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Waitakere joins int'l climate change network

December 19, 2008

Waitakere joins international climate change network

Waitakere has become the first New Zealand city to join an international initiative aimed at combating the environmental effects of climate change.

The council has agreed to join the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), an initiative developed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Membership requires participants to undertake a greenhouse gas inventory report it to the network and establish a climate strategy that identifies goals for emissions reduction.

Waitakere is already well advanced in that area with an Action Plan on Climate Change and Energy featuring a target to stabilise per capita greenhouse emissions by 2010 and reduce them by 80 percent per person by 2051. The council also has a target of reducing its corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2021.

“Being involved with the network is an opportunity for Waitakere to stand up and be counted as a city with a strong commitment to addressing climate change,” says Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey.

“We gain access to an international forum for networking and strengthening plans for emissions reductions, as well as being able to pass on our expertise in urban sustainability to developed and developing countries.”

Participants will also share information on lessons learned, innovative ideas and success stories, which appear on the CN Net website.

Waitakere is just the sixth city to join CN Net, which also has 46 companies and six organisations as members.

It was invited to become a member by the UNEP, whose executive director, Achim Steiner, visited Waitakere earlier this year.

“Cities like Waitakere exemplify that addressing climate change is part and parcel of urban sustainability,” Mr Steiner said at the recent UN Climate Conference in Poland.

Waitakere became New Zealand’s first eco city in 1993 when it officially adopted Agenda 21, a holistic approach to sustainable development which recognises the inter-relationships between people, the environment and the economy.

The council has also won numerous awards for sustainable urban design, particularly for its Henderson headquarters, Waitakere Central.

ENDS

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