United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)

www.unhabitat.org

HQ: Nairobi, Kenya




Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions
 


Key Figures: Waste
 


 

Executive Director's Message


"UN-Habitat primary focus is on affordable housing and sustainable urban development. The single biggest group of people that are suffering the effects of climate change are the urban poor. Lack of access to decent housing and basic urban services means that they are the most at risk of losing life, property and livelihoods from rising sea levels and other extreme weather patterns. At the same time, cities consume over 65 percent of the world’s energy and constitute the biggest source of green house gas emissions. UN-Habitat helps cities and communities to devise integrated approaches to implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. This requires more rationale land-use planning, more robust infrastructure and smarter and greener urban services that are equally accessible by all."

Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director, UN-Habitat

Mission


The United Nations Human Settlements Programme is the lead UN agency for cities. The agency is promoting sustainable energy production and energy use by encouraging energy efficiency, alternative energy, mass transit and public awareness. To this end, UN-habitat encourages partnerships to promote the climate neutral urban environment by inspiring, informing and enabling local authorities and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Experience so far


CO2 is mainly emitted in urban areas and it is urban and inter-urban activities that lead to the emission of significant amounts of other radiatively-active gases such as methane, carbon monoxide, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

As part of helping cities to achieve climate neutrality, the agency is actively supporting a selected group of cities in developing countries to develop climate action plans by transferring experience to the partners to adopt. 

Reduction efforts
 

  • A taskforce is in place and a Climate Neutral Strategy has been approved. The agency is declared CN as of 1/1/2010 and footprints are being calculated using ICAO calculator and offsets charges are being allocated.
  • Emission Reduction Plan has been drafted.
  • Air travel inventories for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008 were prepared using UNEP Calculator and for 2009 IACO calculator was used.
  • The agency is following the step-by-step guidelines to illustrate the climate friendly behaviour of the
administration and the staff
  • UN-Habitat is supporting UNEP and UNON efforts to green the UN GIGIRI compound, enforcing the appropriate actions.
  • Many meetings and conferences now use tele- or video-conferencing. The agency has also partially implemented the delegation of backstopping to the field offices.

Offsetting


Charges of office operations footprints are being accounted for and offsetting charges are being allocated. The possibility for offsetting projects footprints is there, but offsetting past (completed or closed) projects, where difficulties to allocate funds are encountered, were ignored. Due to the above, the agency will start offsetting when the EMG completes the guidelines and the UN-HABITAT senior management has approved the relevant decision. The agency was declared CN as of 1/1/2010.

Next steps


The UN-Habitat Task Force will continually discuss yearly inventories to adjust and set reduction targets and implement accordingly the climate-neutral (CN) policy. The Emission Reduction Plan has been drafted and needs to be reviewed and approved by the Senior Management to timely be submitted. This will help achieving the best greenhouse gas emissions reduction. All running projects will illustrate the agency reduction strategy and offset the remaining emissions. Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), from purchased offsets, will be used accordingly through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to help cities control their emission level. In this context the following steps are considered:

  • The taskforce will check the updates of greenhouse gas emission inventories and set annual reduction targets.
  • The UN-Habitat climate neutral strategy will be updated continuously, to include targets and organizational structures for its implementation, guidelines on procurement, office culture, staff commuting and related issues.
  • The agency will, in collaboration with other UN agencies share and implement CDM projects and help cities in developing countries to cope with climate change and work outside UN towards achieving climate neutrality through information sharing, awareness raising and training, provision of tools and methodologies.

UN-HABITAT and sustainability