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WWF South Africa and ICLEI Africa are pleased to announce the selection of both the cities of Tshwane and Cape Town as South African finalists for the global Earth Hour City Challenge 2015-2016 edition.
The Earth Hour City Challenge is a year-long competition that celebrates the initiative that cities take in the global movement to create more sustainable, resilient cities. Participating entities from around the world are recognised for their efforts in promoting renewable energy and preparing for climate change to secure service delivery of basic needs.
Having considered the alignment of each participating city’s commitment, performance, and action, the cities of Tshwane and Cape Town emerged as this year’s contenders. As such they will proceed with finalists from other cities to the next stage of evaluation by an international jury and the city with the highest score will be awarded the title Global Earth Hour Capital in April 2016.
Tshwane has developed several green initiatives, which are taking the city closer to its goal of becoming the leading green capital in Africa. One of these is its Green Building Development By-law which is being promoted through its Green Outreach program. Another is Sustainability Week, where the city promotes initiatives including sustainable mass transport systems, a non-motorized transport network, and a landfill waste and recycling facility.
Mr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Executive Mayor of Tshwane, points out that “climate change does not only affect the environment. It has become the new normal and must be infused in everything we do today to make sure we build a better future”.
Cape Town is intent on bringing about environmental and socio-economic resilience. The city has come up with numerous multi-faceted strategies such as the Low Carbon Central City Strategy, Energy2040 Plan and Electricity Savings Campaign, among others, and has even set up a designated Energy and Climate Change Committee. The city has an innovative plan for increasing energy efficiency in its community by offering affordable and accessible solutions to low-income households.
Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town, the Honorouble Ms de Lille says “The City of Cape Town is absolutely committed to reducing carbon emissions and facilitating a more resilient future. We take climate change extremely seriously and...we won't stop here. We know we have a lot more work to do and we remain inspired to continue moving forward.”
The cities' efforts to reduce emissions and become climate resilient are captured in carbonn Climate Registry (www.carbonn.org), which is the official reporting platform for the competition, and also feeds into the United Nations NAZCA database. A video demonstrating both cities’ action and vision in the transition towards sustainable urban development will also be released and made available on http://www.wwf.org.za/what_we_do/ehcc/.
“The fact that two South African cities have been shortlisted is a fantastic achievement. This means that our cities are in a league with some of the world’s best when it comes to taking climate action while addressing developmental needs specific to our context,” says Louise Scholtz, Manager: Special Projects at WWF South Africa.
"We are proud of the City of Cape Town and City of Tshwane for their sustained momentum in demonstrating city action towards sustainability. Reporting their climate actions through the carbonn platform promotes transparency, while inspiring innovation and learning exchange between cities. Thus we welcome local governments to take this opportunity to showcase their great initiative and collaborate with partners such as ICLEI in driving it forward," says Kobie Brand, Regional Director, ICLEI-Africa.