The Aalborg Charter

"To date the Charter [is] the single most successful European effort in sustainable urban development."

The ‘Aalborg Charter’ (1994) is an urban environment sustainability initiative approved by the participants at the first European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns in Aalborg, Denmark. It is inspired by the Rio Earth Summit’s Local Agenda 21 plan, and was developed to contribute to the European Union’s Environmental Action Programme, ‘Towards Sustainability’.

The Charter is based on the consensus of individuals, municipalities, NGOs, national and international organisations, and scientific bodies.

More than 3000 local authorities from more than 40 countries have signed the Charter. This has resulted in the largest European movement of its type. 

There are three related parts to the Charter. Part 1 is a consensus declaration of European sustainable cities and towns towards sustainability. Part 2 relates to the creation of the European Sustainable Cities & Towns Campaign. Part 3 is declaration of intent that local governments will seek to engage in Local Agenda 21 processes.

After 20 years, the spirit of the Aalborg Charter remains. Indeed, it prepared the ground for a variety of schemes and movements for local sustainability, such as the Aalborg Commitments, the Covenant of the Mayors, the Green Capital Award, the EU Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities and the Sustainable Cities website.

The Aalborg Charter English (PDF)

The Aalborg Charter signatories (PDF)


Decorations on the Old City Hall in Aalborg © aaron.bihari Creative Commons

Quote, ICLEI Europe, Member in the Spotlight