The ABC for Sustainable Cities. A glossary for policy makers

                                                              

The ABC for Sustainable Cities. A glossary for policy makers

FIDIC
Solution proposed by: 
Av key component of the initiative is the process of contribution by stakeholders and peer-reviewers from Key institutions partners: CEN-CENELEC-ETSI, C40, Cities Alliance, ICLEI, IEC, IIED, ISO TC 268, ITU, the George Washington University, UN Habitat...
In a Nutshell: 
A glossary of key terms that aims to: 1. Provide clarity on the terms and the concepts related to the issues of Sustainable Cities by collecting short definitions from internationally recognized sources. 2. Support dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders working on Sustainable cities by providing reference easily accessible by technical and non-technical audience.
Where and When: 
The ABC for Sustainable Cities is an ongoing process that starts 2016 with UNEP’s publication of its first edition. It will continue to evolve over time and with input of relevant stakeholders.
Challenges: 
Humanity faces serious environmental challenges including declining biodiversity, degraded land and soil, depleting natural resources, polluted air and water, and severe climate risks. In the 21st century, cities are at the centre of all key demographic, environmental and socio-economic trends. Half of the world's population lives in cities at 2-3 % of the Earth's land area but uses 75 % of all energy and generates 80 % of all CO2. Cities also are dynamic hubs through which natural resources flow and are transformed, making cities the place where the biggest challenges and opportunities for sustainable development are to be found.
Innovation: 
The international community increasingly recognizes that many solutions to environmental, social, and economic challenges facing our planet are to be found in cities. In the context of a proliferation of initiatives and projects, the ABC for Sustainable Cities aims to contribute to better understanding in the international debate and action by clarifying key terms and concepts and providing policy makers with a key tool to understand a complex reality
Concept: 
The current fastest urbanisation level in history compels extraordinary challenges, which will require new and innovative ways of thinking including a new and enhanced urban agenda as sustainable development challenges will be increasingly concentrated in cities. A sustainable city is planned, designed, developed and managed with consideration of environmental impact, minimisation of inputs of resources as material, energy, water and food, and output of waste and hazardous waste, pollution as CO2, methane etc., sewage, water and soil contamination etc. More and more refined technologies have been developed to tackle sustainable and resource efficient solutions to energy, water and transport use in better coordinated ways. Vital benefits can be gained when considering interrelationships between urban functions and systemic approach to cities. The ABC for Sustainable Cities aims to support dialogue and cooperation by clarifying key terms and concepts for development of sustainable cities. Capturing and sharing experiences and lessons learnt is necessary – sustainable development is a mutual responsibility. The ABC for Sustainable Cities is an ongoing process and will continue to evolve over time to contribute to better understanding in the international debate and action for sustainable city development
Description: 
The international community increasingly recognizes that many solutions to social, environmental and economic challenges facing our planet can be found in cities. Sustainable cities can be explained as cities enabling all of their residents to meet their own needs and prosper without degrading the natural world or the lives of other people, now or in the future. In the context of a proliferation of initiatives and projects, the publication ‘ABC for Sustainable Cities’ aims to contribute to the international debate and action by collecting relevant definitions and providing policy makers with an everyday tool to understand a complex reality. The publication aims - to make clearness on the terms and the concepts related to the subjects of Sustainable Cities, by collecting short definitions from internationally recognised sources and - to support dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders working on Sustainable Cities, by providing a reference easily accessible by technical and non-technical audience. The publication does not aim to provide globally agreed definitions, but rather to compile existing definitions that may continue to evolve over time and with the input of relevant stakeholders. The ABC for Sustainable Cities is first of all an exercise of compilation of relevant terms and definition that available on the public domain. Selected definitions are extracted from official and internationally recognised sources, documents, reports, journals and other publication edited by international organisations (CEN-CENELEC-ETSI, C40, Cities Alliance, ICLEI, IEC, IIED, ISO TC 268, ITU, the George Washington University, UN Habitat, WCCD, WGBC and WRI). Another key component of the initiative is the process of peer-review. This process allowed consensus on the list of words that shall be included in the glossary and on the definitions, and to ensure that the glossary is relevant for different stakeholders working on the topic from different angles and at different levels.
Impacts: 
While the biggest challenges can be found in cities, the most exciting opportunities for sustainability can be found there, too. We need a general agreed and easily understandable holistic vision for sustainable cities of the future. Capturing and sharing experiences and lessons learnt is essential – sustainable development is a mutual responsibility. The ABC for Sustainable Cities is an ongoing process that starts 2016 with UNEP’s publication of its first edition and will continue to evolve over time to contribute to better understanding in the international debate and action for sustainable city development.

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photo credits:  UNEP, Tengbom and UNEP
photo credits:  UNEP, Tengbom and UNEP
photo credits:  UNEP, Tengbom and UNEP