Friday, 30 October 2015

Driving resource-efficient cities through the power of standardized data - New partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) & the World Council on City Data (WCCD)

October 30th, 2015 
New York - 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Council on City Data (WCCD) have signed a new partnership agreement to demonstrate the importance of standardized urban metrics to drive sustainability and resource efficiency in cities.


Arab Hoballah, Chief of the Sustainable Lifestyles, Cities and Industry Branch at UNEP and
 Patricia McCarney, WCCD President & CEO


The UNEP-WCCD partnership agreement, which aims to support informed policy-making, was signed today at the Global Forum for Human Settlements in New York by Arab Hoballah, Chief of the Sustainable Lifestyles, Cities and Industry Branch at UNEP, and Patricia McCarney, WCCD President and CEO.

Within the framework of UNEP-led the Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities, UNEP and the WCCD will work together with cities to pilot a resource efficiency toolkit, while also achieving WCCD IS0 37120 certification. ISO 37120, the first international standard for sustainable city indicators, defines a comprehensive set of 100 indicators that enables any city, of any size, to measure and compare its social, economic, and environmental performance in relation to other cities from around the world.

This pilot group includes, among other cities from around the world, Brussels and Johannesburg together with other cities globally. Johannesburg was one of the first WCCD 20 Foundation Cities to achieve ISO 37120 certification.

Dr. McCarney said: “This new partnership will further the shared goals of UNEP and the WCCD to help cities around the world to become more sustainable, resource efficient and prosperous through high-caliber city-level data.  UNEP and the GI-REC initiative is playing a leading role in addressing the complex challenge of resource efficiency in cities. It is highly appropriate the GI-REC toolkit uses the ISO 37120 city data standard as the core of its measurement framework.”

Mr. Hoballah said: “As the world seeks a global climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris in December, we are seeing that city action on climate change and sustainability is critical. Our partnership with the WCCD will demonstrate the value of the GI-REC and WCCD ISO 37120 certification to build city data, as an essential tool to drive policy making, planning and investment for resource efficient cities globally.”

Mr. Etienne Aulotte from Brussels Region said: “'The Brussels region sees great potential in developing a holistic approach to a circular economy through the UNEP/WCCD partnership. Working together with both institutions under the overall framework of the Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities, Brussels will use standardised data to promote resource efficiency at city and regional levels.'' 

With more than half of the world population currently living in urban areas, and three billion more city dwellers by 2050, urgent action is required to establish more sustainable and resource-efficient models of urban development.

In this context, detailed and up-to-date information and data on urban processes is essential: they help policy-makers to assess the impacts of policies and infrastructure investments, and can lead to better decisions and more effective actions. They contribute to support decision-making with physical and social science knowledge, allowing for comparisons across municipalities and regions. They can deliver early-warning signals to prevent or reduce the impacts of environmental, economic, and social shocks. Well-organized open urban data communicates ideas, thoughts and values, and is important in holding governments and communities accountable to their targets and goals.

For further enquiries, please contact:

James Patava
+14169662368

“The World Council on City Data: Created by Cities, for Cities”
Twitter: @WCCityData

UNEP Cities and Lifestyles Unit

 Notes to editors:
WCCD - Established in 2014, the WCCD is globally operationalising ISO 37120 – the first international standard for indicators on city services and quality of life. With 100 indicators, around 17 themes supporting city services and quality of life, ISO 37120 is supported by the WCCD Open City Data Portal which allows for cutting-edge visualisations and comparisons.

The World Council on City Data Foundation Cities include: Boston, Toronto, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Guadalajara, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Helsinki, London, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Minna (Nigeria), Johannesburg, Amman, Makkah (Mecca), Dubai, Haiphong (Vietnam), Makati (Philippines), Shanghai, and Melbourne.




UNEP - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the voice for the environment in the United Nations system. Through its range of work areas, including, for example, climate change, resource efficiency, and chemicals and waste, UNEP assists countries in implementing environmentally sound practices that promote sustainable development. Recognizing the growing need to address global environmental concerns from an urban perspective, UNEP works with national and local governments on urban environmental issues, supporting the integration of the environment into cities’ long-term strategic planning, and the implementation of policies that encourage sustainable, resilient and resource-efficient cities.


GI-REC - The Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities (GI-REC) is a UNEP-led initiative launched in June 2012 at the Rio+20 Summit. The initiative currently works with different stakeholders to promote energy efficient buildings, efficient water use, sustainable waste management and other activities. UNEP and its partners aim to assist cities in combining greater productivity and innovation with lower costs and reduced environmental impacts.

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