6 September 2012 – Choices made today on building design, waste management, transportation, water, energy and food systems will all affect the kinds of cities we have in the future. Recognizing this, four international organizations have launched an online knowledge centre in an effort to ensure the cities of the future are better for the people who live in them and for the planet.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Cities Alliance, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the World Bank have produced the Knowledge Centre on Cities and Climate Change (K4C), an online repository of information on climate change that advocates informed decision-making in local governance. The K4C was launched at the 6th World Urban Forum in Naples Italy.

“Cities are now home to more than half of the global population and the urban environment represents an inordinate opportunity for scaling up and accelerating a transition to a low-carbon, resource- efficient Green Economy. Many of the solutions have already been tried and tested by cities the K4C initiative can assist in ensuring that the best of these can be shared between city leaders and other key players in order to realize the outcomes of Rio+20 and fast forward the Future We Want and indeed need.” says Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP and Under Secretary General of the UN.

So in a world that’s increasingly saturated by various portals and databases what makes the K4C stand out?

First, the K4C takes pride in being user-friendly. Navigating through the site is literally as easy as 1-2-3.

  • K4C has an Online Library that provides access to a broad range of documents published on this thematic area.
  • It has an Interactive World Map, which gives users the chance to find out what initiatives and projects have been promoted to improve climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in the world’s cities.

K4C offers an overview of expert institutions that are committed to supporting city activities. It is also possible for users to upload relevant documents and information on actions taken at the city level.

Another advantage of the K4C is the support of the four institutions and the professional assessments that went into the content of this website. UNEP, Cities Alliance, UN-Habitat and World Bank worked together to produce an excellent database in an effort to consolidate information on the issue. The material on this website is deemed important by all the institutions, thus the chances of a researcher getting relevant information is higher than a random search on a generic web browser.
Last but not least, the K4C recognizes the need to evolve and cooperate with other stakeholders. It allows city leaders and other city experts to submit documents, share initiatives, and provide advice. “Co-operation is the very essence of the K4C,” says William Cobbett of Cities Alliance. “Improving ways to share practical information for urban practitioners on climate change is fundamental. We have to work together to improve our efforts.”

Cities Alliance, UNEP, UN-Habitat, and World Bank invite you to share your inputs with the K4C. To learn more about it or contribute to its content, visit www.citiesandclimatechange.org.

Notes to Editors

UNEP

Created in 1972, UNEP represents the United Nations’ environmental conscience. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, its mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics – based in Paris – helps governments, local authorities and decision-makers in business and industry to develop and implement policies and practices focusing on sustainable development. The Division leads UNEP’s work in the areas of climate change, resource efficiency, harmful substances and hazardous waste.

UN-HABITAT

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. Its Cities in Climate Change Initiative seeks to enhance climate change mitigation and climate change preparedness of cities in developing and least-developed countries. Building on UN-HABITAT’s long experience in sustainable urban development, the Cities in Climate Change Initiative seeks to provide support for the development and implementation of pro-poor and innovative climate change policies and strategies, and to develop tools for enhancing capacities of local governments.

World Bank

The World Bank is a source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Its mission is to help people help themselves and their environment by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors. The World Bank’s Urban & Local Government Strategy aims to be a key element in helping civic leaders and national authorities think through, and implement, policies and programs for the benefit of their people, their cities, and their countries. The Strategy will help governments at all levels make cities more equitable, efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.

Cities Alliance

The Cities Alliance is a global partnership for urban poverty reduction and the promotion of the role of cities in sustainable development. It aims at supporting cities, local and national governments, and their partners in seizing the gains of urbanization and taking advantage of its economic opportunities, for the benefit of their citizens, particularly the urban poor.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Nick Nuttall, Acting Director, Communications, UNEP , Nairobi + 254-20-762 3084 or +41 795 965 737, nick.nuttall@unep.org

Sharad Shankardass, UN-HABITAT Spokesperson, Nairobi,  +254 20 762 3153/3151, Mobile: +254 (0) 733 760 332, habitat.press@unhabitat.org

Roger Morier, World Bank (+1 202) 473 5675, rmorier@worldbank.org

Susanna Henderson, Cities Alliance, +1(202) 458 7269 or shendersoni@citiesalliance.org