ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability
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The ICLEI Story
ICLEI was conceived in 1989 when 35 local government leaders from Canada and the USA met with a leading atmospheric scientist to discuss the depletion of the ozone layer. They pledged to establish local laws to phase out chemicals that deplete the Earth's ozone layer. Larry Agran, Mayor of Irvine, California, USA and Jeb Brugmann imagined an agency that could coordinate local government responses to global environmental problems.

Developing the concept of ICLEI 

Under the auspices of the Center for Innovative Diplomacy, Jeb Brugmann consulted with local government officials from more than 20 countries to measure support. The concept was endorsed by the former International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) and an agreement was endorsed with the UN Environment Programme to host the founding congress.

Founding Congress

More than 200 local governments from 43 countries participated in the World Congress on 5-9 September, 1990, at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The four-day proceedings concluded with the adoption of the Charter and the appointment of an interim Executive Committee. Sir John Chatfield was elected to serve as the first ICLEI Chair and Jeb Brugmann, as ICLEI's first Secretary General.
ICLEI's operations officially began in March, 1991. Toronto, Canada, was selected as the location for the ICLEI World Secretariat and Freiburg, Germany, as the host for the ICLEI European Secretariat. The World Secretariat moved to Bonn, Germany, in 2009.
ICLEI founding congress
ICLEI founding congress in 1990 at the United Nations in New York.

New Mandate, New name

In 2003, ICLEI's Members voted to revise the organization's mission, charter and name to better reflect the current challenges local governments are facing. The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives became ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability with a broader mandate to address sustainability issues.