Thematic tracks

Co-creation and collaborative governance

All sectors of society can and should come together to co-create, innovate and implement sustainability solutions. Local and regional governments need to work hand-in-hand with all urban stakeholders, from civil society and the private sector to science and research institutions.

The ICLEI World Congress 2018 will bring together these actors and encourage the creation or strengthening of partnerships across them.

Learn more how the theme is featured throughout the ICLEI World Congress 2018 program.

Photo credit: © ICLEI
Description: ICLEI World Congress Seoul 2015

Nature-based solutions

Working with nature and aligning with its biological cycles enables cities and regions to become more resource-efficient and resilient, while boosting local economies and improving the health and well-being of residents. This theme will explore how solutions inspired and supported by nature can simultaneously address environmental, sociocultural and economic challenges in a cost-effective way.

Taking place right before the ICLEI World Congress 2018 and organized by ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, the Urban Nature Forum will convene scientists, urban planners, policymakers, conservationists and other key stakeholders to explore nature as a key tool for more sustainable urbanization.

Learn more how the theme is featured throughout the ICLEI World Congress 2018 program.

Inclusive cities and communities

Climate action is only successful when it involves social inclusion and citizen engagement. The ICLEI World Congress 2018 will highlight successful approaches of managing urban cultural diversity, social integration and gender equality in the contexts of rapidly changing societies.
Held in Canada, the ICLEI World Congress 2018 will also stress the importance of working with First Nations communities and governments to ensure their needs and aspirations are fully realized within cities and regions.
The ICLEI World Congress 2018 will also be a call to action for local governments to work towards urban inclusion and reconciliation as part of achieving sustainable development.

Learn more how the theme is featured throughout the ICLEI World Congress 2018 program.

Photo credit: © Frédérique Ménard-Aubin
Espaces Découvertes LEGS375 2017
Description: Montréal reconciliation with First Nations

Sustainable procurement

Every procurement decision we make has an impact on the environment, economy and on society – and this holds especially true for public authorities.

To procure in a sustainable way involves looking beyond short-term needs and considering the longer-term impacts of each procurement. In the language of economists, sustainable procurement is about “internalizing the externalities” and leading by example. It is about driving behavior change by government taking the lead and showing others what can be done.

In recent years, sustainable procurement has grown in both scope – to encompass a wider range of environmental, social and economic issues, promoting value for money in its full sense – and depth, as the knowledge and techniques developed by frontrunners have been disseminated and standards raised. The ICLEI World Congress 2018 will explore those evolutions and call for ambitious sustainable procurement practices.

As an active member of the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement, the Ville de Montréal has set ambitious sustainable procurement targets. Read more here.

Source: ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, European Secretariat (2016) “The Procura + Manual : A guide to implementing sustainable procurement”

Photo credit: © ICLEI e.V. 2015
Description: The signing of the Founders´ Commitment to The Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement during the ICLEI World Congress 2015 in Seoul

Circular economy

Our unsustainable consumption and production patterns are driving negative planetary change. It is vital that we restore our natural capital, reduce the pressure on material assets, prevent waste and make the way we consume natural resources more efficient. Those strategies are captured by the framework of the circular economy.

As centers of resource consumption and waste production, cities are pivotal forces for building a circular economy. If implemented systematically, the circular economy can contribute to climate change mitigation, resilience, biodiversity restoration, poverty alleviation and job creation, while reducing pressure on municipal budgets.

Learn more how the theme is featured throughout the ICLEI World Congress 2018 program.

Low carbon development

To curb climate change and improve human and environmental health, local governments must shed the legacy of fossil fuels, decoupling emissions from economic growth and pursuing the most effective pathway to achieve carbon neutrality, energy security, clean air and an active green economy.
The ICLEI World Congress 2018 will explore examples from local and regional governments that are successfully leading the transition, while looking into innovative methods and best practices to strengthen the capacity of local and regional governments.

Learn more how the theme is featured throughout the ICLEI World Congress 2018 program.

Healthy cities and well-being

Community well-being and health are critical to local sustainability action. Looking beyond GDP as the primary indicator for development, these dimensions allow for a broader assessment of local and regional governments’ impact on the development of their communities.

Learn more how the theme is featured throughout the ICLEI World Congress 2018 program.


Resilience building prepares urban systems, municipal operations and communities to prevent, absorb and recover from shocks and stresses and adapt to inevitable global change. Local and regional governments have to embed resilience at the core of their action to be able to adapt to rapid technological and demographic changes.

Strengthening partnerships across multiple levels, mobilizing resources to accelerate local action, and equipping local and regional governments to adopt holistic approaches will be key questions addressed at the ICLEI World Congress 2018.

Learn more how the theme is featured throughout the ICLEI World Congress 2018 program.

Urban Transitions Alliance Forum

Having faced and often successfully overcome environmental, economic and social crises, industrial legacy cities are experts in creating their own resurgence and turning challenges into opportunities. The Urban Transitions Forum will feature experiences and best practices from the Urban Transitions Alliance member cities.

On Wednesday 20 June 2018, from 11am to 12:30, a high-level forum will see the Mayors of the Alliance cities officially open the Urban Transitions Forum at the ICLEI World Congress. They will demonstrate the power of industrial legacy cities as drivers of ambitious local action with a joint declaration to collaborate and make the Sustainable Development Goals the guiding principle for their transition to sustainability.

Throughout the Congress, dedicated Implementers’ sessions will discuss strategies and new pathways towards a sustainable future focusing on the topics of energy, mobility, infrastructure and social transitions.

Learn more how the theme is featured throughout the ICLEI World Congress 2018 program.

Photo credit: ICLEI e.V. 2017
Description: Interactive workshop at the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn, 9 November 2017