No 3 | December 2010

TABLE OF CONTENT

Welcome to the 3rd edition of the Informed Cities Update!

This newsletter will keep you up to date with the key developments within the Informed Cities initiative, which aims to make research work for local sustainability. The Informed Cities initiative is a European project dedicated to bridging the gap between research and policy-making in sustainable development, with a focus on tools for urban management. The Informed Cities Update is designed for local governments, researchers and other partners interested in advancing urban sustainability.

1  |  Informed Cities news

  • Only three months left to evaluate your local sustainability processes with our support
  • Cities and research: conclusions from national workshops
  • ICLEI to collect global Local Agenda 21 experience in preparation for the Rio+20
  • InContext: new project on behavioural change for sustainability

2  |  Upcoming events

  • Informed Cities Implementation Workshops: Finland, Hungary and more
  • Informed Cities European Roundtable, 20-21 January 2011, Milan (Italy)
  • Call for host: Informed Cities Forum 2011

3  | Improve your local sustainability processes!

  • SMART SPP LCC & CO2 emissions calculation tool for public procurers
  • LAKS-CCP GHG inventory tool for local governments

4  |  Opportunities to get involved

  • Informed Cities for local authorities
  • Informed Cities for researchers
  • Informed Cities for national partners

Visit the Informed Cities website for the latest news.
Read this newsletter online


1 | INFORMED CITIES NEWS

Only three months left to evaluate your local sustainability processes with our support

Over 50 cities from 23 European countries have already confirmed their participation in the EU-wide assessment of local sustainability, coordinated by the Informed Cities initiative. Using well-established research-based tools for sustainable urban management, interested cities get valuable feedback on their performance and have the opportunity to benchmark their activities against those undertaken by other local governments.

The tools selected, Urban Ecosystem Europe  and Local Evaluation 21, are based on existing data, are easy to use and provide relevant, complementary information on local sustainability, taking into account both governance processes and quantitative indicators. Participating cities will also be featured in the European Report on Urban Sustainability, to be presented to the European Commission in 2012.

Show your commitment to local sustainability – register your interest today!
Participation is free of charge and dedicated, individual support is available in a number of EU languages. If you want to participate in this exercise, please email us at informed-cities@iclei.org for more information. Data can be submitted from now until March 2011, according to your preferred schedule.

Cities and research: conclusions from national workshops

Data availability remains a major problem for European local governments. Different indicators used across the EU, a lack of decentralization and difficulties in obtaining reliable data from private sector partners were cited as the most important obstacles in evaluating and benchmarking local sustainability performance.

However, all participating local authorities felt that there is a need for a common, EU-wide evaluation standard for local sustainability, that would take into account both governance processes and quantitative indicators. Such an evaluation is valuable, as it not only offers feedback on local performance, as compared to this of other European cities, but also helps raise awareness on sustainable development issues, both within the city administration and amongst citizens.

Join the discussion – workshops in Finland, Hungary, Spain, Germany and France coming soon!
The workshops in the UK, Poland, Romania, Belgium and Italy offered a great opportunity to explore knowledge brokerage in practice, while taking into account the different national frameworks and priorities. If you want to participate in one of the upcoming workshops, contact us at informed-cities@iclei.org for more information.

ICLEI to collect global Local Agenda 21 experience in preparation for the Rio+20

The year 2012 will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. For local governments worldwide, this was the starting point of Local Agenda 21, initiated by ICLEI. Now that the United Nations are preparing for the Rio+20 Conference, again to take place in Rio de Janeiro in May 2012, it's time to take stock: What are the outcomes of two decades of local processes for sustainable development around the globe? What have cities learned, what have they achieved? What types of local governance processes deliver progress, and under which framework conditions?

Funded by the Fondation Charles Léopold Meyer (FPH, Paris/Lausanne) and the Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT, Berlin), ICLEI will prepare a global evaluation study of local sustainable development processes, having emerged following the Local Agenda 21 mandate. The results of the study will inform policy recommendations and position papers, which will be fed into the UN preparatory process for the Rio+20 Conference.

InContext: new project on behavioural change for sustainability

No successful policies for a transition to sustainable development can be implemented without taking into account the challenge of behavioural change. What are the drivers and barriers shaping individual behavior, in relation to sustainable development?

A new research project, led by the Ecologic Institute in Germany, will try to answer this question, by closely linking theory and practice. Three pilot communities have been selected to test in practice the concepts and instruments developed within a project, with the aim of closing the gap between sustainability awareness and behavior.

As a partner in this project, ICLEI will be responsible for organizing the exchange between InContext and local governments, including workshops and dissemination activities. For more information about the project, contact us at informed-cities@iclei.org

2 | UPCOMING EVENTS

Informed Cities Implementation Workshops: Finland, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Germany and France

Local authorities’ representatives, interested in evaluating and benchmarking local sustainability processes, are invited to take part in one of the upcoming Informed Cities Implementation Workshops. Each of the workshops will gather a selected group of local authorities from one country or region and focus on exploring the methodological, practical and technical issues related to measuring and benchmarking sustainability performance.

The workshop in Turku, Finland will take place on 1 February 2011. The workshop is aimed at interested cities from the Baltic region and will be conducted in English.

The workshop in Szentendre, Hungary will take place on 10 February 2011. The workshop is hosted by the Regional Environment Centre. The workshop will be conducted in English, cities from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia are welcome.

The workshop in Madrid, Spain will take place on 16 February 2011. The workshop will be conducted in Spanish.

Secure your place today!
Contact us at informed-cities@iclei.org to find out more and secure your place at one of the workshops. The dates of the workshops in Portugal, Germany and France will be published here shortly. Participation is free of charge and there are limited funds available to reimburse travel expenses.

Informed Cities European Roundtable, 20-21 January 2011, Milan (Italy)

The second Informed Cities European Roundtable, to be held on 20-21 January 2011 in Milan (Italy), will gather the representatives of national institutions responsible for dealing with sustainability policies at the local level.

The participants will focus on monitoring and pre-evaluating the explorative application of Local Evaluation 21 and Urban Ecosystem Europe, which builds on the results of the Implementation Workshops. The European Roundtable will also discuss national and European initiatives related to the Rio+20 Summit, as well as explore the possibilities for closer cooperation in the future.

For more information about the European Roundtable process and upcoming events, click here.

Call for host: Informed Cities Forum 2011

Following the huge success of the 2010 Informed Cities Forum in Newcastle (United Kingdom), cities and universities across Europe are invited to express their interest in hosting the second Informed Cities Forum, scheduled for October 2011. The Forum will convene some 150 participants, representing local governments, national governments and researchers from across Europe.

As the final conference of the Informed Cities initiative, this exciting event will present first results of an EU-wide assessment of local sustainability processes and results; formulate recommendations on better linking research and local policy-making for sustainable development and send a clear message to European and national institutions on the successes and needs of local authorities in terms of urban sustainability management and governance.

As the host, you will be expected to provide logistical support to the organization of the conference. The host's financial contribution is limited to providing venue and catering for participants. To request more information about the event and host requirements, please contact informed-cities@iclei.org.

3 | IMPROVE YOUR LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY PROCESSES!

In this section you will find profiles of selected urban sustainability tools that will help you improve your local sustainability processes. All the tools featured here will be discussed in detail during Informed Cities events.

Are you interested in presenting your experience with urban sustainability management tools? Would you like your tool to be featured in the next edition of the Informed Cities Update? Contact us at informed-cities@iclei.org

SMART SPP LCC & CO2 emissions calculation tool for public procurers

Public purchasers aiming to be a step ahead of their energy and climate change targets can consider using their procurement procedures to further support the development of sustainable innovative technologies, and at the same time, keep financial costs at a minimum. The two principal outcomes from the European SMART SPP project, in terms of supportive guidance, have been developed with this intention in mind, and are both now available online for use by procurement practitioners.

The project outcomes consist of a Guide, which presents a standard procedure designed to encourage innovative energy efficient solutions. It has a strong focus on the ins and outs as well as on the benefits of procurers actively engaging with the market (that is, suppliers and producers) before tendering takes place. Innovative, energy efficient solutions are technologies which meet the needs of the purchasing authority and are highly energy efficient.

The Guide is accompanied by a Tool (in Excel format, supported by a User Guide) that is designed for procurement decision-makers to calculate the life-cycle costs (LCC) and CO2 emissions of different products and service alternatives.

All materials are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Danish (the Tool is also available in German) and can be downloaded here. Both the Guide and the Tool are beta versions and will be finalised in early 2011, following their use by the SMART SPP public authority partners in their innovation focused public procurement actions.

For more information, please visit SMART SPP project website or contact philipp.tepper@iclei.org.

LAKS-CCP GHG inventory tool for local governments

Global climate change is happening now, and is creating impacts at the local level – affecting people, local services, infrastructure and assets. Local communities must respond by reducing their climate impacts (mitigation) and by improving resilience to the inevitable changes (adaptation). ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Campaign is helping local governments in this fight by sharing practical approaches and tools to develop baselines and action plans that achieve results.

Developing a baseline helps improve understanding on how local practices contribute to emissions, and helps in the assessment of priority action areas, and with the impacts of emissions reduction activities. The LAKS-CCP GHG Tool is an easy-to-use spreadsheet which creates an inventory through the entry of energy consumption data from the local government’s own buildings, facilities and transport. A community inventory is also created to report on total emissions within the local government’s geopolitical boundaries.

For more information, visit the LAKS project website or contact ccp-europe@iclei.org.

4 | OPPORTUNITIES TO GET INVOLVED

We want to invite you to be part of Informed Cities! Below you will find a short overview of the opportunities offered by the Informed Cities initiative. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Informed Cities for local authorities

As a representative of a local authority, you will have the opportunity to discuss your needs and experiences with the leading European researchers in the field of urban sustainability management, access the latest tools and guidance, as well as get hands-on advice in using the tools that will support your sustainability process.

Share your experiences in implementing sustainable local development with national and European partners, present your approach to evidence-based policy making and make your voice heard in the European debate on local sustainability.

Informed Cities for researchers

As a researcher, you will get a unique chance to present your tools and recommendations to the champions of local sustainability, as well as to the national institutions responsible for local sustainable development policies.

Through your involvement in the Informed Cities initiative, you will gain a better overview of the needs of local governments, receive critical feedback about the products you deliver and refine ideas for future research. You are also invited to contribute to the proposal of EU Reporting Mechanism on Urban Sustainability, based on data linking governance and policy outcomes in the field of sustainable development, to be delivered by the project.

Informed Cities for national partners

If your institution is concerned with coordinating and advancing local sustainable development policies, the Informed Cities initiative will support your work, offering a unique meeting place for researchers and local authorities from your country to develop new, more effective modes of cooperation.

Our aim is to encourage experience-sharing and networking on the European level, linking the Informed Cities initiative to the ongoing process of the Local Action 21 European Roundtable. Annual Roundtable meetings will also offer the opportunity to discuss the link between governance and policy outcomes in the field of sustainable development, based on the results of the explorative application and European Report on Urban Sustainability. These discussions are then expected to feed into the proposal for an EU Reporting Mechanism on Urban Sustainability.

To find out more about this process and the opportunities it offers, please visit the Informed Cities European Roundtable section of the Informed Cities website.

IMPRINT

The Informed Cities Initative is funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union under the name PRIMUS – Policies and Research for an Integrated Management of Urban Sustainability.

The sole responsibility for the content of this newsletter lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Communities. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Pictures: cyclist from velovotee@flickr

Published by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, 2010
Contact: informed-cities@iclei.org