Blog

Lessons in sustainability from India's past: Changing the nature of agricultural practices
October 31, 2018
The agricultural sector occupies a significant place in India’s economy, contributing 15 percent of the country’s GDP and employing 47 percent of its labor. It is also extremely sensitive to climate change, with estimates suggesting that climate shifts have already cost India 1.5 percent of its GDP. Unfortunately,  agriculture itself is also a major source 

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Why smart mobility needs a reality check
October 30, 2018
by Julian Dörr, Assistant, Smart Cities, ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability _ The highly mobile lifestyles seen in cities today have become an increasingly complex headache for local governments worldwide to handle. Many cities struggle with greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and traffic congestion. With the highly anticipated and impending arrival of smart mobility, 

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Confronting the energy burden – Achieving energy equity for low-income communities
September 24, 2018
by Hannah Rothschild, City-Business Collaboration Officer, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability To learn more about the Urban Transitions Alliance visit www.urbantransitions.org _ Cities in the Urban Transitions Alliance are moving away from their industrial energy-intensive heritage and setting ambitious energy efficiency targets. A broad range of projects and programs have spearheaded sustainability efforts, reduced 

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New York moves to divest: Case study from the largest municipal pension fund in the United States
September 11, 2018
New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major U.S. city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels. At the same time, we’re bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits. 

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Four steps to climate neutrality
September 11, 2018
Cities across the world are committing to climate neutrality and taking bold action to get there. Reykjavík, Iceland is using geothermal energy to achieve its 2040 neutrality target, New York City is divesting from fossil fuels and the Australian Capital Territory intends to hit 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020. The Paris Agreement aims for 

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Local and regional governments are driving the global transition to renewable energy
September 11, 2018
Cities consume about 75 percent of global primary energy, making it crucial that local and regional governments work alongside nations, businesses and civil society to drive the renewable energy transition . This will not only slash global greenhouse gas emissions but also improve energy security in urban areas worldwide. Local and regional governments around the 

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How can climate action find USD 480 billion?
September 6, 2018
At first glance, building the world’s sustainable infrastructure looks dauntingly expensive. There are, for example, figures like the one written by the International Institute of Applied Statistical Analysis: “To meet countries’ NDCs”, writes the IIASA, “an additional US$130 billion of investment will be needed by 2030, while to achieve the 2°C target the gap is 

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9 cities that lead on nature-based development
September 5, 2018
The health of natural ecosystems is crucial to the health of cities and urban populations. From essential services like water purification, flood control and climate regulation to a range of physical and mental health benefits, societies thrive by building a strong connection to nature. Biodiversity loss and ecosystem changes are a reality in our urban 

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Getting urbanization right: achieving the SDGs
July 17, 2018
“If we are to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, end extreme poverty, protect the planet, and ensure peace and prosperity for everyone, we must strengthen collective effort to get urbanization right.” – Maimunah Sharif, Executive Director of UN Habitat   Sharif made this statement to the assembled leaders of the High Level Political Forum 

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Cities lead on climate with nature's help
July 2, 2018
By Laura Huffman, Texas Regional Director, The Nature Conservancy   Cities get things done at the right scale: the human scale. They have the pace and vigor to turn momentum into action, connecting locally to move the needle globally on a host of issues. When the U.S. government withdrew from the Paris Agreement, the response from 

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Your guide to global urban transformation: Top 3 ICLEI World Congress 2018 takeaways
June 27, 2018
The ICLEI World Congress 2018 in Montréal brought together more than 1,000 people with one unifying question in mind: How do we build a sustainable urban world? With 177 cities and regions and more than 120 political leaders in the room, from Warsaw, Poland to Phuentsholing, Bhutan and from Honiara City, Solomon Islands to Cape 

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The ICLEI Montréal Commitment in action
June 27, 2018
The ICLEI World Congress 2018 brought new energy and momentum to sustainable urban development. ICLEI and partners announced new initiatives and strengthened partnership to kick start implementation of the ICLEI Montréal Commitment and Strategic Vision. Here are some of the key announcements from the ICLEI World Congress 2018 to watch: The UN Environment Principles for Sustainable 

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“We have to take our citizens with us.” Cities talk SDGs and citizen engagement
June 22, 2018
SDG 11 is the central lever to attain all of the 17 goals outlined in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Cities are a connection point for a multiplicity of development challenges, and through integrated solutions, create opportunities for hitting on the many facets of the global sustainability agenda, from climate action to reduced inequalities. Naturally, 

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Gender equality starts at the top: Women in municipal leadership
June 22, 2018
When Mayor Célestine Ketcha épouse Courtès spoke at the ICLEI World Congress 2018, she painted a picture of what climate change means women in her native country, Cameroon. When droughts come, she said, and villagers need to travel to collect water, it is not the men who do the walking. It is the women who bring it 

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Inclusion and reconciliation: Indigenous Peoples and sustainability in our cities
June 22, 2018
It is not every day that we take the time to think about the land we stand on or how our cities came to be. But there is always a history behind the urban spaces in which we live, work and play. Many major Canadian cities are situated on lands long tied to Indigenous Peoples. 

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Action in the time of global change
June 20, 2018
The triennial ICLEI World Congress represents a unique convening point for the growing global ICLEI network. It is a platform to take stock of our urban world – the challenges ahead of us, past success we can leverage and the path towards global urban transformation. The pace and scale of global change is unprecedented. On 

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5 pathways to systemic urban change
June 19, 2018
From climate change to urbanization, the rate and scale of global change is unprecedented. These impacts are changing the face of everyday life and posing substantial risk to communities and natural systems. Sustainable urban development will play a decisive role in global development. As cities grow and change, so do the demands on social infrastructure, 

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Resilient Cities 2018: Driving global conversations
April 28, 2018
Knowledge exchange and technical deep dives are always core elements of the annual Resilient Cities congress. The program is designed for a critical examination of emerging issues in urban resilience and informative exchanges around them. Sessions cover a diversity of topics, so that every participant can find his or her place in the conversation, from 

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Rising optimism for sinking land? Stories from Louisiana
April 28, 2018
by Charlotte Rasche, Masters Candidate at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Resilient Cities 2018 volunteer How can a government take action if roughly every 100 minutes an area the size of football field is drowning? In Louisiana, the coastal landmass is disappearing under water. An interplay of factors is contributing to this development, including natural sediment 

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One city, many realities: The climate story in Lima
April 28, 2018
Peru is moving forward on climate action. Just few days before the Resilient Cities congress, the government passed Law 30754 – the Framework Act on Climate Change. This law aims to establish principles, approaches and general provisions to design, execute, monitor and evaluate public policies for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Ministry of Environment 

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A snapshot of urban resilience
April 28, 2018
At the end of last year, nations had submitted nine National Adaptation Plans under the UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Now, there are 24 submissions from the total 197 nations that have signed the treaty. Local and regional governments are moving ahead themselves to advance resilience planning. They are progressing towards the 

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Stories from Mozambique: High impact, low cost interventions
April 28, 2018
by Sophia Rettberg, student at University College Maastricht and Resilient Cities 2018 volunteer Coastal cities in Mozambique are responding to a range of hazards – and often doing so with limited resources and funding. At Resilient Cities 2018, mayors and senior municipal managers of Pemba and Quelimane presented some key projects aiming to address these 

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Cities and climate science: The next frontier
April 28, 2018
At present, urban communities contribute up to 70 percent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions globally. They are also among the most vulnerable hotspots for climate change impacts. It is critical that we now deploy evidence-based, science-driven to shape policy and action across urban areas worldwide. The Cities IPCC conference held this past March in Edmonton, 

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Insurance companies and cities: Allies in urban resilience
April 27, 2018
Once impacted by natural disasters, cities are relying on insurance companies to rebuild and recover, which is driving up premiums. Constructive partnerships between cities and insurance companies can lay the foundation for a more proactive planning model, where cities and insurance companies plan together before a disaster strikes. As it is, rebuilding after a shock 

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News from the front-line
April 27, 2018
At COP23, the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference, ICLEI and GLISPA – the Global Island Partnership – launched Front-line Cities and Islands, an initiative uniting islands and coastal cities to advance resilience building. This coalition is supported by a range of regional and international agencies, including the COP23 Presidency. Initiatives like Front-line are evidence that islands and 

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Multilevel climate governance: A hot topic for the next decade
April 26, 2018
The Talanoa Dialogue launched at COP23, the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2017, is designed to take stock of and strengthen climate action globally. It also opens the door to a more inclusive and collaborative approach to climate governance by connecting nations and climate stakeholders. The Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues, facilitated by ICLEI – Local Governments 

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A match for resilience: The public sector and small and medium enterprises
April 26, 2018
by Sophia Rettberg, student at University College Maastricht and Resilient Cities 2018 volunteer For cities to advance resilient development strategies, it is critical to pool together and leverage all available resources. To facilitate long-term and future-oriented change, experts and researchers have initiated collaboration projects that combine the efforts of both the private and public sectors. 

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Our digital cities: Open, transparent - but hackable?
April 26, 2018
Five seconds, a simple laptop, knowing where to look and what to look for. This is what it took to Thomas Stasch, Head of IT-Security and Civitec-CERT at Civitec to do a live demonstration of how simple it is to take control of a home automation system, something more and more people install without even thinking 

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Four top ways to drive resilient urban development
April 26, 2018
We live in an increasingly urban world. Over half the global population lives in cities, and more than two-thirds will by 2050. At the same time, risks faced by urban areas are increasing. Millions of people are losing theirhomes, livelihoods or lives because of extreme weather, in both developed and developing countries. At least two-thirds 

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Letter from Ashok-Alexander Sridharan Mayor of Bonn and First Vice President of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
March 12, 2018
  Dear ICLEI friends and colleagues,   Building resilience in our communities plays an important role in the actions we take as local leaders. The global climate is changing quickly, and urban communities are on the frontlines of this shift. At the same time, many cities are rapidly expanding and facing unprecedented social and technological 

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Stockholm Pursues Climate Holy Grail: a Fossil Fuel-Free Future — Part 3: Clean Heat
March 12, 2018
By John J. Berger, PhD, an energy and environmental policy specialist based in the San Francisco Bay Area, who is currently working on a new book on resolving the climate crisis. — Early Climate Efforts STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN—How did Stockholm’s energy transition begin? To properly answer that question, I went to talk with Gustaf Landahl, the head 

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City leaders and the #MeToo movement: A vital conversation
March 8, 2018
Across the ICLEI Network, city leaders dedicate every day of their lives to creating healthy, safe and sustainable communities. These leaders, like their constituents, deserve to work in environments that empower and support them as they carry out this vision. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, city leaders must take a stand themselves 

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When science meets policy and practice: Top 3 ways to achieve Paris goals
March 2, 2018
We need to dig in and build stronger links between climate science, urban policy and practice. The interconnection between the three perspectives is critical to creating coherent policy frameworks driven by hard data and scientific evidence, and informed by practitioner expertise. Urban areas account for about 70 percent of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and 

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Cincinnati’s plan to reach 100: The transition of an industrial legacy city into a renewable energy hub
February 27, 2018
by Hannah Rothschild, City-Business Collaboration Officer, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability with support from ICLEI USA To learn more about Cincinnati’s urban transition see www.urbantransitions.org _ Cincinnati’s roadmap to 100% renewable energy Following the Paris Agreement, a rising tidal wave of local action and cuts in carbon emissions has come from cities charging ahead 

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