Cities fostering low-emission development across the globe join a European study trip

October 28, 2019

By Alexandra Pfohl, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability


International city delegation participating in the Urban-LEDS II project study trip



Helsinki’s Deputy Mayor for Urban Environment, Anni Sinnemäki, raised the stakes for city climate action stating that: “The time left to reach international climate targets is very short and is requiring integrated climate actions on all levels. Local governments have a big role for implementing these actions in many areas and are crucial to encourage and facilitate ambitious emission reduction across sectors." Ambitious to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, Helsinki has to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% (base 1990) within only a couple of years. A nation-wide prohibition of coal in energy production by 2029 provided additional need to find alternative solutions, particularly in transport and heating, the city’s largest single sources of emission. Helsinki is now looking to innovative, smart city measures, as well as close monitoring, management and impact assessment to bring down emissions.




International city delegation participating in the Urban-LEDS II project study trip



The stay highlighted the opportunities that can arise for cities and their citizens from implementing low-emission alternatives across sectors and in neighbourhoods, such as increased liveability, innovation and entrepreneurship. A topic closely linked to the role of citizens for an effective emission reduction. “Citizens must be engaged in what is the challenge of addressing climate change. Municipalities are important to bring them on board, and so are all those associations and organisations that work to empower citizens and to improve general knowledge about climate change,” said Valentina Orioli, Bologna’s Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning, Real Estate, Environment, Preservation and Renewal of the Historic City.






Overlooking Warsaw


Having put the last touches to the Warsaw Adaptation Strategy, approved only days after the Urban-LEDS visit and developed in a three-year participatory process, Warsaw experts shared fresh experiences with the strategy’s development, evaluation and target identification process with their peers.


The South-South-North joint learning processes and exercises generated during the working discussions, as well as the examples from host cities, will feed into the low-emission development strategies to be developed within the Urban-LEDS project. Highlighting the benefits of the direct exchange, Alice Umuhorakeye, Environmental Protection officer at the city of Kigali (Rwanda) concluded that “it is through demonstration projects and study tours like this, where we can study and learn from the experiences of other cities. They are an important part of capacity building to address the different challenges cities are facing.”






For more information on the study trip and short video introduction to the Urban-LEDS II project visit here:





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