3 Days to Lima: UN Technical Papers Open New Frontiers for Local and Subnational Action

Food for decisions in Lima to scale-up actions towards and beyond Paris

Ahead of the UN Lima Climate Change Conference (COP20/CMP10), the UNFCCC Secretariat has released a comprehensive Technical Paper (TP), together with four addendums on land-use, urban environment, carbon capture use and storage, and non-CO2 gases.

The documents summarize over two years of intensive and rich dialogue and interactions through the Technical Expert Meetings (TEM) of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), under the guidance of the ADP Co-Chairs, with the engagement of all Parties and stakeholders and the technical support provided by the UNFCCC Secretariat.

The documents take stock of existing data, initiatives and processes, and also provide valuable guidance on possible key policy options to catalyze actions to raise ambitions that can be, hopefully, reflected as appropriate, in the decisions by Parties in Lima.

ICLEI in the TP

In terms of the urban environment, the TP and its addendum provides all of the latest scientific data and examples of numerous initiatives from many stakeholders at all levels worldwide – including those by members of ICLEI, from Fortalezza to Malmö, Suwon to Cape Town, Buenos Aires to Wellington, Edmonton to Surabaya, Tokyo to Dar Es Salaam, and many others.

The Compact of Mayors – a global collaboration led by C40, ICLEI and UCLG – is spotlighted in box.1 on page 8 of the TP as one of the most distinguished initiatives launched at the Climate Summit 2014, hosted by the UN Secretary-General in New York, USA on 23 September 2014.

On page 10, in paragraph.23 of the addendum, the Local Government Climate Roadmap is prominently highlighted as the global collaboration in climate advocacy, together with the carbonn Climate Registry, which is the world´s leading climate reporting platform of local and subnational governments. Some 500 reporting entities worldwide, serving more than 12% of the world´s urban population, provide information to the platform.

Next steps

In terms of next steps, paragraphs 156-164 of the TP present a wide range of innovative ideas to enhance the visibility, transparency, accountability and effective vertical integration of ambitious climate action around the world and at all levels. Specifically, paragraph 164 notes that discussions by Parties generate numerous suggestions, including the establishment of a formal work program that encourages national governments to work closely with local and subnational governments to achieve mitigation objectives.

We expect that these proposals will play a particular role in the upcoming negotiations in Lima, where the current draft text by ADP Co-Chairs, in paragraph 37.a. and 37.b., recommends that Parties further incentivize  climate action by establishing regulatory frameworks and financial mechanisms. In return, local and subnational governments will be encouraged to scale-up their actions and ambitions.

All of these ideas constitute a positive response from the global climate community to the proposals of local and subnational governments that were formulated in the 2013 Nantes Declaration of Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change. This established the vision of the Local Government Climate Roadmap up to Paris 2015.

Throughout this period, which in fact dates back to 2007 in Bali, ICLEI has been proud and happy to provide active contributions as an observer, as well as in its capacity as the focal point of the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency, and as facilitator of the Local Government Climate Roadmap.

From the first submission to the ADP on 28 February 2012, to the Oral Report at the ADP2.6 StockTaking Meeting on 23 October 2014, which we attended in our capacity as one of the lead international organizations supporting the follow-up of the ADP TEM on Urban Environment, ICLEI has welcomed this valuable experience. We have also appreciated the spirit of collaboration, partnership, innovation and ambition demonstrated by all Parties, ADP Co-Chairs, stakeholders and the UNFCCC Secretariat at every milestone.

My take away from this period is: if there is a will, there is a way, in particular when it comes to uniting for advancing on low-carbon, low-emissions, climate-resilient development. Lima should be the place to build on this spirit of cooperation, allowing all like-minded partners to advance towards this global goal.