed in order to enable learning. In 2013, the UCLG Strategic Planning Committee will therefore seek to focus on planning intermediary cities in order to discuss priorities and recomendations during the Rabat congress.
In addition, in cooperation with the provincial government of Kwa Zulu Natal, the Municipal learning institute MILE and the cities of Newcastle and Kwadukuzu, the UCLG Committee on Urban Strategic Planning will coordinate an international learning event on intermediary cities.
Download the latest session on strategic planning


What City Leaders Need to Know as Countries Rapidly Urbanize
Developing countries are urbanizing fast. To meet the challenges that creates, city leaders must move quickly to plan, connect, and finance resilient and sustainable growth. A new World Bank report provides a framework to help.
Today’s developed countries urbanized mostly gradually, their cities expanding over a period of 100 years or more as jobs shifted from farms to factories. The pace allowed for trial and error in growth patterns and policies. Developing countries today don’t have that luxury. They’re facing rapid migration that will tilt some populations from less than 20 percent urban today to more than 60 percent in just 30 years.
City leaders must figure out now how they will provide the affordable homes, transportation, jobs, and basic infrastructure and services necessary to support already ballooning urban populations, do so with the least impact on the environment and prepare for increasing vulnerabilities stemming from climate change.
Planning: Urban planning must look well into the future and across all sectors to avoid locking in damaging growth patterns. Photo: Civil engineer in Thailand. Gerhard Joren/World BankGetting this rapidly paced urbanization right is the key to resilient and sustainable growth. The challenge goes well beyond planning – governments must find innovative ways to finance infrastructure.
A new World Bank report, Planning, Connecting and Financing-Now: What City Leaders Need to Know, provides a framework for urban growth planning and finance, backed by case studies, to help leaders identify the impediments to urbanization and find the right combinations of policy options that would work politically, technically, and fiscally for their cities and countries. It helps them think through questions such as, What must be done to create jobs and expand basic services? What must be done to improve living conditions in slums and hazard-prone areas? What must be done to manage the city’s physical form?


UN-Habitat launches call for Urban Youth Fund applications
UN-Habitat on Tuesday launched a call for applications for the Urban Youth Fund.
In a press release, the agency announced that the Fund will for the fifth year in a row provide grants to projects led by young people aged 15-32 years who are piloting innovative approaches to employment, good urban governance, shelter and secure tenure. Small development initiatives are eligible for grants up to $25,000. These grants aim at promoting youth empowerment as the solution for better urban governance.
Indeed, of the one billion slum dwellers in the world today, it is estimated that more than 70% are under the age of 30. These young people have few resources available to improve their own living. Interestingly though, there are many youth-led initiatives in slums and squatter settlements around the world that require support in their efforts to transform their communities. This has led UN-Habitat to reconsider the youth as drivers for change. Through this Fund, UN-Habitat embraces the belief that youth are a solution for sustainable urban development.
The agency invites young people based in cities or towns from the developing world to apply for grants from the Fund. The application will open from February 15th 2013 to April 15th 2013. More information and details are available at


Diversity opportunities flourish in Oslo Extra Large
In October 2012 the Norwegian city of Oslo welcomed a group of international experts to review its intercultural policies. This has been the third expert visit to the city since its joining the Intercultural Cities programme as a pilot city in 2008. The visit coincided with the adoption of decision 152/12 by the City Government, aiming to strengthen the central Oslo Extra Large (OXLO) diversity campaign launched in 2001, to assess diversity policies and raise awareness thereof among the residents.
The implementation of the Eurocities Charter on Integrating Cities as well as the Norwegian integration policies were also on the agenda. Amongst larger cities that have completed the ICC Index, Oslo has posted the most impressive result. The group was keen to observe how this had been achieved and, in particular, how Oslo translates its wide range of policies into practice.


'People-first' focus make urban spaces liveable
SINGAPORE - Innovative planning, design and development practices that emphasize a "people-first" focus can help ensure that rapid urbanisation does not compromise liveability and sustainability, according to a new publication by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Singapore's Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC).
10 Principles for Liveable High Density Cities: Lessons from Singapore draws upon Singapore's successful urbanisation experience - despite its population density, the city-state has consistently ranked favorably in various surveys measuring the liveability and sustainability of cities around the globe.
The ten principles in the publication were developed during two workshops hosted in 2012 by the CLC and ULI Asia Pacific, bringing together 62 thought leaders, experts and practitioners from different disciplines related to urban planning and development.
Discussions at the first workshop centred around the four case study districts in Singapore that both organisations consider to be both densely populated and highly liveable: the mixed-use downtown district of Marina Bay; the commercial corridor of Orchard Road, and two new public housing developments in Toa Payoh and Tampines.
The ideas and principles so generated were further developed, corroborated, and condensed into ten principles. The electronic version can be accessed online at


Helicopter Crash Puts Scrutiny on Tall Buildings
In the aftermath of the recent helicopter tragedy, London Mayor Boris Johnson has tentatively called for a re-examination of tall building safeguards in the city. The city's current regulations include a 1,000-foot height limit for buildings, warning lights and airman notification lists.
The British Airline Pilots Association lays some of the blame for the crash on the proliferation of tall buildings along the Thames, claiming over- development has created a risky flight environment. They are encouraging the city to update its safeguards.
"We'll want to review all our policies, we'll want to look at the way we illuminate tall buildings, the way cranes are illuminated, to make sure nothing went wrong in this case and make sure nothing goes wrong in the future," the Mayor said at a press conference.
In good visibility, helicopters in London are required to fly 1,000 feet above buildings; in low visibility, as on the day of the crash, the pilots drop below cloud cover, but still maintain a safe distance from tall buildings by flying through designated heli-lanes.
Investigators are examining the pilot’s actions.

Density and Block Size Adjustments Reduce Car Travel
Transport and Land Use has published a study examining the relationships between urban density, block size, and vehicle miles traveled. The study found that in older, more established cities, density and mixed-used areas were more important factors than block size for reducing miles traveled. But the study said smaller metro areas with lower density more effectively reduced miles traveled by shrinking their existing block sizes.


Glasgow about to become one of the UK’s first smart cities
Glasgow has just been granted the remarkable amount of £24m (almost €28m) by the UK government to become one of the first smart cities in the country. This Covenant of Mayors Signatory was selected among 30 candidate-cities which all submitted feasibility studies last November.
What does becoming a UK ‘smart’ city mean?
Glasgow will work to offer its citizens a better quality of life thanks to information technologies. The city will notably seek to improve services like security, transport, energy and health. For instance, the city council plans to develop real-time information about traffic, applications to check buses and train punctuality, to report potholes or a missing bin collection. The ‘smart’ city will also fight fuel poverty thanks to new gas and electricity delivery process. Weather conditions and energy levels will be monitored. Energy will be stored when demand is low and used when demand is higher.
"This is a huge boost to Glasgow's ambitions to build a better future for our city and its people”, said Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council.
"By linking everything from foot and vehicle traffic to council tax collection and hospital waiting lists we can ensure we are being as innovative and smart to meet the continued challenges of a modern and future city life."
All data collected in the project - including the feasibility studies - will be made publicly available.


How clean are Europe's cars? 2012 Report
This report is the seventh T&E has published on the annual progress Europe’s major car manufacturers have made in reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of new cars.
In previous years, T&E assessed how each car manufacturer was positioned to hit their mandatory CO2 standards that the European Union has set for 2015 (130 g/km on average). This year, for the first time they focus on how manufacturers are positioned to achieve the 95 g/km targets for 2020. The European Commission has recently proposed how manufacturers will need to achieve this target, a topic currently being discussed in the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
The reason for this change of target year is twofold. The previous reports have shown that 2015 targets are weak and manufacturers are well on track towards compliance, even over-compliance, and this year’s report further underlines this conclusion. The reason they over-comply is partly because they are manipulating the test results to artificially lower the official data and partly because manufacturers are planning for the stricter 2020 target. Loopholes in current tests must be closed and testing systems improved to avoid future abuses.
As they did in previous reports, T&E also assess progress per EU Member State.


What will America's cities look like in 20 years?
What can we expect in the next 20 years with regard to where we live? What will our homes look like? Will they be rented or mortgaged? What will the populations that inhabit them look like? These are the crucial questions urban planners and real estate developers will need to understand as they shape and design neighborhoods and communities as we head towards 2030.
In Reshaping Metropolitan America: Opportunities and Trends to 2030, Arthur C. Nelson, a leading expert on urban demographic trends, answers those questions with data and analysis that that comprise the blueprint of where we are going in the next two decades. Nelson delivers a resource that provides statistics about changes in population, jobs, housing, nonresidential space, and other key factors. Most importantly, he shows the benefits of reshaping America in ways that meet emerging market demands, and then outlines a policy agenda to do so. Reshaping Metropolitan America does not simply make predictions; it shows that Americans want better communities, what the benefits are, and how to get there.

New Sector Project “Sustainable Development of Metropolitan Regions”
A new GIZ sector project on Sustainable Development of Metropolitan Regions was commissioned by the BMZ and has started in January 2013 at GIZ headquarters in Eschborn.In Asia and Africa especially, dynamic urbanization and urban growth are taking place. While the population in most Megacities (cities with more than 10 million inhabitants) is growing quickly, they neither have the largest growth rates around the world. Instead, it is the small and medium-sized city-regions in emerging and developing nations that are the fastest growing, often in an unplanned and uncoordinated way. This unprecedented informal growth, often at the fringes of existing cities, is changing the way we define, plan and manage urban agglomerations.


Lithuania introduces priority lanes for sustainable travellers
In recently adopted traffic code changes in Lithuania, communities will be able to designate special lanes for public transport, electric vehicles and car poolers.
The “car pooling” allowance will apply to vehicles carrying at least four people, according to Lithuania’s Ministry of Transport and Communications. The priority lanes will be marked with symbols referring to electric vehicles and “4+”.
Municipalities who designate such lanes could also open them to motorised two wheelers. Taxis will be allowed where a “taxi” sign is posted. The new traffic code defines three new signs associated with electric vehicles: one to mark curbside charging points, one to exempt electric vehicles from restrictions applying to other vehicles; and a third that marks special parking spaces for electric vehicles.
The new signs were created at the behest of the Municipality of Vilnius, which hopes such demand-management measures will encourage people to use fewer single-occupancy vehicles during rush hour. The modifications also include new speed limits intended to get passenger cars and motorcycles to move at the same speeds on highways and motorways.


The Paris Agenda asserts the role of women in local policy decision-making
Gathering over 400 participants from 60 different countries, the Global Conference of Local Elected Women took place in Paris on 31-1 February. The meeting saw the adoption of the Paris Local and Regional Governments' Global Agenda for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life.
With the percentage of women Mayors below 5% and an average of 20% women Councilors worldwide, the participation of women in local decision making has stagnated since the late eighties when many affirmative mechanisms (such as quotas) were put in place around the planet.
Women continue to be a minority in all the spheres of public life. While there is a common understanding that equal involvement of women is a key issue for achieving democratic and developed societies, the original targets set out in Objective 3 of the MDGs do not appear to be enough and the promotion of the political participation of women, particularly at local level, should be higher in the international agenda.
The Agenda aims at becoming a strategic tool to increase the respect for equality between women and men in all spheres of decision-making. It builds on the knowledge gathered by our worldwide international movement and is inspired by the Worldwide Declaration on Women in Local Government and the values and principles contained in the European Charter on Equality of Women and Men in local Life.
It will be implemented within the framework of the MoU signed between UCLG and UN Women through the work at regional and national levels of the UCLG Sections (Metropolis and CEMR) and the Elected women networks around the world.
Over two days women and men from all areas of society discussed the following objectives that are subsequently the guidelines of the Declaration:
I. Increased participation of women in local decision-making, in order to guarantee equal representation and to achieve a successful development agenda Post-2015
II. Equality between women and men at the top of the agenda of local public policy making and adequate service provision to contribute to women's empowerment and to improving their situation
III. A safe world, in particular for women who are traditionally the most vulnerable to all types of violence
UCLG Founding President of Honour, Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, and Dr. Joan Clos, Under-Secretary General of the UN, recalled the progress that United Cities and Local Governments has made since its creation and called upon the organization, its members and partners to prepare for Habitat III in 2016 where the second Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities will take place. Local and regional authorities need to be even more present in Habitat III and they have the political and moral responsibility to put equality at the top of the new Urban Sustainability Agenda.
Anne Hidalgo stressed the important step undertaken by UCLG in transforming the Gender Equality Committee into a permanent body of the organization. She underlined the crucial role played by the African network, REFELA to undertake this step and the immediate support received by the UCLG President.
The Chair of the Standing Committee also recalled the support of UN Women and UN Habitat in UCLG´s work to promote women's empowerment, particularly highlighting the Advisory Group on Gender Issues AGGI.
Women the world over, gathered in Paris, called for the participation of women in local decision-making to be included as target of the MDGs. Women Mayors and Councillor called for more women to be involved in the development, management and monitoring of public services and for public services to avoid perpetuating stereotypes of women and men.
Local and regional authorities and their partners underlined the importance of legislation on violence and harassment towards women and to acknowledge the particular needs of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. They also stressed the need to work with the media to ensure a responsible involvement in the struggle against violence.
The UCLG Standing Committee will continue its work this year developing concrete actions to implement the Charter and will intensively work improving the representation of women in the governing bodies of UCLG in view of the upcoming electoral Congress of UCLG in Rabat 1-4 October 2013.
Materials of the Conference will be posted on


City to City Award
The period for entering candidatures for the City to City Barcelona FAD Award 2013 is now open.
We are opening the notification with the same objective as ever: to identify and recognise urban transformation processes (the sum of social, architectural, urbanistic, educational, cultural and other actions) that have brought about the transformation of a particular city for the benefit of its citizens.
As you will recall, the system for entering candidatures is participative and open. For this reason we encourage you to collaborate with us. If you know of any city that may be a candidate to win the prize, you can enter your candidature until February 28 by clicking here:


Berlin wins CityStar award
EUROCITIES member Berlin wins European award for its Neighbourhood Management scheme
The winners of the 2013 RegioStars awards were announced on 31 January 2013. EUROCITIES member Berlin was awarded the CityStars prize for its Neighbourhood Management scheme, which allows local residents to have a say in the renewal of deprived neighbourhoods. As a community, they set about developing and implementing projects to improve social cohesion, integration, education and public spaces in their surrounding areas. The project is funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund.
The RegioStars awards is now in its sixth year. An initiative by the European Commission, the awards recognise Europe’s most innovative and inspiring projects. The CityStar category was introduced in 2011, when it was won by EUROCITIES member Amsterdam, to specifically recognise those projects happening in Europe’s cities. The theme of the award changes each year. This year the focus was on ‘integrated approaches to sustainable urban development’.
The awards were presented at a ceremony in Brussels by European commissioner for regional policy, Johannes Hahn, and chair of the jury, Luc Van den Brande, former president of the Committee of the Regions.
Click here for more information on this year’s awards.


City Transport: It’s About Moving People, Not Vehicles
The number of vehicles on the world’s roads is on pace to double to about 1.7 billion by 2035. Pair that with a rapidly urbanizing population – six in 10 of us are likely to live in cities by 2030 – and the world’s cities have a transport problem in the making.
It’s also an opportunity, one that cities, particularly the fast-growing urban centers in developing countries, must take now.
Those that build efficient, inclusive urban transport systems can connect their people with jobs, health care, and education. They can reduce congestion, and they can limit carbon emissions that are contributing to climate change.
This is about basic quality of life and more. Fourteen percent of climate changing greenhouse gases come from the transport sector, and 90 percent of urban air pollution is generated by motor vehicles. That air pollution cuts into cities’ productivity and is blamed for the deaths of 800,000 people every year. Another 1.2 million people die from traffic crashes, 90 percent of them in low- and middle-income countries. The infrastructure and policy choices cities make today will lock them into urban development patterns for decades to come, patterns that will either facilitate healthy, economically viable cities or create cities marked by pollution, congestion, and climate change.


Launch of the platform for the electrification of surface transport - SAVE THE DATE: 19 March
The Platform for the Electrification of Surface Transport is organising a panel discussion on the electrification of transport at the European Parliament on Tuesday, 19 March 2013, from 18:30 to 20:30.


European Electromobility Observatory launched
The European Commission launched a new instrument to track the uptake of electromobility in Europe: the European Electromobility Observatory (EEO). Polis is part of the consortium implementing the EEO.