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European mayors call for multi-level governance approach to achieve climate neutrality and EU Green Deal ambitions


26 Jan 2024


Sustainable Dev.

As part of the ICLEI European Regional Executive Committee, Mayors will lead local action  on the organisation’s 12 topical portfolios to address Europe’s greatest challenges. 

25 January 2024, Brussels, Belgium – Mayors of the ICLEI European Regional Executive Committee (RexCom) gathered in Brussels (Belgium) to discuss and renew their shared commitment to achieving  climate neutrality and advancing the implementation of the European Green Deal at the local level. As  part of their RexCom mandate, mayors and other representatives from Aalborg (Denmark), Antwerp (Belgium), Bethlehem (Palestine), Freiburg (Germany), the Green Metropolitan Region of Arnhem Nijmegen (the Netherlands), Matosinhos (Portugal), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Utrecht (The  Netherlands), Tirana (Albania), Turku (Finland) Växjö (Sweden), Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), and Wrocław (Poland), are calling for deeper exchange between local governments and the national and European  levels to drive sustainability legislation and regulation, as well as more innovative structural approaches  to financing. 

In addition to advancing the development of Local Green Deals and securing net-zero emissions, each  RexCom member will represent ICLEI Europe on one or more of twelve topical portfolios – namely: Climate  Neutral Cities, Governance Innovation, Sustainable and Innovation Procurement, Circular Economy, Built  Environment, Culture and Heritage, Justice, Equity and Democracy, Biodiversity and Nature-Based  Solutions, Resilience and Climate Adaptation, Sustainable Energy Systems, Green Digital Transformation,  Sustainable Mobility, and Sustainable Food Systems. 

During their recent meeting, the ICLEI European REXCom also underlined the importance of establishing  a sustainable, multi-level governance approach to ensure the European Union (EU) achieves climate  neutrality by 2050. The ICLEI European Secretariat is advancing this mandate through its leading roles in  localising the EU Green Deal, in the Urban7 (cities’ response to the G7), and in supporting the Climate  Neutral Cities Mission. ICLEI also supports the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships  (CHAMP) pledge which sees signatory countries commit to enhancing cooperation with subnational  governments, especially with respect to national plans to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. 

Time and time again over the past year, we have seen a commitment from national and European leaders  to work across governing levels to make decisions around climate planning, financing, implementation and  monitoring hand-in-hand with the local governments that are on the frontline of the climate emergency. 

We are committed to seizing this momentum and to continuing to support the implementation of  innovative governance structures that make full use of the expertise, ambition, and commitment of local  governments to usher in a just and climate-neutral future,” notes Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director  for ICLEI Europe.  

“This year is a big one for European cities. The Belgian Presidency’s conference on localising the Green Deal  will be followed closely by decisive EU elections. Many cities, including Aalborg, are already well on their  way to rolling out Local Green Deals that lay the foundation for a climate-neutral continent. This is why  Aalborg and ICLEI are bringing local leaders together at the European Sustainable Cities & Towns  Conference in October 2024: to make sure that all the good work catalysed by the European Green Deal  will be taken forward in the next European term, and that its legislative packages get implemented across  all governing levels,” says Lasse Frimand Jensen, Mayor, City of Aalborg (Denmark) and REXCom Member. 

ICLEI members advocate for a strong EU urban policy and to localise EU Green Deal ahead of European  elections  

Translating the EU Green Deal into local action and fostering a strong European urban agenda for the next  EU mandate are two key topics ICLEI and its RexCom members will be working on with their partners  under the auspice of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU this year. 

2024 is a key year for European cities: upcoming European and municipal elections are set to determine  what will be prioritised in the coming years. Through its leading roles in localising the EU Green Deal, the  Urban7, and the Climate Neutral Cities Mission, ICLEI Europe is focused on accelerating transformation  from the ground up. As the European elections approach, ICLEI aims to express support for the ambitious  continuation of the European Green Deal during the next EU mandate. For reaching these objectives, ICLEI  is working closely with the Belgian EU Presidency of the Council, and other partners towards a coherent  multilevel governance framework, as well as the necessary financial and technical support to local and  regional governments. 

On 24 January, ICLEI took part in the High-level event with European Mayors organised by the Brussels  Capital Region resulting in the “Brussels Declaration of European Mayors - A European policy fit for the  future” calling upon all European institutions to adopt an ambitious European urban policy for the next  mandate. In the document, signing cities and city networks call for a more binding dialogue between  European institutions and cities, a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable model and the increased  involvement in the development of European governance, regulation, programmes, and funding. 

Another key milestone for ICLEI in working towards these objectives before the EU elections will be its  involvement in the “Translating the EU Green Deal into local actions” conference on 15 March 2024 hosted by the Flemish Government. The event will bring together 550 Mayors and local government  representatives in Brussels to send a powerful message via a final “Declaration” to EU policy makers that  the successful implementation of the European Green Deal can only be achieved by the empowerment of  local and regional governments as key agents of change. 

These, and other events planned in 2024, will culminate in the European Cities and Towns Conference in  Aalborg (Denmark), celebrating 30 years of the Aalborg Charter. The Conference will provide a moment  for a collective local response to sustainability in Europe by ensuring the future of the EU Green Deal in a  pivotal election year.

Notes for the editor 


ICLEI European Regional Executive Committee in Brussels 

European Mayors at high-level event with organised by the Brussels Capital Region  resulting in the “Brussels Declaration of European Mayors - A European policy fit for the  future”. 

About ICLEI Europe 

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional  governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125 countries, we influence  sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular  development. ICLEI Europe provides members in Europe, the Middle East and West Asia with a voice on  European and international stages, a platform to connect with peers, and tools to drive positive  environmental, economic and social change. ICLEI Europe works closely with an extended network of local  and regional governments and partners on a broad range of topics.  

About the ICLEI European Regional Executive Committee 

As a membership association, ICLEI receives its mandate from its Member local governments and  municipal organisations. On a regional level ICLEI Europe does this through the European Regional  Executive Committee (REXCom), who are representing ICLEI’s Members in Europe, Middle East and West  Asia. In addition to advancing the development of Local Green Deals and securing net-zero emissions,  each REXCom member holds a portfolio for one or more of twelve topics: Climate Neutral Cities,  Governance Innovation, Sustainable and Innovation Procurement, Circular Economy, Built Environment,  Culture and Heritage, Justice, Equity and Democracy, Biodiversity and Nature-Based Solutions, Resilience  and Climate Adaptation, Sustainable Energy Systems, Green Digital Transformation, Sustainable Mobility,  and Sustainable Food Systems. 

Press contacts: 

Valeria Eirin 

Senior Expert, Media & Outreach 

ICLEI Europe 


Tel: +49 761 368920