Nairobi, 20 October 2017 – The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), are expanding their work on low emission planning to a further four countries.

A second phase of the flagship project, "Accelerating climate action through the promotion of Urban Low Emission Development Strategies", or "Urban-LEDS II" for short, will run from 2017 - 2021. The project is funded by the European Union.

The project recognizes that human activities in cities contribute a significant and growing proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions, driving the demand for energy and other services in urban areas with rapid population growth. Meeting the ambitious goals of the Paris Climate Agreement will require a fundamental transformation of how urban infrastructures and services, such as transport, energy, water, waste and urban space, are planned, delivered and maintained. It will also require effective monitoring, reporting and tracking of performance. Urban-LEDS II aims to contribute to this vital component of international climate action, with a focus on local needs and the role of all levels of government to enable action.

During 2012 - 2015 under the Urban-LEDS I project, ICLEI and UN-Habitat guided and supported eight model cities in Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa to develop comprehensive Urban Low Emission Development Strategies (Urban LEDS) and action plans using ICLEI's GreenClimateCities process methodology. These strategies were integrated into city development planning with the use of new policies and laws. Local pilot projects on the use of sustainable energy – energy efficiency and renewable energy – were successfully implemented. The project contributed to developing a new Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) process for local climate action, strengthened sub-national capacity and action on climate change, and opened new dialogues on vertical integration (multi-level governance) with countries active in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

This exciting new Phase includes the addition of a new emerging economy, Colombia, and the expansion of the project to three new Least Developed Countries (LDCs): Bangladesh, Lao PDR, and Rwanda. While the core objective remains to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the development of eight brand new city-level Urban Low Emission Development Strategies, a strengthened focus on adaptation and climate resilience will ensure a comprehensive climate and development approach.

Continuities and innovations in Urban-LEDS II will include:

  • The development and approval of Urban LEDS and action plans in eight new model cities in Colombia, Bangladesh, Lao PDR and Rwanda which deliver emissions reductions and adaptation co-benefits.
  • The development of a network of learning cities in the four new countries, engaged through staff training, peer-to-peer exchange and other capacity development opportunities.
  • Support to eight Phase I model cities in Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa to consolidate their achievements and develop prioritized pilot projects and finance models for implementation.
  • The achievement of enhanced vertical and national integration of climate action in support of national and local strategies and policies under framework of the Paris Agreement.
  • The promotion of international, regional and national state and city cooperation on urban climate action, also promoting the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy as a key global initiative for local governments around the globe.

UN-Habitat and ICLEI encourage interested global and regional partners to get in contact to explore opportunities to partner with and strengthen the Urban-LEDS project over the next four years.