UNFCCC / ICLEI: In Year of Climate Ambition, Cape Town Blazes a Trail for Urban Action

Three prominent personalities in the field of climate action congratulated Cape Town for winning this year’s Earth Hour City Challenge.

The Earth Hour City Challenge is a year-long competition to promote renewable energy and prepare for climate change. It is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Cape Town received this year’s award at a special ceremony in Vancouver on Thursday night. Chicago, Copenhagen, Seoul and Stockholm were also recognized by the jury for their achievements.

In a joint statement, Gino Van Begin, Secretary-General of the global cities network ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: „Cape Town is a worthy winner of the Earth Hour Capital 2014 prize and is especially notable for being the first city from the south to receive this prestigious award. This achievement clearly demonstrates the important contribution emerging economies can make in the fight against climate change.

2014 is a critical year for climate action, as nations work towards reaching a new global climate agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2015. The leadership of cities like Cape Town will play a pivotal role in helping us reach a meaningful agreement by encouraging national governments to create more ambitious plans for reducing emissions. The city and its leaders deserve congratulation for their great work.“ UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and ICLEI head Gino Van Begin served as panel members on the jury that selected Cape Town as the winner. Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg is coordinating global efforts of the world’s cities to combat climate change at the request of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Cities, along with governments and business will play a major role at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in New York in September. In June, nations will gather at the UNFCCC Secretariat under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). A central theme of the negotiating group, supported by expert meetings, will be to look at how smart policies in the areas of urbanization and land use can further their collective ambition in the run up to 2020 when the new agreement is set to commence.

Read the release on the UNFCCC website

Photo: ©City of Cape Town

Source: UNFCCC press release from 28.03.2014