Mayors to meet over greening cities

A Brazilian mayor whose city has been called the 'cleanest in the world', a mayor from England where a fee to ease traffic congestion is being successfully pioneered, and a mayor from China who is grappling with one of the world's fastest growing urban areas “ they all will be converging on San Francisco on 1 - 5 June for World Environment Day (WED).

They plan to exchange ideas and sign a set of ground-breaking environmental actions for cities.

These actions, collectively referred to as the Urban Environmental Accords - Green Cities Declaration, cover seven environmental categories that cities can address to enable sustainable urban living and improve the quality of life for urban dwellers: energy, waste reduction, urban design, urban nature, transportation, environmental health, and water.

They reflect this year's World Environment Day theme "Green Cities - Plan for the Planet!".

The Accords lay out 21 practical actions cities can take to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, or the health of the planet.

Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said: " It is up to cities in the developed world to set an example in areas such as the efficient use of energy and water.

And it is incumbent upon them to partner developing world cities so they do not take a short-term 'dirty' development path, but a long-term sustainable one."

"If this can be done, we can help realize the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and in doing so rid the world of poverty - the most toxic element of all".

Just over half of the world's people now live in cities. Urban populations consume 75 per cent of the world's natural resources and produce 75 per cent of its waste.

"The Urban Environmental Accords represent an innovative response to the fact that we now live on an urban planet," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the host of the celebrations.

"We need to develop real solutions to urban environmental challenges," he added.

UNEP's World Environment Day celebrations have been hosted by a different city since 1987.

This is the first time the event takes place in the United States and it is most fitting that San Francisco - the birth place of the United Nations 60 years ago - should be this year's venue.

"Municipal governments have the power to shape the future of the world's environment," said Jared Blumenfeld, director of San Francisco's Environment Department.

"With the majority of the earth's population living in cities, decisions made at World Environment Day will have far-reaching effect." In addition to the signing of the Urban Environmental Accords on 5 June, the official celebrations also include a walk entitled "Peace and the Environment at Muir Woods - the UN at 60".

Furthermore, over 200 community activities are planned around WED in the Bay Area. They range from special organic menu selections at local restaurants to a display of artwork made from recycled material.

There will be a Green Cities Expo with booths and exhibits at Fort Mason during June 3 -5, where this year's winners of the UNEP photo competition "Focus on Your World" will also be on display.

The draft text of the Accords can be viewed on the World Environment Day website,, as well as at

No comments:

google pagerank checker by