UN Urban Environmental Accords

The United Nations Urban Environmental Accords are a series of implementable goals that can be adopted at the city level to achieve urban sustainability, promote healthy economies, advance social equity and protect the world’s ecosystems. By achieving success at the city level, the multilateral city commitments of the Urban Environmental Accords can inspire and mobilize expanded commitment at the national level. The Urban Environmental Accords build on and continue the legacy of the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the 1996 Istanbul Conference on Human Settlements, the 2000 Millennium Development Goals and the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Urban Environmental Accords

Recognizing that for the first time in history, the majority of the planet’s population now lives in cities and that continued urbanization will result in one million people moving to cities each week, thus creating a new set of environmental challenges and opportunities; and

Believing that as Mayors of cities around the globe, we have a unique opportunity to provide leadership to develop truly sustainable urban centers based on culturally and economically appropriate local actions; and

Recalling that in 1945 the leaders of 50 nations gathered in San Francisco to develop and sign the Charter of the United Nations; and 

Acknowledging the importance of the obligations and spirit of the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the 1992 Rio Earth Summit (UNCED), the 1996 Istanbul Conference on Human Settlements, the 2000 Millennium Development Goals, and the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, we see The Urban Environmental Accords described below as a synergistic extension of the efforts to advance sustainability, foster vibrant economies, promote social equity, and protect the planet’s natural systems.

Therefore, be it resolved, today on World Environment Day 2005 in San Francisco, we the signatory Mayors have come together to write a new chapter in the history of global cooperation. We commit to promote this collaborative platform and build an ecologically sustainable, economically dynamic, and socially equitable future for our urban citizens; and

Be it further resolved that we call to action our fellow Mayors around the world to sign the Urban Environmental Accords and collaborate with us to implement these actions; and

Be it further resolved that by signing these Urban Environmental Accords, we commit to encourage our City governments to adopt these Accords and commit our best efforts to achieve the Actions stated within.  By implementing the Urban Environmental Accords, we aim to realize the right to a clean, healthy, and safe environment for all members of our society.

Implementation & Recognition

The following 21 actions that comprise the Urban Environmental Accords are organized by urban themes. They are proven first steps toward environmental sustainability.  However, to achieve long-term sustainability, cities will have to progressively improve performance in all thematic areas.

Implementing the Urban Environmental Accords will require an open transparent, and participatory dialogue between government, community groups, business, academic institutions, and other key partners.  Accords implementation will benefit where decisions are made on the basis of a careful assessment of available alternatives using the best available science.

The call to action set forth in the Accords will most often result in cost savings as a result of diminished resource consumption and improvements in the health and general well-being of city residents.  Implementation of the Accords can leverage each city’s purchasing power to promote and even require responsible environmental, labor and human rights practices from vendors.

Between now and the World Environment Day 2012, cities shall work to implement as many of the 21 Actions as possible.  The ability of cities to enact local environmental laws and policies differs greatly.  However, the success of the Accords will ultimately be judged on the basis of actions taken.  Therefore, the Accords can be implemented through programs and activities even where cities lack the requisite legislative authority to adopt laws.

The goal is for cities to pick three actions to adopt each year.  In order to recognize the progress of Cities to implement the Accords a City Green Star Program will be created.

At the end of the seven years, a city that has implemented:

Energy
Renewable Energy | Energy Efficiency | Climate Change

Waste Reduction
Zero Waste | Manufacturer Responsibility | Consumer Responsibility

Urban Design
Green Building | Urban Planning | Slums

Urban Nature
Parks | Habitat Restoration | Wildlife

Transportation
Public Transportation | Clean Vehicles | Reducing Congestion

Environmental Health
Toxics Reduction | Healthy Food Systems | Clean Air

Water
Water Access & Efficiency | Source Water Conservation | Waste Water Reduction

Energy

Waste Reduction

Urban Design

Urban Nature

Transportation

Environmental Health

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