Oceania eNews 
March 2015   


Pacific Island mayors advocate for their island homes  

Steve Gawler, Director International Programs and Bernie Cotter, Managing Director, ICLEI Oceania attended the Resilient Cities Asia Pacific 2015 Congress in Bangkok in February, hosted by the Bangkok Municipal Administration on behalf of ICLEI and the World Mayors Council on Climate Change. The Congress is the first in a series for the Asia Pacific region and builds on the success of the annual Resilient Cities Congress hosted by the City of Bonn.

ICLEI Oceania invited the Mayor of Port Vila, Vanuatu, Ulrich Sumptoh together with Mayor Alfrence Fatai and Deputy Mayor Eddie Ngava of Honiara, Solomon Islands, to the Congress to bring home to delegates the urgent need to assist many small Pacific islands deal with the combined threats of climate change, declining resources and population growth. Our Pacific Island representatives signed the Durban Adaptation Charter, and will attend the ICLEI World Congress in Seoul for 8 – 12 April 2015 and participate in a session on ‘Pacific Island and Climate Change’ being organised by ICLEI Oceania.

The World Congress will bring together some 1,000 participants who can look forward to a diverse program of plenaries, parallel sessions, mobile workshops, and trainings. The Oceania delegates from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, attending the Congress, will join with local leaders from around the world.

Councils wishing to attend should contact Martin Brennan for program and registration details. 

Read more at:

I am also pleased to announce that Deputy Mayor, Eddie Ngava, Honiara City has joined the ICLEI Oceania RexCom. Cr Ngava will provide insights and knowledge of Pacific Island local governments and enable the RexCom and the Oceania Secretariat to play a part in meeting the challenges and the opportunities they face.
Cr Cathy Oke
Chair, RexCom

(L-R) Massing Theophile, Lord Mayor Ulrich Sumptoh (Port Vila),
Mayor Alfrence Inoga Fatai  (Honiara), Bernie Cotter (ICLEI), Deputy Mayor Eddie Ngavo (Honiara), Steve Gawler (ICLEI)

March News

Resilient Cities 2015 Congress 

Registration for the Resilient Cities 2015 congress, taking place 8-10 June 2015, is now open. Anyone with an interest in urban resilience and adaptation to climate change is invited to register. Plan your participation in advance and profit from our discounted early-bird fees, available until April 2015

Register here

ICLEI World Congress host Seoul plans to cut emissions

Seoul, Republic of Korea – the host of the ICLEI World Congress 2015 – recently announced that it plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million metric tons over the next five years as part of the fight against global warming. This commitment will be reiterated at the ICLEI World Congress 2015.  Seoul plans to encourage 10 million of its citizens to take individual actions, including purchasing “green electricity”, recycling and taking public transport.

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Citizens’ jury inspires South Australia to become more bike friendly

The South Australian government has made a number of new commitments to encourage active transport with a set of cycle-friendly policy initiatives announced in response to a citizens’ jury held late last year. The jury met over five weeks late last year to consider the question: “Cyclists and motorists will continue to share our roads. What ideas can we pilot to make sure they do it safely?”

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Walk 21

The City of Vienna is proud to host the Walk21 conference from 20 to 23 October 2015. The motto “stepping ahead” promotes activities and innovations towards the future of our resilient cities and healthy living environments. Together with experts from around the globe we will share insights and expertise on how to step ahead and become a walkable city. The Walk21 Conference brings together experts from the fields of walking promotion, research, policy, planning and delivery.

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Edinburgh aims to reduce speed limits on its roads 

Edinburgh could reduce the speed limit on many of its roads to 20 miles per hour from late 2015 if plans are approved, making Edinburgh the first 20mph city in Scotland. A map of proposed 20mph (32 kilometres per hour) limits for hundreds of Edinburgh streets has been drawn up after a public consultation on the plans attracted nearly 3,000 responses.

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Q&A: The renewables climate in Australia and her neighbours

Typically, without a carbon price renewables are more expensive than fossil fuels, and therefore they need policy support. So then the trick is the certainty and quality of the policy support. In China, there’s really clear policy support, and long-term planning. There’s a really clear feed-in tariff for wind energy in Thailand; a clear feed-in tariff in Vietnam. The Philippines is doing stuff also, because wind energy is probably the next cheapest source of power and one of the few indigenous energy resources they have.

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100% Renewable: Newstead - Our humble role in this pioneering project

Energy for the People is excited to share the news about 100% Renewable Newstead – an innovative community-scale clean energy project, some years in the making. The new Victorian Labor government recently announced backing of up to $200,000 for the 100% Renewable Newstead project, to help it go from a vision to reality. Opportunities to break new ground, and open new pathways to transitioning Australia's energy market, need to be seized, and this is one such opportunity.

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Sharing solar power with your neighbours

Smart metering has come a long way. Most Victorian customers are now billed via a smart meter. There’s been some hiccups along the way but generally speaking, for the bulk of customers their data is available daily and through the Jemena and United portals where an up-to-the-hour query will give customers the latest data, direct from their meter. For the rest of the country, smart meters are on their way and – with the added incentive of them actually doing something smart, such as controlling household appliances – the demand for their widespread deployment will grow.

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Solar - 4% unsafe, 15% substandard - sounds bad doesn’t it?

Reports that 3.9% of solar PV system installs are unsafe and 15% substandard, by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER), are likely to raise a few eyebrows.  But to clarify, no one is going to get electrocuted and no one's house is going to burn down because of these installs. These aren't a series of reports showing fires or other serious issues with solar (unlike halogen down lights, which Victoria and WA fire brigades report are responsible for over 50 house fires a year in each state).

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Green roofs have come a long way since the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Green roofs are being recognised as a critical addition to our urban areas as more and more man-made structures are squeezed into cities to keep up with population demands. The environmental benefits of green roofs are well documented: absorbing carbon, reducing energy consumption, helping with stormwater management and offering acoustic support. They also offer opportunity for bio-diversity and food production in urban areas.

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SA's broad-brush nuclear review is meant to sideline opponents 

The draft terms of reference for South Australia’s planned Royal Commission on the nuclear industry, which are open for public consultation until the end of next week, are deliberately broad. When announcing the commission last month, SA Premier Jay Weatherill said it would “explore the opportunities and risks of South Australia’s involvement in the mining, enrichment, energy and storage phases for the peaceful use of nuclear energy”.

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Urban Ecology Symposium – RMIT University

Australia’s cities will experience significant population growth in the coming decades. Pressure is increasing on ecosystems, resources and human well-being in the built environment. Using urban ecology to address these pressures enables planning, designing and managing for a sustainable future.
Join international urban ecology specialists and national thought leaders as we define our most liveable cities into the future. By taking a holistic approach to life in a built environment we may better define our cities as urban ecosystems. This symposium will challenge future stakeholders to devise practical solutions.

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City Limits: Why Australia’s cities are broken and how we can fix them

Grattan Institute is pleased to announce the release of its first book, City Limits: Why Australia’s cities are broken and how we can fix them, by Jane-Frances Kelly and Paul Donegan. Our bush heritage helped to define our identity, but today Australia is a nation of cities. A higher proportion of Australians live in cities than almost any other country, and most of our national wealth is generated in them.

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Mayor launches Livewell sustainability project

An exciting new program known as Livewell Yarra to help residents work together towards low-carbon living, with a focus on quality of life and wellbeing has ben set up by the City of Yarra. An initiative of Curtin University, with the support of Council, the Yarra Energy Foundation and the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living, Livewell Yarra aims to form small groups of community participants who will receive assistance to measure their carbon footprint and implement simple lifestyle changes.

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Mayor of London calls for more power for cities

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has said giving more power to cities supplies the solution to Britain’s political gridlock. Speaking at the Global Cities’ panel discussion at the Brookings Institutionin Washington D.C. on the fifth day of his visit to the United States, the Mayor urged the government to accelerate a devolution of power and fiscal authority to cities so municipalities can fund more infrastructure projects and raise revenue.

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First 100 Green Army projects up and running

The Green Army reached a significant milestone this week with 100 projects on the ground around Australia. Across Australia there is already a great variety of projects underway, and more projects will continue to be rolled out with more than 350 new projects approved as part of Round 2 of the Green Army program. A number of successful projects will be sponsored by local councils.

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“We Have to Get Urbanization Right”: Q&A with Felipe Calderón on Cities in the New Climate Economy

2015 is a year of utmost importance for the global sustainable development agenda, and cities will play a pivotal role. Landmark global decisions over the next 12 months provide opportunities to unlock the potential of cities and improve quality of life for billions worldwide. We sat down with Felipe Calderón, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, former president of Mexico, to learn more about how cities can drive forward sustainable, low-carbon economic growth

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Learning to Adapt

Learning to Adapt is a climate change adaptation professional development program for established environmental  professionals delivering practical, hands on skills and knowledge at the postgraduate level. The course is run over three separate full days of intensive collaborative learning with opportunities to apply your learning with your peers. Learning to Adapt is designed by experienced sustainability educators to engage participants in case studies and exercises presented by recognised expert guest speakers in climate change adaptation.

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Barcelona named ‘world’s smartest city’

The Spanish city of Barcelona has been ranked the world’s smartest city, beating off competitors, New York, London and Singapore, with Rio de Janeiro missing out on a top five position.
Compiled by Juniper Research, analysts in the mobile and digital technology sector, Barcelona was given the top position following an analysis of 25 cities’ ‘smart’ capabilities, with particular focus on their use of electricity grids, traffic management and lighting, alongside aspects such as technological capability and social cohesion.

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Is Melbourne as dense as Hong Kong?


Hong Kong

Recently The Age and various news outlets reported on a study done last year as part of a Churchill Fellowship by a Melbourne City Council staffer. The report was promoted in the television media as “Melbourne’s population density higher than Hong Kong”, and some other cities. This seemed a bit odd to me, as conventional wisdom would have it that Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities on Earth. So I looked a bit further.

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The top 15 global opportunities  

The inaugural Global Opportunity Report identifies 15 global opportunities to arise from the five main sustainability challenges, and outlines what they spell for businesses in the years ahead. As the international corporate community rethinks the way it conducts business to address global challenges, solving water scarcity and managing water use could be the top untapped opportunity that will have the biggest positive impact on societies.

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ENOUGHNESS: Restoring Balance to the Economy in the Most Awesome Way Ever

How we see the world determines how we act. Western thought sees us at war with each other over resources. In Indigenous philosophy, we are all related as individuals in balance with nature. Enoughness juxtaposes these two world views and delivers some startling facts. It is pointed out that "Indigenous peoples territory spans 24% of the earths land surface but is home to 80% of it's total biodiversity.

Watch video

ICLEI hosts Pacific Island Mayors in Bangkok

ICLEI Oceania was very pleased to be able to host the Mayor of Port Vila, Vanuatu, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Honiara, Solomon Islands, to attend the Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific event in Bangkok last month. The representatives helped to bring home to the audience the urgency need to help many small Pacific islands deal with the combined threats of climate change, declining resources and population growth. The mayors also signed the Durban Adaptation Charter, and are aiming to attend the ICLEI World Congress in Seoul in April to participate in a special session on Small Island States.

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Decarbonization of Cities: You’re Dreaming!

Societal and technological transformation in the face of climate change will be won or lost in our cities and urban communities. This is not just because of the global urban demographic shift with more than 50 percent of the population now living in urban conditions, or because cities contribute around 70 to 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, but it is as much to do with the growing economic and political importance of cities. Patterns of production and consumption are defined for—and increasingly shaped by—urban living.

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ICLEI World Secretariat based in Bonn provides a range of programs for towns and cities to participate that add value to their sustainability and climate action policies and practices.

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The Oceania Secretariat provides advocacy, networking, information sharing and targeted projects that enhance the work of Members and informs the broader Local Government sector.

Host City, ICLEI Oceania Secretariat

Join the ICLEI Oceania LinkedIn Group

LinkedIn is a social networking website for people in professional occupations and allows members to strengthen and extend their existing network of trusted contacts.

It's a great way to share stories and invite discussion on sustainability practices and approaches that are working in your Council is via the ICLEI Oceania LinkedIn group.

Join the ICLEI LinkedIn group

ICLEI Oceania Regional Executive Committee–RexCom

Chair: Cr Cathy Oke, City of Melbourne, Victoria
Cr Roberto Colanzi, City of Yarra, Victoria
Cr Caroline Knight, City of Mandurah, Western Australia
Cr Eddie Ngava, Honiara City Council, Solomon Islands
Cr Wayne Walker, City of Auckland, New Zealand
Mayor Troy Pickard, City of Joondalup, Western Australia - Global Executive Committee Member (Biodiversity Portfolio)

Host City, Water Campaign Australia
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