Note: this article was originally published on Huffington Post.
As the historic 2016 Olympic Games draw to a close in Rio de Janeiro, we commend C40 Chair, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes not only for a successful world-class event, but also for investing in and developing legacy Olympic projects that will benefit the city and its inhabitants in the long-term.
Guided by the principle that the Olympics must serve the city, Mayor Paes leveraged the challenge of hosting the global competition—the first-ever held in South America—to instigate a transformation in sustainable transport and public space across the city as well as raise awareness about climate change during the opening ceremonies. Rio de Janeiro’s example provides lessons for future bidding and host cities among the C40 membership and beyond, particularly given the International Olympic Committee’s commitment to a sustainable future.
Mayor Paes’ accomplishments hosting the Olympic games aligns with his larger legacy as C40 Chair, a position he has held since 2013. Under his leadership, C40 has deepened its global engagement and now has a majority of member cities from Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The organization has created the C40 Finance Facility to provide cities within the C40 network with technical assistance and guidance to unlock up to $1 billion worth of financing for sustainable infrastructure projects. And C40 has also played a leading role in launching the Compact of Mayors, an effort that is creating a new global standard for urban emissions reporting and prompting ambitious climate commitments from cities worldwide.
Mayor Paes’ flagship initiatives such as the city’s bus rapid transit system, which is the most extensive in Latin America, and the creation of new urban spaces for pedestrians have done much to inspire the ambition, action and active collaboration among the world’s greatest cities. In his home city of Rio de Janeiro and on the global stage, he has shown both dedication and passion to building a sustainable future, and the lasting impact of his leadership will be felt for years to come.
A message of congratulations from:
- Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis
- Auckland Mayor Len Brown
- Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa
- Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez-Larreta
- Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille
- Copenhagen Lord Mayor Frank Jensen
- Dalian Mayor Xiao Shengfeng
- Heidelberg Mayor Eckart Würzner
- Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena
- Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle
- Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera
- Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo
- Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista
- Quito Mayor Mauricio Rodas
- Salvador Mayor Antônio Carlos Peixoto de Magalhães Neto
- Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike
- Tshwane Executive Mayor Councillor Solly Msimanga
- Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz
- Wuhan Mayor Wan Yong
- U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg