Cities and regions from five continents representing almost one-fifth of the worldâs population came together today to launch a five-year vision that will raise their action to respond to climate change and ensure sustainable future living environments for their people.
Following the summit of local leaders on December 4th under the Paris Declaration, the Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) Focus on Cities will highlight the unprecedented level of sub-national government climate action and the wide mobilization of all actors who are joining forces to achieve large-scale transformation across wide territories.
Cities and regions are at the heart of their countriesâ economic development and generate a large share of global GDP. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says urban areas are responsible for up to 49% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Cities and regions are also in the frontline of global efforts to protect citizens from the impacts of climate change.
Meeting the internationally agreed goal to keep the global average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius therefore requires a deep transformation of local economic development models.
The world faces the greatest wave of urbanization in its history with 60% of the global population expected to live in urban areas by 2030 and 70% by 2050. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity â to lock new urban expansion into a new development model towards climate-resilient and low-carbon societies at large scale, leap frogging the old patterns of urban life for a growing population.
Main announcements of the day included:
A Five-Year Vision to be launched around 4 objectives mobilizing all actors
â¢ Increasing the number of cities and regions deciding to implement an Action Plan and climate objectives;
â¢ Building resilience in the greatest number of cities and regions, with particular attention to vulnerable populations;
â¢ Improving project preparation and climate planning to ensure increased financial flows to the territories, but also accelerate the deployment of innovative economic and financial tools;
â¢ Supporting multi-partnership initiatives between different levels of governance (State- local governments, decentralized cooperation, etc.).
Rising climate commitments from local and subnational governments representing 17% of the world population
Local authorities involvement within the climate Action Agenda is increasing fast and reaching all continents: 2,255 cities and 150 regions are already registered on the NAZCA climate commitments platform, representing 17% of the world population (1.25 billion inhabitants). Various transformative initiatives are in support of this dynamic:
â¢ The Covenant of Mayors gathering 6300 municipalities signatories and representing 208 million of people. In addition to an increase in European membership, the initiative added new targets within the European Union (-40% of GHG emissions in 2030), decided to go global and support subnational governments in the five continents, incorporated resilience in their Action Plan on climate change.
â¢ The Compact of Mayors, launched during the New York Summit, is now guiding 360 cities on the identification and implementation of climate objectives, the production of GHG inventories, targets and compliance;
â¢ The Compact of States and Regions, also launched in New York, gathers today 44 members from 18 countries;
â¢ The Under2MOU initiative involves 57 subnational jurisdictions to reducing their emissions from 80 to 95% below 1990 levels by 2050 or achieving per capita annual emission target of less than 2 metric tons by 2050;
â¢ The Carbon neutral cities alliance, facilitate collaborations between 17 major cities to achieve at least 80% of GHG reductions by 2050 compared to 2000.
Wide mobilization to enhance resilience at territorial and local level
This involves the implementation of adaptation plans at local levels, initiatives to protect the most vulnerable, plus financing and monitoring these commitments:
â¢ Launched in 2014, the adaptation part of the Covenant of Mayors (Mayors adapt), now brings together 141 Cities committed to implement adaptation plans and regularly report on their implementation;
â¢ The first ever international initiative to promote Adaptation plans at the regions level (“Regions adapt”);
â¢ The launch of a joint program on resilient cities through Cities alliance aiming to strengthen resilience to climate change within the most vulnerable populations (partners: Cities Alliance, UNEP, UN-Habitat, C40, ICLEI, PFVT, NGOs such as Slum dwellers international). The goal of this alliance is to develop 100 Resilience Action Plans by 2020;
â¢ The 100 resilient Cities of the Rockefeller Foundation, launched in New York supports financially and technically already 67 local governments;
â¢ The launch of the C40 and a multi-stakeholder platform with Medellin collaboration on a risk assessment program and monitoring commitments (CRAFT initiative).
International community organized to finance cities and regions at scale
Launched in September 2014, the Cities Climate Leadership Alliance Finance (CCFLA), brings together a growing number of partners. The Secretariat of this structure was announced at COP21 (UNEP, FMDV, R20).
â¢ The European Commission has announced a 60 million euro funding to support the development Climate Action Plans at the territorial level in developing countries;
â¢ Various initiatives to support project preparation, with the French Development Agency (AFD) committed to prepare co-benefits climate projects in 100 cities and the Inter-American Development Bank and GIZ launching a facility, together with C40;
â¢ The launch of various innovative tools aiming to enhance access of cities to financing, such as a coalition for urban green bonds with 6-10 pilot projects and launch of a local finance lab.
Local and national governments join forces worldwide to accelerate the transformation
â¢ The US-China Agreement gathering a joint action on climate change of 18 cities from US and 11 cities from China; a number of these cities in the Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities commit to meet or exceed Chinaâs goal of peaking emissions by 2030;
â¢ The work undertaken jointly by the WAEMU and the local governments networks of West Africa to facilitate the emergence of urban finance facilities;
â¢ An acceleration of concerted strategies at the level of State and local governments (e.g. in India, the solar plan draws on the experience of regions and in France the positive energy at the local level);
â¢ The launch of a platform on the theme South-South cooperation of cities financed by China and hosted by the UNSG.
To further accelerate this action, the United Nations is announcing a wide mobilization of their agencies and the creation of an urban hub involving UNEP, UNDP, UN-Habitat, WHO and UNIDO). Also, this wide and inclusive multi-stakeholder partnership will be continued throughout 2016 to finalize a fully fledge action plan by COP22.