In Washington: Dina El Naggar 202-473 3245
Singapore—June 26, 2009—The World Bank today launched a new urban development program that supports cities in developing countries in their move towards greater ecological and economic sustainability.
Called Eco2 Cities – Ecological Cities as Economic Cities, the program recognizes that successful cities create economic value and opportunities for their citizens in an inclusive, sustainable and resource efficient way, while also protecting and nurturing the local ecology and global public goods, for future generations.
“Global urban expansion sets forth before us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to plan, develop, build and manage cities that are simultaneously more ecologically and economically sustainable,” said Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “We have a short time horizon before us. The decisions we make together today, can lock in systemic benefits for current and future generations. “
“The Eco2 Cities Program is complementary to the ongoing efforts the World Bank and its development partners are making in sustainable development and climate change,” she added. “The Eco2 Cities Program is an important part of our new Urban Strategy, currently being developed in consultation with stakeholders. “
Jim Adams, Vice President for the World Bank’s East Asia & Pacific region, said that the pace of urbanization in Asia alone pointed to the urgency for an integrated economic and ecological approach to city development.
“Eco2 is being launched at a critical historic juncture – urbanization in developing countries is a defining feature of the 21st century,” he said. “There is only a short space of time in which to make an impact on how this development takes place.”
Around 90 percent of global urban growth now takes place in developing countries with an expected trebling of developing country built-up urban areas by 2030.
A three-part book on the Eco2 Cities Program presents the program’s analytical and operational framework along with profiles of effective and practical methods and tools. The next step is to put the framework into action in a first set of cities.
Launching the Eco2 program at a seminar in Singapore on “Liveable Cities in Asia”, the World Bank’s Hiroaki Suzuki – team leader of the Eco2 Cities program – said cities like Curitiba in Brazil, Stockholm in Sweden, Singapore, and Yokohama in Japan have demonstrated that they can greatly enhance their resource efficiency while decreasing pollution and unnecessary waste.
“By doing so, they have improved the quality of life of their citizens, enhanced their economic competitiveness and resilience, strengthened their fiscal capacity, and created an enduring ‘culture’ of sustainability,” Suzuki said.
Eco2 Cities co-team leader, Arish Dastur said many cities have found imaginative and practical solutions even with limited budgets. “Sustainable planning is an investment in the future of a city’s economy and welfare,” he said. “The Eco2 Cities program is designed to enable cities in developing countries to put the theory into practice.”
Developed collaboratively by an international team of practitioners and experts from the urban, transport, energy, water and waste management sectors – the Eco2 program is based on real experiences, challenges and lessons learnt from cities in the developed and developing world. The program is building strong linkages with best practice cities like Curitiba, Singapore, Stockholm and Yokohama.
For more information on Eco2, go to www.worldbank.org/eco2