All About ICLEI: Part IV

Written By: Robert Cox

This is Part IV in a 7-part series “All About ICLEI”

All About ICLEI: Part I – The Mayor’s Speech
All About ICLEI: Part II – The ICLEI Pilot Program
All About ICLEI: Part III – The Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation

In Part I we heard Mayor Bramson announce the The ICLEI Pilot Program, in Part II we began to unravel the organizations behind the ICLEI Pilot Program and some of the vague or undefined terms used to describe ICLEI. In Part III, we looked at the organizations behind ICLEI’s Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation. Now we step back to look at the origins of the ICELI organizational structure and support system.

To back up, what is ICLEI?

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development…

ICLEI was founded in 1990 as the ‘International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives’. The Council was established when more than 200 local governments from 43 countries convened at our inaugural conference, the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, at the United Nations in New York.

ICLEI is run by the ICLEI World Secretariat based in Canada.

What is the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future?

The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is the international environmental agency for local governments. It was established in 1990 at the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future. The congress was held at the United Nations in New York in response to the needs of local authorities;cities, towns and counties;that are taking on increasing responsibility as managers of both the local and global environment. Presently, ICLEI has more than 190 members, including 174 local governments from 46 countries, and represent more than 174 million people. ICLEI and its membership are currently acting in response to several of the objectives established for the world community at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

At UNCED, ICLEI, along with local authorities and other local authority associations, played an active role in raising the profile of local governments as managers of the local and global environment. Chapter 28 of Agenda 21, which resulted from these efforts, calls upon local authorities around the world to undertake a consultative process with their communities to establish their own local Agenda 21s by 1996. This Local Agenda 21 mandate, introduced and championed by ICLEI in the Earth Summit’s preparatory process, has been taken up by more than 1200 local authorities around the world.

Two of ICLEI’S major ongoing programs were undertaken in direct response to the challenges raised at UNCED;specifically in response to Agenda 21 and the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

What is Agenda 21?

Agenda 21 is a programme run by the United Nations (UN) related to sustainable development. It is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans impact on the environment…The Commission on Sustainable Development acts as a high level forum on sustainable development and has acted as preparatory committee for summits and sessions on the implementation of Agenda 21. The United Nations Division for Sustainable Development acts as the secretariat to the Commission and works ‘within the context of’ Agenda 21. Implementation by member states remains essentially voluntary.

What is the Commission on Sustainable Development?

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established in December 1992 by General Assembly Resolution A/RES/47/191 as a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council, implementing a recommendation in Chapter 38 of Agenda 21, the landmark global agreement reached at the June 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment & Development / Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro.

What is the UN Economic and Social Council?

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations is a group of UN member countries that assists the General Assembly in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development. ECOSOC has 54 members, all of whom are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term. The president is elected for a one-year term and chosen among the small or middle powers represented on ECOSOC.

Continue to Part V