UN-Habitat and European Commission sign major agreement on lower-emission city growth; ICLEI as main implementing partner

Nairobi, 9 March 2012: UN-Habitat and the European Commission (EC) have signed an agreement to begin a new project that encourages cities to lower their emissions as they grow. International local government member association, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, will serve as the main implementing partner

The project entitled ‘Promoting Low Emission Urban Development Strategies in Emerging Economy Countries’ (URBAN-LEDS) responds to the European Commission’s priority objective of climate change mitigation. It recognises the fact that cities emit a large proportion of the world’s greenhouse gases and can take decisive steps to reduce emissions as they expand. This EUR 6.7 million project will run from 1 March 2012 to 31 August 2015.

Upon signing the agreement with the EC, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr. Joan Clos, remarked: "The post-World War II trends for urban growth are simply not sustainable. The city of the 21st century must be equitable, environmentally sustainable and prosperous. Through urban low-emissions development strategies that promote improved urban planning, mobility, energy, water and solid waste management, this project will allow us to promote more sustainable patterns for urban development. It will also offer a platform for cities to share their experiences and lessons with other cities around the world, and advocate for policies that better address climate change in urban areas."

This global initiative will work primarily in four emerging economy countries: Brazil, South Africa, India and Indonesia. In each of those countries, the project will help model cities to formulate and adopt Urban Low-Emissions Development Strategies, and then share those experiences within their countries and beyond.

At the same time URBAN-LEDS will facilitate a broader interaction between local authorities and global climate actors, to ensure that local governments are appropriately integrated into the global climate mitigation regime. The project will help to ensure that the promotion, recognition, recording, verification and integration of actions taken by cities to reduce emissions are enhanced.

"In the next four decades, our urban population will double. The way we design and build our cities now will define the future success of our commitments to prevent global warming reaching to dangerous levels. We need to demonstrate that shifting urban development to a low emission path can offer both a better urban livelihood to billions of people and yield immediate, direct, cost–effective and scalable greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Through its vast experience and capacity on stimulating local climate action worldwide, ICLEI is glad to contribute and support this historical partnership," said Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, Secretary-General of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability.

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