The Conference Series
Over the last 26 years the ESCT has been a cornerstone of sustainable urban development in Europe, vitally important to advancing the local sustainability agenda. The three main milestones reached in the conferences in 1994, 2004 and 2016 show the series' leading role, and forward thinking approach often year's ahead of its time.
So far European Sustainable Cities & Towns Conferences were held in Aalborg, Denmark (1994, 2004), Lisbon, Portugal (1996), Hannover, Germany (2000), Seville, Spain (2007), Dunkirk, France (2010), Geneva, Switzerland (2013) and the Basque Country, Spain (2016).
Local Sustainability Milestones
Aalborg Charter, 1994
Inspired by the Rio Earth Summit’s Local Agenda 21 plan, it was developed to contribute to the European Union’s Environmental Action Programme, ‘Towards Sustainability’. More than 3,000 local authorities from more than 40 countries have signed the Charter. This has resulted in the largest European movement of its type and started the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign.
Aalborg Commitments, 2004
The commitments lay out a framework to be used at the local level that lays out how to embed sustainability across municipality sectors. The comitments encompass a list of qualitative objectives organised into 10 holistic themes signifying a structured holistic and ambitious approach, which allows decision-makers to adapt them to meet their own local conditions. So far over 700 cities and towns have signed the commitments.
Basque Declaration, 2016
The Basque Declaration outlines new pathways for European Cities and Towns to create productive, sustainable and resilient cities for a liveable and inclusive Europe. The document aims to support and accelerate socio-cultural, socio-economic and technological transformation. The Basque Declaration aims to inspire cities and towns to develop and create their own local transformative actions.
In 1994, the City of Aalborg together with ICLEI and a number of other local government networks took up the challenge of spreading the local sustainable development message across Europe in the period following the Rio Earth Summit.Read More
The City of Lisbon hosted the second European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, which attracted over 1,000 participants. Building on the Aalborg Charter presented at the first conference, the Lisbon Action Plan was launched in 1996.Read More
This millennial edition of the conference took place in Hannover, Germany with over 1,300 participants, 250 mayors or their representatives present, and dozens of workshops. Municipalities emphasised their right to assume a central role in the development of a rapidly urbanising Europe.Read More
Ten years after the first European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, the campaign returned to Aalborg. The main outcome of the conference was the Aalborg Commitments, a local government sustainability “toolbox” encompassing 10 shared sustainability pledges.Read More
The City of Seville hosted the fifth conference in the series, where over 1500 delegates from European local governments committed to act immediately and implement advanced policies for local sustainable development, enthusiastically promoting the Aalborg Commitments.Read More
The sixth European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns took place in 2010 in Dunkerque, France. Dunkerque 2010 explored how sustainable development can help local governments to face the current economic, social and climate challenges and how it can be further implemented in the current context of crisis.Read More
In 2013, the City of Geneva hosted the seventh conference in the series, emphasising the opportunities for strengthening local economies and communities through sustainable investments. The conference also saw the launch of the Sustainable Cities online platform.Read More
Under the title ‘Transformative action: the potential for Europe’, the eighth edition of the European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns explored the need for action by local governments to change unsustainable pathways and shape Europe’s future.Read More