WWF announces finalists of global Earth Hour City Challenge 2016

PETALING JAYA: WWF-Malaysia today announced the finalists of its global sustainable cities initiative, which is the Earth Hour City Challenge 2016 (EHCC 2016). Petaling Jaya, Melaka and Penang have made us proud by making it to the list of 42 finalist cities selected during the fourth year of the initiative.

The three cities were shortlisted from a total of 126 cities from 21 countries participating in the challenge this year. The national winner of each participating country would subsequently go on to compete for the honour of the Global Earth Hour Capital which will be awarded in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.

WWF recognises cities for taking innovative actions towards building a sustainable and low carbon future while inspiring other cities to do the same. EHCC works to mobilise action and support from cities in the global transition towards a sustainable future.

Together with WWF Sweden, an international jury of experts will be looking for cities that have already recognised the climate challenge, and have begun to measure and report their carbon emissions. Awarded cities will also show a commitment to innovative, ambitious and participation-based initiatives that bring the city closer to a 100% renewable and sustainable future. The way cities advance the sustainability agenda, and demonstrate a clear, strategic connection between actions and targets will be critical factors in the evaluation process.

In order to level the playing field between cities with very varying starting points, the panel will take into account differences in resources related to level of ambition. EHCC rewards cities for their commitment and innovative thinking that promote attractive, one-planet lifestyles, as well as provides solutions to the challenges of food, water and energy security.

The three Malaysian cities were short-listed based on their individual accomplishments. Petaling Jaya’s renewed candidacy is based on the momentum they had built in the previous year. Provision of free public transport, tax rebates for green measures conducted in residential properties and the introduction of electric charging for hybrid vehicles are some of the key steps that Petaling Jaya have made towards sustainable development.

Similarly, Melaka city is an outstanding candidate as it has made strident attempts to rehabilitate Melaka River, introduce energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. Likewise, Penang city has introduced green building strategies among other sustainability measures in its attempt to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. All of these cities will be also compete for the honour of being selected as a national Earth Hour capital, an honour that Petaling Jaya City Council had won last year in 2015.

An expert jury will now review the actions and commitments reported by these cities and identify one sustainability leader per country for the National and Global Earth Hour Capital Awards. In 2013, Vancouver, Canada was named the first ever Global Earth Hour Capital, while Cape Town, South Africa and Seoul South Korea achieved the honours in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

WWF-Malaysia has encouraged Malaysian cities to participate in the EHCC by providing various capacity building initiatives such as provision of training on energy management for city council staff together with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), among others.

“Cities are becoming more creative in finding ways to tackle climate change and the EHCC has inspired more cities to set aspiring climate targets and report against these targets. These efforts are important and timely as the recent announcement made by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA indicating that 2014 was the warmest year on record globally,” said the Executive Director/CEO of WWF-Malaysia, Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma.

We Love Cities

Petaling Jaya, Melaka and Penang will also compete in a public campaign to select the city most deserving of the We Love Cities Award. WWF encourages people from all over the world to show their support for the impressive efforts that cities are making toward sustainability, and to participate in the We Love Cities campaign which starts on 26 April 2016.

For the next eight weeks, web visitors are invited to vote for their favourites among the finalist cities, and to share what they love about these cities via photos and videos. The public is also welcomed to submit suggestions for how the cities can become even more sustainable. Visit welovecities.org to vote for your favourite cities.

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