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Creating Spaces of Safety and a Culture of Welcome
City of Sanctuary seeks to build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK. Casper ter Kuile, at Common Cause, spoke to Sarah Eldridge about the UK “Sanctuary City” of Sheffield.


Neighbourhood Mothers in Neukölln
The award-winning Neighbourhood Mothers project in Berlin’s Neukölln district trains local women of migrant background to provide advice and support to newly-arrived women and their families. These peer-to-peer relationships allow the neighbourhood mothers to become mentors and leaders as new families learn how to access services and settle into life in Germany.


Who will be this year’s winner of the Cities for Children award? Find out on 13 May!
A number of European municipalities will be in the running for the Cities for Children* European Award of Excellence, the ceremony having been planned for 13 may 2013 in Stuttgart (Germany).
Cities for Children rewards entrepreneurial and children-friendly initiatives undertaken by cities all over Europe.  Last year’s winner was the City of Oldenburg (Germany) for its project aimed at revitalising the vacant city district of Donnerschwee.
This year’s overarching theme will be healthy nutrition and physical activity for children and adolescents in the city.  The winning project should not only be innovative but also feasible and transferable to other cities.
Practical information
Date: 13 may 2013 at 18:30.
Venue: Sport Stuttgart, City of Stuttgart, Germany.
Registration: Fill out the online registration form or the paper form  to send by post before 3 May 2013.
Languages: English and German


UN-Habitat announces ten partner cities for the City Resilience Profiling Programme 
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) announced today, the ten partner cities for its City Resilience Profiling Programme (CRPP). Working through partnerships with stakeholders including international agencies such as UNISDR, academic and research institutes, private sector actors, and NGOs, the CRPP will develop a comprehensive and integrated urban planning and management approach for profiling and monitoring the resilience of any city, to all plausible hazards.


SuperCities to shape future urban infrastructure
Opting to invest about USD 1.8 million in low-carbon, low-risk and sustainable development, SuperCities – a group of fast-growing and ambitious cities with over one million population, exchanged strategies on future urban infrastructure at the ICLEI Global Town Hall@Metropolitan Solutions – the paramount platform between cities and industry on smart and future-defining infrastructure solutions held at the Hannover Messe in Germany on 8-12 April 2013.
“At the ICLEI Global Town Hall, ICLEI facilitated the matchmaking between SuperCities who got to know the cutting edge low-carbon, low-risk, eco-friendly industrial solutions, and companies who learned about the real needs and challenges faced by cities today”, said Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General.
Encompassing the areas of logistics, financing, urban management, waste and energy, SuperCities including Johannesburg (South Africa), Recife (Brazil), Suwon (South Korea) and Fortaleza (Brazil) discuss with companies how cities can prepare for the mounting urban challenges exacerbated by climate change in an era of shrinking economy and rapid urbanization.
“By 2050, the urban population will grow by 70% - from 3.6 billion people today to more than 6 billion. There is already a huge demand for urban infrastructures, and this trend will continue in the future,” said Dr Roland Busch, CEO of the Infrastructure and Cities Sector of Siemens.
The City of Fortaleza – a host city for the 2013 FIFA World Cup and a SuperCity with about four million inhabitants in the west coast of Brazil, is now developing plans for building new infrastructure for public transport – a shared demand among other SuperCities such as Suwon, Recife and Johannesburg, who all commit to invest billions of dollars to improve basic infrastructure services within the next decades, starting from sustainable tendering and procurement.
“We cannot relate with the experiences of megacities, they simply do not fit. We also cannot use the experiences of small cities. What we need is to explore solutions with similar cities, the SuperCities”, said Diógenes Alexandrino, Vice President, Institute for Urban Planning of the City of Fortaleza.
Yeom Tae-Young, Mayor of the City of Suwon, tested out a number of ecomobile vehicles suitable for the city-wide bike-sharing scheme. In September 2013, Suwon will host the first EcoMobility World Festival, a month-long event that offer a peek into the future sustainable city, where people travel by ecomobile means in safe, healthy and low-carbon neighborhoods.


Global Electric Vehicle Outlook launched
The Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have launched the Global EV Outlook representing two years of data gathering and analysis of electric vehicle stock/sales and charging station deployment.


UNEP new report puts cities in the limelight of sustainable development
With the proportion of the global population living in the urban areas sets to rise to 70% by 2050, cities worldwide are catching up to build infrastructures – 60% of which are yet to be built - to meet today’s challenges and future’s demands amid climate change and its impacts.
Investing in sustainable infrastructure and resource efficient technologies are the keys to reducing poverty and driving economic growth with less impact on the environment, says a new UNEP report launched in Nairobi on 17 April with the presence of Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General, Joan Clos, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, and Alice Kaudia, Environment Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Environment.
Well-summed up in its title, the report calls for cities’ inclusive sustainable development – one that decouples city-based economic growth rates from the unsustainable consumption of the world’s exhaustible natural resources.
“To date, the trend towards urbanization has been accompanied by increased pressure on the environment and growing numbers of urban poor,” said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner at the report launch, where the week-long UN Habitat Governing Council 24th Session is also taking place.
“But unique opportunities exist for cities to lead the greening of the global economy by increasing resource productivity and innovation, while achieving major financial savings and addressing environmental challenges.”
Encompassing the issues of investment, development strategies, data collection on resource use, target-setting on resource efficiency and promoting procurement other green technology, the report highly emphasizes the role of cities and local governments, as well as their connections to national governments and the private sector in sustainable development – a conclusion that echoes the vision of the Global Town Hall @ Metropolitan Solutions held at the Hannover Messe during 8-12 April.
“ICLEI has dedicated agendas on Green Urban Economy and Resource Efficient City. They are also the themes of the Global Town Hall recently held at Hannover Messe, where we facilitated Supercities looking for low-carbon, low-risk, eco-friendly industrial solutions to come into dialogues with businesses that provide innovative and sustainable technologies and services,” said Gino Van Begin.
"We are also currently collaborating with UNEP on a global survey on Resource Efficiency in Cities," he added.
According to Joan Clos, transiting to cheaper renewable energy is a worthwhile investment in an age of rising energy prices. "Older cities may have to retrofit and replace inefficient infrastructure into which they have been locked for decades to achieve decoupling, but newer and expanding cities have the advantage of flexibility. They can 'get it right' the first time," he said.
Referring to an analysis by cCCR - the world’s largest global database of local climate action where cities self-report greenhouse gas emission reduction, climate adaptation targets, accomplishments and actions, Steiner noted at the Governing Council meeting on 15 April that cities can help reduce a significant portion of GHG if they can reduce food waste dumped into landfills.
Earlier at the first Universal Governing Council of UNEPP/DRC in February 2013, where ICLEI represented local authorities, he also stressed the importance for UNEP to move towards engaging local governments and subnational authorities in climate actions – a clause that ICLEI has been advocating on behalf of its more than 1,000 Members since the1990s.
Featuring cities such as Melbourne (Australia), who has successfully cut emissions by 40% by introducing energy efficiency measures in public buildings, and Cape Town (South Africa), who saves over 6,500 tons of carbon every year by re-fitting low income housing with solar water heaters and efficient lighting, the report also includes 30 case studies on city-level urban resource flows and the infrastructure governance.


Retrofitting Our Way Out of recession
The built environment of European cities must urgently get in-shape so that it is "energy-fit" for the future. In order to achieve this transformation, owners and occupiers of buildings will need to be persuaded to make their assets more energy efficient. The URBACT "Building Energy Efficiency in European Cities" workstream has been set up to examine the role of city public authorities for energy efficient urban communities through retrofitting in the building sector. The article "Retrofitting Our Way Out of recession" written by Paul Ciniglio, Sustainability Strategist and Antonio Borghi, Lead Expert of the URBACT LINKS Project presents the first findings of their work.


UN-Habitat releases two landmark reports on women and youth
UN-Habitat released on Wednesday two landmark reports on women and youth which reveal that cities must resolve the issues affecting the two segments of society.
State of Women in Cities Report says that equitable, inclusive and prosperous cities need to harness the full potential of all citizens – men, women, and the youth.  This is important as the world grapples with the effects of the global economic and financial crisis that has resulted in climate change, food insecurity and widespread unemployment among women and youth.
On the other hand State of Urban Youth Report says that youth are the society’s most important and dynamic human resource. There are more people under the age of 25 today than ever, totaling nearly three billion - or half of humankind − of which 1.3 billion are between ages 12 and 24. Most live in urban areas.  Yet, nearly 45 per cent of young people around the world— almost 515 million—live on less than two US dollars a day.


Surgeon General to Urge Action on Community Walkability
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is seeking public input on walking as an effective way to be sufficiently active for health. The information obtained will be used to frame an anticipated Surgeon General's call to action on this issue. To provide input, visit (In the search box type Docket No. CDC-2013-0003.) Comments are due by May 1, 2013.


China High Speed Rail - Full speed ahead
By 2015 China is projected to nearly double to 18,000 kilometers of high-speed rail. By 2020 they plan on expanding to 50,000 kilometers! 
China launched the connector between Beijing and Guangzhou this past December. The 2,298 kilometer long rail is the longest HSR line in the world. It would span the distance from Los Angeles to Dallas in the US.
The route is one of China's busiest, connecting the capital to Guangzhou's Pearl River Delta, a region that has grown eleven-fold between 1980 and 2000, and includes 9 cities currently being connected with 150 major infrastructure projects including 10 HSR lines connecting the cities into a single megacity 4 times the population of NY.

Building urban resilience: principles, tools, and practice
This handbook is a resource for enhancing disaster resilience in urban areas. It summarizes the guiding principles, tools, and practices in key economic sectors that can facilitate incorporation of resilience concepts into the decisions about infrastructure investments and general urban management that are integral to reducing disaster and climate risks.


Covenant of Mayors study on the role of supporters as a lever for action
The Covenant of Mayors has released a new study on the role played by Covenant supporters in leveraging information and encouraging signatory municipalities.  The supporters, which notably help promote the initiative and support the commitments made by signatories to curb their CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020, have seen their own feedback included within the study.
How do the Covenant Supporters provide a link between the Covenant and its signatories? How many people were involved in the project in 2011 and 2012? You can find all the answers to these questions and more in the study, available in English.


49th ISOCARP Congress, Brisbane Australia 1-4 October 2013
Frontiers of Planning – Evolving or Declining Models of Practice
The International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) will bring together leading urban managers, academics and practitioners from around the world to explore the shape of things to come in urban development including migration as the new face of change, and adaptation and integration within the established urban fabric. Are planners standing up to be counted? Does responding to 21st century problems require new world city responses, such as new forms of urbanism within the sub-tropics? Don’t miss the opportunity to attend this unique world congress to further understand and debate these challenging planning issues facing communities, professions and governments at a global level. We look forward to welcoming you to beautiful, vibrant and friendly Brisbane, Australia. For more information please visit the ISOCARP congress website at
Please note that the deadline for abstract submission is 30 April 2013.


Cities and migrants: implementing the Integrating Cities Charter
Eurocities latest research highlights city trends in migrant integration and reports on our members' progress in implementing our Integrating Cities Charter
Our Integrating Cities Charter identifies the duties and responsibilities of European cities as policy makers, providers of services, employers and buyers of goods and services to provide equal opportunities for all residents, to integrate migrants, and to embrace the diversity of their populations. Since its introduction in 2010, almost 30 cities have signed up.
This new report is based on the input of 22 of the signatory cities, three years on from the charter's launch. It finds that migrant integration is being redefined, with city policies becoming more broad in relation to social inclusion, equality and participation. It is a snapshot of the reality of local integration policies and practices, presenting some examples of what cities are doing to include migrants in their everyday policies.
We will add to this report so that it will build into a periodic overview on the state of migrant integration in European cities. We will continue to monitor cities’ progress on implementing the charter and highlight trends that we will use to inform relevant policies at local, national and EU level.


Crumbled Skyscrapers Found Floating in Chinese River
Just days after the carcasses of thousands of dead pigs were found floating down two different rivers in China, residents along the banks of the Pearl River are reporting huge chunks of crumbled skyscrapers floating downstream.
The onrush of building parts in the river follows the discovery of compromised concrete in more than a dozen skyscrapers under construction in Shenzhen last month. Inspectors halted construction on those buildings, including what was slated to become China's tallest skyscraper. Building officials say low-quality sea sand found in the concrete would jeopardize the structural integrity of the buildings.
Along the Pearl River, entire walls, pieces of building facades and splintered support beams could be seen bobbing down the river and for miles upstream, leading observers to worry that the compromised concrete in Shenzhen is only one instance of a more widespread problem emerging in China's abundantly active construction sector.
Standing beside his small canoe on the shore next to the Pearl River north of Guangzhou, fisherman Liang Tao managed to pull some of the passing building pieces onto the banks. "This isn't even wood," he said as he easily lifted up a long support beam. "It's just papier mache on chicken wire."
Thousands of residents in the Pearl River Delta have come out to see the buildings carried downstream, despite a lack of coverage by state-run media. "It's like an entire downtown floating by," said Zhang Qian, who drove her son 40 miles on newly constructed highways to watch the flow of doorways and windows in the suddenly congested river. Wei, 10, asked his mother where so many crumbled buildings came from. "They’re creating so many cities out there," she told him, "these buildings could have come from anywhere."


Semarang and Rotterdam: Cities on the float
From the northern cost of Java to the western cost of the North Sea, coastal cities around the world are finding ways to stay dry from flood – a result of rising sea levels and changing rainfall patterns brought by climate change.
“13 out of the world’s 21 megacities are harbor cities, of which Shanghai is most vulnerable to flood and related hazards,” said Professor Markus Quante at Global Town Hall@Metropolitan Solutions, the ongoing global forum on innovative infrastructure solutions held in Hannover, Germany during 8-12 April 2013.
While most cities including Semarang (Indonesia) have chosen conventional methods such as constructing dam, normalizing canals and setting up early warning system to prevent and reduce the impacts of flood, Rotterdam (Netherlands) says cities can float on water and yet stay dry and resilient.
By building floating structures on water and practicing aquaculture – raising fish by growing algae with the city’s waste such as carbon dioxide and nutrients, Rutger de Graaf, Managing Director of DeltaSync suggests that cities should rethink water as viable space for city expansion and food production.
“Urbanization in delta areas has caused increasingly severe flood. It has also added pressure on space, food, energy and other resources,” said Rutger de Graaf, adding that by 2025 the world will run short of at least 22 million km2 of land – an area equivalent to the North American continent.
To realize this “blue revolution”, the city of Rotterdam has already built its first floating pavilion at the Rijnhaven harbor. Consisting of three connected spheres and as big as four tennis courts, these self-sufficient, relocatable structures do not only purify its own toilet water, but also rise automatically according to rising water levels.
By 2040, another 1,200 similar floating structures will be built in Stadhavens – an area designated for sustainable housing development, floating communities, recreation, as well as research on energy generation such as tidal energy and cooling and heating from river water.
Tapping on the Netherlands’s expertise on water technology – while continuing to experience more intensive flash floods and loss of land, Gunawan Wixaksono, Deputy Director of Semarang's Environmental Board, says that Semarang has started developing a series of polder system to improve its urban drainage with assistance from the government of the Netherlands.


Facebook game launched to "do the right mix"
To enlarge the community exchanging on sustainable urban transport on social media, the European Commission's "Do the right mix" campaign launched a game on facebook. Five Brompton folding bikes representing multimodality in daily travels will be given to winning participants.


New Efus publication on collective violence, EU Street Violence: Youth Groups and Violence in Public Spaces
Street violence, or violence committed by youth groups in public spaces, is often mentioned by European cities as one of their priority issues in terms of security. In many cities, these youth groups are res­ponsible for a large proportion of anti-social behaviour, crime and violence. Apart from the danger posed by these groups, whose violence is often directed at peers and other groups or gangs, their presence and visibility in public spaces often create a feeling of insecurity among the population.
While there are throughout Europe a number of practices and policies as well as academic lite­rature on the subject, this pool of knowledge and know-how has remained largely untapped because the information is scattered and not easily acces­sible.
True to the European Forum for Urban Security’s (Efus) ambition to capitalise knowledge and make it accessible to policymakers, practitioners and resear­chers, this publication aims to give local decision makers a better understanding of the issues at stake and of the different policy options and strategies that are available for the inclusion of young people as individuals and members of groups.
Efus’ publication EU Street Violence: Youth Groups and Violence in Public Spaces presents the results of the EU Street Violence project, whose objectives were to gather knowledge, policies, practices and academic literature in an online database. The publication includes contributions from experts who summarise the insights they have gained from the project and share their analyses from the database along with their recommendations and practices.


CIVITAS 2MOVE2 project launched in Stuttgart
The CIVITAS PLUS II project “2MOVE2” kicked off and will implement transport measures with the support of Technion Institute in four partner cities: Stuttgart (Germany) will implement a test track for emission based traffic control.


Berlin satellite image reveals stark east-west divisions
A satellite image has revealed enduring divisions between the east and west of Berlin, with the eastern half of the city much less brightly illuminated at night.
The image, published by a Canadian astronaut, shows bright white light around the government quarter in the heart of the city and the shopping districts of west Berlin, contrasting with a softer yellow glow in the east.
A dark patch in the centre of the image shows the location of the Tiergarten, the park in the middle of the capital.
The image from space highlights the higher levels of commercial activity in the west, over two decades after the fall of the Wall.
The capital's biggest concentration of luxury shops is along Kurfuerstendamm, a west Berlin boulevard. A number of retailers who opened branches in east Berlin after reunification have since closed these, and focused on the west of the city, citing greater loyalty from customers.
Chris Hadfield, who is commander of Expedition 35 on the International Space Station, published the image on social media with the caption: "Berlin at night. Amazingly, I think the light bulbs still show the East/West division from orbit."


Urban Freight Transport, stay tunned! Upcoming events and activities.
Urban Freight Transport is now a topic in the European mobility agenda. Several events and workshops will take place this month, here a short update.


EUROCITIES to join 100 EUrban solutions route
EUROCITIES to host ‘Cities in action’ exhibition on 8 October 2013 as part of Open Days
Our ‘Cities in action’ exhibition has just been confirmed as part of the ‘100 EUrban solutions’ route at Open Days 2013.
This year, Open Days activities will include a route across Brussels punctuated by exhibitions on the broad theme of sustainable urban development.
Our new exhibition will include best practices from our member cities, including many drawn from our ‘cities in action’ case study series, representing a variety of examples and different interpretations of the concept.
The exhibition will be open for viewing at a reception at the House of Cities, Municipalities and Regions (1 Square de Meeus, 1000 Brussels) on the evening of 8 October.
A number of other Brussels-based partners have been approved to join the route with their exhibitions, including: Romanian regions, Italian regions, French regions, EuroHealthNet, the city of Lodz (PL) and the Picardie EU Delegation.
More information on the route and on our exhibition will be available over the coming months.
For more information on the 2013 Open Days, visit:

Local Governments call for stronger political agenda at UN Habitat Council
The United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA) met on Sunday 14 April on the occasion of the 24th Session of the UN Habitat Governing Council.
The UCLG leadership was represented by Co-President Masunda, Mayor of Harare, President of CEMR, Dr. Schuster, and President of the Kenyan Association, Mayor Kores, along with the President of the African Women´s Network, Mayor Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick. Also in attendance were the Mayor of Kigali, the Deputy Mayor of Mogadishu, and Mayor Hugua from Wakatobi, Indonesia. The cities of Medellín, Brasilia and Lusaka were represented together with the local government organizations, Metropolis, UCLG-EuroAsia, FMDV and ICLEI.
The meeting participants praised the Istanbul statement of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments on Post 2015 and towards Habitat III. They commended this effort and requested that UNACLA´s work become a complementary element.
Executive Director of Habitat, Dr. Joan Clos, and Deputy Director, Ms. Kirabo, acknowledged the need for the voice of local authorities to be further heard in the new development agenda and committed to working with UCLG and UNACLA to this end.
A stronger political agenda
Mayors and Local Government representatives requested that UNACLA have a greater role in the political Agenda of UN Habitat and called upon the Secretariat to find ways to ensure this.
Mobility: A social issue
The report on Urban Mobility was presented and highlighted cases of different cities around the world. The representatives stressed the need to consider mobility from a social perspective and not as a technical solution.
Employment and Local Economic Development
The thematic work of UNACLA will focus on Job Creation until 2014 emphasizing the role of the public sector in creating decent employment for all, particularly for the youth. Mayors highlighted the need to regain some of the lost competences at local level and of localizing the economy through partnership with small and medium size businesses who share local interests.
The group also discussed resilience against flooding which will be the next thematic focus after job creation.
The New Development Agenda
A High Level panel was organized on the urban aspect of the Post 2015 Agenda. Dr. Clos, Dr. Schuster and several national representatives joined Amina Mohamed, the Assistant Secretary General and Special Advisor to the UN on this panel.
Dr. Schuster emphasized the need to consider a goal for sustainable cities in the new development agenda and highlighted the interest of building one single agenda incorporating the MDGs and SDGs. He further called for a new international governance architecture that follows the multi-partnership principle and includes local and regional governments in the decision-making table.
The deliberations at UN Habitat will continue for a full week. UCLG is the key representative of local and regional authorities in the Council and will follow the drafting process of resolutions. Around 15 resolutions will be negotiated by the 58 Council members and partners.


Suwon and Recife tackle urban traffic with ecomobility
With the number of cars rocketing from 80,000 to 400,000 over the last 30 years, Suwon (South Korea) is facing enormous pressure on its urban transportation system – a challenge shared by Recife, a Brazilian city on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
“We need to change our car-centered transportation policies into a people-oriented one,” Tae-young Yeom, Mayor of Suwon says at the Global Town Hall@Metropolitan Solutions – the ongoing global forum on innovative sustainable infrastructure solutions held in Hannover, Germany during 8 - 12 April 2013.
To change people’s behavior towards ecomobility – adopting ecofriendly and low-carbon means of transport such as walking, cycling and passenging – the city of Suwon will host the EcoMobility World Festival in September 2013. During the festival, the entire Haenggung-dong neighborhood will be transformed into car-free zone where businesses and experts worldwide will demonstrate their latest innovations on ecomobility.
With only 20km bike lanes at present, Recife also shares the same vision in promoting cycling as a means to reduce traffic and the city’s carbon footprint.
“The current cycling paths are only for sports purposes and they are not connected to specific areas. Our plan is to have 400km of dedicated bike lanes on the road,” said Maurício Guerra, Executive Secretary for Sustainability of the Brazilian Secretariat for Environment and Sustainability.
With 75% of the city’s buses going to the city center with one trunk road, Guerra also admits that the city lacks good networks between the city’s heart and its periphery, where most people – especially the poor live.
A range of new measures have been introduced by the city government of Recife to improve its urban transportation system, including the construction of exclusive bus lanes, connecting the airport with the metro, and integrating the river into the public transport system.
For more information, visit EcoMobility


Bordeaux will host the meeting of the UCLG Committee on Digital and Knowledge-Based Cities
With the objective to continue with the work initiated with the development of the Study, from the Presidency of the Committee in collaboration with the City of Bordeaux, that holds the Vice-presidency of the Committee of Europe, we have considered timely to organize a working meeting with the European section of the committee, as well as with other cities that are also working in the issues analyzed in the Study. The meeting of the european section will be held on May 31st in the City of Bordeaux.
The meeting will be focused on issues related with the creation, attraction and retention of tales, the importance of boosting new emerging sectors of activity –specially the ones related to the new technologies, innovation and research-, the promotion and development of innovation at local level, the importance of creating and enable infrastructures and spaces for the business development and creativity in order to give support to the entrepreneurship, among others issues.
Our intention is to keep this as an operative meeting that will allow us to exchange opinions and visions around these issues, as well as to get to know better the main initiatives carried out by the cities, in order to be able to identify synergies and projects of collaboration.
The cities interested in taking part in the meeting can contact directly the Secretariat of the Committee. You can access the preliminary agenda in the following link: Meeting agenda and registration form.


Eurocities latest ‘cities in action’ case study follows Berlin’s U18 youth election project, winner of the 2012 EUROCITIES participation award
U18 is designed to ignite a passion for politics amongst young people. It serves as a fun introduction into the system, and helps complement political education in schools, which is sometimes not sufficient to foster genuine interest.
The project culminates in a ‘simulated’ election, which takes place nine days ahead of the real ‘adult’ election, be in local or national. Ahead of the election, the young participants spend a year in preparation. They study manifestos, form political parties, carry out voluntary and charitable activities and debate with politicians.
All the material for this year of preparation can be found on the U18 website and downloaded by any participating organisation. Schools, youth clubs, libraries – in fact any organisation working with young people – can register with the U18 website as a polling station. Additional mobile polling stations are placed on streets and squares to ensure the project reaches a broad audience of young people. As an extra element of fun, a prize is awarded after the election for the best ballot box or booth, designed by young people.
The project has received wide support and recognition, and was awarded the 2012 EUROCITIES award for participation. Many politicians provide support, through tours, meetings or by acting as patrons, while the Senate department and Berlin’s borough offices provide rooms, funding and educational materials.
Since opening the first polling booth in 1996, the project has grown in scale with 5,000 young voters in 2001 up to 26,705 for the Berlin House of Representatives simulated election in 2011. Young people are currently preparing for the September 2013 elections to the German Bundestag.


SuperCities to reshape future urban infrastructure
SuperCities are opting to invest about USD 1.8 billion in low-carbon, low-risk and sustainable infrastructure solutions.
15 April 2013, Hannover, Germany: In search of sustainable solutions, SuperCities bonded together at the ICLEI Global Town Hall @ Metropolitan Solutions – the paramount platform between cities and industry on smart and future-defining infrastructure solutions, held at the Hannover Messe in Germany on 8-12 April 2013.
SuperCities is a group of fast–growing and ambitious cities characterized by: a population of more than one million people and a commitment to sustainably maintain public infrastructure and services in an era of a shrinking economy, or to build smart infrastructure in a phase of rapid urbanization.
Current urbanization trends - rising populations, increasing vulnerability to climate change, urban traffic - are escalating pressure on cities to act rapidly. While SuperCities Johannesburg (South Africa), Recife (Brazil), Suwon (South Korea), and Fortaleza (Brazil) are finding ways to address these issues, innovative technologies in green building, mobility, logistics, financing, urban management, waste, water, and energy are either already in place or are currently being tested by companies.
“At the ICLEI Global Town Hall, ICLEI facilitated the matchmaking between SuperCities who got to know the cutting edge low-carbon, low-risk, eco-friendly industrial solutions, and companies who learned about the real needs and challenges faced by cities today”, said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the world’s leading cities network dedicated to sustainable development.
The City of Suwon Mayor Yeom Tae-Young, for instance, tested out a number of ecomobile vehicles suitable for the city-wide bike-sharing scheme. In September 2013, Suwon will host the first EcoMobility World Festival, a month-long event that will offer a peek into the future ecomobile city.
“By 2050, the urban population will grow by 70% - from 3.6 billion people today to more than 6 billion. There is already a huge demand for urban infrastructures, and this trend will continue in the future,” said Dr Roland Busch, CEO of the Infrastructure and Cities Sector of Siemens.
A host city for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the City of Fortaleza is now developing plans for building new infrastructures especially related to public transport. Others share the same demand: Suwon, Recife and Johannesburg all committed to invest billions of dollars to improve basic infrastructure services within the next decades. The solutions showcased in this year’s Global Town Hall have inspired these cities’ to commit to a more sustainable infrastructure development, starting with sustainable tendering and procurement.
“We cannot relate with the experiences of megacities, they simply do not fit. We also cannot use the experiences of small cities. What we need is to explore solutions with similar cities, the SuperCities”, said Diógenes Alexandrino, Vice President, Institute for Urban Planning of the City of Fortaleza, a SuperCity with about four million inhabitants in the west coast of Brazil.


Call for Cities and Regions to Participate in the Co-cities PRIME Initiative - provide integrated multimodal transport information to your citizens
The PRIME initiative provides cities the opportunity to benefit from the implementation of a Commonly Agreed Interface and to have 50% of their implementation costs covered. The call is open until May 5, 2013.


PLATFORMA new publication: “Five years of action!”
The new presentation brochure of the European platform of local and regional authorities for development cooperation (PLATFORMA) presents its first five years of activities. It provides examples of collaborative projects put in place by municipalities in Europe and beyond, including reconstruction efforts to support devastated areas and projects on food safety.
“The brochure’s main objective is to summarise PLATFORMA’s achievements since its creation as well as to provide examples of collaborative projects that reflect the diversity and the impact of cooperation initiatives between local and regional authorities and their associations,” says deputy mayor of the City of Paris and PLATFORMA political representative, Pierre Schapira. “In this way, we hope to help further strengthen the commitment of European local and regional authorities to development cooperation and to shed light on PLATFORMA’s activities.”


How do cities respond to urban challenges within the 2007-2013 cohesion policy period?
DG Regio (European Commission) published a new report in January 2013 showcasing 50 good practice examples in cities during the 2007 - 2013 cohesion policy period. The practices show how these cities are responding locally to common urban challenges with the aid of EU structural funds. The case studies are focused around eight key themes: smart growth; sustainable growth; inclusive growth; integrated area-based approaches; housing for marginalised groups; financial engineering; public participation and empowerment; and cooperation, networking and learning.


Pedestrian safety: Join the UN Global Road Safety Week, 6-12 May
Governments, with support from civil society, academia, the private sector and the international community, are all encouraged to plan and host national and local events during the Second UN Global Road Safety Week.


Durban Adaptation Charter Implementation Guidance Workshop launched
Bringing leading thought leaders from around the world, the Durban Adaptation Charter Implementation Guidance Workshop launched on 20 March 2013 in Durban (eThekwini), South Africa, provides a forum for local governments and authorities to exchange ideas and synergize efforts on implementing the 10 principles of the Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC) – the outcome of the Durban Local Government Convention that complements the ‘Global Cities Covenant on Climate – the Mexico City Pact’ adopted in 2010.
“Ethekwini Municipality and a growing list of partners are advancing on the Durban Adaptation Charter. Through this workshop, we will further identify potential governance mechanisms, the need for support for the implementation of the DAC and appropriate mechanisms for documenting progress,” said James Nxumalo, Mayor of Durban, ICLEI’s Vice President and head of ICLEI’s global resilience portfolio.


Aberdeen: reconciling business, sustainable development and a high quality of life
The Energetica project aims to offer "a unique business environment, based on the principles of low carbon dependency, while drawing on the dynamism and innovation of the energy industry."
"Energetica" covers a strech of about 50 km (30 miles) in Aberdeen Shire (GB) and aims to provide a healthy, eco-friendly and economically dynamic place to work and live in.
As one of the world’s leading place in the modern energy industry, Aberdeen wishes to secure its position on an increasingly competitive market while taking into account the requirements of sustainable development. Reconciling a high quality of life, environment performance and economy is the core idea of the whole project.
Aberdeen wishes to make Energetica "a place where living, working and recreation merge seamlessly to create the definitive model of 21st century lifestyle in an attractive, high quality and sustainable environment."
The project has already attracted €310m of a potential €890m investment in its first 5 years.
More information on the project website:


Three Belgian Regions start kilometer charge test project
The three Belgian Regions agreed upon the start of a test project on kilimeter charges for private cars to study the impacts on behavioural change with regards to such a tax. 1200 people will participate in the test. The test is carried out in the so-called GEN area, this is the territory covered by the Brussels Regional Express Network.


Register now for Trial Training Program on Urban Transportation Policy
The Headquarters of Metropolis International Institute (Seoul Human Resource Development Center (SHRDC)) is pleased to inform the Trial Training Program on Urban Transportation Policy during 19-26 May 2013 in Seoul for Metropolis member cities.
Seoul is well known for its Transport Intelligence System, Public transport reform policy, Bus rapid transit, etc., and experts from all around the world visit Seoul to learn Seoul’s urban transportation policy. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a participant of the outstanding training program of Seoul Urban Transportation Policy provided by the SHRDC!


Proximity to Public Transit Boosts Home Values
According to a new study from the Center for Neighborhood Technology, property values for homes located near public transportation weathered the housing bust much better than homes without easy access. The study found that residential property values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located within a half-mile of public transportation with high-frequency service — called the "public transit shed" — underscoring that homes closer to public transportation hold their value better.


3rd Forum of Local and Regional Authorities: elected officials commit to democratic governance in the Mediterranean.
On 3-4 April, the City of Marseille and the Provence-Alps-Côte d'Azur Region welcomed around 400 elected officials and practitioners from 24 Mediterranean countries, on the occasion of the 3rd Forum of Local and Regional Authorities of the Mediterranean. After two days of exchange, the gathering formalized the creation of the Political Council of the Mediterranean Committee and the request for a Mediterranean Spring in favour of regional development at political, economic and cultural levels in order to answer the aspirations of young people.
The key messages of the Final Declaration, presented by Mohamed Boudra, Chair of the newly elected Political Council of the UCLG Mediterranean Committee, are directed at Heads of States and Governments, as well as international donors, Parliamentarians and civil society.
During these two days, local and regional elected officials also expressed the political, social and economic difficulties encountered in the region and drew particular attention to the difficulties faced by young people during agathering between local elected officials and young people.
Local and regional elected officials of the Mediterranean reaffirmed their determination to contributing to creating a space of peace, solidarity and concrete projects for their citizens. The participants called for "the revision of the Millennium Development Goals and the definition of Sustainable Development Goals to be the occasion to set up a specific focus for the Mediterranean, with adequate resources for the social, economic and environmental challenges ahead." In this perspective, participants called for greater convergence of the policies implemented by the main donors in the Mediterranean area.
"An initiative like the Political Council of the UCLG Mediterranean Committee is crucial to sustaining a dialogue that is open and continuous between cities and regions of the Mediterranean area", claimed Mohamed Boudra. According to Michel Vauzelle, "this Forum must re-launch people-centred projects in the Mediterranean, as was expressed by local and regional elected officials through their conviction and commitment during these two days". "By providing the UCLG Mediterranean Committee with a Political Council, we, local and regional elected officials, will define together our will to meet the challenges that our countries, territories and cities are faced with and we will jointly establish the multi-level democracy that our citizens aspire to", added Jean-Claude Gaudin.
Finally, all participants highlighted their major concern about the situation in Syria and the human repercussions. They firmly called upon the international community to put an end to the Syrian tragedy which is starting to provoke instability in some countries of the region hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees.
More information:


The Economy of Green Cities
Bringing together 35 contributions from over 60 experts from research, the private sector, international organizations and local governments worldwide, ICLEI newly published "The Economy of Green Cities: A world Compendium on the Green Urban Economy".
Regardless of their physical and population sizes, towns and cities have always been the hubs of human settlements and commercial activities - even more so in an urban age like nowadays, where major cities and their economies dominate the global economy.
Rapid urbanization, however, also means that cities are fast becoming the greatest consumer of our world’s natural resources and the main contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.
It is in this context that the term “Green Urban Economy” was introduced in 2011, when ICLEI translated the internationally formulated concept “Green Economy” - one of the two key themes of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development – to the local government and city level.
The Green Urban Economy approach is an inclusive response to global climate change and socioeconomic development at the local level. By embedding both economic and environmental concerns in policymaking, it calls for smarter approaches and innovation in applying existing tools and new methods towards achieving sustainable urban development.
Bringing together 35 contributions from over 60 experts from research, the private sector, international organizations and local governments worldwide, ICLEI’s newly published compendium The Economy of Green Cities: A world Compendium on the Green Urban Economy bridges the gap between the global promotion of the concept and its actual realization on the ground by illustrating the advantages of the Green Urban Economy approach with concrete and practical examples.
Covering issues such as governance, economics, new business models, green jobs, technology, infrastructure, urban poverty, it is also an acknowledgement of and call for more locally responsive actions, new thinking and research.
The compendium is available for sale on Springer's website:


127 Freight Electric Vehicles to be used within the FREVUE project!
Demonstrations in Amsterdam, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Milan, Rotterdam, Oslo and Stockholm will evaluate innovative urban freight transport solutions through a genuine public private partnership between municipalities and the logistics industry.


Resilient Cities 2013 Twitter Contest
To celebrate approaching 1,000 followers and the upcoming Resilient Cities 2013 Congress ICLEI are giving away two copies of our book 'Resilient Cities: Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change - Proceedings of the Global Forum 2010' to two of our existing and new Resilient Cities Twitter followers.
To participate in the contest, write a Tweet between 15 - 31 March 2013 that mentions us @ICLEI_ResCities and the #ResilientCities 2013 congress or @Reply to one of our messages between now and then.

Your city in 2050: backcasting as a method to plan the energy future
The town of Figueres (Spain) hosted a creative and friendly meeting organised in the framework of the "IMAGINE low energy cities" project, in February.
The project partners (Munich, Lille, Bistrita, Odense, Milton Keynes, Modena, Dobrich, HafenCity University Hamburg and Energy Cities) gathered around a single objective: designing their local energy model for 2050.
Filipa Pimentel and Juan del Río from the Transition Towns network participated in this 2-day work session by facilitating a discussion on energy transition matters and coordinating a workshop on the backcasting method.
"Backcasting" differs from "forecasting" since it does not start from current reality to prepare different scenarios but on the contrary, this method starts with imagining a vision for the future, and asks the question " What do I do today to achieve this vision?".
This process, which allows for a great space for creativity and innovation, is widely used by the Transition Towns, such as Totnes (GB).
Deputy Mayor of Figueres Pere Giró said: "the basic purpose of these meetings is to exchange experiences between cities. Despite the differences in size and energy model between countries and cities, the possibility to share knowledge and projects is key to the whole IMAGINE project".
Find a unique collection of resources on local energy issues (special focus on visions for the future) on the IMAGINE Resource Centre.
Official project website:


The Local and Regional Governments Development Agenda
Local and Regional Governments organizations gathered in a Global Taskforce for Post 2015 are fully committed to end extreme poverty in all its forms, in the context of sustainable development, and to contribute to put in place the building blocks of sustained prosperity for all. As the government bodies with much of the responsibility for meeting many of the MDGs and goals suggested for post 2015, we commit to ensuring local and regional governments address these responsibilities and to demonstrating how poverty reduction, prosperity and sustainable development can be combined.


Urbanization Knowledge Exchange to Support MENA Stakeholders
Today, the world's urban areas accommodate up to 3.3 billion people, equivalent to half of the world?s population. This share is even larger in the Arab world where on average, 60% of the population is urbanized and the rate of urbanization of 2.3% is greater than the world average of 2.1%. These large and rapidly growing urban populations introduce new challenges and opportunities for urban management and leadership.
In September 2012, a World Bank initiative led by the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) and the Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI) was launched in Marseille to facilitate urbanization knowledge exchange in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This initiative was designed to increase interactions between cities across the MENA region to problem-solve collectively to address common urban issues, explore urban opportunities and share growth management approaches.
It was also designed to connect MENA city leaders and partners to urban leaders and experts around the world to share good practices. These exchanges would be facilitated by several means, including the World Bank's Urbanization Knowledge Platform.


EU’s Strategic Transport Technology Plan (STTP) - Draft Report by the EP
The report, which was presented last week at the TRAN Committee meeting, stresses the need for linking better research with EU transport policy and suggests general and specific measures for a European transport technology strategy.


The United Nations Asks Citizens About Their World
The United Nations has teamed up with youth groups, private sector bodies and NGO partners all over the world to launch MY World, which is the United Nations Survey for a Better World. MY World asks citizens everywhere about the issues that make the most difference to their lives.
As the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) continue to mobilize global action on fighting poverty and enhancing livelihoods, efforts are also underway to include citizens' voices in the global debate for the development agenda after the MDGs target date of 2015.
MY World is anonymous and asks participants only for their gender, age and country, to allow for disaggregation of data. The data will be presented to global leaders and will paint an accurate picture of the top six issues that impact people's lives the most.


Syrian refugee crisis: Municipalities on the frontline
An international delegation of elected and local government practitioners, under auspices of UCLG and its Middle East Working Group, visited Syrian border municipalities in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon on 18-26 March.
At the initiative of UCLG President Topbas, elected officials from French, Turkish, and Dutch local governments and experts from the national associations of local governments in Canada (FCM-Federation of Canadian Municipalities), The Netherlands (VNG-Association of Dutch Municipalities), Turkey (UMT-Union of Municipalities of Turkey) and representatives of United Cities France (CUF-Cités Unies France) and UCLG Middle East and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA) have taken part in the mission that visited municipalities having to cope with the great flow of displaced Syrians. Up to 11.000 citizens have moved out of Syria even in the last 24 hours according to the UNHCR.
The Local Government mission team took stock of the ways in which local governments at borders areas have been trying to deal with the situation and has drawn up recommendations on possible forms of assistance that can be offered through the UCLG network.
In Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, the delegation met officials of local, regional and central government, NGOs’ operatives and French and Dutch diplomats as well as representatives of the Syrian community.
Half of the 400.000 Syrian citizens in Turkey live in government-run camps, while the other half live in host cities. In Jordan, over 100.000 Syrians are concentrated in the UNHCR supported Al Zaatari camp. Many others live in host communities. In Lebanon the refugees are spread over the 900 municipalities in the country, without any camp established.
The situation is putting host municipalities in the different countries under strain. The displaced population doubles, in some cases, the size of the autochthon community. The impact of this population swifts on all basic services, in particular, healthcare, water, sanitation, waste and education.
Local Authorities call for urgent support to be able to comply with their responsibilities. The important work deployed by NGOs in the region cannot and should not replace local government tasks and responsibilities, specific support to local governments is becoming critical if social stability is to be guaranteed.
The mission’s recommendations will be presented to the upcoming UCLG governing bodies and will be complemented with a global call for action.


Cities and Green Growth – Urban Evolution
Urbanisation and the shift to a green economy are two of the greatest challenges of our time. Join us for an inspiring and ambitious conference in Stockholm on how cities embrace and meet both of these challenges through green growth.
The conference will launch Green Growth in Cities, the OECD Green Cities Program report, which integrates findings from green growth case studies of the cities of Stockholm, Kitakyushu, Paris and Chicago as well as two national studies of urban and green growth policies in China and Korea. Based on the Green Growth in Cities report, the conference will elaborate on the potential of cities and regions around the world to foster economic growth and reduce environmental impact through innovative policies and political commitment.
The conference provides an international platform for public and private sector leaders to engage in a global discussion and cooperation to enable green growth in cities. Join us in Stockholm to exchange best practices and growth opportunities related to land-use and city planning, infrastructure, waste and transport solutions, eco-districts, and other areas that increase the quality of the environment and life in cities.
We cordially invite policymakers, business leaders and experts to join the “Urban Evolution” conference to present their experiences and discuss what more can be done to further promote green growth in cities.
The event will take place on 23 May, followed by study trips on 24 May.
Register by 10 May at


Young people invited to present at Nantes Creative Generations Forum
Nantes Creative Generations (NCG) is currently seeking applications from young people, aged 18-30, to present their innovative and inspirational projects linked to European citizenship at its forum on 24-26 October 2013.
As well as showcasing their own projects, participants will have the chance to learn from peers across Europe and to gain better understanding of the European dimension of local projects. Creative Generations (NCG) is an initiative set up by the city of Nantes and Nantes Metropole together with a number of NGOs to bring together young European citizens who are involved in projects or initiatives designed to strengthen European citizenship.


ICLEI and RUAF come together for urban agriculture and food security
ICLEI– Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI, and RUAF Foundation-International Network of Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food security (RUAF, are collaborating on improving food and nutrition security of urban populations through an integrated approach to resilient urban food systems, specifically for urban and peri-urban agriculture.
“Local government action is necessary to enable the creation of resilient urban food systems and local governments require guidance in managing urban food systems and in particular technical advice and training” - Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.
This collaboration comes at a time where there is a need to strengthen local governments, international and regional networks, and support them in creating resilient urban food systems. ICLEI and RUAF will be coordinating the exchange of information and best practices between and among experts, local government representatives and politicians for further research and policy work. They will seek to provide training and technical assistance, in collaboration with other actors in this field. Importantly, the organizations recognize the role that strengthened urban food systems can have on city-region resilience, in particular supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts of local governments.
They also highlight the importance of resilient urban food system practices for enhancing the city-region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services, creating green urban economies, jobs, and healthy and happy communities.
“ICLEI and RUAF will be building institutional capacity and political commitment to resilient urban food systems through convening, for example, forums, trainings and workshops on the topic, providing technical advice and preparing toolkits and other information materials” – Marielle Dubbeling, Director, RUAF Foundation.
ICLEI is the world’s leading network of 12 mega-cities, 100 super-cities and urban regions, 450 large cities, and 450 small and medium-sized cities and towns in 84 countries. ICLEI’s 14 Regional Offices proactively implement these agendas through numerous initiatives, for example, the Cities Biodiversity Centre based in Cape Town. The RUAF network includes eight regional resource centers on urban agriculture and food security that share a common vision and together implement international programs. RUAF is providing training, technical support and policy advice to local and national governments, producer organizations, NGO’s and other local stakeholders on the topic.


Bilbao will host the “World Cities Summit Mayors Forum 2013”
The City of Bilbao will hold the “World Cities Summit Mayors Forum 2013” that will gather local representatives from the five continents, and will take place on the 13th and 14th of June, with the main objective of exchanging ideas and experiences about important issues such as the economic recovering and the sustainability of cities.
It is an event initiated in 2010 in Singapore and that will take place for the first time in another city, which is Bilbao.
The selection of Bilbao as official venue of the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum 2013 represents a recognition to the trajectory of Bilbao in the field of urban regeneration, linked to the cleaning-up of the river, the bet for high-level architecture and design, the promotion of green spaces and the improvement of the quality of life of citizens. It is exactly in 2010 when Bilbao received in Singapore the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize as recognition to its leadership in favour of the creation of a “modern, liveable and sustainable” urban community, which has turned Bilbao into an international reference.
This meeting will gather local governments from all around the World, and has as main objective to share “best practices” between cities and regions, that are committed to the sustainability, urban solutions and the creation of more liveable environments.


The Global Network on Safer Cities proposes a change in strategies to eradicate violence in cities
On 13-14 March, representatives of the Global Network on Safer Cities (GNSC) gathered in New York City to establish a global agenda for a safer future in the cities of the world.
The meeting concluded on the idea that a “change in mentalities and strategies” was necessary. In this perspective, Joan Clos, UN-Habitat Executive Director, underlined that this new trend was to include the need to “recover street life” in order to create safer spaces. He quoted the examples of Bogota and San Salvador, two cities where specific action plans noticeably reduced the cases of violence. According to the Mayor of Bogota, who also attended the meeting, the key to success is to focus safety policies on “social inclusion, poverty eradication and human rights” in order to fight violence from its source, rather than implement policies “based on repression and violation of human rights”. Following the same idea, the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, called on participants to focus on prevention and guarantee that “police forces not only enforce the law but also obey it”.


Chinese Company Proposes Africa's First Supertall in Ethiopia
The Guangdong Chuan Hui Group has announced plans to develop the Chuan Hui International Tower in Addis Ababa. The mixed-use tower, tentatively named the Meles Zenawi International Center, will be 448 meters (1,470 feet), more than twice as tall as Africa's current tallest.


Cities in action: Grasping Berlin – shaping Berlin
Our latest ‘cities in action’ case studies focuses on Berlin, which is committed to becoming a barrier-free city. It is especially reaching out to its visually-impaired citizens and visitors.
The city has published two planning manuals – for public buildings and public spaces – which provide guidelines for professionals in implementing the principle of ‘design for all’. Developed in partnership with groups of affected citizens, the manuals are now mandatory for the design and construction of public buildings in Berlin. Their success has been recognised internationally, and they have been translated into English and Russian, to be used by Moscow in the barrier-free transformation of the city.
Aimed at residents and visitors, Berlin has also teamed up with affected individuals and students to create a scale-model of the city, made out of a specially-developed tactile, hygienic material, which aims to help people to, literally, get to grips with the city. Visitors can explore their city at a 1:2000 scale at the Senate department for urban development and the environment in central Berlin, where the model is on permanent display. Important landmarks are also picked out in 1:200 scale, allowing visitors – especially visually-impaired people – to understand better the structures and layout that make up Berlin.
These actions are complemented by an expert ‘barrier-free city’ roundtable, a Senate department for urban development and the environment initiative, which meets regularly to devise policy solutions and spread the word about barrier-free access in the city. It is complemented by a number of working groups on specific themes, such as barrier-free hospitals.
Berlin’s commitment to barrier-free development is summed up by Ephraim Gothe, permanent secretary for building and housing at Berlin’s Senate department for urban development and the environment:
“Berlin should be accessible in all its diversity without barriers. This is a political request and a goal of the UN Convention on the Rights of Visually-Impaired Individuals in Berlin. Dedicated to the concept of design for all, the tactile model, ‘Grasping Berlin – shaping Berlin’ makes it possible to explore the urban structure of Berlin with all the senses.”


The Urban Future. Documentation of German Development Cooperation Contributions to the Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum
"Actors in development cooperation have a vital role to play in supporting their partners in the effective management of urban development. In this ‘urban millennium’, cities are agents in a transformation process towards sustainable development. They have to be socially and economically innovative, fight poverty, promote inclusion and protect the environment and climate.
The Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF 6) in 2012 was designed as a platform for various actors in the field of urban development to discuss, learn, test and agree on different ways of building and sustaining a more prosperous urban future for our cities. German actors participated in WUF 6 not only through various thematic events within the official conference programme, but also by presenting their work in a pavilion in the exhibition area.


GOLD III and the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals
The Third UCLG Global Report on Decentralisation, GOLD III, is currently contributing to the debate on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and on the Post 2015 agenda by presenting the vision of local authorities on the current situation of basic services in different regions of the world, concentrating on two aspects: access and management of services.
Progress made to date confirms that in the majority of countries, local authorities have direct or indirect responsibility in the management of water, sanitation, solid household waste and to varying degrees, urban transport. However local authorities in some regions do have the power and the resources necessary to provide these services.
The report will allow us to test whether in countries where there is the greatest delay in implementing the MDG, local governments lack the necessary resources and capacities to correctly address them. This situation is principally dominant in sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia. Furthermore, problems of access to basic services are increasingly concentrated in marginal neighbourhoods on urban peripheries. For example, statistics confirm that 85% of inhabitants in African urban zones have better access to water and 55% to sanitation; in informal settlements of cities, access is always below 20-30% (figures comparable or superior to rural areas). Furthermore, in many cities, the demand is beginning to exceed the provisional capacities, effecting the quality and frequency of the service.
Conversely, where progress can be noted in the achievement of the MDG it is generally owing to the work of local governments, in strict collaboration with national governments. Some countries have developed policies aimed at guaranteeing access for the poorest (South Africa), or through direct grants to the poorest families (Brazil).
The involvement of local governments in the governance of basic services is not only fundamental for the MDG but also for the majority of the objectives that are under debate for the Post 2015 Agenda.
In view of this, the report analyses the evolution of the management methods for services and determines that, in terms of the financing for the infrastructure of basic services - in particular in big cities experiencing rapid growth, the principle of self-funding or financing through the payment of services ("water pays water") does not allow authorities to meet needs and results in accumulated delays in social and territorial terms.
A first draft of the regional reports are currently being finalized and will be presented and debated in the regional seminars in the various UCLG sections between March and June. During these debates, recommendations will be collected and proposed that will reinforce the conclusions of the Report.
The final version of the GOLD III Report will be presented during the 4th UCLG World Congress in Rabat (Morocco) in October 2013, and will be published in 2014 on the eve of the date determined by the International Community for the evaluation and revision of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDG).


Covenant of Mayors webinar on sustainable urban mobility planning: presentations and recording available
Transport-related CO2 emissions account for around 30% of the total green house gas emissions of cities in Europe. It is thus crucial for Covenant of Mayors signatories to plan mobility in a sustainable and efficient manner within their SEAP. With this in mind, the Covenant of Mayors Office co-organized a webinar on sustainable urban mobility planning with Eltis on 27 March. The recording of the webinar is available here.
The webinar featured a presentation by Ivo Cré from Polis who presented the so-called Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) methodology and its links with the SEAP. Like the SEAP, a SUMP is a tool designed at a European level to help cities plan their sustainable urban actions. The latter only focuses on mobility while SEAPs cover other key areas such as buildings, local energy production or land use planning. Overall SEAPs and SUMPs present several commonalities when it comes to objectives (increased energy-efficiency, enhanced attractiveness and quality of the urban environment) and methodologies (baseline inventory, monitoring of results, cross-sectorial approach, etc.).
The local perspective on SUMPs was presented by Aurore Asorey and Christophe Doucet from Tisséo Toulouse, the local public transport authority of Toulouse agglomeration. The presentation focused on the development of the SUMP and on the importance of the involvement of citizens in the planning process. The speakers highlighted that Tisséo was actively involved in the preparation of the mobility chapter of the SEAP of Toulouse Métropole. They encouraged transport and energy managers to work together in the development of both SEAPs and SUMPs to capitalize on the resources and knowledge of both teams and to achieve common goals more efficiently.
Presentation Ivo Cré
Presentation Aurore Asorey & Christophe Doucet


Milestone event in Dublin: a new impetus for the Intercultural cities approach
250 participants from 4 continents, 60 countries and 100 cities, including over 40 Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councilors, representatives of cities, national authorities, civil society, business, media, foundations, and academia met in Dublin on 6-8 February to critically review the Intercultural integration approach and its impact in pilot cities that have embraced it. This was the first opportunity since the Intercultural cities programme began in 2008 for a broad range of thinkers and practitioners to assess the achievements and challenges ahead and contribute to the enrichment of the Intercultural cities concept and knowledge base.

European Citizens’ Initiative "Right2Water“: One million citizens have already signed the initiative
According to its organizers, the European Citizens’ Initiative „Right2Water“ has collected more than 1 million signatures within six months in at least seven member states of the EU, (1.245.426 signatures on March 11, 2013). This would mean that they have collected the required number of signatures, which are necessary for the European Commission to examine the initiative and decide how to act on it


Urban Freight Transport, stay tunned! Upcoming events and activities.
Urban Freight Transport is now a topic in the European mobility agenda. Several events and workshops will take place this month, here a short update.


Register your sustainable urban mobility campaign and apply for funding
The European Commission's Sustainable Urban Mobility (SUM) campaign has launched a second call for SUM funding applications. The funding available under this second call will co-finance campaign initiatives taking place during the period running from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014. Applications for the second round of funding must be submitted before 12:00 (CET) on 31 May 2013.
A committee of experts will select one winning promotional action per country based on a pre-defined set of evaluation and eligibility criteria. All applicants will be notified as to their funding status in early July 2013.
If you are a non-commercial enterprise – such as an NGO, a local authority, a public body or a school/university/research institute – you are eligible to register your promotional action and apply for up to EUR 7 000 of financial support to boost your campaign initiative. Please note that campaigners in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Romania and the UK are not permitted to apply as these countries have already received targeted support with setting up national campaigns.
Applying for funding is an easy online process. Just go to, create an account, register your promotional action and tick the 'Apply HERE to get up to EUR 7000 of financial support!' box at the bottom of the form. You will then be asked to provide additional information regarding the budget, planning and promotion of your initiative and to describe the link with relevant EU initiatives and programmes in the field of transport and energy-efficiency. You will also be required to upload digital scans of documents that allow verification of the legal status of your organisation
For more information on the call for applications please visit or send an e-mail to


Create a label for safer nightlife in your city
Created in the wake of the Democracy, Cities and Drug project, and supported by Efus, the Party+ network gathers European cities that strive to prevent risks among young people who go out at night, in particular through quality labels and charters that identify safe venues.
For cities that wish to create a safer nightlife label or to improve an existing action, Party+ offers a tailor made service. Experts from the network will meet you and your local partners, and give support and recommandations according to the needs and specificities of your city.
Read the brochure


MOPeasy electric car-sharing service for companies spreads through France
In September 2012, car-sharing company MOPeasy and e-mobility company Sodetrel joined forces to launch a new integrated electric car-sharing scheme for companies in Neuilly-sur-Seine (Grand Paris area). The partnership was announced at the 2012 Salon de l’Automobile in Paris. A recent survey in France revealed that 86% of the French think electric cars are the future of urban traffic and more than 1.5 million vehicles will be shared among companies by 2020.


Welcome to Canada! Municipal Leadership in Immigrant Integration
The latest snapshot of city leadership and innovation in the municipal good practice series is ready! Find stories from Canadian cities large and small – Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Saskatoon and Richmond Hill. From fighting discrimination to mentoring newcomers, local governments are addressing important community concerns.


Smartphone navigation app for the urban cyclist
The 'BikeCityGuide' app directs cyclists to their chosen destination along the most cycle-friendly route. By downloading it on a smartphone attached to the handlebars of a bike it provides visual and audible navigation to a destination selected by the user. The app chooses roads with cycle lanes over those without and back streets over main roads busy with motorised traffic. Visit tools for practitioners on Eltis for more information (presentation in French only) and other useful sustainable travel tools.


Effective solutions for green urban transport
The fourth and final workshop in the series "Effective solutions for green urban transport - Learning from CIVITAS cities" will take place in Geneva on 16 April 2013. The one-day workshop is hosted in the margins of the 7th European Sustainable Cities and Towns Conference, which runs from 17-19 April 2013.
The event will specifically focus on two thematic building blocks of CIVITAS, namely:
•Less car-dependent lifestyles (e.g. car-pooling/ sharing, public bicycles and bicycle sharing); and
•Mobility management (e.g. mobility planning, marketing and communication, multi-stakeholder consultation and public participation).
Examples from pioneering CIVITAS cities will be showcased to present what they have achieved and how; how they cooperated with other cities; and finally, what they learned and how participants can replicate these measures in their own city contexts. The workshops will be an interactive mix of presentations and discussions, with participants encouraged to ask questions and engage with the speakers.
The workshop is free of charge but places are limited so be sure to secure yours by registering quickly.


Cities at Work: Recruiting and Managing a Diverse Workforce
Free Webinar Event
Join Cities of Migration for a 60 minute webinar to learn how recruitment strategies developed by the municipalities of Saskatoon (Canada) and Bremen (Germany) are creating a workplace where equity and diversity are valued – and preparing their cities for economic growth and prosperity.
Date and Time (Check your timezone):
April 10, 2013
9:00 CST/MDT Saskatoon, Calgary
11:00 EDT Toronto, New York
16:00 BST London
17:00 CEST Berlin, Brussels, Barcelona


The Intercultural City Step by Step.
The Intercultural City guide is designed for city leaders and practitioners wishing to learn from the “intercultural cities” experiment, a three-year pilot program run by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, in developing an intercultural approach to integration.