New global platform to mobilise billions for sustainable cities
A new platform funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has been launched in Singapore that aims to mobilise up to US$1.5 billion, through co-financing, over the next five years to help cities finance sustainability plans. Coordinated by the World Bank, the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities is a knowledge-sharing programme that is supported by multilateral development banks, UN organisations, think tanks and city networks, including C40, ICLEI and 100 Resilient Cities. Twenty-three cities were assessed on their sustainability plans and interest in participating in the programme by the GEF. The first cities to participate come from eleven countries, including Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, China, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam. Although no direct finance will be offered, a World Bank spokesperson told
Development Finance
that one key objective will be to link knowledge to finance and investment. “Linking knowledge to finance is critical to directing investment flows to quality and sustainability,” said Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice. “We see this platform as a great opportunity to connect cities not only to cutting-edge knowledge, but also to development banks and financial institutions.” The new platform will aim to support cities in pursuing evidence-based approaches to urban planning, including geospatial data, and establishing urban sustainability indicators. As an example, the seven cities in China (Guiyang, Shenzhen, Ningbo, Nanchang, Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang) will focus on transit-oriented development and planning integration. In South Africa, Johannesburg will focus on green, low-energy zones that are part of the bus-rapid transit (BRT) corridors, waste management and waste-to-energy, composting for food security, clean fuels for public transport, and integrated indicators. The World Bank and GEF foresee the products and services provided by the platform, including studies, workshops, and online data from the initial 23 cities, will provide valuable insights that will be shared via partner city networks and to new member cities as the platform expands.
By Jonathan Andrews
Photo: C Foulger