FAQ: About ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability
- What is ICLEI?
- Who are ICLEI’s members?
- Why do local governments join ICLEI?
- What do local governments receive as ICLEI members?
- What do local governments accomplish with support from ICLEI?
- What are the requirements of ICLEI membership?
- Who is eligible to join ICLEI, and how do you join?
- What does “ICLEI” mean?
- When was ICLEI founded?
- How is the organization structured?
- Where is ICLEI headquartered?
ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability is the leading global network devoted to local governments engaged in sustainability, climate protection, and clean energy initiatives. In the United States, ICLEI USA is the recognized leader in its field, creating cutting-edge tools and establishing national standards.
More than 1,000 local governments worldwide are active members. In the United States, these members range from big cities (New York and Atlanta) to counties, small towns, and heartland communities (Dubuque).
ICLEI’s diverse local government members share a broad desire to make their communities better places to live by making them greener, more efficient, and healthier, and by taking action against climate change—because its impacts will be felt most tangibly at the local level.
ICLEI’s mission is to support these efforts. By accessing our resources, planning processes, and technical guidance, local governments can achieve results faster and overcome financial constraints.
In other parts of the world, different ICLEI regional offices support local governments through region-specific initiatives driven by the expressed needs of those local governments, such as programs to promote clean water or improve waste management.
- Access to software and technical tools
- Technical assistance from ICLEI’s expert staff
- Trainings and events
- Peer networks to share and learn from other local governments
- Guidebooks, case studies and templates
- Recognition and leadership opportunities
- Federal funding updates and policy analyses
- Opportunities to affect national and international policy
- Save money, reduce energy use and waste, and lower greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change
- Measure energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, climate resiliency and sustainability performance
- Set achievable goals and develop sustainability plans, climate action plans, or energy plans
- Create more sustainable, economically prosperous communities
The only requirements are the payment of modest annual dues based on population size. ICLEI also encourages its members to make a self-defined commitment to its citizens to address climate change and sustainability.
Any local government entity can become a full member of ICLEI, including cities, towns, counties, parishes, and tribal governments. Regional planning agencies, councils of government, and metropolitan planning organizations can now become ICLEI affiliates.
To join ICLEI, visit this page.
ICLEI originally stood for the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives,” but in 2003 the organization dropped the full phrase and became “ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability” to reflect a broader focus on sustainability, not just environmental initiatives.
ICLEI was founded by local governments. In 1990, the organization was established when more than 200 local governments from 43 countries convened at the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future in New York. Learn more about our history.
ICLEI USA was launched in 1995 as a distinct 501(c)3 nonprofit, and is governed by its own Board of Directors who are current and former U.S. local elected officials.
ICLEI is an international organization with 14 offices serving 68 countries. ICLEI USA is the largest regional branch, serving more than 600 local governments. ICLEI programs and projects vary considerably by region, based on the expressed needs of local governments.
ICLEI’s World Secretariat is based in Bonn, Germany. ICLEI USA’s headquarters is in Oakland, CA. To serve its local government members, ICLEI USA staff are distributed in offices across the country to support our local government members.