Local Governments for Sustainability

The City of Jerusalem, a long-time member of the ICLEI global network of local governments, attended the ICLEI World Congress in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. 1,400 delegates representing 1,200 cities from all around the world convened at ICLEI with the goal of preparing a joint call for action which emphasizes the strategic role of cities in the effort to achieve global sustainability. This call for action will be presented to the parties at the Rio+20 World Summit (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development), in Rio de Janeiro on June 20-22, 2012.

The Jerusalem delegation has played a prominent role in formulating and pioneering new models for environmental management. We have showcased two ground-breaking projects, the Green Pilgrimage Network and the Urban Biosphere (URBIS) initiative. Both projects have been embraced as useful frameworks for city and regional management, promoting sustainable development and citizen engagement.  Over 40 cities joined with Jerusalem in establishing the Global URBIS network.

The ICLEI Congress has provided Jerusalem an opportunity to introduce a world audience to the excellent work that the city has undertaken in the preservation of Urban Nature and participatory planning. Peer cities showed great interest in and appreciation of the efforts that the City of Jerusalem is making to meet its particular challenges in working with all stakeholders of the Kidron / Wadi-El-Nar basin in an effort to transform raw sewage into useable water, a resource much needed by all communities in the region.

Many cities were intrigued by the concept of "Green Pilgrimage", which combines the ancient experience of religious pilgrimage with the modern need for sustainability. Deputy Mayor Naomi Tsur, who headed the delegation, commented: "The goal of the Green Pilgrimage Network is to encourage both pilgrims and pilgrim cities to ‘Leave a Positive Footprint’ ".