Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Siemens publishes African Green City Index analyzing 15 major cities in 11 African countries

Cities from the south and the north of Africa deliver the best environmental performance of all major African cities. This is the conclusion of the African Green City Index, a unique study commissioned by Siemens and conducted by the independent research organization Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). During the past months, the EIU analyzed the aims and achievements of 15 major cities in 11 African countries with respect to environmental performance and policies. Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg from the south, Casablanca and Tunis from the north as well as Accra, Ghana, rank above average. "The goal of the African Green City Index is to provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of each city and start a dialogue about best practices in the area of green policies and infrastructures. With the Environmental Portfolio and the new Sector 'Infrastructure & Cities', Siemens is in the best position to support urban areas in Africa with green infrastructures," said Siegmar Proebstl, CEO Siemens Africa. African Green City Index 2011

The African Green City Index examines, for the first time, the environmental performance of African cities in eight categories: energy and CO2, land use, transport, waste, water, sanitation, air quality and environmental governance. The overall result of the study shows that none of the 15 cities rank in the highest band 'well above average'. "Even the best performing cities in Africa have room to improve their environmental footprint," said Delia Meth-Cohn, Editorial Director for Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa at the EIU. Six cities, mainly from the north and the south, scored 'above average', five cities are in the 'average' band, two cities are 'below average' and two cities rank in the lowest band, 'well below average'.

Whereas South African cities scored high on governance and implementing policies, cities from northern Africa are strong in connecting residents to basic infrastructures like water and electricity. In contrast, all sub-Saharan cities, except South African cities and Accra, struggle in the Index. Their immediate focus on providing basic services tends to prevent a focus on long-term sustainability. However, experts agree that sustainable development policies at city level are far from being a 'nice-to-have option', but must go hand-in-hand with solutions to the continent's social and economic problems.

The study also reveals that there is a strong correlation between a city's environmental performance and the percentage of residents living in informal settlements. The fewer residents in a city living informally, the better the city performs. This is crucial for Africa which is urbanizing faster than any other continent and, as a result, is suffering from unplanned urban sprawl. The number of Africa's urban residents more than doubled in the last two decades and they now account for 40 percent of the continent's population. Africa has the world's highest proportion of city dwellers in informal settlements. Among the 15 Index cities, the average percentage of the population living in informal settlements is nearly 40 percent, ranging from an estimated 15 percent in Casablanca to an estimated 70 percent in Maputo.
The African Green City Index suggests that good governance is key to environmental performance. The institutional ability to run a city efficiently and intelligently matters more than wealth or the level of economic development. This is contrary to the findings in other Green City Indexes Siemens has published so far which frequently demonstrated a link between wealth and better environmental performance. This suggests that in Africa, a continent where many cities may wait decades for the kind of wealth levels common in other regions of the world, governance is a powerful tool for better environmental performance. A good example is Accra, the capital of Ghana, the only sub-Saharan city (excluding South African cities) that placed above-average in the African Green City Index. It has strong scores for environmental management, with structures in place to work with the national government in implementing policies.
The number of urban residents more than doubled in the last two decades to over 412 million and they currently account for 40% of Africa’s population, according to the United Nations Population Division. Within the next decade there will be more urban residents in Africa than in any other continent except Asia. And by 2035 the total number of those living in the continent’s growing cities is expected to double again to 870 million, at which point half of all Africans will live in urban areas.
The average level of access to potable water in the African cities is 91%, although the definition of access for Africa does not necessarily mean water piped directly to households or a 24-hour supply, and can include access to a communal tap, for example. Leakage rates are high, at 30%, although not as high as for the Latin American Index, at 35%.  The average for the Asian Index was 22%. It is unclear to what extent leakages or unaccounted-for water in informal settlements are taken into account in the African city data.  Addis Adaba loses 20% to leaks, versus the Index average of 30%.
Expenditures on air pollution abatement and mass transit factor into the index.

The Egyptian national government spent US$1.2 billion to improve air quality in Greater Cairo and the rest of the country between 2006 and 2010. ... In 2011 an agreement was signed with the Export-Import Bank of China for a US$270 million loan to double the capacity of the Kpong water treatment plant (on the Volta River, downstream of the Akosombo Dam) – an improvement that will increase the supply of piped water in Accra by 50%....  Tanzania’s minister for water recently announced a US$21 million effort to increase the supply of water to the city by 90% before 2015. The ministry says this will be achieved by rapidly improving sewage treatment, doubling the size of the pumping plants on rivers that supply Dar with water, and drilling large boreholes in and around the city.... The authorities in Johannesburg, thanks to funding from the Danish
Development Agency, have spent US$1.2 million installing solar water heaters in 700 low-cost homes in Cosmo City, a housing development... and the national Department of Water Affairs announced plans to install a US$25 million pump to divert acid mine water from the city’s water sources.... For the fiscal year ending June 30th, 2010 Nairobi’s annual environmental budget was about US$5.9 million, or roughly 5% of  the total annual city authority budget of US$107 million.... Under the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) waste-to-wealth program me, waste is treated not only as a problem but as a potential asset. As a result, currently around 10% of the city’s waste  is converted to other uses. Programs include recycling facilities that turn 30 tonnes a day of plastic and nylon waste into shopping bags, among other items. A paper waste processing plant recycles 10 tonnes of waste daily.  The effort has only just begun. The state government hopes to nearly triple the rate of waste conversion to 35% by 2015. It recently announced that it would be setting up 1,000 recycling banks around the city. 
[Metropolitan Cairo] is in the middle of a US$3.7 billion extension that will create two east-west lines to complement the existing ones that run broadly north-south.... The ministry of transport expects that when the second phase is complete within the next two years, the capacity of the whole metro system will rise from 2.5 million passengers daily to 4.5 million.... Tunis is investing US$2 billion in public transport network improvements.... Cape Town has invested US$5.8 billion over the last six years in developing a new bus rapid transit (BRT) network (see “green initiatives”).... In March 2008 bus rapid transit was introduced by the Lagos State government in conjunction with the private sector. This was promoted as an affordable, reliable  and safe means of travelling while significantly reducing congestion on the city’s roads. The buses, running in dedicated lanes, can reduce journey times by 30%. In 2010 there were 220 buses in operation. In its two  years of operation 120 million passengers have used the system, reducing carbon emissions by an estimated 13%....

... The series began in 2009 with the European Green City Index, which identified Copenhagen (Denmark) as the greenest metropolis. In 2010 this was followed by the Latin American Green City Index, where Curitiba (Brazil) came out on top. In 2011, Siemens published the Asian Green City Index with Singapore placing first....
On June 30, 2011 San Francisco grabbed the mantle of "greenest" major city in the U.S. and Canada Green City Index, with New York, Seattle, Denver and Boston rounding out the top five U.S. cities. The unique study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and commissioned by Siemens, assesses and compares 27 major U.S. and Canadian cities on environmental performance and policies across nine categories – CO2 emissions, energy, land use, buildings, transport, water, waste, air quality and environmental governance.

"The Green Cities Index demonstrates that America's cities are the driving force behind the nation's sustainability efforts," said Eric Spiegel, president and CEO, Siemens Corp. "Despite the fact that we do not have a federal climate policy in the United States—and no federal carbon standard—21 of the 27 cities in the index have already set their own carbon reduction targets. Cities are creating comprehensive sustainability plans, utilizing current technology and proving everyday that we don't have to wait to create a more sustainable future."

The study of U.S. and Canadian cities provided some important key findings. Notably, cities that performed best in the rankings are the ones that have comprehensive sustainability plans that encompass every aspect of creating a greener future including transportation, land use, energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, and water. And while there is a correlation between wealth and environmental performance, it is weaker in the U.S. and Canada than in Europe and Asia.

"City budgets are as tight as they have ever been, but mayors are leading the charge around making their cities more sustainable because they know they can't afford to push these decisions off until tomorrow," said Alison Taylor, Chief Sustainability Officer for the Americas, Siemens Corp. "Our goal with the Green City Index is to identify best practices, advance good ideas and provide a baseline for cities to help them set targets for themselves so that they can serve as role models for others with their innovative policies."

The scope of the U.S. and Canada Green City Index is unique. The nine categories are based on 31 individual indicators — 16 of which are quantitative (e.g. consumption of water and electricity per capita, recycling rate, and use of public transportation) and 15 qualitative (e.g. CO2 reduction targets, efficiency standards and incentives for buildings, and environmental governance). A key element of the study is the comparability of the results from each city — within the individual categories and in the overall evaluation. The study also includes in-depth city portraits that reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each urban center, while also highlighting initiatives and projects from which other cities can learn.

"Generally speaking, American cities fared well as compared to other global regions in the areas of air and waste policies as well as recycling and water infrastructure," said Tony Nash of the Economist Intelligence Unit. "While public transportation was well-supported and incentivized in a number of cities, it was clear that take up is limited outside of the most densely populated cities. CO2 emissions and electricity use are also notably higher in the U.S., but the evolving policy environment at local, state and national levels are opening up significant areas for improvement."

A panel of global experts in urban environmental sustainability advised the Economist Intelligence Unit in developing the methodology for the study. The 27 cities selected were chosen to represent a number of the most populous metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada. The list includes the top 20 U.S. combined statistical areas, and the top 5 Canadian census metropolitan areas. Expert panelists suggested the addition of Miami and Phoenix due to population and growth rates. Portland did not make the list based on the ranking criteria, but is highlighted in the report.  Addis Addaba has seen major Chinese funded investment in its city roads – an amount estimated at over US$1 billion by 2015. Traffic congestion has eased with the completion of the Chinese- backed Gotera Interchange on the city’s planned ring road. Additionally, plans are underway to build a light rail line, expected to transport 20,000 passengers a day,

Announced at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival, the U.S. and Canada Green City Index is the fifth study in the Green City Index series. Other indices in the series cover Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Germany.
More information can be found at: www.siemens.com/press/greencityindex
Siemens www.Siemens.com
Press Releases dated December 2, 2011 and June 30, 2011
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