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ICLEI and Rio+20

by Don Knapp Jun 18, 2012

Below is a brief introduction to the objectives and themes of the Rio+20 conference and ICLEI's involvement in this process.

What is Rio+20?

In  December 2009, the UN General Assembly decided to hold the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) - also referred to as 'Rio+20'.

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At Rio+20 Today: State Department Talk on Cities and Sustainability

by Don Knapp Jun 18, 2012

Special Representative for Global Intergovermental Affairs Reta Jo Lewis at
ICLEI's Resilient Cities conference in 2011.


Tune in today for a special Rio+20 event on cities and sustainability, featuring federal and local government leaders, including an ICLEI USA Board Member.

U.S. Special Representative for Global Intergovermental Affairs Reta Jo Lewis is sponsoring an event at the U.S. Center in Rio do Janeiro today, June 19, 2012, at 4:00 pm EST.  Entitled, “Cities:  Where the Rubber Meets the Road,” the discussion will focus on sustainability and cities.  Special Representative Lewis will be joined by Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley; Oakland, CA Mayor Jean Quan; and Sonoma County, CA Supervisor Valerie Brown.

The discussion will be webcast live on UStream:

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From Rio+20 to Rio+30: what actions are needed to reverse global environmental degradation?

by Don Knapp Jun 17, 2012

Reposted from the ICLEI World Congress Blog:


The second day of the congress opened with a procession, composed of 1,200 students from schools in the city of Belo Horizonte who welcomed the delegates with the vibrant sound of drums, percussion, and positive messages.

Afterwards, the plenary from Rio to Rio, involving several youth speakers and international experts, highlighted the need to act rapidly to combat environmental conflicts facing the planet. The idea is that these solutions are implemented by the year 2030.

ICLEI Founder Jeb Brugmann, Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann and Deputy Secretary General Gino Van Begin, were among those present at the session along with the chairman of ICLEI Brazil, Pedro Roberto Jacobi, and Belo Horizonte Mayor Marcio Lacerda.

he experts drew attention to the decisions that need to be taken and applied today. The debate gained even more strength when Martin Lees, Former Secretary General of the Club of Rome and Gino Van Begin explained the environmental situation of the planet with data and statistics from 20 years ago.

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How can cities find a sustainable path without compromising their developmental direction?

by Jonathan Coulis Jun 17, 2012

Reposted from the ICLEI World Congress Blog:

The opening section of the conference for Saturday 16 June focused on an urban green economy.  In many ways this aspect of the conference is essential, particularly leading toward Rio+20 and addressing the issues related to sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

There is a paradox in development as the need for poverty eradication cannot be under stressed but it will result in a growing middle class, who will raise their levels of consumption. Without a method to prevent ecological destruction, the addition of more consumers will only extrapolate the dire problems we face today.


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World Mayors Council endorses response for strong climate action; elects new chair

by Don Knapp Jun 17, 2012

Reposted from the ICLEI World Congress Blog:

Mayors and representatives of local governments around the world came together on Sunday morning, 17 June 2012, in the Noble Hall of the Municipality of Belo Horizonte for the General Meeting of the General Council of Mayors of ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability).

In approving Assembly resolution that will be handed over to representatives of the United Nations (UN) during Rio +20, the participants dealt with other agendas such as the indication of the mayor of Seoul, South Korea, Park Won Soon, as the new chair of the Council. Park will assume the presidency at the next convention of ICLEI in October 2012.

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ICLEI World Congress 2012 Ends With Powerful Message to Rio+20

by Don Knapp Jun 17, 2012

Reposted from the ICLEI World Congress Blog:

Examples presented by cities around the world in the past four days of the ICLEI World Congress 2012 have demonstrated that over the past 20 years, the advances of local governments in implementing sustainable development policies were higher than those observed globally. So, among other reasons, such as the fact that cities are the level of government closest to the citizen and space for change and innovation, the representatives of ICLEI prove that there needs to be recognition that local governments are effective drivers for sustainable development. This is the basic premise of the Message for the Rio +20 Conference, adopted on Sunday, 17 June, at the closing of the ICLEI World Congress 2012.

The Congress, held in Belo Horizonte 14-17 June and the first in Latin America, was considered the largest in the history of ICLEI with more than 1,200 participants. More than 1,200 representatives from 64 countries, including 79 mayors, showed in plenary sessions, workshops and the progress of municipalities in the adoption of effective measures aimed at sustainability. Innovative actions and policies have been reported, including those adopted in Belo Horizonte and several Brazilian cities, which effectively resulted in improved environmental quality and life in the cities, legitimizing the collection, the association, the greater recognition within the United Nations.

A message from the ICLEI World Congress for the Rio +20 will be delivered by the mayor of Belo Horizonte, Marcio Lacerda, to the United Nations (UN) on Thursday, 21 June, during "Global Town Hall - Cities Leadership for the 2030 Urban World" event of the Rio+20 Global Town Hall.

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How Self-Reliant Cities Use Raw Materials

by Neil Seldman, Institute for Local Self-Reliance Jun 17, 2012

Mattress recycling in Eugene, OR, creates jobs and reduces waste.

Guest Blogger: Neil Seldman, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

The recycling movement is yielding excellent results throughout the United States. In a range of innovative new ways, local governments are connecting the dots between resource conservation, sustainability, and local economic development. They are saving money, increasing local self-reliance, creating local jobs, and strengthening their local economies through recycling, reuse, composting and local food initiatives. Read on for success stories from communities across the country, and how you follow their lead.

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Introducing the ICLEI World Congress 2012

by Don Knapp Jun 17, 2012


Every three years, ICLEI members and partners gather at an ICLEI World Congress to showcase their actions over the period and discuss strategies for the following years.


This year, the ICLEI World Congress is taking place in the long term member city of Belo Horizonte, Brasil, bringing together more than 1400 ICLEI Members, partners, global strategists, academics, businesses and NGO’s together. Participants will learn from inspirational speakers and real-life city cases about cutting-edge integrated solutions to the challenges we face.


Closely linked to the UN Rio+20 conference, the ICLEI World Congress 2012 will chart the way forward for local governments and their partners to a more sustainable and prosperous future.


More than 1400 participants from 45 countries, half of whom are representing local governments are attending ICLEI's biggest World Congress.

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Community Planners Essential to Putting America on Road to Economic Recovery

by Don Knapp Jun 14, 2012

The American Planning Association has just published results from a landmark national poll that speaks to the broad, mainstream support for local planning among Americans of all political stripes. Most Americans believe that local planners play a key role in our economic recovery, and that planners should prioritize jobs, safety, and schools.

APA President Mitchell Silver, AICP, summed it up: "Communities that plan for the future are stronger and more resilient than those that don't. The country faces significant changes and challenges. Planners stand ready to work with local citizens to build this recovery, and a better future, one neighborhood at a time."

The poll results further marginalize the small but vocal minority of people who believe that sustainability and planning are part of a vast global conspiracy theory linked to Agenda 21. Thank goodness most Americans understand the benefits of smart planning and common-sense sustainability!


Americans Believe Planning Creates Stronger Communities

APA's press release highlights the rest of the poll results:

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Survey: U.S. Cities Report Increase in Climate Change Impacts, Lag Global Cities in Planning

by Don Knapp Jun 04, 2012

Local governments are preparing for increased natural disasters and other threats, but their efforts are hampered by a lack of resources and other challenges, according to a first-ever survey conducted by MIT in partnership with ICLEI

Cities in the United States and worldwide report that they are experiencing a range of often destructive impacts they attribute to a changing climate, and are taking actions to prepare and adapt to these changes, according to a new survey from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in partnership with ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability. But climate adaptation planning is less of a priority for U.S. local governments than their non-U.S. counterparts.

The survey represents the responses of 468 cities worldwide —all members of ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability – with 298 of these from the U.S. The survey is the first effort of its kind to systematically investigate cities’ progress and challenges in climate adaptation planning.

Download the Survey (pdf)

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