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Addis Ababa was honored for its new light-rail network, the first light-rail transit line in sub-Saharan Africa. The USD 474 million system can carry 60,000 passengers an hour, has provided more than 6,000 jobs and is on track to reduce emissions by 1.8 million metric tons by 2030.

The C40 Cities Awards recognizes the world’s most inspiring and innovative cities tackling climate change. Sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies and BYD, the C40 Cities Awards ceremony was held during the C40 Mayors Summit, where more than 40 mayors from around the world gathered to create sustainable and livable cities for citizens.

“The C40 Cities Awards recognizes the best and boldest work being done by mayors to fight climate change and protect people from risks,” said C40 President of the Board and U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg. “The winning projects show that great progress is being made on every continent, and they serve as an inspiration to other cities. They also show how cities can help the world meet the ambitious goals set a year ago in Paris.”

Seoul, South Korea, received C40’s first award for social equity for its Energy Welfare Public Private Partnership, which financed energy retrofits for low-income families, helping them reduce energy consumption and save money. The program aided 1,295 households in 2015, and is on track to help more than 1,000 more households by the end of 2016.

Portland, Oregon, the only U.S. city to receive an award, was recognized for its ambitious 2015 Climate Action Plan, a blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. Under the plan, the number of residents traveling primarily by public transit, bikes or walking is expected to rise 50 percent, and the number of electric vehicles is set to increase to 8,000. The CAP also aims to reduce energy use in existing buildings by 1.7 percent per year, which would result in a GHG reduction of 280,000 metric tons in 2020.

An expert jury panel comprised of former mayors, climate experts and others selected ten winning urban sustainability projects based on excellence in urban planning and dedication to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving resiliency. The selected cities exemplified the best policies, projects and programmes globally, and for the first time included a category recognizing social equity.