Blog

An energy transition for all – Socially innovative policy making
July 9, 2020
By Nea Pakarinen 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 

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Localization of the SDG Process
June 30, 2020
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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How Rotterdam and Buenos Aires use procurement to contribute to the global clean energy transition
June 15, 2020
How Rotterdam and Buenos Aires use procurement to contribute to the global clean energy transition You’ve heard the slogans: Time for Nature. Time for Transition. Cities around the world are taking action to regenerate biodiversity and to tackle the climate crisis. However, there has been a lack of focus on activating public procurement as a 

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Accelerating the Race to Zero carbon: Multiple paths leading to the same destination
June 5, 2020
From left to right: Shinjiro Koizumi, Minister of Environment of Japan; Minna Arve, Mayor of Turku, Finland; Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn, Germany, and ICLEI President. One of the toughest parts of fulfilling the Paris Agreement goals is understanding the path to success. What does it take to muster the political will and support to 

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This World Environment Day, Amazonian cities remind us why preserving biodiversity is essential
June 4, 2020
By Rodrigo de Oliveira Perpetuo, Regional Director ICLEI South America Secretariat Read the original article in Portuguese. World Environment Day 2020 will be guided by the theme of biodiversity. Not by chance, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) chose Colombia as the headquarters for World Environment Day activities. Considered one of the most environmentally diverse 

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Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony is uniting artists and local governments to act for nature
June 4, 2020
Imagine being in nineteenth century Europe. Imagine walking on a city street and hearing people complain about the smell and dirty drinking water. Imagine coughing because of the dusty air. While we can only imagine that experience, German classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven saw the reality of pollution and environmental degradation by living, working and 

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What's Happening on World Environment Day (5 June 2020)?
June 4, 2020
Recalling the legacy of the UN Conference on Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972, the UN Environment Programme takes the lead in the celebrations of the World Environment Day annually on 5 June. This year, the theme of WED2020 is biodiversity – under the hashtag #TimeForNature. Colombia is the global host with the support 

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Local Governments Seek Participation in Nationally Determined Contributions
June 4, 2020
On the day that it was announced that COP26 will be postponed a full year because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, mayors, governors and national government representatives from around the world came together virtually to show how they are continuing to fight for climate action, even in the face of the global pandemic.  Twenty-five mayors 

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Natural asset maps provide local snapshots of urban biodiversity
May 20, 2020
Healthy and functioning natural ecosystems are critical for cities to thrive. Pressures from urbanization and climate change on the natural systems that sustain cities are increasing rapidly, making the protection of these urban natural assets all the more urgent. “The prosperity of cities critically relies on the ability of regional, city and municipal governments to 

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Confined but not confounded: Nature’s decisive role in cities during and beyond COVID-19
May 20, 2020
By Adel Strydom and Timothy Blatch During the global pandemic there are many unknowns, but in the midst of this uncertainty, city residents are reaffirming their need for nature. This World Biodiversity Day is a unique moment to reimagine nature-centric cities. In Durban a young mom walks along a brook that winds through an otherwise 

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"Hope in the City" tells a story of urban challenges and nature-based solutions
May 19, 2020
By Dana Vigran and Subuhi Parvez “Hope in the City” tells the story of Vikram and his daughter Anita who are just heading home from the movies when a tornado – a weather phenomena they have never seen before – comes out of nowhere. The devastation left by the tornado sets them off on a 

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The data gap: What we still don’t know about urban freight
May 4, 2020
By Himanshu Raj and Dana Vigran Have you ever thought about the entire journey of an item you order online or buy from a supermarket? Where it came from, how was it transported from the factory, what kind of vehicle was used, how many people were involved, how was it packaged, how many kilometers it 

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How Helsinki cut food transport emissions using sustainable procurement
May 4, 2020
The City of Helsinki’s Palvelukeskus Helsinki (Helsinki Service Center) provides food for over 100,000 people every day. Schools, daycare centers and nursing homes in different parts of the city all receive food from the Service Center, which is responsible for both producing and delivering food. The largest production plant is in Pakkala, Vantaa, which delivers 

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Restoring trust in public transport: the way forward
May 2, 2020
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the transport sector has experienced some of the most severe social and economic impacts. Public transport is keeping cities moving through the crisis, getting essential workers to their jobs and supporting essential services. However, this is high risk work for drivers and operators even as they step up 

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Using resilience concepts in disaster response
April 30, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted normal life all over the world. While there are reports of rejuvenation of nature with minimal human interference ever since the lockdown has been initiated in different countries, there is also a major challenge of maintaining civic services while restricting human activities. The functioning of municipal governments all over 

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ICLEI Members innovate for Earth Day 2020
April 21, 2020
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. For anyone skeptical of the adage attributed to the anthropologist Margaret Mead, we might point to a 54-year-old war veteran in Wisconsin whose thoughtful engagement led him all the way to creating the 

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Adopting and adapting sustainable approaches: China’s social and environmental transformation
April 6, 2020
By Matteo Bizzotto, Communications Officer, and Hannah Rothschild, City-Business Collaboration Officer China’s rapid industrial and economic growth has come at the cost of soaring carbon emissions and negative environmental impacts. However, after becoming the world’s largest annual emitter, the country is now working hard to ensure that natural resources are preserved and ecological balance is 

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How COVID-19 is affecting the work of local government sustainability officers
March 25, 2020
Nontsundu Ndonga in uMhlathuze, South Africa, is now requiring all applications to the planning department to be completed online to eliminate the need for in-person consultations. Chris Castro in Orlando, Florida, USA, has had to postpone all of the city’s in-person Earth Day activities. Lotte Suveri, in Turku, Finland, has put all their social media 

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Advocacy and ICLEI events affected by COVID-19
March 24, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many in-person events relating to local and regional governments and sustainability have been cancelled, postponed or in some way impacted. ICLEI is compiling a list of events affected by the pandemic that are relevant to our network. This list will be updated regularly based on the latest information available. UN 

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The importance of connecting people with nature in times of social isolation
March 24, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is placing huge strain on our communities, our governments, our healthcare systems and our economies. As our cities are grappling with this massive challenge, the value of nature in urban spaces should not be underestimated. Countless studies have shown that spending time outdoors in nature can be good for mental and physical 

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New women-owned business seal encourages equitable procurement in Buenos Aires
March 9, 2020
Women-owned and operated businesses are getting a new seal of approval in Buenos Aires. The goal of the Sello Empresa Mujer, or “Women Company Seal”, is to promote women’s economic autonomy, greater equity and economic development opportunities to benefit businesses and communities.  The Sustainable Public Procurement Area of the General Procurement and Contract Department, in 

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Moving in the right direction: How the Korean “Bike to Work Challenge” is leveraging technology to tackle climate change
February 25, 2020
By Tu My Tran, Senior Officer, Sustainable Mobility, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Contributors: Yongseok Oh (Daegu Council for Sustainable Development), Heecheol Yun (Gwangju Council for Sustainable Development), Yoonjin Cho (ICLEI Korea office) Cycle to work, track your ride, earn points, and get a chance to win, all while fighting climate change. This is 

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Achieving road safety through Vision Zero
February 20, 2020
By Himanshu Raj, Sustainable Mobility Officer and Dana Vigran, Senior Communications Officer Road traffic injuries are the tenth leading cause of death globally, and the first cause of death for children and young adults between 5-29 years of age. Every 25 seconds, somewhere in the world, one person is killed on the road, accounting for 1.3 

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Japanese cities take a circular approach to energy and decarbonization
February 10, 2020
Local and regional governments are not waiting for their national governments to take climate action. In Japan, local governments have been stepping forward to make ambitious commitments to zero carbon by 2050. For example, Tokyo has declared a “Climate Crisis Mobilization” as their commitment to respond to the climate emergency and through its Zero Emission 

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Synchronize your calendar with 2020 urban sustainable development advocacy events
February 10, 2020
Keep important events for ICLEI and Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency, along with strategic and educational opportunities, right in your own calendar! You can subscribe to a global events list that highlights political events (such as UNFCCC meetings), webinars (from our Advocacy team and more), and conferences that contribute to the world of 

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Why cities, towns and regions are creating a roadmap towards 100% renewable energy
February 10, 2020
Tackling the climate emergency – a security, socioeconomic and environmental crisis – requires the unprecedented transformation of energy systems and an immediate transition to renewable energy across all sectors. For a perspective on why cities and regions are going renewable and what a roadmap to 100% renewables looks like at the subnational level, we talked 

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Africa leads the way in green buildings – a key enabler for renewables on the continent
February 5, 2020
Passive design and insulation can reduce a building’s energy demand and the city’s overall demand for energy, making renewables a more viable option. Increasingly, African cities have guidelines to make these shifts, but the challenge lies in making them legal requirements. As global awareness around the impact of fossil fuels and the need for cleaner 

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Three stories for local governments to watch in 2020
January 22, 2020
As we kick off a new decade, environment takes center stage. For the first time, the top five global threats in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report are all environmental. Climate action failure and biodiversity loss make the top five both in terms of likelihood and level of impact.
How Lilongwe’s bats are contributing to national biodiversity planning
January 22, 2020
By Adel Strydom and Dana Vigran In a time when cities are bursting at the seams, policy reform is vital to protect ecosystems and build climate resilient cities that preserve urban nature. This three-part series will share three policy victories in Malawi where nature is being conserved and considered in Lilongwe City, the country’s capital, 

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After COP25, frustration over decisions but even more hope on local climate action
December 17, 2019
The longest-ever climate conference, COP25, concluded on Sunday. The talks punted a number of meaningful decisions to 2020, and some results were even cause for disappointment. But those of us working for local and regional governments are used to taking the lead on ambition. While we are frustrated at the lack of progress on the decisions coming out of the negotiations, we still found four reasons to remain hopeful after this COP25.
Japanese local and regional governments move first on Paris Agreement
December 16, 2019
The new Japanese Minister of Environment, Shinjirō Koizumi, attended his first climate Conference of the Parties this year, and he brought with him both good and bad news. Local and regional governments in Japan have been stepping forward to make ambitious commitments to zero carbon, as of COP25, 28 local governments had announced their plans 

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The glorious past returns: How Essen is harnessing its industrial legacy to accelerate sustainability
December 12, 2019
At the height of the industrial revolution, Essen was a hub of innovation, technological developments and new ideas. Change is still engrained in its identity, but now the city is leveraging its former industrial glory to achieve new transition goals. The German city is pioneering a path that builds on its history to implement strategies 

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Turku’s advice on circularity? Imagine the possibilities. Then get started.
December 11, 2019
Turku, Finland, which is an active member of ICLEI’s Green Circular Cities Coalition, was a leading player in sessions dedicated to circularity over the past two days at COP25. And rightfully so. After committing to becoming carbon neutral by 2040 at the Paris Summit in 2015, the city has since challenged itself with an even 

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With shale companies threatening, Alliance more important than ever for Pittsburgh
December 10, 2019
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (second right) shares with the audience that regardless of what is decided at the federal level, implementation of SDG’s comes down to the local level. Having just recently committed to the UN’s SDGs – only the second US city do so – City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto came to COP25 

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