WWF calls on cities to chart blueprint for a sustainable future for all

Posted on 15 April 2021

  • Tenth anniversary of global One Planet City Challenge invites cities to demonstrate ambition and action on climate and sustainability
  • Over 100 cities estimated to have set ambitious goals in line with the Paris Agreement
Gland, 15 April 2021 – WWF invites cities around the globe to join the One Planet City Challenge (OPCC) 2021-22 as registration for the largest and longest-running city sustainability challenge opens today. The year 2021, a critical year for global discussions and action on climate, nature and sustainable development, marks the 10th Anniversary of WWF’s challenge to local governments to take the lead on climate action in line with the Paris Agreement. 
 
Since 2011, the OPCC has been highlighting leading examples of climate mitigation and adaptation by encouraging cities to develop ambitious climate targets and commitments in line with the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement. Cities participating in the biennial competition are required to publicly report on the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System, and then evaluated through the OPCC Assessment Framework for 1.5 °C alignment – a method recognized by the Science-Based Target Network (SBTN) methodology. 
 
A recent WWF analysis of 812 cities that reported via the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System, showed that 13%, representing an estimated 114 million people, had emissions reduction targets compatible with a 1.5 °C trajectory. A number that rapidly needs scaling up if we are to achieve the level of ambition set forth by the Paris Agreement that 191 parties around the world have joined.
 
“We are at a tipping point with the global climate and nature crises already having a destabilizing effect on our planet and society, often impacting the most vulnerable among us,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. “With 55 % of the global population now living in cities, and accounting for over 70 % of global CO2 emissions as well as a large proportion of our impact on nature, it’s clear that cities and local governments hold the key to establishing a blueprint for a sustainable future for all. Long recognized for their energy and dynamism, cities must be at the forefront of our collective ambition and innovation to change course and secure a nature-positive, carbon neutral world for future generations.”
 
“We commend the steps being taken by some cities to reduce harmful emissions while improving their citizens’ health and quality of life. But more needs to be done”, Lambertini added.  “In this pivotal year, the UNFCCC has set a goal for 1,000 cities to have set such goals by the close of 2021 and with the One Planet City Challenge, we hope to urge cities around the world to step up to the unprecedented climate challenge we face as a global community. By acting together, we can create a healthier, fairer and more sustainable world for all."
 
Nearly 600 cities from 53 countries have participated in the OPCC since its inception in 2011. Cities everywhere are invited to join the OPCC regardless of size or geographic location. Vancouver, Canada; Cape Town, South Africa; Seoul, South Korea; Paris, France; Uppsala, Sweden and Mexico City, Mexico have all been recognized and rewarded as global winners due to outstanding performance in previous OPCC rounds.
  
Will your city join their ranks and be selected as the next global winner? For information on how you can join, please contact your local WWF office or write to us at opcc@wwf.se. All participating cities will receive a review of their targets and action packages. 
 
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For more information, please contact: 
Barbara Evaeus, Global Communications Manager, One Planet City Challenge, WWF 
Tel: +46 703939030, Email: barbara.evaeus@wwf.se
 
Notes to editor:
 
About One Planet City Challenge 
The One Planet City Challenge is an initiative designed by WWF to mobilize action and support from local governments in the global transition toward the creation of One Planet Cities – cities that enable all people to thrive and prosper while respecting the ecological limits of our one and only planet.  It aims to stimulate the development and dissemination of best practices for ambitious climate mitigation and adaptation. With our methodology we assess whether participating cities’ targets and ambitions are science-based.  
 
Cities Race to Zero 
The One Planet City Challenge is also a partner of the UN’s Cities Race to Zero Initiative that aims to create an unprecedented coalition of cities committed to setting science-based targets and to start implementing inclusive and resilient climate action in the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow, and beyond. The joint goal of the partners is to recruit 1,000 cities.  
 
About WWF 
WWF is an independent conservation organization, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active through local leadership in nearly 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit www.panda.org/news for the latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media  
Various estimates link cities to 70-80 per cent of current carbon emissions, with no end in site to the trend for ever greater proportions of the world’s people to live in urban areas.
Various estimates link cities to 70-80 per cent of current carbon emissions, with no end in site to the trend for ever greater proportions of the world’s people to live in urban areas.
© Paul Forster / WWF