ICLEILocal Governments for Sustainability, founded in 1990 as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, is an international organization of local governments and national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development.

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
International organization
IndustrySustainable Development at the local level
Founded1990, New York City, U.S.
HeadquartersKaiser-Friedrich-Str. 7, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Number of employees
approximately 400 (worldwide)

The international association was established when more than 200 local governments from 43 countries convened at its inaugural conference, the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, at the United Nations in New York in September 1990.[1] Today, more than 1200 cities, towns, counties, and their associations in 84 countries comprise ICLEI's growing membership.[2] ICLEI works with these and hundreds of other local governments through international performance-based, results-oriented campaigns and programs. It provides technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. ICLEI's basic premise is that locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global sustainability objectives.[3]


ICLEI includes 1,227 local government members worldwide in 70 countries, with more than 600 in the United States.[4] ICLEI USA membership grew by 58% in 2008[5] and by 25% in 2009.[6] U.S. local government members include cities, towns, and counties of all sizes, from New York City and Los Angeles County to Dubuque, Iowa and Arlington, Texas.[7]

The only requirements for ICLEI membership are a self-defined commitment to climate protection and the payment of annual membership dues based on population size.[8]

History and structureEdit

ICLEI was founded in 1990, with its World Secretariat headquartered in Toronto, Canada.[9] The U.S. office opened formally in 1995. ICLEI USA’s Executive Office is based in Washington, D.C. and the World Secretariat is in Bonn, Germany.[10]

ICLEI was founded in 1990 as the "International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives". But in 2003, ICLEI's local government members voted to revise the organization's mission, charter and name to better reflect the current challenges local governments face, and the broader topic of sustainability. The "International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives" became "ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability", which remains its official name.[4]


The organization is now officially called 'ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability'. In 2003, ICLEI's Members voted to revise the organization's mission, charter and name to better reflect the current challenges local governments are facing. The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives became 'ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability' with a broader mandate to address sustainability issues, not only environmental issues.[11]

The organization promotes the following programs for local-level adoption and implementation as described on their website.

ICLEI also provides oversight for the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of city leaders founded to address climate change at the local level.[12]


Park Won-soon, President of ICLEI 2015-2018

ICLEI is a democratic organization with each local government Member holding a position on the Council. The Council convenes every three years at an ICLEI World Congress and establishes ICLEI's priorities and direction through the adoption of a six-year Strategic Plan. The most recent ICLEI World Congress was held in Montreal from 19 to 22 June 2018. Members elect 21 representatives to serve on the Executive Committee, which oversees the implementation of the Strategic Plan and ICLEI operations.

World Secretariat directors:

  • Ashok Sridharan – ICLEI President and Mayor, Bonn, Germany
  • Gino Van Begin – ICLEI Secretary General, Bonn, Germany

ICLEI – Capacity CenterEdit

The ICLEI Capacity Center, formerly the International Training Centre, is the training and conference service unit of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. Bonn is also home to ICLEI World Secretariat, Capacity Center and Climate Center, and the host of Resilient Cities 2011 and 2012.[13]


Ecomobility is travel through integrated, socially inclusive, and environmentally friendly transport options, including and integrating walking, cycling, public transport and other climate and people friendly innovative modes of transport. By enabling citizens and organizations to access goods, services, and information in a sustainable manner, ecomobility supports citizens' quality of life, increases travel choices, and promotes social cohesion.

ICLEI has a agenda to promote ecomobility in cities titled the EcoMobile City (sustainable urban transport) Agenda. Under this agenda ICLEI executes the following 3 key projects:

  1. EcoMobility Alliance
  2. EcoMobility World Festival
  3. EcoMobility World Congress

The EcoMobility Alliance was created in October 2011 in Changwon, Korea. It is a transformation of the earlier Global Alliance for EcoMobility, which is a non-governmental organization founded and launched in Bali on 10 December 2007, on the occasion of the 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC-COP-13).[14][15] ICLEI legally represents and hosts the Secretariat of the


Tea Party movement activists targeted ICLEI for its support for Agenda 21, a nonbinding United Nations initiative that seeks to promote resource and land conservation. The activists claimed that local government efforts to expand public transportation and preserve open space were part of a UN conspiracy plot "to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities".[16]

Sustainable policies implemented at the municipal level, such as bike lanes, bike-riding incentives, bicycle sharing programs, and public transportation options, have been targets of such criticism. Notably, Dan Maes, the 2010 Colorado Republican Gubernatorial candidate, leveled a similar argument at Denver during his campaign.[17]


The United States branch is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization of the international organization of the same name.[4]


  1. ^ "LOWCAP > ICLEI". www.lowcap.eu.
  2. ^ "Who is ICLEI - ICLEI Global". www.iclei.org.
  3. ^ "ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform". sustainabledevelopment.un.org.
  4. ^ a b c ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA Archived 2009-11-02 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA, "Annual Report 2008," 2/1/2009 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2014-02-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA, "Measuring Up Annual Report 2009," 12/15/2009 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-12-17. Retrieved 2014-02-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Member List — ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA Archived 2012-03-13 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ How to Become a Member — ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA Archived 2014-02-26 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability : History Archived 2013-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ History — ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA Archived 2013-10-17 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ FAQs of ICLEI Archived 2013-06-03 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "New alliance on city finance unveiled at UN Summit on climate change | Cities Today - Connecting the world's urban leaders". cities-today.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  13. ^ "Our Global and Thematic Centers". Archived from the original on 2015-09-07.
  14. ^ "Global Alliance for EcoMobility launched at UN Climate Conference". 2007-10-12. Archived from the original on 2009-08-15.
  15. ^ http://unterm.un.org/DGAACS/unterm.nsf/8fa942046ff7601c85256983007ca4d8/6062b34433b8dd55852576ce005b536c?OpenDocument[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ >Kaufman, Leslie; Kate Zernike (February 4, 2012). "Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Osher, Christopher N. (2010-08-05). "Bike agenda spins cities toward U.N. control, Maes warns". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2013-06-11.

External linksEdit