Belém, Brazil’s largest Amazonian city, to host COP30

During the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai, Brazil’s bid to host COP30 in 2025, to be held in Belém, the most populous municipality in the state of Pará, part of the eastern Amazon region, was approved by consensus.

In the face of the climate emergency, the Amazon has enormous relevance at a global level due to the size of its biome, but, situated in the Global South, also in all analyses of just transition. The region highlights the connection between the three conventions signed at the famous Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 1992: the Convention on Biodiversity, the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Desertification. The Amazon shows just how intertwined the conventions are in their challenges, but also in the synergistic solutions they encompass.

In another opportunity to lead the global agenda, Brazil will hold the G20 Presidency in 2024.

ICLEI’s history with Belém

Analyzing climate-related policies and instruments in Amazonian municipalities shows that they are improving their climate change mitigation and adaptation agendas. That’s why, since 2018, ICLEI South America has been increasingly active in the region, strengthening relations with local actors and government authorities. To this end, projects have been developed to learn about the challenges of urban dynamics in this territory and help devise solutions capable of promoting sustainable development while maintaining the country’s forest:

One of the first initiatives was the creation of the Forum of Pan-Amazonian Cities (FCPA), a space aimed at strengthening the representativeness and regional and international advocacy capacity of local governments in the Amazon region, promoting the exchange of experiences and decentralized regional cooperation, especially with regard to sustainable urban and territorial development initiatives. Belém has been the coordinator of the Forum since 2022, taking part in the face-to-face sessions and contributing to the discussions, bringing input mainly on the opportunities for action by local governments in the Amazon towards COP30.

Another important initiative was the “Amazonia for the Climate – Green Finance for Local Governments” project organized by ICLEI South America, the Institute for Climate and Society (iCS), the Sustainable Amazon Foundation and iCare. The partnership aimed to increase access to finance for local climate action in the Brazilian Legal Amazon region, contributing to the implementation of the Brazilian NDC and local and regional commitments.

  • Amazon for Climate Diagnostic: with an overview of the climate agenda in the Brazilian Legal Amazon region and a profile of each of the Amazon capitals, including Belém;
  • Training: sessions with representatives of local Amazonian governments to strengthen institutional capacities and structure bankable projects;
  • Mentoring: with guidance from experts, Belém structured a bankable climate project entitled “Environmental Protection Area – Murutucu Park”.

The importance of the Amazon biome and goals through 2050

The Amazon region is an essential ecosystem for the planet, as it is responsible for maintaining the local, regional and global climate. Brazil represents 60 per cent of the Amazon Basin, which encompasses more than half of the world’s remaining tropical rainforests and is home to the world’s greatest mega biodiversity.

In October 2023, Belém City Hall created the Municipal Climate Change Forum. Since then, the body has sought to encourage the adoption of policies aimed at protecting biodiversity and adapting to the effects of climate change. The Forum is made up of various municipal departments and federal and state bodies and meets every three months. Its functions include:

  • Assessing the impact of climate change on the municipality
  • Stimulating public debate on the issue
  • Supporting actions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda

Belém City Hall also launched a partial report of its 1st Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory at COP28 in Dubai. The document, developed with the support of the European Union, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM Americas) and ICLEI South America, collected information and comparative data on greenhouse gas emissions in the capital of Pará and should serve as the basis for a Municipal Plan to Combat Climate Change. The document was presented on the third day of COP28 during the panel “Belém Towards COP30: inclusion and popular participation” by Mayor Edmilson Rodrigues. Belém is the first Amazonian city to prepare such comprehensive material on greenhouse gas emissions. The City Council will officially launch the Inventory in January 2024, so that it can be made available to residents.

ICLEI projects for 2024 with Belém

In 2024, Belém and ICLEI South America will work together to develop the next stages of the Nature-Based Cities: Biodiversity and Climate Resilience on Urban Development project, which seeks to integrate the agendas of biodiversity conservation and climate action by strengthening the institutional and technical capacities of the City Council, developing studies and planning documents, sub-national co-operation, supporting the development of local policies and involving actors from different sectors in decision-making. Started in the second half of 2023, the project has already brought important results, such as the promotion of knowledge exchange between the Amazonian city and Colombian cities during the first ICLEI Colombia National Meeting, virtual training for officials/technicians from Belém and metropolitan municipalities, evaluation and recommendations on local policies related to climate and biodiversity management, and the promotion of a participatory workshop to understand residents’ perceptions of the territory’s main climate challenges. For next year, the expectation is to deliver the Analysis of Climate Risks and Vulnerabilities (ARVC) and the Map of Ecosystem Services for the municipality, as well as supporting the structuring of a project for the municipality to receive international funding.

Next year will also be crucial for Belém to consolidate its efforts to create the Amazon Cities Forum, which it chairs in partnership with ICLEI, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Secretariat for Institutional Relations of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO). The initiative was announced during the Amazon Summit in Belém in August 2023. On that occasion, cities from the Amazon countries presented the Belém Declaration, which establishes, in addition to the Forum, governance mechanisms for local governments within the ACTO, in order to increase the level of cooperation in the region and promote discussions that integrate the local perspective. In addition, Belém will have a great opportunity to present its advances in climate action during the ICLEI Brazil 2024 National Meeting, hosted by the municipality in April.

There will be two years of major events in Brazil, between the ICLEI World Congress in São Paulo in 2024 and COP30 in 2025 in Belém. These will be great opportunities to talk not only about the Amazon biome, but also about the systemic importance of all biomes, and the role of local governments in all climate compliance actions. We look forward to seeing all the world leaders on Brazilian soil.

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