ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) is an international, not-for-profit association of local governments and local government organisations that have made a commitment to sustainable development. Our mission is to build a movement of councils to achieve tangible improvements in environmental conditions through the cumulative impact of local action.

ICLEI Oceania is the Regional Secretariat for ICLEI. The ICLEI Oceania Head Office is hosted by the City of Melbourne and was established in 1999. The ICLEI Oceania Water Campaign - Australia Office is hosted by the City of Melville, Western Australia.

Our definition of 'sustainability'

Sustainability is the capacity of cities and towns to meet the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.Sustainable development must simultaneously protect and enhance the Earth’s life support systems. A continuing process, this requires the sharing and management of economic, environmental and social resources equitably within the community. The United Nations Secretary General at the ICLEI Global Town Hall held at Rio+20 stated - 'The road to sustainability is through the world's cities and towns'.


ICLEI Global

ICLEI­-Local Governments for Sustainability is the world’s leading network of over 1,000 cities, towns and metropolises committed​ to building​ a sustainable future. By helping our Members to make their cities and regions sustainable, low­-carbon, resilient, ecomobile, biodiverse, resource-­efficient and productive, healthy and happy, with a green economy and smart infrastructure, we impact over 20% of the world's urban population. For further information go to the ICLEI Global website.

ICLEI Oceania

ICLEI Oceania provides support to Member councils and the Local Government sector that we believe adds value to our work to build sustainable communities. Our role is complemented by our World Secretariat based in Bonn Germany. The range of offerings is targeted at councils who not only wish to be leaders locally but to play their part globally. We in the Oceania Secretariat continue to build our capacity to advocate, partner, network and disseminate information.

Charitable status

ICLEI Oceania (legally represented by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives – Australia/New Zealand Limited) is listed on the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts' Register of Environmental Organisations and is entitled under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 item 6-1.1 of subsection 30-55(1) to receive tax deductible donations. Australian Business Number (ABN) 66 089 145 433


ICLEI is democratically governed by its Members through a Global Council.

The ICLEI Council represents ICLEI’s global membership by way of representative democracy. It is the supreme decision-making and oversight body of the global association. The Council has sole power to amend the Charter, elects members to the ICLEI Global Executive Committee and establishes directions for the Association and adopt the ICLEI Strategic Plan.

The Council is composed of all voting members of the ICLEI Regional Executive Committees. Each Regional Executive Committee carries one vote on the Council.

As a membership association, ICLEI receives its mandate from its Member local governments and municipal organizations. ICLEI's governance is based on nine defined world regions and a three-year term of office for all bodies.

ICLEI's Origins

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability is an international association of local governments and local government organisations that have made a commitment to sustainable development.

ICLEI was conceived in 1989 when 35 local government leaders from Canada and the USA met with a leading atmospheric scientist about 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, and Jeb Brugmann conceived of an agency that could coordinate local government responses to global environmental problems.

Under the auspices of the Center for Innovative Diplomacy (CID), 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 United Nations’ (UN) Environment Programme to host the founding congress.

More than 200 local governments from 43 countries participated in the World Congress on 5–9 September 1990 at the UN 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 began in March 1991 with Toronto, Canada, selected as the location for the ICLEI World Secretariat and Freiburg, Germany, as the host for the ICLEI European Secretariat.

In 2003, ICLEI's Members voted to revise the organisation'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.