Focus Areas

Integrated Environmental Planning
City managers play a critical role in ensuring that urban areas are able to function sustainably. Since resources are finite, addressing environmental issues insufficiently has severe consequences: health hazards, loss of biodiversity, and ultimately, a lower quality of life. The poorest cities and the weakest strata of the urban population are likely to suffer the most from those impacts. Read more

Resource Efficiency & Green Economy
Cities occupy only 2 per cent of the Earth’s terrestrial surface but consume over 75 per cent of natural resources. Presently over half of the world’s population resides in cities with up to 80 percent projected for 2050. The conditions for urban inhabitants, in terms of employment, environment, health, education and overall quality of life are dependent in both the short and longer term how cities draw on and manage the natural resources available to them. Read more

Cities and Climate Change
Climate change is a global phenomenon that largely impacts urban life. Rising global temperatures causes sea levels to rise, increases the number of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms, and increases the spread of tropical diseases. All these have costly impacts on cities' basic services, infrastructure, housing, human livelihoods and health. Read more

Sustainable Buildings
Buildings are a key component in the fabric of cities. And the building and construction sector is one of the most important areas of intervention and provides opportunities to limit environmental impact as well as contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals. Read more

Sustainable Transport
Urban mobility is rapidly becoming one of the greatest challenges facing developed and developing countries alike. Transport is estimated to be responsible for nearly a quarter of global energy-related CO2. There are also rising concerns about its impact on the quality of urban life, including social inequities, and about the effects of its pollution on health and buildings. Read more

Solid Waste Management
The increasing volume and complexity of waste associated with the modern economy is posing a serious risk to ecosystems and human health. Every year, an estimated 11.2 billion tonnes of solid waste is collected worldwide and decay of the organic proportion of solid waste is contributing to about 5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Read more

Water and Sanitation
Access to fresh water is vital for the economic prosperity of a city and the survival of its citizens. In many developing countries, the high rate of urbanisation has not kept pace with the development and improvement in basic urban service delivery. The result is inadequate access to safe drinking water and sanitation as well as the pollution of natural waterways. Read more

Risk Reduction & Disaster Preparedness
Cities are exposed to numerous risks linked to the environment. Some are directly related to the characteristics of urban settlements; other risks derive from external factors, such as: climate change, earthquakes, floods or extreme weather events. If a city is struck by a disaster such as a hurricane, an earth quake or an industrial accident, it can quickly impact the lives of millions of inhabitants and have a major effect on the country’s economy. Read more

Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystems
While cities only occupy two per cent of the Earth’s land surface, they draw on their hinterlands for goods and services. Waste and emissions produced by urban dwellers, moreover have an impact on ecosystems elsewhere, even at the global level. For this reason, cities depend on so called ecosystem services - benefits that nature provides us for free. Read more

Sustainable Lifestyles
Our lifestyle is influenced by where and how we live, which modes of transportation we use, what we eat, buy or dispose and how we spend our leisure and work time. All these choices shape our lifestyle and at the same time determine the impact our way of life has on the environment of our planet. Adjusting this lifestyle to become more sustainable is something everybody can do individually – and immediately. Read more