ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.


ICLEI World Secretariat
Kaiser-Friedrich-Str. 7
53113 Bonn

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.

ICLEI Regional Secretariats and country offices

Our approach

Sustainable urban development is the key to a more sustainable world.


Our pathways, our approach

ICLEI engages at the local to global levels, shaping policy and sparking action to transform urban environments worldwide. We build connections across levels of government, sectors and stakeholder groups, sparking city-to-city, city-to-region, local-to-global and local-to-national connections. By linking subnational, national and global actors, policies, commitments and initiatives, ICLEI strengthens action at all levels, in support of sustainable urban development.

At the subnational level, ICLEI drives change along five interconnected pathways that cut across sectors and jurisdictional boundaries. This design enables local and regional governments to develop solutions in a holistic and integrated way, creating change across entire urban systems.

These pathways, outlined below, are part of the ICLEI São Paulo Strategic Vision 2024 – 2030, which guides the work of the ICLEI network. The pathways were originally released as part of the ICLEI Montréal Commitment and Strategic Vision 2018-2024.

You can read more about the ICLEI São Paulo Strategic Vision 2024 – 2030 in The Power of Our Network in a Changing World.


The ICLEI São Paulo Strategic Vision 2024 - 2030

Through the ICLEI São Paulo Strategic Vision 2024 – 2030, local and regional governments of the ICLEI network set a way towards the transformation to sustainable development. This vision, set forth in the voice of our local and regional governments, creates a picture of what is needed for a truly sustainable urban world.

ICLEI is and has always been committed to creating global change through work that starts on the local level. Together, we must demonstrate visionary leadership, lead by example, share our knowledge actively and openly and speak with a united voice. Our São Paulo Strategic Vision 2024 – 2030 is a critical part of that promise.


How the pathways work

Cities are complex systems. The components of urban systems, from food distribution networks and energy grids to transport and greenways, are interconnected and dynamic. Intervening to create change in any one of these components may impact others, creating systemic change. Designing solutions that take these interconnections into account is critical to sustainable development.

The five ICLEI pathways towards zero emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development are designed to create systemic change.

The pathways provide a framework for designing integrated solutions that balance the patterns of human life and the built and natural environments. They encourage holistic thinking to ensure that ICLEI, as a network of local and regional governments and global experts, optimizes our impact. For instance, we consider how nature-based development contributes to resilience, or how to bring equity into low emission development. When these pathways guide local and regional development, urban systems become more sustainable.

Local and regional governments use these pathways as a guide for sustainable urban development through systemic change. Often, our activities are guided by a predominant pathway or set of pathways. In any given city or region, multiple activities may be implemented along each pathway. These activities help local and regional governments advance sustainable urban development.

Urban systems are part of a broader city-region territory. Local and regional governments and their urban systems are interconnected. We address city-to-city and rural-urban linkages to create a multiplier effect. Our network of more than 2500 local and regional governments drives sustainable urban development worldwide.


The five pathways

  • The zero emission development pathway curbs climate change, creates new economic opportunities and improves the health of people and natural systems.

    Zero emission development reduces pollutants and emissions, aims to achieve climate neutrality, and promotes renewable energy by divesting from fossil fuels and using nature-based solutions. Successful low emission development promotes sustainable passenger and freight mobility, giving priority to walking, cycling, public transit and shared mobility as part of people-centered solutions.

  • Nature-based development protects and enhances the biodiversity and ecosystems in and around our cities, which underpin key aspects of our local economies and upon which we depend for the well-being and resilience of our communities.

    Healthy local environments are prioritized in policy and planning, and jurisdictions pursue economic opportunities based on nature and ecosystem services. Nature-based development seeks out blue and green infrastructure options and promotes green zones to reconnect and engage with nature in our urban world.

  • Equitable development builds just, livable, happy and inclusive urban communities, addresses the systemic causes of poverty and in- equality, and safeguards the natural support systems for human life.

    Equitable development ensures that the natural and built environments in and around cities improve livability and safety, promote human health, and mitigate the transmission of diseases. It provides equitable access to safe and nutritious food, quality education, clean water and sanitation, sustainable energy, clean air and productive soil for all, and climate-resilient infrastructures, and creates and sustains human-centered, safe, resilient, socially and culturally vibrant communities, where diversity, distinct identities, and solidarity are woven into the social fabric.

  • The resilient development pathway anticipates, prevents, absorbs and recovers from shocks and stresses, in particular those brought about by rapid environmental technological, social and demographic change, and improves essential basic response structures and functions.

    Resilient development makes resilience a core part of all municipal strategies and prepares for new risks and impacts taking into account the rights and needs of vulnerable sections of our society. Resilient development continuously strengthens essential systems through a transparent and inclusive approach that enhances trust in public institutions.

  • Circular development, together with new models of production and consumption, builds sustainable societies that use recyclable, sharable and regenerative resources to end the linear model of “produce, consume, discard,” while continuing to meet the material and development needs of a growing global population.

    Circular development decouples urban economic development from resource consumption and environmental degradation and factors environmental and social costs into the price of goods and services, through equitable access to resources, closed-loop urban systems and sustainable waste management options. New local economies can be born out of circular development, economies that are productive and not extractive, where resources are exchanged and not wasted.

Join our efforts to build a sustainable urban future

Become part of our global network advancing along these five interconnected pathways.

Join us now
ICLEI World Secretariat
European Secretariat
Leopoldring 3
79098 Freiburg, Germany
Brussels Office
Av. de Tervuren 35
1040 Bruxelles
Berlin Office
St. Oberholz ROS Team Room 4.02
Rosenthaler Str. 72a
10119 Berlin
Physical address:
Unit 1, 2nd Floor,
South Tower
Sable Park, 14 Bridge
Century City
Cape Town
South Africa
Tyger Valley, South Africa
ICLEI Africa Foundation
Ebène Junction, Quatre Bornes, Mauritius
North America
USA Office
536 Wynkoop St.
Suite 901
Denver, Colorado
USA 80202
Canada Office
401 Richmond St. W
Studio 204
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 3A8, Canada
British Columbia Office
Victoria City Hall
1 Centennial Square
BC V8W 1P6
Québec Office
Montréal City Hall
275 Notre-Dame St E
QC H2Y 1C6
Central America & the Caribbean
Mexico, Central American and Caribbean Secretariat
Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas 13
Building Miguel Abed, Floor 5 Of. 506 and 507,
Col. Centro, CP 06050 Del.
Cuauhtemoc, Mexico City, Mexico
South America
South American Secretariat
Rua Marquês de Itu 70, 14° andar.
São Paulo, SP, Brasil
CEP 01223-000
Colombia Office
Carrera 53 N° 40A - 31,
Medellín, Antioquia – Colombia
Argentina Office
Boulevard Gálvez, 1150 Planta Alta.
Rosário, Santa Fé, Argentina
South Asia
South Asia Secretariat
c, 3, Green Park Extension Road, Block B, Green Park Extension, Green Park, New Delhi, Delhi, India
Southern Center
Door No. 6-3-596/47/2
Sri Venkata Ramana Colony
Hyderabad 500 004
Andhra Pradesh
East Asia
East Asia Secretariat
14/F, Seoul Global Center Building, 38 Jongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea (110-110)
Japan Office
1-14-2 Nishi-Shimbashi,
Tokyo, Japan 105-0003
Kaohsiung Capacity Center
4F. No.436, Daye N. Rd.
Xiaogang Dist.
Kaohsiung City 812
Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Korea Office
217-59 Kintex-ro, Ilsanseo-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do 10390, Republic of Korea
Beijing Office
B1010 Xiaoyun Center, No. 15
Beijing 100125,
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia Secretariat
c/o The Manila Observatory Ateneo de Manila University Campus Loyola Heights, Quezon City 1101 Manila, Philippines
ICLEI Indonesia Project Office
Jl. Karbela Sel. No.46, RT.2/RW.4, Kuningan, Karet, South Jakarta City, Jakarta 12940, Indonesia
Oceania Secretariat
l8/225 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia