Cities, regions and civil society urge nations to accelerate the transition towards low-carbon, resilient communities at COP21
On 2 July 2015, the World Summit Climate & Territories, held in Lyon, France, closed after two days of thematic workshops and plenary assemblies on a strong message: cities, regions, and their citizens are collectively engaged in making low-carbon resilient communities around the world.
Official outcomes of the Summit include; a general declaration, outcomes of 10 workshops and an estimated commitment of 1.5 billion tons of GHG emissions reduction by 2020 by cities and regions, around 75% of which voluntarily reported at the carbonn Climate Registry.
The Summit, organized by the Region Rhône-Alpes under the patronage of French President Francois Hollande was attended by over 800 representatives of non-party stakeholders from all major groups. Together they have cemented their message for COP21 in Paris at the end of the year: cities and regions around the world are ready and on track to meet the challenges of climate change and commit our societies to a low-carbon resilient path that will keep global temperatures under a 2°C increase.
The Summit has also shown that cities, local governments, business and civil society are now asking national governments to take responsibility and to act appropriately. "It's time for national governments to step up, listen to their citizens, and give them what they want", said David Cadman, Special Representative of the ICLEI Presidency in the closing plenary on non-party stakeholders’ commitments.
In his keynote address, President Hollande expressed support of the French government to facilitate enhanced access of local governments to global finance.
Ronan Dantec, UCLG Spokesperson and French Senator, underlined the importance of the efforts under the Local Government Climate Roadmap and referred to the position paper presented by himself and Michel Delbarre to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2013 which included to convene such a summit amongst other proposals.
Christiana Figueres, Secretary Executive of the UNFCCC, added: “we are not pitting local governments against national governments, we are not pitting the global South against the Global North”. Instead, the WSCT showed that while local governments are on track, the question now is to ensure that nation states can helps them because, as Figueres said, “we are not going back”.
Highlights of the plenary on non-party stakeholders’ commitments included presentations from ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin, together with President Mohamed Ibrahim of the Timbuktu Region, on the outcomes of the Adaptation Workshop, co-organized by ICLEI, Green Cross, and the International Chamber of Commerce. Member cities of ICLEI also made significant contributions:
- Mayor George Ferguson of Bristol, UK – the European Green Capital 2015 – presented the latest data from the carbonn Climate Registry, which currently supports 12 global initiatives and commitments from over 500 cities, who together have committed to approximately 1 billion tons of CO2 emission reductions. Mayor Ferguson in his speech invited cities to bridge the gap between ambition and action by using the cCR for data-supported advocacy.
- Vice Mayor Tikender Singh Panwar of Shimla, India presented the Compact of Mayors. Shimla has committed to the Compact, along with Vancouver, Bristol, and Copenhagen. Through the Compact, ICLEI is working with partners UCLG and C40 to help cities reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change and track and report.
- Mayor Morten Kabell of Copenhagen, Denmark announced the commitment of the city to become the world’s first carbon neutral capital of the world.
- Vice Mayor Raymond Louie of Vancouver, Canada presented the ambition of the City of Vancouver to become carbon neutral.progress publicly.
Finally, three Urban-LEDS cities – Fortaleza, Kwadukuza and Shimla – were also in attendance to bear witness to the ambitions of cities in emerging economies to lead by example.
Members of the ICLEI Global Executive Committee and Regional Exectuive Committees attending WSCT includedGustavo Petro, Mayor of Bogotá, (Colombia); David Cadman, Special Representative of the ICLEI Presidency; Pam O’Connor, Vice Mayor of Santa Monica City (USA); and Hilmy Mohamed, Mayor of Matale (Sri Lanka).
Speakers from ICLEI member cities included: George Ferguson (Bristol), Khalifa Ababacar Sall (Dakar), Morten Kabell (Copenhagen), Tikender Singh Panwar (Shimla), Raymond Louie (Vancouver), Tine Heys (Ghent), Wiert-Jan de Raaf (Rotterdam), Johanna Rolland (Nantes), Esther Alder (Geneva), Patricia Macêdo (Fortalezza),Ricardo Mthembu (KwaDukuza).
We thank and congratulate all major groups attending the World Summit Climate & Territories, along with the organizers, the Region Rhône Alpes, for the opportunity to state our ambitions and send the message that cities and local governments will continue act on climate change.