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Mark Swilling Co-Authors UN Report on Sustainable Cities

Just TransitionsMark Swilling is one of the co-lead authors of a report titled “City-level Decoupling: Urban Resource Flows and the Governance of Infrastructure Transitions”, released this week by the International Resource Panel of the United National Environmental Programme (UNEP). It contains thirty case studies showing how greening infrastructure in cities can sustain economic growth while using fewer resources.

Urban planning modes and technologies need to change, for a “fairer, more resource efficient future”, Swilling said. The case studies prove that this can be done. South African examples included in the report are the refitting of low income housing with solar water heaters and efficient lighting, which has saved over 6 500 tons of carbon per year, and the Mariannhill landfill site near Durban where liquid waste is treated and re-used for irrigation and methane is turned into electricity.

Swilling is also the co-author of the book Just Transitions: Explorations of Sustainability in an Unfair World.

Nairobi, 17 April 2013 – Investing in sustainable infrastructures and resource efficient technologies in cities offers a golden opportunity to deliver economic growth with lower rates of environmental degradation, reductions in poverty, cuts in greenhouse gases, and improved well-being, according to a new report released by the United Nations today.

Around three-quarters of the world’s natural resources are already consumed in cities, and the proportion of the global population living in urban areas is set to rise to 70 per cent by 2050. At the same time, cities generally offer lower per capita resource use and emissions than their surrounding areas.

Investing in sustainable infrastructures and resource efficient technologies in cities offers a golden opportunity to deliver economic growth with lower rates of environmental degradation, reductions in poverty, cuts in greenhouse gases, and improved well-being.

This is according to a new report, released by the United Nations in Nairobi in Kenya, today (17 April 2013). Prof Mark Swilling, a global expert on sustainable development and Coordinator of the Sustainable Development Programme of the School of Public Leadership (SPL) at Stellenbosch University (SU), is a co-lead author of the report, City-Level Decoupling: Urban Resource Flows and the Governance of Infrastructure Transitions. The report was produced by the International Resource Panel (IRP), which is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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