By 2050, two-thirds of all humans
          will be living in cities


Who we are

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability is the leading global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future.

By helping the ICLEI Network to become sustainable, low-carbon, resilient, ecomobile, biodiverse, resource-efficient and productive, healthy and happy, with a green economy and smart infrastructure, we impact over 25% of the global urban population.


Our vision 


ICLEI envisions a world of sustainable cities that confront the realities of urbanization, adapt to economic and demographic trends and prepare for the impacts of climate change and other urban challenges. This is why ICLEI unites local and subnational governments in creating positive change through collective learning, exchange and capacity building.


Assets and achievements 


For the past 25 years, ICLEI has maintained that local action is at the center of global change. Our multidisciplinary network continues to develop and apply practical strategies, tools and methodologies that bring about tangible local progress worldwide. The growing ICLEI Network works collaboratively in more than 100 countries, leveraging local assets to address pressing urban challenges and impact over 25 percent of the global urban population.

Download ICLEI Corporate Report 2016-2017


Our approach 


The ICLEI Network takes an integrated approach to sustainable development, striving to become sustainable, low-carbon, ecomobile, resilient, biodiverse, resource-efficient, healthy and happy, with a green economy and smart infrastructure.

Our 10 Urban Agendas are an expression of our integrated approach. ICLEI forges strategic partnerships with business and financial institutions to strengthen our results and bring about global change with a coalition of able partners. We also work to ensure that strong policy environments support local action through our national and global advocacy advancements.


Our development

ICLEI started with the idea that a single municipality has a significant impact.

ICLEI was conceived in 1989 when local government leaders met with a leading atmospheric scientist to discuss the depletion of the ozone layer. They pledged to establish local laws to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals and imagined an organization that could coordinate local government responses to global environmental problems.

ICLEI was then founded in 1990 by 200 local governments from 43 countries who convened for the first World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Operations began in 1991 at the World Secretariat in Toronto, Canada, and the European Secretariat in Freiburg, Germany. The World Secretariat has since moved to Bonn, Germany.

Our first global programs promoted participatory governance and local sustainable development planning. The Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Campaign was the first and largest program in the world designed to support cities in climate action planning using a five-milestone process that reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved air quality and enhanced urban livability and sustainability.

ICLEI’s programs and campaigns look beyond mere environmental aspects and embrace wider sustainability issues. In 2003, the ICLEI Council acknowledged this by formally broadening our mandate and adopting the name ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

Our impacts

Over the last 25 years, we have achieved results that the planet notices.

  • We have built a global sustainability network of more than 1,500 local and regions governments of all sizes in more than 100 countries.
  • We work local and regional governments through a network of 17 offices and global centers on all continents.
  • We have developed common methodologies and created innovative tools which are applied throughout the local government community worldwide.
  • We have provided leadership in linking local governments to global policy processes and multilateral environmental agreements.
  • We have created a global network of cities, towns and regions that have undertaken climate action planning and set voluntary targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
  • We have supported dozens of municipalities in the use of innovative sustainability management systems; and engaged dozens of global cities in biodiversity management.
  • More than 50,000 local government staff have benefited from over 1,000 capacity building events organized by ICLEI.



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