Urban Environmental Accords available for online review and comment

SAN FRANCISCO – (March 28, 2005) Mayors from the largest cities in the world will gather in San Francisco for United Nations World Environment Day, June 1-5 2005, to fashion a set of environmental agreements that will be implemented by delegate cities.

These agreements, called the Urban Environmental Accords, lay out twenty-one practical actions each city can take to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, or the health of the planet. The Accords cover energy, waste reduction, urban design, urban nature, transportation, environmental health, and water. The majority of the world's people now live in cities, and urban populations consume 75 percent of the world's natural resources.

World Environment Day organizers are seeking public comment on the Accords, which are available at the World Environment Day website, www.wed2005.org, as well as at www.urbanaccords.org. The accords can be edited on-line through "wiki" technology, a first for international agreements.

"The Urban Environmental Accords represent an innovative response to the fact that we now live on an urban planet," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. "We need to develop real solutions to urban environmental challenges," Mayor Newsom added, "and Internet technology will allow everyone a chance to contribute."

Those slated to attend the conference include UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and mayors from London, Kabul, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Rome, and Istanbul.

"Municipal governments have the power to shape the future of the world's environment," said Jared Blumenfeld, director of San Francisco's Environment Department, "and individuals have the opportunity to help shape this future by commenting on the Accords through the website urbanaccords.org. With the majority of the earth's population living in cities, decisions made at World Environment Day will have far-reaching effect."

Beyond the official calendar of the conference, Newsom noted that more than 150 community activities are scheduled around World Environment Day. The activities range from special organic menu selections at Bay Area restaurants to a display of artwork made from recycled material. In addition, there will be a Green Cities Expo with booths and exhibits at Fort Mason June 3-4-5. The Accords will be signed on June 5, 2005.


Gloria Chan, 415-355-3733