Report Highlights Opportunities and Barriers for Cities to be Key Contributers to Green Economy GrowthPublished 26 June 2012 in Sustainable Development
A report published by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the London School of Economics’ LSE Cities centre investigates the role of, and opportunities for, cities in the transition to a green economy. While underlining some key challenges facing urban centres in building a green economy, the report is upbeat about progress to date and cities’ ambitions for going green.
Launched in Rio de Janeiro during the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, the report, Going Green: How cities are leading the next economy, was optimistic about green economic development and the extent to which cities have successfully integrated green policies since the last UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 1992.
Based on a recent survey of 53 cities of varying sizes from across the world, the report’s findings are presented across nine key areas:
- CITY CHALLENGES: Environmental problems are deeply intertwined with many of the most critical challenges cities face today, including: road congestion, urban sprawl and lack of affordable housing.
- GREEN ASPIRATIONS AND TRIGGERS: All cities in the survey aspire to be green, and green policies have become increasingly important since the Rio Summit in 1992. In the majority of cities, green objectives have been introduced since the Rio Summit.
- PROGRESS TO DATE: Substantial progress has been made in achieving green objectives related to recycling, green space and water pollution. Resource efficiency, energy security and air pollution are more challenging.
- GREEN ECONOMIC OBJECTIVES: Overall, 95% of city governments expect their green policies to have a positive economic impact. But only 20% have a co-ordinated strategy for ‘green growth’. The three top aspirations of cities are economic development, transport improvements and responding to climate change. For most cities, green economic development is a key part of their overall political agenda, with 65% of cities describing economic growth as a primary goal of their green policies. The majority of cities expect economic impacts from green policies to include growth, job creation, inward investment, innovation, entrepreneurship and attracting skilled workers. However, only 20% of cities are aware of any economic impact assessment of their green policies.
- OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS: Urban transport, buildings and energy are key sectors for green economic growth, while the main barriers are lack of public funding and insufficient support from national government.
- TECHNOLOGY: Overall, 75% of cities are willing to invest in new green technology to spur change, but two thirds of these cities are constrained by budgets.
- STRATEGY AND STAKEHOLDERS: Overall, 95% of cities have a green strategy, but less than 10% of these are legally binding.
- GOVERNMENT CO-ORDINATION: According to 60% of cities, national policy frameworks fall short of supporting the city’s green agenda – particularly in North America and Europe.
- SKILLS AND CAPACITY: While city governments have many of the capabilities for delivering the green economy, skills in innovation-based economic development are lacking.
Related ICLEI press release.