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Eight Brazilian Mayors Commit to Low Emission Urban Development

Mayors signed the Urban-LEDS Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), committing to Low Emission Urban Development in the presence of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and several Ministers of State.

Gathering around 500 Mayors and over 3,000 participants from across Brazil, the II Meeting of Cities with Sustainable Development, organized by the Brazilian National Front of Mayors in Brasilia, Brazil in 23-25 April 2013 witnessed the first public announcement of the Urban-LEDS project. This is a global project to promote low emission urban development strategies in emerging economies and is jointly implemented by ICLEI and UN-Habitat.

In the presence of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and several Ministers of State, mayors from the Brazilian Model Cities of Fortaleza and Recife, and the Satellite Cities of Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Sorocaba and Betim signed the MoU with Pedro Jacobi, who represented ICLEI as the international organization present at the opening ceremony (see video here).

“30% of the global GDP is produced in the 100 largest cities worldwide. 95% of urban expansion in the coming decades will take place in developing countries. The challenge of urbanization, its impacts and opportunities for technology innovation, quality of life and reduction of natural resources consumption are huge in this century and were recognized during Rio +20. Brazilian cities need to show leadership in the region and actually create 'cities of opportunities' and productive cities,” said Florence Laloe, Executive Secretary of ICLEI South America.

Spanning four emergent economy countries – Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa - the 6.7million Euro global Urban-LEDS project is rolled out over a three and a half year period until August 2015. Connecting cities and engaging them with experts, the business and finance sectors, the project aims to guide cities to formulate development strategies that would enable them to build low-emission, green and inclusive urban economies.

On 24 April 2013, Martha Delgado Peralta, First Vice President of ICLEI, former Environment Minister of Mexico City and General Director of the Global Cities Covenant on Climate Secretariat, invited mayors to sign the Global Cities Covenant on Climate, the “Mexico City Pact”. This political commitment by cities is linked to the global reporting platform, the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR). 

The Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) – WWF’s global campaign on local climate actions - was also presented. Supported by ICLEI and the cCCR, this challenge is tailor-made for cities and towns to report their emissions reduction targets, actions, achievements and commitments. The EHCC 2013/14 invites the participation of cities from additional countries. This list is to be finalized soon and updated on the EHCC website. At this stage confirmed are: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, South Korea, and the United States.  This is likely to expand to include Brazil, Colombia, Philippines, South Africa and Thailand.

On April 25, the meeting explored the issue of urban mobility, where the successful case study of Rio de Janeiro was presented in the presence of Clarisse Linke, Deputy Director for Brazil of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and Augusto Mathias, Brazilian representative of the SMART Initiative, Michigan University. In 2013, the city was a finalist of the international ‘Sustainable Transport Award’. Rio, an Urban-LEDS Satellite City, took significant steps toward improving their transit and reducing traffic as part of a comprehensive mobility plan ahead of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic games in 2016.