Sustainable Cities and Eco-Energy Towns (CSET)



The initiative’s goal is overall improvement of energy efficiency and sustainability in cities and towns as well as rural areas for ensuring a secure and sustainable energy future, through effective benchmarking, knowledge transfer, creating and sharing of best practices, and implementing targeted campaigns.


sustainable cities and eco energy towns

This initiative graduated from the Clean Energy Ministerial in 2021.

Cities are responsible for much of the world’s economic output, energy consumption, and carbon emissions. In addition, many towns across the world face the challenge of availability of reliable and affordable energy. The challenge of transforming towns and cities into greener, sustainable, highly efficient areas requires global action focused on energy efficiency and energy system integration.

The Sustainable Cities and Eco-energy town initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial aims to advance effective collaboration and accelerate implementation of policies on a national and local level. Through its work, the initiative facilitates sharing of best practices and learnings between cities and also addresses important energy issues in small and remote communities.

The initiative targets closer working and reaping synergies from the national and local collaboration to improve standards of living in urban areas and a secure energy future in rural areas.

Joint action and promotion of best practices can save 700 million tons of oil equivalent by 2025.

Key activities

The Sustainable Cities and Eco-energy Towns initiative fosters collaboration and knowledge transfer to strengthen the current links and activities in the participating countries and expedite the transition to cleaner and sustainable cities, towns, and rural areas. Through its activities, the initiative aims to:

  • Develop benchmarking and an international database that will include best practices related to the issue of sustainable development of cities from all over the world; conduct a joint study with other international organizations.
  • Engage with key stakeholders through workshops and international meetings (for example, the ‘Second International meeting of Mayors dedicated to energy efficiency and sustainable development of the cities’ and ‘the 1st Eco-energy Town Workshop,’ and so on).
  • Increase awareness of sustainable cities development and the Eco-Energy Town model among other CEM member and non-member countries.


Recent activities and deliverables since the launch of the initiative in 2017

Analysis, recommendations and best practices: 

  • Conducting outreach about the successful cases of Ecoenergy Town approach, focusing on district energy using waste-to-energy technology in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programmes (UNEP), identifying policy recommendations to scale up the Ecoenergy Town approach for improving energy access problem in rural areas. 
  • Developed a benchmarking analysis of the best practices of implementation of higher standards in cities.
  • Korea has shared Eco-energy Town model and experiences with Mongolia and Ethiopia by implementing Eco-energy project in these two countries since 2017.

Engagement with the stakeholders: 

  • Organised the 1st Eco-energy Town Workshop (May 2017, Seoul Korea), experts from CEM Member countries shared best practices of Eco-energy Town in each country, identified challenges that national and local governments face in improving sustainable energy access for rural areas, and discussed the way to overcome challenges, focusing on promoting Eco-energy Town model.
  • Organised the second International Summit of Mayors (October 2017, Moscow, Russia) dedicated to issues of the energy efficiency and sustainable development of the cities.

Policy opportunities

  • Encouraging other CEM Member countries and partners to join Sustainable Cities and Eco-energy Town initiative.
  • Holding a high-level side event on May 24, 2018, in Copenhagen at the CEM9.
  • Holding the working group meeting for shaping up the
  • Initiative and developing the work plan.
  • Hosting the third Summit of Mayors on energy efficiency and sustainable development of the cities
  • Working with Indonesia to conduct a joint study on a potential for expanding the Eco-energy Town Model
  • in Southeast Asia.
  • Establishing strong links with organisations like C40, Covenant of Mayors, ICLEI, and others.