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30 March 2015

Tshwane named SA’s Earth Hour Capital 2015

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A panel of international experts has selected the City of Tshwane as South Africa’s Earth Hour Capital 2015 in recognition of the city’s green initiatives, which are moving the city closer to its goal of becoming the leading green capital in Africa.
The title is awarded as part of the global Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC), a collaborative effort between the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, which aims to mobilise action and support from cities in the global transition toward a sustainable energy future.
WWF-SA CEO Morné du Plessis:
WWF-SA applauds Tshwane for being recognised for its commitment to emissions-reduction and its supporting action plan. The city’s green building bylaw reflects strong policy leadership as do the impressive actions the city has taken to improve energy efficiency in its municipal buildings. We commend the city on setting such a good example and its goal to become the continent’s green capital.
ICLEI Africa Regional Director, Kobie Brand:
We are delighted that Tshwane, an ICLEI Member, has been recognised for its leadership role in Africa. The city officials and its political leadership are ambassadors for local action on sustainability. We also recognise ICLEI Members the City of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay for being national finalists, and look forward to working with all three cities to help them to take bold and radical steps to further become global models for low-carbon, climate resilient development.
Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Councillor Kgosientso Ramokgopa:
My long term vision for the city of Tshwane includes cutting edge sustainability programmes that will see a radical shift from the way we do business. There is no other option but to transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and climate resilient city that generates the maximum number of employment opportunities and stimulates new and innovative industry. I am humbled by the panel’s decision to select Tshwane as the South African Earth Hour Capital, it is indeed encouraging to see that our efforts are being recognised and I take this as motivation for us to further enhance our current sustainability efforts.
The City of Tshwane has prioritised sustainability by setting up a Sustainability Unit located at the heart of decision-making within the municipality. Specific initiatives noted by the jury in their decision included its Green Buildings by-law (the only one in the country) and the retrofitting of all municipal buildings for improved energy efficiency. Other actions being taken include a new bus rapid transport (BRT) scheme, introducing low-carbon vehicles and greener fuel for the Municipal fleet, the retrofitting of street lights and traffic lights, the construction of bicycle lanes, solar water heating scheme, Food and Energy Centre, and 13 air quality monitoring stations.
Enabled by the Earth Hour City Challenge Tshwane has chosen to celebrate its success with the Earth Hour Capital Challenge on Friday 27 March. The race will involve teams navigating the city using public transport and non-motorised transport option, competing for the lowest carbon footprint.
This is the third year that WWF is recognising cities for helping build a sustainable and safe energy future and Tshwane is one of 44 finalists from countries around the world competing for the title of Earth Hour Global Capital. The actions and commitments reported by these cities will be reviewed by an expert jury which will then present one city with the global earth hour capital award in Seoul, South Korea on 9 April.
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