Who We Are

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is the leading global network of more than 1500 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future.

Our mission is to build and serve a worldwide movement of local governments to achieve tangible improvements in global sustainability through cumulative local actions. 

Based in Seoul, South Korea, the ICLEI East Asia Secretariat supports over 90 East Asian Members from China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan and Mongolia pursuing ICLEI's 10 Urban Agendas.

What We Do

Connecting leaders

ICLEI is a growing Network of local governments leading the way in sustainable development with worldwide presence and global outreach. We assist our Members by engaging them in global, regional and country-level advocacy activities, programs, campaigns, networks and events to exchange knowledge and showcase their achievements. 

Accelerating action

ICLEI is a robust Movement of local governments working together regionally and internationally to implement bold and innovative solutions on sustainability. We support this movement by commitment processes, performance frameworks, programs, international exchange, thematic networks, strategic alliances and centers of excellence. 

Gateway to solutions

ICLEI is an effective and resourceful Agency that supports strengthening capacities of local governments and their networks to identify and implement radical solutions. We provide advanced knowledge, creative and innovative tools and methods, deliver training to local leaders, planners and decision makers, and assist cities adopting practices and proven systems to move towards sustainability. 




Our Development

ICLEI started with the idea that a single municipality has a significant impact.

ICLEI was founded in 1990 by 200 local governments from 43 countries who convened for the first World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Operations started in 1991 at the World Secretariat in Toronto, Canada, and the European Secretariat in Freiburg, Germany.

ICLEI’s first global programs were Local Agenda 21, a program promoting participatory governance and local sustainable development planning, and Cities for Climate Protection™ (CCP), the world’s first and largest program supporting cities in climate action planning using a five milestone process including greenhouse gas emissions inventories to systematically reduce emissions.

ICLEI’s programs and campaigns looked beyond mere environmental aspects and embraced wider sustainability issues. The ICLEI Council acknowledged this and formally broadened the mandate of the association in 2003, renaming the association ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

With support from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, ICLEI East Asia Secretariat was established in 2012. Prior to that, ICLEI Members in the region were represented by ICLEI Japan Office, ICLEI Korea Office and the Kaohsiung Capacity Center.



Our Impacts

Over the last 20 years, we have achieved results that the planet notices.

  • We have built a global sustainability network of more than 1,500 local governments of all sizes in over 85 countries.

  • We work with our Members through a network of 18 secretariats, offices and global centers on all continents, which hold technical expertise and experience.

  • We have developed common methodologies and created innovative tools which are applied throughout the local government community worldwide.

  • We have provided leadership in linking local governments to global policy processes and multilateral environmental agreements.

  • We have instigated a movement of about 10,000 local governments that have engaged their citizens in Local Agenda 21; created a network of 1,000+ cities that have undertaken climate action planning and set voluntary targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction; worked with over 100 local governments on freshwater management; supported dozens of municipalities in the use of innovative sustainability management systems; and engaged dozens of global cities in biodiversity management.

  • More than 50,000 local government officials have benefited from over 1,000 capacity building events organized by ICLEI

  • The efforts of more than 1,000 cities participating in the CCP Campaign resulted in annual emissions reductions of more than 60 million tons CO2eq.



Find Our More About ICLEI

ICLEI interviewed city leaders form the East Asia region about what urban sustainability issues they face and how their cities are tackling the challenges.

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