Rio +20

ICLEI Rio +20

Local initiatives changed global thinking about sustainable development

The aim of the Local Sustainability 2012 study is to document the variety of local processes for sustainability that have emerged globally since the 1992 Earth Summit. Local initiatives, many of them inspired by Local Agenda 21, have made a lasting mark not only on local but also on national and international governance systems, changing profoundly the way we think about sustainable development and pushing the boundaries of what is achievable. 

Learning from two decades of local action

Taking into account current discussions on the international governance framework for sustainable development, one of the key themes of the Rio+20 Conference, the main focus is on placing local sustainability initiatives within a broader national and international context, in order to identify opportunities and barriers to scaling up local action. With this in mind, the following questions are addressed:

  • What are the main driving forces behind local sustainability processes? How do different driving forces influence the development of local sustainability processes?
  • What are the key reference frameworks that influence the scope and ambition of local action? How are these frameworks developed and what is their impact on the local level?
  • Looking at two decades of local sustainability processes, what changes have they brought about? How has the role of local governments changed, on the local, national and international level?

Looking into the future, the study proposes a list of recommendations to leaders at the national, international and local level. The recommendations underpin ICLEI’s advocacy activities as Local Authority Major Group co-organising partner in the run up to the Rio+20 Conference and will further inform ICLEI’s work globally.

About the Local Sustainability 2012 study

The Local Sustainability 2012 study consists of two complementary reports:

  • Taking Stock and Moving Forward. Global Review,
  • Showcasing Progress. Case Studies.

The study presents the “story” of local sustainability, as told by people who were personally involved in implementing and supporting cities in their sustainability efforts throughout the last 20 years, and has been produced by ICLEI, in association with the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation and UN-Habitat.

Both reports are available online and in print. Full versions of the case studies are available as part of ICLEI Case Studies series (138-151). Both publications will be featured on CITEGO, an international documentary resource site focusing on cities, territories and governance.

Click here to read the press release.


Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer