The Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities (GI-REC)

The Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities  is a UNEP-led initiative launched in June 2012 at the Rio+20 Summit. The initiative currently works with different stakeholders to promote energy efficient buildings, efficient water use, sustainable waste management and other activities. UNEP and its partners aim to assist cities in combining greater productivity and innovation with lower costs and reduced environmental impact.

Integrated Environmental Planning

Unplanned rapid urban growth leads to overexploitation of natural resources and destruction of fragile ecosystems in the city and beyond. The urban poor are the most vulnerable to such environmental degradation. Yet in many cities the environmental dimension is not considered in urban planning processes. Therefore, UNEP, with support of the Cities Alliance, is developing a practical methodology for better integrating environmental concerns in strategic planning at the city level.

Cities & Climate Change

Flooding, heat waves, tornados: for many communities around the world, climate change is already a reality. About 75 percent of global CO2 emissions originate from cities, with transport and buildings being among the largest contributors. In addition to efforts at the global and national level, local authorities are already leading the way in finding local solutions to these challenges. UNEP together with its partners supports cities in accounting and reducing their emissions and assessing their climate vulnerability. Learn more

Linking Global Agenda to Local Action

UNEP is working closely with UN-Habitat on sustainable urban planning and management. Since 2007 a joint Partnership Framework is in place. Concrete joint activities between the two international organizations are laid out in biennial Implementation Plans. Activities include joint work on Climate Change assessments, ecosystem based adaptation in coastal cities as well as cooperation in related urban sectors such as transport, buildings and construction.

Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative (SBCI)

SBCI was launched in 2006 as a partnership between the UN and the building sector. It promotes and supports sustainable building practices on a global scale with a focus on energy efficiency and GHG emission reduction. It brings together stakeholders involved in the sector on the local, national and international level. Furthermore, the initiative develops tools and strategies to better evaluate and implement sustainable building practices, such as the Common Carbon Metric.

Sustainable Social Housing Initiative (SUSHI)

UNEP’s Sustainable Social Housing Initiative promotes sustainability in social housing programmes. In Bangkok and São Paulo SUSHI assessed the status of social housing programmes, policies, market initiatives and voluntary actions and identified barriers for the implementation of sustainable building practices. A guideline with tools and strategies to overcome these constraints is being finalized. A follow-up phase for SUSHI is currently underway.

Sustainable Buildings Policies in Developing Countries (SPoD)

The SPoD project aims to assist governments at national and local levels to develop policy tools in support of mainstreaming sustainable construction and building approaches, resulting in reduced carbon footprints from buildings. SPoD provides a Quick-Scan Tool for governments to evaluate relevant policy measures according to existing barriers and opportunities at national and local level. This approach is being tested and verified in two pilot locations.

Urban Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

One of the outcomes of UNEP’s cooperating with the City of Gwangju (Republic of Korea) is to explore the feasibility of developing a methodology for a Clean Development Mechanism at city-wide level. The study has identified barriers and opportunities for cities and CDM and provides a list of recommendations for reforms to the CDM for better uptake and application at the city level.