urban sustainability assessments

CEP to deliver a new EEA project on urban sustainability assessments

CEP has been awarded a new project to assist the EEA in preparing the 2020 Report on Environmental Sustainability in Cities in Europe

Following on from two previous contracts on urban sustainability assessments delivered for the European Environment Agency (EEA), a CEP-led team will be undertaking a new contract to support preparation of the 2020 report on environmental sustainability in cities (ESIC).  CEP will be working in partnership with LSE Cities, and will be supported by experts from the University of Utrecht and cChange.

This new project has been awarded under the CEP-led framework service contract for the EEA which provides assistance on forward-looking analysis, sustainability assessments and systemic transitions.

The project will focus on two key aspects: firstly, delivering key urban sustainability assessments, including nexus analysis, following the conceptual and analytical frameworks previously developed by CEP; and secondly, understanding the sustainability innovations that have allowed some European cities to address complex environmental challenges while simultaneously thriving economically and strengthening their social fabric.  These will provide inputs to the preparation of the draft ECIS 2020 report.

For more information please contact CEP’s Ric Eales (Managing Director) or Rolands Sadauskis (Senior Consultant) for more information.

CEP supporting EEA urban sustainability assessment


For the first time, the European Environment Agency (EEA) will be explicitly addressing urban sustainability in the European Environment State and Outlook Report for 2020 (SOER2020). As part of CEP's current framework contract with the EEA on forward-looking analysis, sustainability assessments and systemic transitions, CEP in partnership with LSE Cities, PBL and cChange is currently undertaking a contract on urban sustainability to support this aspect of SOER2020. Specifically, the project is building on the knowledge base and other deliverables from a previous contract undertaken by CEP and will deliver an analytical framework and selected nexus analysis for urban sustainability assessments 2019-2020. Another important aim of this project is to develop the approach to an urban sustainability meta-benchmarking exercise.

On 15th and 16th  November, CEP's Ric Eales and Rolands Sadauskis together with Dr. Philipp Rode from LSE Cities will be facilitating a one and a half day meeting with EEA stakeholders in Copenhagen to seek their input to the ongoing work.

As part of this meeting, Ric and Rolands will present the revised conceptual framework and introduce participants to an analytical framework designed to support the assessment of urban environmental sustainability. They will also facilitate a session on discussing an approach to urban sustainability nexus analysis. Dr Philipp Rode will facilitate a session in which stakeholders will discuss a possible approach to a meta-analysis exercise based on criteria used for awarding a wide range of international urban sustainability awards - what makes a city ‘sustainable’?

Please contact Rolands Sadauskis (Senior Consultant) for more information.

Why are Cities Good for Sustainability?

Why are Cities Good for Sustainability?

Blog post by Rolands Sadauskis

Is this the new “age of the City”? Millions of people are moving to cities every week[1] and the growing numbers of megacities (with populations of over 10 million) have the capacity to rival nation states in power and influence.  The importance of the city to achieve sustainability outcomes is increasing by the day.  


In the urban curriculum cities are viewed as a double edged sword. They epitomise the social, economic and technological achievements of modern day societies. For policy makers, having people in a concentrated space can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of policy implementation, whereas urban citizens enjoy the benefits of more accessible education, health and work opportunities than their rural counterparts. However, there is a down side – cities generate the majority of the global carbon emissions[2] and consume the majority of energy resources[3]. Pollution and mobility challenges, social inequality, inadequate housing, and exposure to climate change impacts (e.g. floods, sea level rise, tropical cyclones etc.) are among many pressing issues that urban populations are facing globally.

Urban governance is a critical part of any urban sustainability solution that seeks to address these challenges. Urban policies are highly interdependent on each other. In this context, it is crucial to identify suitable governance arrangements to take these interdependencies and possible trade-offs into account. Further, cities are also profoundly connected to their suburban and rural hinterland and so their policies and activities can have a wide-ranging impact, especially on resource demand (consumption) and waste management.


In recent decades, numerous cities have actively taken the path towards sustainability and increasingly are acknowledging the efforts required to achieve their ambition by being part of international organisations committed to sustainable development (e.g. c40, ICLEI etc[4].). These cities have been implementing international standards and often applying and moving beyond existing national standards. A good example is the international response to climate change where cities are actively taking the lead in climate action and inspire deeper commitments from national governments and each other, in support of the 2015 Paris Agreement. More recently a new initiative is bringing together mayors from global cities to develop a collective message and engage in a G20 dialogue process with an urban perspective on key sustainability issues. The inaugural Urban 20 Mayors Summit (October 2018) will be the first ever international summit for cities with such a focus on global sustainability issues.

There are numerous benefits from cities taking the required actions and embracing sustainability. A global effort by cities would likely contribute significantly towards the achievement of various global agendas including the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris climate agreement. It would also bring many social, economic and environmental benefits both in cities and their hinterland. 


Achieving sustainability outcomes (such as highlighted in UN SDGs) requires a collective effort from all levels of policy making. In these efforts cities must and can be part of sustainable solutions on pressing global issues. Existing global trends in their increasing political influence and willingness to take the initiative in addressing the pressing needs of their citizens strongly suggest that cities provide a good platform for enhancing sustainability. Consequently, one should not question the importance of cities in achieving sustainability outcomes, but rather ask - do cities get the power they need to bring about the change required to address them?

by Rolands Sadauskis, Senior Consultant, CEP, 26 October 2018

[1] https://graylinegroup.com/urbanization-catalyst-overview/

[2] https://www.c40.org/why_cities

[3] https://unhabitat.org/urban-themes/energy/

[4] C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change, https://www.c40.org/; ICLEI is the leading global network of 1,500+ cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future, https://www.iclei.org/. 

CEP-led Consortium delivers first set of European Environment Agency contracts


CEP is pleased to announce the successful completion of the first seven contracts awarded under the CEP-led framework service contract for the European Environment Agency (EEA) which provides assistance to the consolidation and update of the knowledge base on global megatrends and resource nexus in support of SOER 2020 (the European Environment State and Outlook Report).

Awarded in May 2017, CEP has overseen the preparation and delivery of seven projects awarded under the framework contract to date.  The seven projects have had the overarching objective of supporting the framing and content of SOER 2020 by consolidating the evidence and knowledge base across a range of topics as well as providing new analysis to assist in the framing of the content of SOER 2020.  Examples of stock-taking and updating of EEA’s knowledge base include in relation to outlooks across multiple environmental themes (second specific contract), planetary boundaries (third specific contract), global megatrends and the resource nexus (fourth specific contract), and an assessment of the knowledge base on society’s dependence on natural capital (fifth specific contract).  The development of new assessment frameworks included the development of an integrated approach to support urban sustainability assessments (first specific contract) and research into the implications of sustainability transitions research for policy and governance (sixth specific contract).  The seventh specific contract provided a review of different perspectives on quality of evidence to inform EEA's future research.

All the projects were completed between September 2017 and March 2018 and have helped EEA by exploring what is, and is not, possible in terms of SOER 2020, which is intended to diverge from previous European environmental reporting by exploring environmental issues from a systems perspective and proposing a transitions governance approach to addressing Europe’s environmental challenges.

CEP led the delivery of four of the seven projects delivered so far, including overall project management, technical lead on research tasks, and preparing reporting to summarise findings to provide maximum support to the EEA in relation to SOER 2020.  CEP’s work on these projects has involved collaboration with a diverse range of partners including universities and research institutions, consultancies, national environmental agencies and European networks of experts (such as the Eionet network of foresight experts).

For more information please contact CEP’s Owen White, the overall Framework Contract Manager, or Dr Bill Sheate, the Framework Contract Director.