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UN-Habitat launches global wastewater debate
UN-Habitat's Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos on Monday announced the lanch of a new Global Consultation on Wastewater Management and Water Quality for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
"The global population is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050 with majority of growth expected in developing country urban areas with inadequate infrastructure. The pace of urbanization is a critical issue. The management of all forms of water and especially waste water is often conveniently forgotten in the political debate while in reality it is a time bomb waiting to explode," Dr. Clos said.
In a televised statement ( he also said that with current extreme climate events, continaminated water is likely to constitute an increasingly important risk to public health and a threat to recovery from disaster.
"A new emphasis should be placed the on prevention of wastewater as a critical component in order to ensure efficiency of the water cycle," Dr. Clos said. "This is best done by reducing the consumption of water to acceptable levels and by reducing the amount of harmful pollutants entering the water system."
UN-Habitat will lead the consultation, as part of the Thematic Consultation on Water, to discuss the role of wastewater management and water quality for global development goals after 2015. The consultation will solicit views from people at all levels key priorities in this area.
The consultation is taking place as an online debate on the World We Want 2015 website from 14 January - 17 February. It will culiminate with a high-level meeting on the Post-2015 Development Agenda on Water: Water Resources Management and Wastewater Management & Water Quality in Geneva from 27 - 28 February.


World Cities compete for Earth Hour Capitals
17 finalists from Canada, India, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the USA have been selected from a pool of 66 entrants for Earth Hour City Challenge – a competition organized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to promote cities worldwide to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
ICLEI collaborates with WWF in the challenge by mobilizing cities to join the competition and enabled them to report through carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR) – the world’s largest database on local climate adaptation and mitigation actions.
ICLEI member cities Vancouver (Canada), Coimbatore (India), Delhi (India), Siena (Italy), Arendal (Norway), Oslo (Norway), Stavanger (Norway), Malmö (Sweden), Stockholm (Sweden), Chicago (USA) and San Francisco (USA) are among the finalists.
“Cities are already aware of the need for measuring, reporting and verifying their actions in order to advance climate action globally. ICLEI is pleased to support the Earth Hour City Challenge as an excellent model of partnership with civil society to motivate and reward local governments for their achievements,” says ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin.
Mr. Van Begin and Martha Delgado, First Vice President of ICLEI Global Executive Committee and General Director of the Secretariat of the Global Cities Covenant on Climate Change, are among the international jury of experts selected for identifying cities with outstanding plans for low-carbon development.
Some of the innovative plans taken by local governments to improve urban environments and citizens’ quality of life include implementing congestion charges, developing solar energy hubs, integrating sustainability into public procurement processes, and refurbishing old buildings.
The finalists are now under evaluation by WWF and Accenture. The result will be presented at a conference in Malmö, Sweden, on 19 March 2013.


ICLEI joins hands with UNEP for the Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities
From January 2013, ICLEI and UNEP are collaborating on a global survey on Resource Efficiency in Cities. ICLEI will be involved in designing and disseminating the survey to local governments to explore their perspectives and their needs for a more efficient use of resources.
The survey is part of a broader project which includes a mapping exercise, conducted by Sustainable Cities International and Infrangilis, of the activities of other international stakeholders on resource efficiency in cities.
UNEP’s Global Initiative of Resource Efficiency in Cities (GI-REC) was launched during Rio+20 and is backed by ICLEI. Resource Efficiency is also one of ICLEI’s Strategic Agendas.
Covering areas such as waste management, efficient buildings and water use, the program aims to help cities worldwide to reduce pollution levels, improve resource efficiency and reduce infrastructure costs. Several cities have already joined the initiative, including the City of Sao Paulo, Malmo, Heidelberg, Quezon City and Gwangju.
Local governments which are interested to participate in the survey can already contact ICLEI at


100 EUrban solutions: good practices wanted!
OPEN DAYS exhibition will showcase urban and regional good practices
Ahead of OPEN DAYS 2013 taking place on 7-10 October, the Committee of the Regions is seeking good practices from cities and regions for its 100 EUrban solutions exhibition.
The exhibition will showcase urban and regional examples of transferable good practice in fields such as waste and water treatment, energy efficient buildings, urban transport and community-led local development.
Good practices can be submitted by cities, regions, private companies, EU institutions and local banks, and around 100 case studies will be exhibited in the Committee of the Regions, the European Commission and other Brussels-based premises.
This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your projects to an audience of up to 6,000 visitors expected to attend OPEN DAYS 2013.
To find out more and to submit your good practice example, click here. The deadline for submissions is 6 March 2013.
Please also remember that at EUROCITIES we produce ‘cities in action’ case studies which showcase inspirational good practices from across the network. If you are a EUROCITIES member and have a project you think is worth sharing, please contact Rose Montgomery at our secretariat.


Webinar: Chicago's New Americans Plan: Building a Thriving and Welcoming City
February 5, 2013
Big Ideas webinar @Cities of Migration
Join Adolfo Hernandez, Director, Chicago Office of New Americans, to learn about the city’s Big Ideas for making Chicago “the most immigrant-friendly city” in the U.S. In conversation with: Suzette Brooks Masters, J.M. Kaplan Fund of New York.
The Chicago New Americans Plan identifies 27 initiatives that will make Chicago the “most immigrant friendly city in the nation.” The first of its kind in the U.S., the Chicago Plan highlights the economic impact that can be achieved when cities support the creation and expansion of immigrant-owned businesses and develop strategies to attract and retain talent and expertise from other countries. Over the next three years, the Plan aims to bolster Chicago’s status as a vibrant, welcoming and international city.


Free assistance with procurement of clean and energy-efficient vehicles
The Clean Fleets Project can offer your organisation with the procurement of clean and energy-efficient vehicles.
The Clean Fleets Project will help public authorities and fleet operators to implement the EC Clean Vehicles Directive, which is now integrated into national law in all EU Member States.
The project will provide support with tendering, modular training, opportunities for information exchange and specific advice to those organisations who must comply with the Directive. It will also assist those who wish to go further than compliance, with innovative ways to purchase or lease clean and energy-efficient vehicles.
As part of the project, an online discussion forum will be created and materials such as case studies, guidance and tools will be developed – along with regular newsletters. In addition, more direct support for public authorities and fleet operators is also available.
Already underway, the Clean Vehicle Portal is another relevant project that provides information about the lifetime cost of a vehicle in line with the Clean Vehicles Directive.


Guangzhou launches publication on urban innovation
The city of Guangzhou, China, has launched the publication Deserving and Outstanding Initiatives of the 2012 Guangzhou International Award, following the success of the first edition of the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation, a result of a joint initiative with Metropolis (World Association of Major Metropolises), UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) and the city of Guangzhou.


City, Environment and Education publication
The 4th volume of the monograph of the International Association of Educating Cities (IAEC) entitled “City, Environment and Education”. The monograph has been published in order to provide a framework for reflection on the environmental responsibility of local governments and their potential as educating agents.
The publication compiles interviews and articles, as well as a selection of experiences that show how different cities put into practice policies in this field.
Through interviews of prominent politicians and representatives of environmental organisations, we invite readers to reflect on the impact of the development of cities on the environment and the possible measures that can be applied.
The experts analyse the evolution of local sustainability policies over the last 20 years and strategies for improving the quality of life of our cities. They also deal with questions such as the role of citizens in the struggle against climate change and the need to build eco-intelligent cities, which will enable the adoption of a green, urban economic model.
Experiences from 5 member cities also showcase local initiatives in the area of citizen advice and awareness (Munich and Sorocaba), preservation of biodiversity (Vila Real), promotion of green growth (Changwon) and applications of Agenda 21 in schools (Barcelona).
Moreover, the monograph includes the “Declaration of Changwon” which was proclaimed during the 12th International Congress of Educating Cities, which includes proposals for moving towards a more sustainable urban development.
You can read the Monograph online at the IAEC’s portal


Converting existing districts Smart City style
How to apply the notions of “Smart City” to an existing business district, a future development area on a very constrained zone and a renewal project on the Seine waterfront where a former paperworks factory just closed, while having a global development strategy?
Read the final report on the peer-to-peer review on urban smartness on the territory of La Defense Seine Arche in Paris, France to find out more about it.


Cities in Asia, 2012: Demographics, economics, poverty, environment and governance
The paper "Cities in Asia 2012" is a summary and update of the United Nations first-ever report on The State of Asian Cities 2010/11.
With 42% of its population in cities in 2010, Asia is urbanising rapidly; its cities are highly productive and generate an estimated 80% of the region's GDP. Despite the sustained economic growth of Asian economies in the recent decades, urban poverty, inequality, slums, poor urban environmental quality and liveability, worsening disaster risks and effects of climate change pose major development challenges. While decentralization has helped widen the scope of urban governance, greater attention is needed to enhancing transparency and accountability in decision-making, planning and governance of smaller cities and towns, infrastructure investments, and city-to-city learning.,%202012%20-%20Cities.pdf


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.


Funding available for transport champion cities!
Covenant of Mayors Signatories can apply to become champion cities and deploy innovative transport measures in their territories. Finalist cities will be granted €21,000 to fund actions that contribute to reach their SEAP objectives in the field of transport.
The European-funded TIDE project is launching a call to select ten champion cities to develop concrete and tailored implementation scenarios to help them integrate innovative measures in their local transport policy.
Champion cities can choose from 15 such measures across five main thematic areas: new pricing measures; non-motorised transport; advanced network and traffic management to support traveler information; advanced electric vehicles; and public transport organization.
The selected champion cities will each receive a €21,000 budget which should allow to:
Contribute to the development of an implementation scenario in cooperation with the TIDE consortium
Involve stakeholders in Local Innovation Forums
Participate in training and best practice sharing
Organise a national dissemination event in their country
These activities should be conducted between April 2013 and June 2015.
If you are interested in becoming a TIDE champion city, make sure to apply before 28 February 2013. Further details and application form are available on


Mayor of Bilbao named most oustanding mayor of 2012
The mayor of Bilbao (Spain), Iñaki Azkuna, has been awarded the 2012 World Mayor Prize by the City Mayors Foundation for being the year’s most outstanding mayor.
The City of Bilbao has been transformed into an international centre for tourism and culture since the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in 1997. The museum, having contributed an estimated €2.4 billion to the Basque Province’s GDP since its opening, has helped increase the number of annual visitors to the city from 100 000 in 1997 to 700 000 in 2011.
In 1999, Askuna was elected mayor of Bilbao and used the museum’s high profile to further rebuild the former industrial city. Under his administration, the city has managed to steadily reduce its debt, which was fully paid off by 2011.
Upon receiving the prize, Askuna underlined the importance of involving citizens in new city development projects. He was selected among 900 candidates, a process during which over 463 000 citizens spoke out.

Sustainable transport: The “right mix”, in video!
To reach the energy-climate objectives and ensure a sustainable future, EU citizens will have to change their transportation habits.
This is the message the European Commission intends to deliver through an amusing fact-based video entitled “Do the right mix”. Indeed, as the video suggests, using cars is often more about an addiction than a real need. It encourages citizens to “get out of the habit of using them automatically”, and to do the right mix between cars and sustainable ways of transport whenever possible.
This is an occasion to be reminded the numerous advantages offered by soft modes of transport: they contribute to reducing CO2 emissions and pollution, allow for more space in the city, and are a strong ally of citizens’ health and wallet.
Watch the video here

In Japanese Tsunami Zone, a Plan to Elevate Cities
The Yomiuri Shimbun reports on plans to elevate the ground level in urban areas that were inundated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, prior to rebuilding. One town will elevate its land by 17 meters (55 feet).
12 cities in the coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures are planning radical land elevation and readjustment projects to protect themselves from future disasters. "The targeted areas together measure 740 hectares, nearly 15 times larger than Tokyo Disneyland, and the quantity of dirt required is calculated to be 17.5 million cubic meters--enough to fill the Tokyo Dome 14 times," reports The Yomiuri Shimbun. "Some municipalities are concerned about the delay in beginning work due to a shortage of dirt and other logistical factors."
"While most of them plan to raise the ground level by one to six meters, the municipal government of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, aims to raise it by up to 17 meters, which would make the area 18 meters above sea level. The mound will be as high as a five-story condominium."
"So far, 11 municipalities have released cost estimates for the planned land elevation and readjustment, together totaling about 300 billion yen. If approved, the central government would pay for all of it. The work in 12 districts in eight municipalities is expected to be completed in fiscal 2017 or later."

Munich to host 2014 annual conference on sustainable cities
Munich will host the EUROCITIES annual conference in November 2014, and yesterday held a press conference to introduce the theme of sustainable cities. Chairing the panel was Dieter Reiter of Munich’s department of labour and economy, joined by EUROCITIES secretary general Paul Bevan; Dr Thomas Becker, head of policy at the BMW group; Rudolf Martin Siegers, head of Siemens Germany; and Dr Florian Bieberbach, CEO of Stadwerke München (SWM).
Europe’s cities are striving to become more energy-efficient and climate-friendly, and the conference will offer city experts a chance to share their ideas and experiences in this field. Big technology companies are likely to play an important role in partnering cities to support them in this direction.
That’s why Munich has teamed up with Siemens, BMW and Stadwerke München for the conference. They will present concrete projects for energy efficient urban development in the areas of traffic management, mobility concepts and energy production.
The city expects a turnout of around 400 people, including many mayors and city leaders, who, through keynotes, discussions and workshops will explore how cities are and can carry out energy-efficient urban development.

Security, Democracy and Cities: the Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis Manifesto
At a time when Europe and the world are going through an economic crisis that may jeopardize the social and cultural heritage of the twentieth century, local authorities, institutions and Civil society representatives, gathered under the auspices of Efus in Aubervilliers and Saint Denis, wish to reaffirm that facts show that social prevention policies are effective in terms of fight against violence and crime. Let us be reminded that prevention is five times less expensive than other policies, and in that regard is not only humanly but also economically more efficient.
This has led Efus to choose “the future of Prevention” as a theme for its fifth international conference in Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis, after Montréal, Barcelona, Paris, Naples and Zaragoza during which more than 900 people, including representatives of 180 cities and 36 countries on five continents gathered on 12, 13 and 14 December 2012.
This conference was concluded by the adoption of a Manifesto, published hereinafter, and to which will be added recommendations from the thematic sessions of the Conference.
Far from being a Conference report, this Manifesto is an expression of its conclusions and the principles advocated by its participants and sets out the principles and values of the Efus community. It is designed to be a source of support and inspiration for local authorities in designing and promoting their security policies. It also aims to carry the voice of cities, towards national, European and international institutions.

City and business leaders commit to strengthen sustainable city development at Okayama
Organized by ICLEI Japan, Okayama City and Okayama Education for Sustainable Development Promotion Commission, the International Seminar “Partnership with Business Sector toward Sustainable City Development” gathered over 60 city and business leaders from the Southeast Asia region at Okayama on 21 November 2012 to share experience and strengthen commitment towards sustainable city development.
The seminar outcomes was summed up by the Okayama Declaration, in which participants agreed to enhance cooperation and partnership between municipalities and the business sector on various socioeconomic issues and municipal city policy development.
With financial support from Japan Fund for Global Development, the seminar is part of the preparation towards the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development to be held in Aichi-Nagoya and Okayama City in 2014.
To find out more, read the Okayama Declaration.


Workshop on the participation of women in local decision-making!
How has the participation of women in local decision-making evolved in the past years? What role can the European Union play in promoting equality between women and men in local life?.What are the goals and priorities for gender equality for the next ten years? How can CEMR’s European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life, elaborated by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), serve as a basis for a similar charter at the international level?
Find out the answers to these questions and bring your own input to the table during a workshop on "the participation of women in local decision-making" led by CEMR in the framework of the three-day Global Conference of Local Elected Women in Paris, France.
CEMR will notably launch the Observatory on the European Charter for Equality’s website at this occasion. The website is to be an online tool for the Charter’s 1 300 signatory municipalities and regions, providing them with support in the elaboration and implementation of gender equality action plans. It will also include examples of best practices and an atlas of signatories.
The Conference, entitled “Gender equality, a priority for global development”, will also see participants discuss ways of making our cities safer for women as well as the role of women in finding innovative funding methods and access to basic services. The overall aim of the event is to put forward recommendations so that the participation of women in all decision-making fields becomes a priority in the United Nations’ post-2015 global agenda for development, the successor of the millennium development goals.
Wednesday 30 January to Friday 1 February 2013.


Covenant of Mayors – What’s in store for 2013?
The Covenant of Mayors is an ever-improving initiative, constantly adapting its methods and processes based on the feedback provided by its growing community. Over the past few months, the Covenant of Mayors Office (CoMO) and Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission have been particularly active in revising and enhancing the procedures in place, notably to better echo the needs of signatories. As we embark on a new year, the Covenant of Mayors Office shares its 2013 resolutions:


ICLEI welcomes new Secretary General - Gino Van Begin
Gino Van Begin succeeds Konrad Otto-Zimmermann as ICLEI Secretary General from 1 January 2013. Gino served as ICLEI Regional Director for Europe since 2002 and Deputy Secretary General since 2007, he brings to his position a wealth of experience in coordinating and leading international institutions and organizations across different aspects of sustainable urban development.
“Gino is an excellent choice for this role,” said Konrad, who bows out after 20 years of service. “The Global Executive Committee and our team of staff can rely on his leadership and dedication. He has led the most international of our regional secretariats in terms of nationalities represented, languages spoken and working relationships with other regions for more than ten years and assisted me in global affairs as our Deputy Secretary General,” he added.
From 2003-2006, Gino was a member of the EU Expert Group to the European Commission on the Urban Environment, and is a member of the European Commission’s Jury on the European Green Capital.
Before joining ICLEI in 2000, Gino worked as advisor and as Team Leader at the EU-funded Environmental Centres for Administration and Technology in Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg, Russia for seven years.
From 1987 to 1993, he was a legal advisor at the European Commission’s DG Environment, General Secretariat and DG External relations. He also worked at the Cabinet of the Vice-President of the Government of Flanders and Minister of Economy, Small Business and Energy.
Gino has consistently and comprehensively worked over the last 12 years towards ensuring ICLEI’s quality as a responsible, professional, non for profit, local government organization in Europe. He has been ICLEI’s Chief Negotiator on local climate actions and was instrumental in organizing various major events, such as the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Conferences which have grown to become the major sustainability rendezvous for local governments in Europe.
Gino’s vision is to extend this excellent leadership to the ICLEI World Secretariat on a global level. He says, “ICLEI with its multi-facets and various functions, as developed by our two former Secretary Generals, is set to play important roles at all levels. As the Secretary General, I will be thrilled to contribute my energy, intellectual capacities, diplomacy and perseverance to take this mission-driven organization to the next stages of ambition.”


POLITE 2nd newsletter as a start of 2013 work
POLITE, a project focusing on policy learning in the field of ICT for public transport, shares in its 2nd newsletter the infomobility measures and policies that partners would like to exchange.
The POLITE project is gaining momentum and the second issue of its newsletter is now out. The consortium is currently defining the infomobility measures and policies that they would like to share between themselves and to see implemented in their sites. Ten groups of measures have been identified, amongst which for example, ‘Public transport information measures’, ‘Public transport operation reorganization into multimodal system’ and ‘Public transport legislation and regulation’. The consortium meeting hosted by LaTDEA in Riga at the end of September decided in addition on the joint methodology for external best practices search and exchange. The ABOUT section gives more insight into the working process and outcomes.
The regular interview with an expert, this time talks about multimodal, multiservice, multichannel payment and ticketing and presents a geomarketing tool which allows matching demand for public transport with offer. Partners have worked also to create newsletters in their own languages - Czech, Italian, Latvian and Polish. Local newsletters are available on POLITE website.


Global Tall Building Completions Drop, But Uptick Expected in 2013
For the first time in six years the number of tall buildings completed annually around the world declined in 2012, according to the annual year-in-review study by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Sixty-six buildings taller than 200 meters were completed during 2012, the third most in history, but down from the 82 finished in 2011.
This number of completions was slightly lower than expected, with some projects under construction delayed or stalled due to the consequential effects of the 2008/2009 global financial crisis in many Western countries. However, several of the projects forecast to finish in 2012 are now expected to complete in 2013 and 2014, with global completion numbers expected to rise again next year, the study found.


Dublin hosts cities against poverty conference
The World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty (WACAP8) conference takes place in Dublin on 20-21 February 2013
The theme of this year's conference is the role of technology in addressing the challenge of urban poverty and in making cities smart, safe and sustainable.
City mayors and other key decision makers, urban planners, civil society representatives and leaders at the forefront of technology and innovation from more than 50 countries will attend. A range of workshops, panel discussions and networking events will highlight practices, products, tools and on the ground experience in developing smart, safe and sustainable cities.
Rotterdam hosted the WACAP7 conference in 2010, promoting multi-level development solutions through a multi-stakeholder approach. Marco Florijn, vice mayor of Rotterdam will officially handover the role of host city to Naoise O’Muirí, lord mayor of Dublin.
Rotterdam will participate in the conference through a demonstration of its ‘safety index’ and explain how this tool has contributed to policy development and project implementation processes.
WACAP is in the process of becoming a UN-supported network of local authorities with close connections to national governments, civil society, academia and the private sector. These partners will work together to improve access to basic services in cities. Rotterdam was actively involved in strengthening the network by creating new partnerships and reaching out to existing and potential members.


State of the World's Cities 2012/2013
The City is the Home of Prosperity. It is the place where human beings find satisfaction of basic needs and access to essential public goods. The city is also where ambitions, aspirations and other material and immaterial aspects of life are realized, providing contentment and happiness. It is a locus at which the prospects of prosperity and individual and collective well-being can be increased.
What this new edition of State of the World's Cities shows is that prosperity for all has been compromised by a narrow focus on economic growth. UN-Habitat suggests a fresh approach to prosperity beyond the solely economic emphasis, including other vital dimensions such as quality of life, adequate infrastructures, equity and environmental sustainability. The Report proposes a new tool – the City Prosperity Index – together with a conceptual matrix, the Wheel of Prosperity, both of which are meant to assist decision makers to design clear policy interventions.
The Report advocates for the need of cities to enhance the public realm, expand public goods and consolidate rights to the 'commons' for all as a way to expand prosperity. This comes in response to the observed trend of enclosing or restricting these goods and commons in enclaves of prosperity, or depleting them through unsustainable use.


New Website Helps Create Walkable Communities
A new website,, provides communities tactics for creating walkable communities., a new website created by America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE), gives communities large and small both tactics and case studies they can use to make their communities more pedestrian-friendly. In this interview on Transportation Radio, Laura MacNeil of SSE discusses the site and explains a few of the steps urban, suburban and rural communities can take to improve walkability.
The information provided on the website is also available in pdf and hardcopy formats, and is "the basis for webinars, trainings, and walkshops™ to help put innovative, multidisciplinary pro-walking tactics in the hands of citizens, planners, and engineers."


Smart Cities Study on the situation of ICT, innovation and Knowledge in cities
One of the main activities carried out by the Committee of Digital and Knowledge-based Cities of UCLG in 2012 has been the elaboration of the "Smart Cities Study: International study on the situation of ICT, innovation and Knowledge in cities".
A work that has been developed with a lot of excitment and that represents a milestoe in the committee, since it is its first publication developed.
The last few decades have seen rapid development in information and communication technologies (ICTs), innovation and knowledge, which has increased their presence in day-to-day life and made them basic elements for the social and economic progress of territories.
Being aware of this tendency, the Committee has been working in 2012 in the developedment of the "Smart Cities Study: International study on the situation of ICT, innovation and Knowledge in cities" in which 28 cities form all over the world have collaborated.


Webinar: Chicago's New Americans Plan: Building a Thriving and Welcoming City
5 February
Join Adolfo Hernandez, Director, Office of New Americans, City of Chicago for a conversation about Big Ideas for making Chicago “the most immigrant-friendly city” in the U..S. In conversation with: Suzette Brooks Masters, Program Director, J.M. Kaplan Fund of New York.
The Chicago New Americans Plan identifies 27 initiatives that will make Chicago the “most immigrant friendly city in the nation.” The first of its kind in the U.S., the Chicago Plan highlights the economic impact that can be achieved when cities support the creation and expansion of immigrant-owned businesses and develop strategies to attract and retain talent and expertise from other countries. Over the next three years, the Plan aims to bolster Chicago’s status as a vibrant, welcoming and international city.
“With residents from over 140 countries and more than 100 languages spoken in our city, Chicago is a city of immigrants,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These immigrants are small business owners, teachers, parents, clergymen, elected officials, and leaders in our communities. This is why I am committed to making Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the nation.”


Reykjavík reduces harms from cleaning products through Green Procurement
Chemicals in cleaning products pose harm to human health and the environment. To address this long standing public concern, the government of Reykjavík – Iceland’s capital and largest city, launched the Green Cleaning Program in 2009 to promote the purchasing of eco-friendly chemical cleaners through public procurement.
Ecolabeling – now a key prerequisite for public procurement on cleaning services in Reykjavík, did not only facilitate a boom in the application for ecolabled products – products that comply with the ISO 14001 management system, are Nordic Swan eco-labeled, or fulfill comparable criteria, but has also led to a substantial increase in the market share for ecolbeled cleaning services from less than 10 to 50 percent.
The program also witnessed considerable success in cutting public costs and chemical consumption. Within two years, the proportion of green cleaning services purchased by the city increased drastically from almost nothing to 74 percent in 2011, cleaning costs were halved, and the level of chemical consumption by new office building has dropped by 65 percent. Employees also showed greater satisfaction in working in a cleaner and healthier environment.
The initial success of the two pilot projects involving new city office building (10,218m² floor area) and 63 kindergartens (30,353m² floor area) encourage the start of a wider program in the city of Reykjavík. It is expected that the city can achieve the goal of 100 percent green cleaning service by 2013.
As part of Iceland’s National Action Plan on green procurement and international strategies, the Green Cleaning Program demonstrates how green public procurement can help promote a resource efficient and low-carbon economy without incurring additional financial or ecological costs.


Winners of Dubai Award announced
An independent jury of international experts has announced the 12 winners of the 2012 Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment.


The World We Want 2015: Join the consultations
"The World We Want is a growing movement of people all over the world contributing their vision towards an overall plan to build a just and sustainable world free from poverty. It will help ensure that global efforts to secure a post-2015 development agenda are based on the perspective of people living in poverty.
In 2000, world leaders promised to halve extreme poverty by 2015 with a global plan called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Thanks to millions of people taking action and a massive global effort, we have already made real progress. The number of people living in poverty has fallen to less than half of its 1990 level. Over two billion people gained access to better drinking water. The share of slum dwellers living in cities fell, improving the lives of at least 100 million people!


IMAGINE low energy cities: creativity and cooperation are the tools for change
"Long-term visions helping short-term decisions"
The 7th IMAGINE seminar took place in Munich form 3 to 5 December. Organised by the city of Munich and Energy Cities in collaboration with the city of Lille, it was the first inter-regional seminar to be organised within the framework of the IMAGINE INTERREG IVC project.
Global issues were tackled through the inputs of renowned thinkers, such as Hans Peter Dürr and Jörg Schindler. Participants also had the possibility to assist to a conference by Dennis Meadows on sustainability. These inputs showed that universal problems can be tackled at all levels. Lifestyles, habits, mental frames need to be changed. Creativity and cooperation are the tools for such a change.


Amsterdam Open Data Programm winner of World Smart Cities Awards 2012
The city of Amsterdam has won the World Smart Cities Awards 2012 with its Open Data Program for transport and mobility. This program aims at improving the accesibility of the city. It is a part of the Amsterdam Smart City approach.


Awards for best practice transfer in Mobility Management
Apply now for the 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. There are best practice databases, toolkits, training sessions, working groups and exchange mechanisms out there.
As part of the EPOMM activities on policy exchange, we are delivering an annual award for the most effective policy or best practice transfer on Mobility Management.
Likely candidates will come from ongoing or completed projects from Interreg IVC, Intelligent Energy Europe projects and others which have achieved a shift in policy from one entity to another as a result of the approaches they have used.
This is an opportunity to disseminate your transferred policy, your project as a whole and the methodology you used of the benefits of others.
Two representatives from the winning organisation will be invited to receive their award at the European Conference on Mobility Management in Gavle, 29-31 May 2013. Travel, accommodation and ECOMM delegate fee will be paid for up to a maximum of €1000 per person.
Deadline for application: 25 February 2013!


Cities submit 2020 Olympic bids
Exactly eight months before the vote, the race for the 2020 Summer Games moved into a crucial phase Monday when the three candidate cities submitted their bid plans to the International Olympic Committee.
Leaders from Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo handed over their documents at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, setting the stage for the final months of an international campaign featuring three cities bidding again after previous defeats.
At a time of continuing global economic uncertainty, Madrid is bidding for a third consecutive time, Tokyo a second time in a row and Istanbul a fifth time overall.


UCLG starts the new year with its sights set on the post 2015 development agenda and Habitat III
As the 2015 deadline for the achievement of the 2005 Millennium Development Goalsapproaches the United Nations and the international community are preparing to define a new agenda that will follow on - the so-called Post 2015 agenda.
The Local and Regional Government Taskforce on Post-2015 UN Development Agenda
Local and regional authorities were identified as key actors in achieving the original MDGs and will therefore need to play an important role in the definition of this new global agenda. To ensure that the vision and concerns of local and regional authorities will be fully represented in the new development agenda UCLG President, Dr. Kadir Topbas, expressed his commitment to bringing this vision to the High Level Panel for Post 2015 in which he will participate. He further proposed the creation of a Local and Regional Government Taskforce that will include all relevant sister organizations along with experts and partners, and focuses on catalysts of development such as: addressing inequalities, promoting participatory governance and creating the necessary conditions to provide basic services. The UCLG World Council that met in Dakar on the 6 December 2012 approved this initiative. UCLG will propose to organize the 1st meeting of the Local and Regional Government Taskforce with the sister organizations probably in New York at mid February.

Position of Local and Regional Governments
A first working paper on "The role of Local and Regional Authorities in the UN Development Agenda Post 2015" was also presented and discussed in Dakar. In this paper, UCLG stress the need for a more coherent approach at national and sub-national levels in the future development agenda, the necessity to pay more attention to the urbanization of poverty, building inclusive cities and territories, minimizing risk, including cross cutting objectives on governance and developing a sense of ownership and accountability at all levels, international, national and also sub-national. The success of alternative development strategies-underlines the UCLG paper-, will depend on a fundamental revision of the global partnership and the institutional and financial framework that should underpin the goals and targets.
In parallel, UCLG presented a paper on "Who can address inequality? - The often forgotten role of Local Governments" in the global thematic consultation on Inequalities. And also participated in the global consultation on Governance, in the 1st Regional Conference in Africa and in the first opened debate on the "governance building blocks for a post-2015 agenda" carried out through the site web the with a two-phase questionnaire. In response to 1st Phase, the UCLG task force identified the drive towards increased local democracy and decentralization and the Principle of Subsidiarity as key building blocks. UCLG draws particular attention to the changing circumstances since the MDG and calls on innovative forms of participatory democracy to address inequalities and giving voice to the poor and most vulnerable.
In response to Phase II on, "human rights principles and obligations" to secure the best possible delivery of services in the Post 2015 agenda, UCLG highlighted that the process should not only be inclusive but relevant and locally owned while address the significant imbalance between new responsibilities and the resources available to implement them.

3rd meeting of the Post-2015 High level Panel - Monrovia, Liberia
Next step of the process will be the third High Level Panel meeting in Monrovia to focus on 'National Building Blocks for Sustained Prosperity'. The HLP meeting will be held between 30 Jan to 1 Feb 2013 and will include a dialogue with civil society and other stakeholders.
Discussions will be organized around the broad theme of 'National Building Blocks for Sustained Prosperity', with a particular focus on economic transformation. Kadir Topbas will present a contribution on Sustainable Urbanization.
More information: for further updates.


Going Public
Going Public showcases the creative revival of public space in our urban and rural landscapes. The book's selection of formal and informal interventions, reclamations, and architecture illustrates the current scope and interest in refashioning and repurposing our built environment for public use.


Sustainable infrastructure projects at the Global Energy Basel Summit
Resilient Cities partner Global Energy Basel invites to the 3rd Sustainable Infrastructure Investment Summit which will take place in Basel, Switzerland from 22 to 23 January 2013. In parallel to a number of sessions and workshops, the event will host four Investment Forums which aim to bring investors and sustainable infrastructure projects together. Cases of ICLEI member cities in Asia, Africa and South America will be featured amongst a number of projects presented at the Forums. Interested in learning more about sustainable infrastructure project management? Attend the Capacity Building Day organized on the day before the summit. Visit to register and read more.


In Utrecht, clever commuting is paying off
Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands and due to its central location, tens of thousands of commuters travel through it every day.
In order to reduce the daily stop and go on Utrecht’s highways, the Province has put in place an innovative project: Spitsvrij (eng: off-peak) encourages commuters to travel off rush hour. The participants’ change in timing is being facilitated thanks to tailor-made travel advices, carpooling opportunities, traffic updates etc. A complete overview of all available services can be found on


Urban accessibility initiatives win Berlin European award
EUROCITIES member Berlin has been recognised for its initiatives aimed at improving accessibility within the urban environment for disabled citizens.
The city was awarded the Access City Award 2013, a European Commission initiative which rewards cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants that are taking exemplary efforts to improve accessibility.
This means making urban living more comfortable for less able citizens, addressing areas such as the built environment and public spaces; transport and related infrastructure; information and communication; and public facilities and conveniences. Initiatives should be carried out in a sustainable manner and the winning city acts as a role model for other cities seeking good practice examples.
A total of 99 cities from 20 EU member states applied for the 2013 award. Berlin was selected as the winner by a jury comprised of experts from the European Commission and the European Disability Forum. Two runners up, Nantes and Stockholm, both EUROCITIES members, were also named by the jury.
The jury also picked out four ‘special mentions’ addressing specific areas of urban accessibility. This list includes EUROCITIES member Bilbao for its efforts relating to information and communication and new technologies.
The award was presented in front of Viviane Reding, European Commission vice president, and Erzsebet Földesion, vice president of the European Disability Forum, on 3 December 2012 during the European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference.
Berlin is the chair of our working group barrier-free city for all, under our mobility forum, which aims to improve barrier-free accessibility in Europe's cities. The city was also shortlisted for a EUROCITIES award in 2011 for its 'Grasping Berlin- shaping Berlin' project, through which it developed two planning handbooks setting out guidelines and standards for architects and city planners to respond better to the needs of disabled and visually-impaired citizens.


Cities hold the key to Doha Climate Gateway
The UN Climate Change Summit ended in Doha last Saturday after negotiators agreed to the Doha Climate Gateway - a deal that extends the Kyoto Protocol for eight more years, introduces new principles on compensation of loss and damage, and opens the path to a broader global climate action by drafting a new universal climate agreement by 2015.
ICLEI welcomes the Doha outcomes as modest steps towards ensuring the integrity of global, rule-based system for climate change, but is concerned that the pace of intergovernmental process is far below the level to respond effectively to urgent climate crisis. It also fails to fully reflect the dynamism towards developing a new low-emission, low-carbon, climate-resilient, resource-efficient urban environment.
The outcomes’ lack of reference to local climate action - despite the very strong statements delivered by countries including US, EU, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia at numerous sessions before and during the Conference - is particularly disappointing.
“We are observing a clear and growing intention among both developed and developing countries to work closely with local and subnational governments on raising level of ambition” said Gino van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General. “The climate community is much more eager to tap on the potential of local climate action. Such partnerships are the key to ensure tangible success in global climate action, while intergovernmental negotiations advance.”
Acting as the focal point of local governments and municipal authorities to the UN Climate Change process since 1995, ICLEI facilitated advocacy efforts and supported the World Climate Summit and Sustainable Innovation Forum as an institutional partner in Doha.
A side event was held on 6 December, where ICLEI presented the 2012 updates on local governments’ implementation of global climate initiatives such as the Mexico City Pact and Durban Adaptation Charter.
Reta Jo Lewis, Special Representative of US Department of State, Evelyn Huytebroeck, Minister of Environment of Brussels Capital Region, Rodolfo Godínez, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Mexico, Jens Fugl of European Commission and Robert Kehew of UN-Habitat addressed ICLEI side event, where city representatives from Tokyo, Belo Horizonte, Buenos Aires, Thane, Kaohsiung and Mexico presented their achievements in climate change mitigation and adaptation over the past year.
A new report from carbonn Cities Climate Registry – the world’s largest global database on local climate action – was also released on the same date, revealing 2,092 local climate change mitigation and adaptation actions, 561 GHG inventories amounting to annual community GHG emissions of 1.5 Gigatonnes CO2e by 232 cities from 25 countries worldwide.
To consolidate local efforts and to come up with a strengthened and action-oriented global advocacy and network, ICLEI will meet with mayors, councilors and governors from around the world in Nantes in September 2013 - as a preparation to the Warsaw Climate Conference in 2013 and World´s Leaders Climate Summit in 2014 to be convened by UN Secretary General.


Fired-uP: FIRE services Develop innovative Procurement
London Fire Brigade and the City of Ghent, Belgium are cooperating in a project co-financed under the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme of the European Union: Fired-uP.