Blog

Bo01 community in Malmö celebrates 20 years as a global source of inspiration
September 15, 2021
By Lucas Dietrichson, Communication Strategist, City of Malmö and Braoin MacLauchlan, Communications Assistant, ICLEI World Secreteriat The sustainable housing development Bo01, part of the European Housing Exposition 2001, celebrates 20 years of a thriving urban community. The project has won several awards and is still attracting people from all over the world who want to 

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How Pittsburgh is leveraging its purchasing power for sustainability
August 24, 2021
The City of Pittsburgh knows that it is critical to approach inclusive procurement with a lens of sustainability in order to create opportunities to realize the 2030 climate action goals. How procurement is managed – what they purchase, where they invest and what kinds of companies they contract with – is interconnected with the city’s 

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How four cities are fostering equity-focused climate action
August 19, 2021
Cities bring together all types of people into confined urban spaces, and they also reveal stark social inequalities. In dense urban environments, the contrast between rich and poor is particularly visible. This is the case in many industrial legacy cities with traditional workers’ districts. Close to former industrial sites, many of these heavily built-up neighborhoods 

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Faster, more intense, with more devastating impacts: New IPCC report lays out the scientific basis of the climate emergency
August 10, 2021
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, which brings together the most recent advances in climate science to outline the current state of climate change. The results are grave. The opening line of the report’s Summary for Policymakers reads: “It is unequivocal that human 

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Closing the ambition cycle with Race to Zero in Brazil: A warm-up for COP26
August 5, 2021
With the increase in commercial interest for climate solutions, more companies are acknowledging a need to invest in the zero-carbon economy and to minimize their environmental impacts. At the same time, local and regional governments are trying to prioritize mitigation and adaption policies in light of the climate crisis’ adverse effects. However, if limiting global warming 

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How local governments can put food on the table: An interview with ICLEI Global Food Program Coordinator Peter Defranceschi
July 27, 2021
2021 is the year of food. After the pandemic exposed how vulnerable food systems are, two global summits are placing food front and center: the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) in September in New York, USA (with the Pre-Summit gathering key actors from July 26-28 in Rome, Italy), and the Nutrition for Growth Summit this 

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Supporting food security through local, circular food systems
July 22, 2021
Cities are at the epicenter of food value chain vulnerabilities  Despite the zero hunger goal set in 2015 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the number of people affected by hunger globally has been slowly on the rise since 2014. An estimated 2 billion people in the world did not have regular access to 

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How Malmö is using innovative procurement as a tool for circular development
July 15, 2021
By Lucas Dietrichson, Communication Strategist, City of Malmö and Everica Rivera, Communications Officer, ICLEI World Secreteriat The  City of Malmö is one of Sweden’s biggest public purchasers.  Through smart procurement, the city has been able to contribute to sustainable development and support circular thinking. Here are three examples: 1. Raising the bar for sustainable IT 

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Cities Race to Resilience: A global campaign to catalyze resilient action
July 13, 2021
The threats posed by climate change are increasing all over the world and cities are at the forefront of increasing loss and damages incurred by flooding, drought, extreme heat, sea-level rise, and more. Urban centers cannot act on climate change mitigation alone but must focus on urban resilience too. That’s where the Cities Race to 

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Be the change: How Southeast Asian cities are reimagining citizen-driven climate action
June 30, 2021
The need for ambitious and inclusive climate action is urgent. With the climate crisis accelerating at an unprecedented rate, the question is no longer what needs to be done, but how our actions can be most effective and efficient.  There is no simple solution to the climate emergency. Climate action is an iterative process of 

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What does citizen-based climate action look like? Ask Jakarta’s religious leaders
June 30, 2021
Climate commitments don’t simply fall out of the sky – successful climate action requires awareness raising, coalition building and buy-in and commitment from stakeholders at all levels.  That is why the Ambitious City Promises project has focused on bottom-up models of climate action, supporting local governments in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines to pivot away 

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Playing green: Co-creating accessible, eco-friendly spaces for Hanoi’s children
June 29, 2021
When a city’s population triples in twenty years’ time, essential services need extra attention. In the case of Hanoi – Vietnam’s sprawling capital and Northern cultural anchor – preserving lush green space alongside economic growth requires collaborative, deliberate efforts.  Improving green spaces is vital to Hanoi’s future. Greenery has innumerable benefits to city dwellers that 

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Becoming a model climate action city: The journey of Pasig, Philippines
June 28, 2021
When the whole world agrees to keep temperature from rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius, how, exactly, is one city supposed to act?  This question is at the heart of Ambitious City Promises (ACP), a 4.5 year-long project aiming to actualize the Paris Agreement’s high-level goals for local governments in Southeast Asia. Frameworks to bring global 

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How ICLEI is helping cities and regions on their climate neutrality journey
June 24, 2021
The next decade will decide the future for humanity. Delivering a green and just recovery to the COVID-19 crisis; creating strong, fair economies that serve everyone; and drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions quickly enough to limit global warming to the 1.5° degrees Celsius target of the Paris Agreement, are all one and the same thing. 

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ICLEI and Google.org launch case studies on data-driven climate action
June 22, 2021
As part of the Data-Driven Climate Action project, ICLEI has launched four case studies about how data-driven decision-making is helping cities to plan, implement and monitor climate change mitigation initiatives. With the support of Google.org, the project provides valuable data to assist local and regional governments in the decision-making process regarding climate action.  The Action 

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In Africa, affordable and clean energy means having a lightswitch and a smoke-free stove
June 14, 2021
As cities around the world make commitments to become carbon neutral, African cities have to consider the millions of people that still require basic energy services and find ways to increase access while limiting emissions and resource use. According to 2019 data from IEA, 600 million people in Africa are yet to receive energy access. 

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Hanoi, Vietnam: Accelerating the uptake of e-mobility solutions through stakeholder engagement
June 1, 2021
In Hanoi, a city that is home to 7.7 million inhabitants, 5 million motorcycles flood the streets every single day. This is a staggering number that Hanoi is investing to change. As a rapidly-growing capital and the second most populous city in Vietnam, Hanoi City is taking steps to address unprecedented levels of motorization and 

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ICLEI President Cownie on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead
May 25, 2021
The way Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie sees it, cities and towns should “always have a seat at the table” in the multi-level dialogue surrounding climate change. As mayor of a midwestern American city since 2004, this has been a long-held priority for Cownie – and now as the newly-elected president of ICLEI, it moves 

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10 reasons to promote urban biodiversity
May 21, 2021
Over the past 50 years, biodiversity loss has taken place at an unprecedented scale driven by extraordinary change in land and sea use and the overexploitation of natural resources. In an increasingly urbanized world, natural habitats have been converted to urban areas at an alarming rate. Historically, cities have posed a threat to biodiversity and 

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ICLEI USA applauds the ambitious U.S. 2030 climate goal developed through strong multilevel collaboration.
April 22, 2021
It is time to turn this opportunity into a new normal in every country towards COP26. ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA applauds the Biden administration for announcing the U.S.’ second nationally determined contribution (NDC) submission to the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims at 50 to 52 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels 

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Cities join the Race to Zero around the world to strengthen national goals
April 20, 2021
ICLEI US launches the ICLEI150 Race to Zero On the occasion of Earth Week and the U.S. Climate Leaders Summit, 21 city and county leaders in the United States launched the ICLEI150 Race to Zero. This initiative represents an effort to significantly advance local carbon neutrality efforts in the United States and demonstrate U.S. leadership 

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From ICLEI World Congress to COP26: Cities like Glasgow and Bonn push for transformative change
April 20, 2021
If there was a common storyline at last week’s ICLEI World Congress, it was that local politicians are pushing hard on multiple fronts to enact positive change, often with more aggressive targets than their peers at the national level. Targets however, that require at least some degree of federal funding in order to come to 

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Moving from planning to action. How ICLEI is helping to accelerate the transition to net zero
April 19, 2021
“ICLEI has been tackling climate change for more than 30 years and when we started, it was certainly not a hot topic, but today it is a critical topic and it is literally life-defining for many people,” observed Maryke van Staden at last week’s ICLEI World Congress 2021-22. She went on to note that in 

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Leave no one behind: ICLEI World Congress focuses on people-centered development
April 14, 2021
The first day of the ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022 closed with a discussion on “Equitably Shaping Our Sustainable Urban Future.” Representatives from local governments from around the world shared their experiences through ongoing initiatives to create an equitable sustainable development framework that is inclusive for all.  Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of Malmö, Sweden, 

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New ICLEI leadership recommit to integrated sustainable development
April 14, 2021
At the opening of the ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022 Virtual Launch, ICLEI’s newly elected leadership came out in force to show their commitment to nature-based, circular, resilient, low emission and equitable development.  Facing the on-going global pandemic, ICLEI leaders kicked-off the ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022 with an all-digital event. Katrin Stjernfeldt 

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Local governments are poised for a bigger role in protecting nature.  Is your city on board?
April 13, 2021
“Humanity’s relationship with nature is broken.” That’s the unsettling observation UN Secretary General António Guterres made in a recent speech that Kobie Brand says helps keep things in perspective for her in her capacity as Global Director of the ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center. “He said that we are in a crisis… and the defining issue 

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Malmö, Sweden: A testing ground for integrated sustainable solutions
April 6, 2021
The former industrial shipyard Western Harbour boasts a heavy concentration of green roofs and a heat pump plant that provides residents with heating and cooling. The neighbourhood of Augustenborg is known for its focus on climate adaptation and social and green regeneration initiatives. Hyllie for its smart energy solutions, Sege Park for its sharing economy, 

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Integrating circularity into plastic waste management – a win-win?
March 24, 2021
We have all heard that when it comes to the climate crisis, cities are both the problem and the solution – and the same is true for the daunting challenge of plastic pollution. Globally, cities are dealing with the impacts of plastic pollution – both to aquatic life and to terrestrial ecosystems – while trying 

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Youth from Turku, Yokohama and Nagano join forces to call for a 1.5-Degree Life
March 23, 2021
Consumption-based emissions—the so-called indirect emissions associated with food choices, travel habits, supply chains and many more activities that keep cities running but are not directly tied to local production—are proving to be the blind spot of current mitigation efforts. Cities eager to target consumption-based emissions should focus on the transition to sustainable lifestyles at the 

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Betting on Multilevel Climate Action for COP26 in Glasgow
March 10, 2021
On 17-18 March 2021, the Ministry of Environment of Japan will convene the Zero Carbon City International Forum, which has been recognized as 2021’s first global dialogue to advance multilevel action under the Paris Agreement. This dialogue is convened in collaboration with the UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC), the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), 

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How two cities in Metro Manila are accelerating energy efficiency
March 9, 2021
In Metro Manila year round, the average high temperature never drops below 30°C, and cooling is a significant part of the energy bill for families, businesses and municipal governments across the region. But by setting the thermostat to 25°C, rather than 23°C, an average family can save PHP 1,800 (nearly 40 USD) per year.  That’s 

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Framing the future of urban resilience: An interview with Resilient Development Head Nazmul Huq
March 1, 2021
Ten years ago, ICLEI launched the first Resilient Cities Congress to respond to a growing and largely unaddressed need of local and regional governments to plan for the uncertain impacts of climate change in an integrated manner. Since then, resilience has gone from a fringe topic to a mainstream climate policy approach at all levels. 

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Listen to the people: Addressing inequality in Glasgow from the ground up
February 22, 2021
What if Glasgow had less puddles?  Imagine being a child living in a rainy city and you only have two pairs of shoes – your school shoes, and your play shoes. If the play shoes get wet, you can’t go out to play. Would that make you feel angry? Sad? Would it make you want 

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Prioritizing equity in local climate action: An equity framework from industrial legacy cities
February 19, 2021
In the past years, citizen-led activism around the Fridays for Future movement and other climate justice groups have succeeded to make themselves heard, generate political momentum and mainstream climate change awareness across the broader population. Some local governments have answered these calls for action by declaring climate emergency in their cities and towns, often paired 

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