RELEASE: ICLEI elects new global leadership and launches year-long event program with host city Malmö, Sweden

“We form a strong, dedicated, and balanced ICLEI Presidium that represents the diversity and strength of our network,” said Des Moines, USA, Mayor Frank Cownie, in his first address as ICLEI President to the participants of the ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022 on 13 April 2021.

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Bonn, Germany (13 April 2021) - ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022, the triennial gathering of local and regional governments advancing sustainable urban development worldwide, has been virtually launched with more than 1500 participants from over 115 countries. ICLEI’s President, First Vice-President and two Vice-Presidents were also elected as part of the proceedings.

Hosted by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the City of Malmö, Sweden, the ICLEI World Congress is the moment for local and regional governments to come together to celebrate and recognize the critical contributions of cities, towns and regions towards a sustainable future. The 2021 - 2022 edition is a multi-part event.

Taking place between 13–15 April 2021, the Virtual Launch of the ICLEI World Congress included the announcement of the ICLEI Malmö Strategy 2021-2027 and ICLEI Malmö Action Plan 2021-2024 in the opening session, and features a number of high-level events with a focus on ICLEI’s five sustainable development pathways, the contribution of local and regional governments to the UN Decade of Action on Sustainable Development(2021-2030) and showcasing the host City of Malmö, Sweden.

Following the Virtual Launch, the event builds towards The Malmö Summit, on 11-13 May 2022 to exchange in-person - as far as the global health crisis permits – on the best practices in local sustainable development, and learn first hand from the Malmö’s wealth of sustainability initiatives. The Malmö Declaration, which will invite local and regional governments to advance equitable sustainable development, also will be launched. Between the Virtual Launch and The Malmö Summit is The Road to Malmö, a series of high-level virtual events throughout 2021.

In conjunction with the ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022, ICLEI’s Members elected the organization’s new leadership, who were announced during a special pre-event session of the inaugural ICLEI GexCom-Council Meeting on 12 April 2021.

Frank Cownie, Mayor, City of Des Moines, USA was elected as ICLEI President. Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor City of Malmö, Sweden, was elected ICLEI First Vice-President. The Membership elected two Vice Presidents: Minna Arve, Mayor, City of Turku, Finland, and Atishi Marlena, Member of the Legislative Assembly, National Capital Territory of Delhi, India.

“We are so thrilled to welcome our newly elected President and Vice-Presidents to the leadership of ICLEI. This slate of leaders - together with the rest of ICLEI’s governance representatives - speak for over 65 million city residents around the world. Our new leaders bring a depth of knowledge and global diversity that will enrich and guide our work to strengthen urban sustainability around the world for their three-year term,” said ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin.

Frank Cownie, Mayor, City of Des Moines, USA was elected ICLEI President. "With the new administration in the United States’ support of the Paris Climate agreement, this is a critical time for ICLEI's work. It is more important now than ever to be pushing our world leaders towards sustainability and giving local governments a platform to contribute to that work. As president of ICLEI, I will continue to use my voice and connections to stress the importance of local government involvement in discovering and implementing solutions to the global climate crisis," said Mayor Cownie. Mayor Cownie also serves in the North American Regional Seat on the ICLEI Global Executive Committee.

Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor, City of Malmö, Sweden, ICLEI World Congress host, was elected ICLEI First Vice-President. She said, “ICLEI gives cities and regions a strong voice in the global arena. Through my previous engagements in the organization I have seen first-hand the value in exchanging knowledge and best practices. As first vice president I look forward to promoting and working with different aspects of sustainability, locally as well as globally.”  Mayor Jammeh also serves on the ICLEI Global Executive Committee as the Chair of the Sustainable Local Economy and Procurement Portfolio.

Minna Arve, Mayor, City of Turku, Finland, was elected ICLEI Vice-President.“Circular economy is critical in decarbonizing our economy and is important on the pathway to the Paris Agreement and a 1.5 degree life. It calls for new innovations from cities and businesses, and that’s what we can do together," said Mayor Arve. "I will put all of my energy and inspiration to work for Turku and all of ICLEI to make the circular economy strong globally.” Mayor Arve is also an ICLEI Global Executive Committee Member, serving in the European Regional Seat and as the chair of the Circular Development Portfolio.

Atishi Marlena, Member of Legislative Assembly, National Capital Territory of Delhi, India was elected Vice President. She said,““Sustainable development that can take the environment and people along together is what we need to put our minds together for.” MLA Marlena is also serving on the ICLEI Global Executive Committee as the Chair of the Resilient Development and Risk Management Portfolio.

The full ICLEI Global Executive Committee and ICLEI Council can be found here:

Additionally, the ICLEI Malmö Commitment and StrategicVision 2021-2027 was adopted by ICLEI Membership at the GexCom-ICLEICouncil meeting. The document lays out how the ICLEI network will advance sustainable urban development for the next six years, locally and globally, in an era where the local, regional, and national governments are continuing to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, while advancing urgentaction on climate, nature, land and health. The full document can be found in the newly released ICLEI in the Urban Era.

Accompanying the ICLEI Strategic Vision is the ICLEI Malmö Action Plan 2021 - 2024, a compendium of concrete actions that ICLEIis undertaking with the ICLEI local and regional governments to achieve sustainable development. The three-year action plan includes 141 activities, involving well over 1100 cities, towns and regions around the world.


OECD and ICLEI Continue Long-Standing Partnership
ICLEI and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have renewed their partnership.  The OECD has played an important factor during ICLEI’s setup and is a trusted and long-standing partner. As an organization of national governments, the OECD has been a pioneer in introducing ideas of and promoting sectoral development and multilevel action in developed countries. These efforts are in perfect alignment with ICLEI’s calls for multilevel action on climate, biodiversity, and the SDGs, and the MoU is a clear signal towards further strengthening of multilevel action. The OECD has just adopted its principles for Urban Policies, and ICLEI is proud to be one of the endorsers.

UNEP and ICLEI Renew Broad Partnership in Urban Sustainability
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and ICLEI, close partners since ICLEI’s inception in 1990, have renewed their existing collaboration agreement. While the focus areas cover a broad spectrum including Biodiversity and Nature, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Urban Resilience, as well as Mobility and Circularity, ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin also reiterated ICLEI’s commitment to supporting the implementation of UNEP’s recently adopted medium-term strategy, which foresees a much stronger focus on subnational action and multilevel governance.

ICLEI and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of the Interior and Safety Continue Partnership Towards Carbon Neutrality for Local Governments in Korea
ICLEI and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) have officially agreed to extend an existing agreement that has laid the foundation for ICLEI’s activities in the country and East Asian region since 2011. The renewed collaboration will allow ICLEI to continue accompanying Korean Local Governments on their journey towards carbon neutrality through its ICLEI Korea Office. The country itself is a global front runner, with 226 out of 228 local governments having declared a climate emergency in 2020, and around 100 of them committing to climate neutrality, which paved the way for Korea's national commitment to climate neutrality.

Taoyuan City Returns as Chair of ICLEI Ecologistics Community
Taoyuan City and ICLEI will renew their partnership on the Ecologistics Community. Following a 2-year term (2020-2021), Taoyuan City will return as the Chair and Host until the end of 2022. As one of the major logistics hubs in the Asia-Pacific region, Taoyuan City is rolling out inspirational initiatives to test sustainable and smart logistics solutions. Together ICLEI and Taoyuan City aim to build a strong Community of cities worldwide able to accelerate knowledge exchange, showcase innovation and enable collective actions for a sustainable logistics future.

“We foresee the importance of the logistics industry in Taoyuan and other global cities through the post-pandemic era, and we hope to collaborate with more cities to lead urban logistics towards a more sustainable future,” said Wen-Tsan Cheng, Mayor, Taoyuan City - Chair of the EcoLogistics Community.


Shaping Our Sustainable Urban Future for All
Opening session
13 April 2021: 9:00-10:30 CEST. Link to the session recording.

Equitably Shaping Our Sustainable Urban Future
Pathway focus: Equitable and People-centered Development
13 April 2021, 16:00-17:00 CEST. Link to the session.

Following the Circular Development Pathway Towards Sustainable Cities
Pathway focus: Circular Development
14 April 2021, 9:00-10:00 CEST. Link to the session.

Engaging Cities and Regions in the Global Nature Agenda
Pathway focus: Nature-based development
14 April 2021, 16:00-17:00 CEST. Link to the session.

Resilient Development and Risk Management for a Sustainable Urban Future
Pathway focus: Resilient Development
15 April 2021, 9:00-10:00 CEST. Link to the session.
Towards Low Emission and Climate Neutral Development for a Sustainable Urban World
Pathway focus: Low Emission Development
15 April 2021, 16:00-17:00 CEST. Link to the session.


About ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022
ICLEI World Congress 2021-2022 is hosted by the City of Malmö and organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the leading global network of more than 2500 cities, towns, and regions committed to building a sustainable future.

For more information about the entire program for the ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022, please visit

The full event program for the Virtual Launch (13-15 April 2021) is available here: Video recordings of the Virtual Launch will be available after each session concludes.

About ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability(known as "ICLEI") is a global network working with more than 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125+ countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient, and circular development. Our Members and team of experts work together through peer exchange, partnerships, and capacity building to create systemic change for urban sustainability. For more information about ICLEI, please visit

About the City of Malmö, Sweden
An ICLEI Member since 1996, the City ofMalmö is a climate-smart knowledge city, listed as the fourth most innovative in the world by OECD. Malmö is working actively for sustainability initiatives and is the first city in Sweden that has publicly announced the commitment to implement the UN SDGs.

With around 350,000 inhabitants, Malmö might be small in size, but big in ambition. The city has adopted a unique approach to sustainability, with environmental, financial, and social effects all forming part of the equation. Everything that happens in Malmö is done with sustainability in mind. New climate-smart city districts are emerging, and old areas are being improved using new environmental technology. And the objectives are ambitious: By 2030 the whole city of Malmö will be supplied with 100% renewable energy.

Anastasia Sukhoroslova, PR Consultant for ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022
ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
Phone: +49 (0)163 / 832 5284 | Email: ​​​ | Skype: anastasia.sukhoroslova

 Ariel Dekovic, Head of Global Communications
ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
World Secretariat (Bonn, Germany)
Email: ​ ​| Skype: ariel.dekovic.iclei

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