Oceania eNews 
April 2015   



ICLEI takes to the world stage  

The ICLEI World Congress held in Seoul Korea, Korea was hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and attended by 1,550 international delegates and 2,000 Korean participants. This was the largest ICLEI World Congress with 92 countries represented, 40 capital cities, including the City Melbourne, 227 mayors and elected representatives and 251 local and regional governments.

ICLEI Oceania local government representatives from Melbourne, Yarra, Manningham, Mornington Peninsula, Joondalup, Mandurah, Gold Coast, Auckland, Dundein, Port Vila, and Honiara provided valuable presentations in Congress plenaries, thematic sessions and mobile workshops. Lord Mayor Ulrich Sumptoh, Port Vila City, Vanuatu provided a ‘Call for Action’ in the Opening Ceremony, reflecting on the devastating impact of the cyclone on his City. It was a reminder to delegates from around the world that climate change is a reality for Pacific Island homes.

The World Congress in the closing plenary announced 3 initiatives: Cityfood will support ICLEI Members to establish policies, plans and projects on resilient urban food systems, including appropriate approaches to urban agriculture; 100% Renewable Energy will support ICLEI Members to deliver low-carbon action planning with the goal of reducing dependence on
fossil fuels and nuclear power; and the Global Sustainable Public Procurement Network will aim is to create a worldwide network of leading cities that meet, share and develop their capabilities to implement sustainable and innovative procurement to drive a transition to sustainable production and consumption.

The inaugural meeting of the ICLEI Council, including our ICLEI Oceania RexCom members, adopted the ICLEI Strategic Plan 2015 – 2021. The Global Executive Committee, including Mayor Troy Pickard and Cr Cathy Oke, met and elected Mayor Won Soon Park, Seoul Metropolitan Government as ICLEI President.

The ICLEI Global Executive Committee Members and ICLEI Council Members presented the ICLEI strategic plan for 2015-2021, which provides a framework for offices and services to members, as well as outlining the role ICLEI aims to play in the world. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat and Mayor Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul Metropolitan Government, Republic of Korea, closed the Congress calling on cities and local governments to prepare to take their plans and actions to COP21 in Paris.  

Martin Brennan
Regional Director

April News

Small Island States and Climate Change


At the World Congress ICLEI Oceania hosted a panel session to explore ways in which ICLEI members could support small island states to cope with the impacts of climate change. There were speakers from ICLEI members Port Vila and Honiara, the Maldives local government authority and the Singapore government, along with the United Nations disaster agency UNISDR. We believe ICLEI can support small islands through political advocacy in the international climate negotiations and also by providing technical and capacity building support. It was proposed that ICLEI member cities could be matched with small island states for mentoring, staff and technical exchanges. ICLEI Oceania will lead the development of a Small Islands Strategy for consideration by the Global Executive Committee.

Call to Action from Port Vila

At the opening of the ICLEI World Congress, Port Vila Lord Mayor, Ulrich Sumptoh, delivered a call to action to delegates. His city was devastated by Cyclone Pam in March with over 90% of buildings damaged and nearly 70% of the population homeless. The Lord Mayor appealed for accelerated action to curb global warming and for direct assistance from the international community for the disaster recovery effort.

In response, ICLEI Oceania is planning to send a specialist team to assist Port Vila council to assess and improve its disaster prevention and management capabilities. ICLEI will launch an appeal for ICLEI Member councils to make a donation towards the cost of this effort. Contact: Steve Gawler, Director, International Programs.

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Successful water management case studies from cities show water as an enabler

Image: Martin Brennan and Vice Governor Eiji Nishjima

Cities from Japan, Korea and Slovakia shared their case studies in enhancing water quality, treating waste water and improving the overall condition of the ecosystem through water management during the breakout session chaired by Martin Brennan, Director of ICLEI Oceania, at the 4th Local Governments and Regional Authorities Conference at the 7th World Water Forum. Eiji Nishjima, Vice Governor of Shiga Prefecture, Japan highlighted the value of lake conservation. He pointed out that 87% of the freshwater used by humans come from lakes, which is also the easiest source to obtain drinkable water among other water sources such as rivers and swamps.

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Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong unveiled as Asia’s most sustainable cities


Seoul, Hong Kong, and Singapore are Asia's big winners in a new global Sustainable Cities Index which rates the performance of cities worldwide on the triple bottom line indicators people, planet and profit. The cities came in 10th, 7th and 8th respectively, according to the inaugural Sustainable Cities Index released by Dutch design and consultancy firm Arcadis.

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China’s coal production drops 3.5% in first quarter

  Photo: Bloomberg

China produced 850 million tons of coal during the first quarter of 2015, a drop of 3.5 per cent, according to data from Coal Association of China. During the same period, the country sold 800 million tons of coal, a decline of 4.7 per cent compared to the same period last year. 90 major coal mines lost 13.1 billion yuan during the first two months of 2015 and nearly 80 per cent of producers are in red. During the same period, China imported 32 million tons coal, down 45.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.

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Another Busy Year Ahead With Cycleways in Dunedin, NZ

Dunedin residents will be able to make the most of safer cycle routes in coming months as the city’s cycleway network continues to expand. Dunedin City Council Infrastructure Services Committee Chair, Cr Kate Wilson, says cycleways make the streets safer for all road users and hopefully encourage more people to get on bikes. "We have a responsibility to provide networks that give people travel choices, whether that be cycling, walking or taking a bus or car," she said. 

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Cut carbon and live well: Here's a calculator that proves we can do it

Watch video of how to use the Global Calculator
A new web platform called the 'Global Calculator' allows individuals and organisations to check on the impact of one's lifestyle on the climate and what one can do to ensure the earth does not heat up beyond 2°C. "It is possible for the world to enjoy both good living standards and tackle climate change if low-carbon technologies are taken seriously and forests are allowed to grow and regenerate", according to the creators of the new online tool.

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France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels

Solar panels in Crucey-Villages, central France
Photograph: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images

Rooftops on new buildings built in commercial zones in France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels, under a law approved on Thursday. Green roofs have an isolating effect, helping reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building in winter and cool it in summer. "They also retain rainwater, thus helping reduce problems with runoff, while favouring biodiversity and giving birds a place to nest in the urban jungle", ecologists say.

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Labor to embrace the sharing economy of Uber and Airbnb, with standards


Labor says it's prepared to embrace new "sharing economy" applications such as Uber and Airbnb on the condition that they pay tax and don't erode workers' rights. In launching a discussion paper on the sharing economy at the National Press Club, shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said Labor would be "squibbing" its responsibilities if it tried to shut them down.

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Moving target: The nonsense underpinning the 'real' RET rhetoric

Climate Spectator reporter, Stephen Bygrave writes: It’s not hard to imagine where the Renewable Energy Target review would be if demand for electricity had gone up, not down, over the past few years. If electricity demand had increased, meaning the 41,000 gigawatt-hour target was lower than the "real" 20 per cent, there would not be the delays and deceptions we are seeing now with the RET Review. There probably wouldn’t have been a review in the first place. 

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Scientists Seeking to Save World Find Best Technology Is Trees


Oxford University scientists, after a year of research, have determined the best technology to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and try to reverse global warming - it’s trees. In their study, they considered methods ranging from capturing emissions from factories and power stations to extracting carbon dioxide directly from the air, and adding lime to oceans to increase their absorption of the gas.

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UK mandates minimum energy standards for rental properties

 It will become illegal for landlords in the UK to rent out energy inefficient housing from April 2018, thanks to a new government law labelled the UK’s most important piece of green building legislation for existing stock in a generation. "These new regulations will drive bills down in some of the worst-insulated homes where up to one million tenants are paying too much to keep warm," Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Amber Rudd said.

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Adelaide's adaptation challenge is already upon it

Imagine a future where the yearly flow into one of the largest water reservoirs of a major Australian city could halve within 70 years. This is a scenario that Adelaide could face if the world continues on its current trajectory of high greenhouse gas emissions, according to the latest reports released this week from the Goyder Institute of which we were the lead authors. This means Adelaide needs to start planning climate change adaption strategies for its water supply now, in combination with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Sydney University in selective divestment plan


The University of Sydney has announced it will reduce the carbon footprint of its $413 million investment portfolio by 20 per cent over the next three years, rather than divest from all fossil fuel holdings. The news follows a bombshell from Norway’s $870 billion sovereign wealth fund that it has been selectively divesting from greenhouse gas intensive companies over the past three years.

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Meet Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel Chair Aiolupotea Sina Aiolupotea-Aiono

 "The primary objective of the Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel is to provide strategic advice to Auckland Council on the key outcomes we want to attain for Pacific peoples. We focus on Auckland Council strategies, services, policies, plans and bylaws that directly impact Pacific peoples, and provide advice to the mayor, governing body, local boards and council-controlled organisations to ensure Pacific community engagement around key council business."

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Abbott Government funding Lomborg 'consensus centre'

Climate Spectator has reported that ‘the Abbott Government has contributed $4million over four years - around "a third of the total cost" - to controversial Danish climate contrarian Bjorn Lomborg's recently established Australian Consensus Centre at the University of WA's business school. The Guardian reports, "bring the Copenhagen Consensus Center methodology to Australia". According to the newspaper, and citing "sources", senior staff at the business school were given no forewarning of the sudden establishment of the centre which was announced this month’.

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3 Big Issues to Watch at the Geneva Climate Talks

International climate negotiators are gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, this coming week for the first in a series of negotiating sessions to establish an international climate agreement in Paris at the end of the year. We come into the year with momentum from 2014, which included the UN Climate Summit in New York, the US-China climate action agreement and more than $10billion in pledges and for the Green Climate Fund.

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UNFCCC Climate Chief to speak at Summit!

2nd Australian Emissions Reduction Summit

May 5-6

As the head of the UNFCCC negotiations in the lead up to the Paris Conference of Parties in December, Christiana Figueres is the driving force to mobilise action and ambition as national governments work toward adopting a new universal climate agreement this year. Ms Figueres’ visit to Australia comes at a critical time as a taskforce established within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet undertakes consultations to consider a new post-2020 target.

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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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