Opinions, ideas and knowledge you can apply to local and regional sustainable development.

Explore this blog to learn from local leaders, municipal staff and experts from around the world.

Clean air – time to celebrate or accelerate?

Authors: Maryke van Staden, Director of carbonn Climate Center and Felix Akrofi-Atitianti, Integrated Climate Action Officer, ICLEI World Secretariat As we celebrate the first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies on 7 September 2020, it is time to reflect. How big a problem is air pollution today? What is happening to reduce harmful 

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Pittsburgh’s fight for clean air, water and growth

Pittsburgh has become the poster child for how to transition from highly impacted industrial town to a healthy and vibrant community. A city that has gone from having air quality and smog so bad that they had to leave the streetlights on 24 hours a day, to an area that has created more cleantech and 

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Collaboration cultivates innovation: How ICLEI Africa and the City of Cape Town have been pioneering local sustainability action for two decades

In its 30 years of urban sustainability work, ICLEI has partnered closely with many of the world’s cities to form long-standing, mutually supportive relationships. The relationship between the City of Cape Town and ICLEI Africa is a key example. The City’s Executive Director of Spatial Planning and Environment, Mr Osman Asmal, reflects. The City of 

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Radical redesign for a circular economy: An interview with Circular Development Head Burcu Tuncer

Cities are complex systems in and of themselves, and in today’s globalized economy, cities around the world are closely intertwined through global production processes and consumption patterns. In the face of the climate and environmental crises that have pushed the earth to its limit, circularity is a critical tool to improve resource efficiency. For more 

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Why climate neutrality needs circularity

“How we make and use products and how we produce food generates almost half of the emissions in our current economic system because the production of goods and infrastructure generates emissions all along value chains,” said Mayor Minna Arve of Turku, Finland, at ICLEI’s July Race-to-Zero dialogue, which brought together many levels of government to reflect on 

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Five cities shift from industry to equity

Industrial legacy cities have been significantly impacted by the decline of manufacturing, which left them with soaring unemployment, rapid population loss and a legacy of environmental pollution. In the face of these challenges, city governments have been working to advance their economic and environmental transitions while embracing their industrial heritage and spearheading ambitious sustainability efforts. 

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Building green and inclusive cities

Cities all around the world are implementing ambitious mitigation and adaptation strategies to respond to climate change: from urban greenery to renewable energy systems to low carbon mobility. The ecological crisis, however, is not the only challenge urban areas are faced with. Poverty, immigration, exclusion, racism, sexism, homelessness and other social justice issues, are equally 

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Sustainability and Local Governments in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the fragile economic, social and environmental underpinnings of our world today. Although we have access to advanced scientific and technological resources, as well as strategies for disaster preparedness, and despite repeated specific warnings about the risks of pandemics, the world was not ready when this virus struck. On 11 

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How to use socially innovative policy making for an inclusive energy transition

If there is anything to be learned from the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ protest in France, is that social innovation should accompany environmental policymaking. Policies will have little effect without the acceptance and understanding of the people directly affected by the changes. Much of the climate change discourse centers on wide-scale economic, social and cultural change – 

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Localization of the SDG Process

The global community reached a milestone this year: seventy-five years ago, on 26 June 1945, the Charter of the United Nations Charter was opened for signatures, signaling a new era of worldwide collaboration. This era was hopeful, bringing governments and people together to emerge into a post-war future under the belief that by working in 

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