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UNEP / FIDIC / ICLEI Urban Environmental Management: Environmental Management Training Resources Kit



Majority of Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) have been designed to ensure sustainable management and improvement of the environmental performance of private organisations, especially business enterprises. The application of EMSs, and in particular registration with the international EMS standard of ISO, are becoming common business practices and a key component of a company's performance, competitiveness and image strategy.

Recently, local authorities have also begun to show interest in EMS and ISO 14001. The number of local authorities who have obtained ISO certification or implemented EMSs is still very small compared to the private sector. Nonetheless, the advantages of EMS as a systematic tool to achieve urban sustainability, directly and indirectly is being recognised.

Local governments behave like enterprises, but with a special character. They are, in fact, consumers and producers of goods and services (electricity, food, water, infrastructures, etc.) and their activities and policy choices have a significant impact on the local economy, the environment and human health and people's quality of life.

Behind the growing interest of local authorities for Urban Environmental Management (UEM) there are various factors:

  1. Pressure from citizens: Local authorities are facing increasing demands for better environmental quality from their citizens. Cities (and their officials and representatives) are being held accountable for their environmental performance, much like in the private sector.

  2. International and national political pressure: Local authorities are directly or indirectly in charge of the implementation of national and international agreements and laws on sustainable development

  3. Complexity of environmental challenges: End-of pipe solutions in different sectors of a city's management are no longer enough. Sustainable development requires the holistic integration of economic, social and environmental considerations in all aspects of urban management

  4. Rapid population and urban growth: Urban growth has created an increasing demand for houses, offices, shops, factories, roads and other services, leading to an improved urban quality of life.

EMS applied to local authorities provides a systematic approach to develop policies, practices and procedures that are able to respond to the social, economic and environmental challenges ahead.

The product

The UNEP / FIDIC / ICLEI Urban Environmental Management: Environmental Management Training Resource Kit offers local authorities a systematic approach to integrate environmental considerations into all aspects of their activities.

In order to accomplish their goals for implementing an EMS (based on the International recognised EMS standard - ISO 14001), efficiently, accurately and effectively, organisations need tools to assist them. In particular, experts and city managers recognise and highlight a lack of education and training tools specifically designed to enable local authorities assess the benefits, and design and implement an EMS that meets their specific needs.

The Kit is the first of a range of tools and related supporting material:

  1. to support local authorities in understanding the need for a systematic approach to environmental challenges,

  2. to adapt the EMS framework to the specific needs of a local administration and

  3. to provide the knowledge and the practical tools to implement an EMS at local level.

The Kit provides users with maximum flexibility in implementing their EMS strategies, allowing them to localize the kit and meet their specific organisational needs. The Kit is presented in a modular "train the trainer" format, which, through an EMS, provides a series of tools to integrate sustainable development (from day to day issues to international commitments such as Local Agenda 21 and the Climate Change Convention) into the various aspects and priorities of city management.

The EMS adopted by the Kit is based upon ISO 14001 requirements. For those who intend to register to this standard, the Kit will also contain information on how to proceed.

The Kit is targeted at local stakeholders and change agents such as:

  • People who disseminate the concept/practice of an EMS for local authorities

  • Trainers who implement the Kit by organising workshops

  • City managers who use it as a self-teaching tool to implement an EMS in their municipality

The Kit contains:

  • Thematic modules (water, transportation, tourism etc.) including fact sheets, case studies information material and exercises for the implementation of an environmental management system in local authorities

  • A method for training, organising workshops (distribution) and follow-up (feedback)

  • Tools for the dissemination of the concept of EMS for local authorities.

City managers and city networks have been directly involved in the Kit's design and drafting. The Kit was tested in pilot training sessions organised in different regions in spring and summer of 2001. The document was finalised in September 2001, and was formally launched during the Cities Asia Summit on 13 September 2001 in Singapore. The kit is in English, and will gradually be made available in French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Russian.

To disseminate the Kit, UNEP and its partners will build on and facilitate synergies and networking. It will therefore, activate its global network of local and national authorities, professional associations and international organisations involved in urban development and management.

To order the Kit, please visit - EarthPrint at

Annex 1

Main Partners:

For further information please contact:

To familiarize yourself with issues related to urban environmental management systems, take our free eCourse on Urban EMS!
This eCouse was designed as a precursor to the EMS Kit, and introduces the user to the background and justification for EMSs.

Urban EMS kit in Russian are available on our homepage.


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