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The Urban-LEDS Cities Network

The Urban-LEDS project has led to the creation of a global network of cities engaging in South-South North Exchange and peer-learning.

International exchanges have been organized between the Urban-LEDS cities - both for political representatives and technical experts. The aim was to share experiences, deepen their understanding of low emission development concepts, and gain insights from their peers. Most importantly, these events have provided opportunities for capacity building, with inspiring and motivational relationships forming between the Urban-LEDS cities. In total, 43 trips where undertaken by Urban-LEDS cities to 9 different destinations to engage in peer exchanges and capacity development (see above map).

International Networking Seminars

Two international networking seminars were organized, respectively in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, South Africa (2013) and in Bogor, Indonesia (2015). There cities came together to share achievements, map priorities and identify solutions, tools and strategies.

The first seminar hosted by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality was attended by 18 Urban-LEDS cities. It combined capacity development, exploring vertical integration and horizontal cooperation with neighboring communities.

The second seminar in Bogor, with 22 Urban-LEDS cities’ representatives attending, focused on climate change reporting, emissions commitments and LEDS in the context of future urban growth. Key issues explored included effective strategic planning and stakeholder engagement, embedding measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) climate action processes into low emission development. Access to finance and how Urban-LEDS cities may contribute to raising the global climate ambition in the run up to the COP 21/CMP11 in Paris, France and beyond was also a hot topic.

European Study Tour

In April 2014, 13 cities took part in the European Study Tour “Low Carbon Solutions in Europe”. Host cities Almada (Portugal), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Hannover (Germany) shared their approaches to waste-to-energy systems, buildings, district energy systems and sustainable transportation solutions. The tour was a successful peer-learning and experience-sharing event. The Mayor of Recife, Brazil, for example was impressed by the green roofs project in Copenhagen, which inspired the city’s 2014 Green Roof Law. Bicycle lanes will be an important part of the river restoration program in Recife, also inspired by Copenhagen.

Other regional and global events used for networking, experience sharing and training opportunities included the ICLEI World Congress 2015, Metropolitan Solutions 2014 and the Local Climate Solutions for Africa Congress (LOCS) 2015.

Staff exchanges

Four European project cities hosted bilateral staff exchanges and received staff delegations from the Global South.

Helsinki receives KwaDukuza

The representative of KwaDukuza visited Helsinki to learn from experiences with green buildings, energy use strategies and the holistic approach to urban, sustainability and environmental planning. The exchange revealed that some aspects of Helsinki’s planning model could be replicated in KwaDukuza, for example by establishing a dedicated unit within the Economic Development and Planning directorate to address sustainability questions.

“We introduced him to our whole environmental efforts with presentations and study tours. It was interesting to notice which issues were the most interesting, like concrete passive-energy construction and [the use of] renewable energy [for the] Viikki Environment house”.

Huuska Petteri, Environment Planner at the City of Helsinki on the receiving Chimene Pereira, Chief Planner of KwaDukuza Municipality in October 2015 (read more on this staff exchangehere)

Bologna receives Steve Tshwete and Recife

Delegates from Steve Tshwete and Recife visited Bologna to learn from the city’s experience with transitioning to renewable energy, where they were introduced to the city’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) and 2007 Energy Plan. They explored the comprehensive approach of the city’s Low Emission Development Strategy, which includes citizen engagement and co-creation activities.

Warsaw receives Bogor and Balikpapan

Two Indonesian Model Cities sent representatives to Warsaw to learn from the city’s low emission strategy and the specific focus of its green growth vision on sustainable transport. Warsaw’s carbon-neutral electric buses greatly inspired the delegates from their two densely populated cities. 

“We have found a common language with our honorable guests from Bogor and Balikpapan and spent many hours of both professional discussions and pleasant chatting. I hope it is the beginning of more permanent cooperation between Warsaw and the Indonesian cities”.

Marcin Wróblewski, Ifrastructure Departmenet Chief Specialist at the City of Warsaw on receiving the Indonesian delegation in December 2015 (read more on this staff exchange here.)

Zagreb receives Thane

In Zagreb, the representative from Thane learned about the European city’s energy management, sustainable urban mobility strategy and citizen engagement. Similar challenges were identified throughout the exchange, as well as solutions which could benefit Thane.