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World Environment Day 2005
Urban Environmental Accords
Green Cities Declaration
United Nations Environment Programme
World Environment Day, June 5th, 2005

RECALLING that in 1945 the leaders of 50 nations gathered in San Francisco to develop and sign the
Charter of the United Nations; and RECOGNIZING that today for the first time in history, the majority of the planet’s population lives in cities; and that this continued urbanization will result in one million people moving to cities each week, thus creating a new set of environmental challenges and opportunities. Stark choices will determine whether cities become livable environments or magnets for disease and poverty; 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

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 as critical milestones to advance sustainability, vibrant economies, social equity, and the planet’s natural systems; we see these Accords as a synergistic extension of these efforts.

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 and commit to promote this collaborative platform, to help build an ecologically sustainable, economically dynamic, and socially equitable future for our citizens; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call to action our fellow Mayors around the world to sign the Accords and collaborate with us to implement these actions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that by signing these Accords, we commit our cities to moving vital issues of sustainability to the top of our legislative agendas. Through implementation of the Urban Environmental Accords, the signatory cities aim to realize the right to a clean, healthy and safe environment for all of our society, including for the most vulnerable groups such as minorities, women, children, and the elderly

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all of us, as Ambassadors of the Urban Environmental Accords, work with all due speed to implement the 21 actions contained in these Accords over the next seven years, recognizing that by working together and sharing best practices, our individual actions can result in a better world for all people and all creatures with which we share this planet.

Urban Environmental Accords
Principles & Resources
United Nations Environment Programme
World Environment Day, June 5th, 2005

THE IMPLEMENTATION of the Urban Environmental Accords should be a participatory process that ensures equity and inclusion of all citizen input, with consideration of impacts on all the Earth’s inhabitants. The implementation process of the Accords should treat all citizens equally without disproportionate influence towards any group. Any actions towards implementation of the Accords should be voluntary, and done only after a careful analysis of the best available science surrounding a wide range of alternatives. The selected course of action should reflect the alternative that poses the least threat to human health and the health of natural systems.

As an urban area grows and develops, decisions should be made in such a way to minimize the ecological footprint.

The call to action set forth in the Urban Environmental Accords will require some financial investment by signatory cities. The actions, when effectively implemented, will most often result in cost savings as a result of diminished resource impacts and consumption.

The 21 actions that comprise the Urban Environmental Accords are organized by urban environmental 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.. The goal should be to make substantial progress in the next 50 years or we risk the collapse of current ecosystems.

Without roughly a 75% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, ecological science indicates that the ecosystems of the planet will be dramatically altered from their current state. The 75% threshold is an important practical and symbolic target. To meet this 75% 'solution', we will need a suite of low carbon energy sources to grow from their current very small market share, to major new technology sectors. Cities and their mayors can play a key role in developing this new "clean tech" market.

Each action is defined in greater detail and accompanied by examples, technical data and information and funding sources. It is anticipated that each year new actions will be proposed based on continuing evaluation of best practices and lessons learned from participating cities. The accords are intended to function as a progressive learning process toward sustainability.

Signatory cities shall work to implement the following Urban Environmental Accords.Each year, cities shall pick three actions to adopt as policies or laws.

San Francisco Urban Environmental Accords
United Nations Environment Programme
World Environment Day, June 5th, 2005


Signatory cities shall work to implement the following Urban Environmental Accords.
Each year, cities shall pick three actions out of the following list to adopt as policies or laws.

  • 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 Access | Water Conservation | Waste Water Reduction


  • Action 1 Adopt and implement a policy to increase the use of renewable energy to 10% of your city’s peak load within seven years.

  • Action 2 Adopt and implement a policy to reduce your city’s peak load by 10% through energy efficiency, shifting the timing of energy demands, and conservation measures within seven years.

  • Action 3 Adopt a citywide greenhouse gas reduction plan that reduces the jurisdiction’s emissions by 25% by 2030, which includes a system for accounting and auditing greenhouse gas emissions

Waste Reduction

  • Action 4 Establish a policy to achieve zero waste to landfills and incinerators by 2040.

  • Action 5 Adopt a citywide law that reduces the use of a disposable product category, starting with toxic materials (e.g. polystyrene), by at least 50% in seven years.

  • Action 6 Implement "user-friendly" recycling and composting programs to provide alternative disposal options, with the goal of reducing per capita solid waste disposal to landfill and incineration by 20% in seven years (if such programs do not exist).

Urban Design

  • Action 7 Adopt a policy that mandates a green building rating system standard that applies to all new municipal buildings.

  • Action 8 Adopt urban planning principles that advance higher density mixed use, walkable/ bikeable neighborhoods which coordinate land use and transportation with open space systems for recreation and ecological reconstruction.

  • Action 9 Adopt a policy that creates environmentally beneficial jobs in slums and/or low-income neighborhoods. By 2010 launch one or more "Green Job Training Center(s)" to help alleviate poverty and prepare marginalized persons for work in "green" enterprises.

Urban Nature

  • Action 10 Adopt the goal to ensure that there is an accessible park or recreational open space featuring environmental education, arts and organic agriculture as an economic opportunity for lower income neighborhoods within half-a-kilometer of every city resident by 2015.

  • Action 11 Conduct an inventory of indigenous natural ecosystems and develop a plan to protect and restore the indigenous ecological community.

  • Action 12 Pass legislation that requires habitat corridors and favorable habitat characteristics (e.g. water features, food-bearing plants, shelter) utilizing indigenous species included within development projects.


  • Action 13 Develop and implement a policy to expand public transportation coverage and improve level of service via access (residents within half-a-kilometer of public transportation or 70% of population) by 15% in seven years.

  • Action 14 Pass a law or implement a program that eliminates leaded gasoline (where it is still used) and that phases down sulfur levels in diesel and gasoline fuels, concurrent with using advanced emission controls on all buses, taxis, and public fleets to reduce particulate matter and smog-forming emissions from those fleets by 50% in seven years.

  • Action 15 Implement a policy to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles by 10% in seven years.

Environmental Health

  • Action 16 Every year identify three products, chemicals, or compounds that are used within your city that represent the greatest risk to human health and adopt a law to eliminate their sale and use in the city. This should start with municipal procurement to ensure that city government workers are not exposed to hazardous chemicals or materials.

  • Action 17 Promote the public health and environmental benefits of supporting organic and sustainably grown foods, especially produce and products produced within the region. Ensure that 50% of the food served in public facilities is local and organic within seven years.

  • Action 18 Establish an Air Quality Index (AQI) to measure the level of air pollution and set the goal of reducing by 10% in seven years the number of days categorized in the AQI range as "unhealthy" to "hazardous."


  • Action 19 Develop a policy to provide adequate and safe drinking water to all its citizens consistent with the UN Millennium Development Goal 8. Such efforts should include improvements to the governance and oversight of municipal water supplies and involvement of citizens in the decision making process.

  • Action 20 Adopt and implement a policy to reduce citywide consumption of potable water by 10% by 2020 in cities where per capita water consumption is greater than XXX. Ensure that additional water needs stemming from new growth are met through alternative sources of supply, demand management, and local resource development to protect the ecological integrity of the city’s primary drinking water source (i.e., groundwater, rivers, lakes, wetlands and associated ecosystems).

  • Action 21 Develop a sustainable water resource planning process that prioritizes alternative supply sources (e.g., recycled water, demand-side water management) and integrates sanitation, groundwater management, and rigorous pollution control targets. The process should be transparent and include participants of all affected communities and be based on sound economic, social, and environmental principles.


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