Chairman ICLEI Urban Agendas
Former ICLEI Secretary General
Senior Advisor and Founding Director, ICLEI East Asia Secretariat
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability


Creative Director at The Urban Idea GmbH, a small creative studio based in Germany’s eco-city of Freiburg, which conceives and initiatives innovative urban projects.


Professional Career 

Since 2012 Chairman, ICLEI Urban Agendas

Since 2012 Senior Advisor and Founding Director of ICLEI’s East Asia Secretariat. In this capacity, he has built strong ties with Chinese governmental institutions and professional associations.

2002-2012 Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the world’s leading association of cities and local governments dedicated to sustainable development with a network of 12 megacities, 100 super-cities and urban region, 450 large cities as well as 450 small and medium-sized cities and towns in 86 countries.

1992-2002 ICLEI Deputy Secretary General and Regional Director for Europe.

1986-1992 Division head Environmental Planning at the City of Freiburg/Germany

1984-1986 Project Leader "Black Forest Environmental Management".

1977-1984 Head of Division Environmental Planning at the German Federal Environmental Agency in Berlin/Germany

Mr. Otto-Zimmermann holds a Masters Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning (Technical University of Hannover/Germany) and a Master in Public Administration (University for Public Administration, Speyer/Germany).


Member of the International Advisory Council, Eco-Forum Global, China

Alumni of The Prince of Wales' Business & Environment Programme

Member of the German Association of Town and Regional Planners

Member of the Global Agenda Council on Urbanization of the World Economic Forum (2010-2014)

Engagement, Ideas, Initiatives

During his university studies, Mr. Otto-Zimmermann was a leader of local-, state- and federal-level environmental NGOs in Germany.

He created the brand “Ökologisches Bauen” (ecological building) in Germany 1982; the concept of Environmental Budgeting (ecoBudget) 1986; the concept and brand of “Umweltverbund” 1986 and EcoMobility 2007. He initiated the Sustainable Procurement Program of ICLEI (1996), the Resilient Cities Initiative 2002, the Local Renewables Model Communities Program at ICLEI 2004, and the Global Alliance for EcoMobility 2007.

Mr. Otto-Zimmermann initiated and led the series of international congresses “EcoProcura” (since 1998), “ICLEI World Congress” (since 2000), “Resilient Cities global forum on urban resilience and cities’ adaptation to climate change” (since 2010), and “EcoMobility World Congress” (since 2011).

Mr. Otto-Zimmermann is the Initiator and Creative Director of the EcoMobility World Festivals. The first such festival took place in Suwon (South Korea) in September 2013. The second festival was held in Johannesburg (South Africa) in October 2015.

He authored, edited, or co-edited about 20 books and numerous articles on sustainable cities, urban environmental planning and management, Local Agenda 21, non-motorized urban transport, eco-procurement and urban resilience.