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Gold Standard Sustainable Cities Framework

The Gold Standard Cities Programme is developing ground-breaking solutions that will unlock the finance needed by cities around the globe for low carbon development.

Urbanization and climate change will be defining issues of the 21st century. Half of the world’s population resides in cities and it is expected that by 2015, the world will have over 350 cities with more than one million inhabitants each.

Cities are already feeling the impacts of climate change and they will increasingly be susceptible to rising sea levels, inland flooding, frequent and stronger tropical cyclones, periods of increased heat and the spread of diseases. To mitigate climate change and to adapt to these impacts, it is estimated that by 2050 more than a trillion U.S. dollars in investment will be needed for cities but currently, less than 2% of climate finance is channeled into urban projects due to a lack of reliable monitoring, reporting and verification on project performance and outcomes. Further, the World Bank estimates that of the 500 largest cities in the developing world, only about 4 percent are credit worthy in international financial markets, making it next to impossible to access finance for low carbon development.

The Gold Standard Cities Programme is a ground-breaking results-based finance framework through which cities can develop, audit and verify urban programmes – in order to catalyse and scale up the currently missing investment.

Supported by WWF, initial work used suppressed demand methodologies to determine that slums in Delhi emit 6.1 million tons of CO2 annually which can be reduced to 2.8 million tons by the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Establishing this baseline for slum areas was not only cutting edge research but a critical pre-requisite for climate finance to flow. Without a baseline it is impossible to verify emission reductions – the whole premise of results based climate finance. Until now, this has been a key barrier to funding urban low carbon and pro-poor development through climate finance.

The results-based finance framework, developed initially for Delhi, has been designed to be replicated in cities around the world, giving investors confidence that they have a global benchmark with which they can measure urban low carbon and sustainable development outcomes.

Major cities in China, the Middle East and Turkey are in the process of joining The Gold Standard Cities Programme.

For more information about The Gold Standard’s work with sustainable cities, please visit:

New funding structures to deliver clean energy and development in cities

Financing cities of the future: Tools to scale up clean urban development

The Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance – to stimulate investment into low carbon and climate resistance urban infrastructure

Credit: The Gold Standard


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