Cape Town is once again bestowed with an award – Global Earth Hour Capital 2014! Organised by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, the Earth Hour City Challenge attracted 160 cities from 14 countries, and Cape Town was recognised for its ambition and pioneering actions to combat climate change in its effort to bolster quality of life for its citizens.

The judges found that Cape Town stood out as a role model for the global South with a showcase of green programmes and actions other cities can replicate. Cape Town also demonstrates how city strategies to reduce carbon development and battle climate change can also help tackle other development priorities such as food, energy and water security.

Cape Town’s Mayor Patricia de Lille said: ‘Taking the baton from Vancouver as WWF’s Global Earth Hour Capital 2014 is an exceptional honour for Cape Town and is international endorsement of our comprehensive efforts around sustainability. We are overjoyed that Cape Town has been selected from among so many great cities striving to create attractive, smart cities while tackling a multitude of urgent environmental and social challenges.’

The selection panel also included Gino Van Begin, Secretary-General of the global cities network ICLEI, Special Envoy for Cities and Climate change, Michael R. Bloomberg and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), who jointly said:

‘Cape Town is a worthy winner of the Earth Hour Capital 2014 prize and is especially notable for being the first city from the south to receive this prestigious award. This achievement clearly demonstrates the important contribution emerging economies can make in the fight against climate change.

2014 is a critical year for climate action, as nations work towards reaching a new global climate agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2015. The leadership of cities like Cape Town will play a pivotal role in helping us reach a meaningful agreement, by encouraging national governments to create more ambitious plans for reducing emissions. The city and its leaders deserve congratulation for their great work.’

Read more from the WWF’s press release.