Published on Sustainable Cities

UN Environment Programme, UN Habitat, World Bank Recognize New Global Protocol for Urban GHG Emissions, Encourage its Use

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In March this year, we posted a blog on the draft edition of a global protocol for city-scale GHG emissions, announced jointly by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, C40, and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Yesterday, a pilot version of the protocol was released at the UNFCCC climate meetings in Bonn, Germany. And today, UNEP, UN-Habitat and the World Bank expressed appreciation to ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, C40, and WRI for this accomplishment. To learn more about the significance of the protocol, read this news feature.

Moving forward, C40, ICLEI, and WRI will incorporate the pilot test’s results and expand the protocol into a more comprehensive GHG accounting standard for community-scale emissions. This will enable local governments to account for how demand for goods and services as well as local innovative technologies can impact a GHG footprint.

I didn’t make it to Bonn for the release event but Anthony Bigio from the World Bank’s Urban Anchor was there. Check out the World Bank’s press release below:


May 15—Two UN agencies and the World Bank today expressed appreciation at the launch of a pilot version of a Global Protocol for Community-scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions, designed to harmonize emissions measurement and reporting process for the world’s cities. The protocol was released at the UNFCCC climate meetings in Bonn by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Groupand ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, with input from the World Resources Institute.

UNEP, UN Habitat, and the World Bank supported development of the protocol via the Joint Work Programme of the Cities Alliance, and after close consultation with local governments around the world. For all these organizations, the fact that the source of as much as 70% of global GHG emissions can be attributed to urban areas is a compelling call to action. Soraya Smaoun, Acting Head of the Built Environment Unit of the UN Environment Programme said that “cities are critical in meeting the world’s climate objectives. Having clear and standardized metrics to measure progress is an important first-step in recognizing the considerable actions already underway by cities. We are hopeful that cities across the world will adopt this Global Protocol as they expand their climate mitigation efforts.”

Rafael Tuts, Coordinator, Urban Planning and Design Branch, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, said “the Global Protocol is a critical input for low-emission urban development strategies, which promote measurable improvements in urban planning, mobility, energy, water and solid waste management. The Global Protocol will also offer a platform for cities to share lessons with other cities around the world, and advocate for policies that better address climate change in urban areas.”

Dan Hoornweg, Lead Urban Specialist for Cities and Climate Change at the World Bank, said “the Protocol is indeed a breakthrough. It allows cities to compare emissions over time and encourages more comprehensive policy development by giving cities an opportunity to better learn from each other. By enabling a city’s GHG inventory methodology and results to be transparent, accessible, and available to the public, the protocol will ensure greater transparency, replicability, and cost effectiveness.”

All three organizations – UNEP, UN Habitat, and the World Bank, with support of Cities Alliance – said they would encourage clients and partners with whom they work to adopt the protocol in order to better understand and compare GHG emissions from the world’s cities. A number of pilot initiatives will be undertaken, with the information gathered being used for the full community protocol expected to be published later this year.

For more information, please contact:

UNEP: Moira O'Brien-Malone, UNEP Information Officer, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE), Paris, + 33-1-4437-7612,

UN Habitat: Ana B. Moreno, Spokesperson & Chief, Advocacy, Outreach, and Communications; UN-Habitat, Nairobi, +254-20-762-3065,

World Bank: Roger Morier, Senior Communications Officer – Finance, Economics, and Urban Development Department, Washington, +1-202-473-5675,


Dan Hoornweg

Professor and Jeff Boyce Research Chair, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

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