Catalyzing multilevel climate action: CHAMP endorsers strategize together at Daring Cities roundtable

“The climate crisis is global. But the work to address it is global, national, regional and local” – Axel Schmidt Grael, Mayor of Niterói, Brazil and Chair of the ICLEI Climate Action Support Portfolio, during the CHAMP endorser roundtable on 4 June, under the umbrella of Daring Cities Bonn Dialogues 2024.

On 4 June, during the Daring Cities 2024 Bonn Dialogues, key stakeholders gathered for a roundtable to discuss the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships (CHAMP) for Climate Action. This closed meeting, convened by the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency, provided a platform for endorsers of the CHAMP initiative to share progress and strategize on fulfilling their commitments ahead of COP30 and the 2025 deadline for submitting revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The words of Mayor Grael summarize well not just the roundtable’s discussions around CHAMP for Climate Action, but also the twenty years advocacy of the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency.

The power of multilevel collaboration

Representing the voice of cities, towns and regions in UNFCCC processes since COP1 in 1995, the LGMA Constituency has been representing local and regional governments advocating for multilevel climate action. CHAMP, on the other hand, has been spearheaded by the COP28 Presidency in Dubai and supported by 72 endorsers. CHAMP aims to enhance cooperation between national and subnational governments, for instance by consulting with subnational governments, creating inclusive processes for NDC enhancement, and prioritizing subnational projects in climate-related investments.

The roundtable aimed to review the progress of CHAMP implementation since COP28 and plan the way forward, particularly through partnerships between national and subnational governments.

According to Dirk Meyer, Director of Department Multilateral Development Policy, Transformation, Climate at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), “engaging municipalities to design the NDCs is a recent undertaking. Such a process needs guidance and support: That’s where the CHAMP initiative comes in, as a guide and framework. CHAMP has the potential to be an effective initiative to accelerate climate action and help achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Katja Dörner, Mayor of Bonn, Germany and co-host of Daring Cities underscored the importance of immediate action and continuous improvement in multilevel collaboration, reaffirming her support for the CHAMP initiative and offering Daring Cities as a strategic checkpoint between COPs to evaluate and enhance these efforts: “We are half time between COPs and NOW is the time to bring CHAMP to life in our respective cities and nations. As we are working towards 2030 and – much closer – towards the next generation of NDCs to be turned in before COP 30 in Belem – I believe we can use Daring Cities as our annual summer pit stop between COPs. As co-hosts, ICLEI and Bonn are ready and happy to offer a safe space to systemize, strategize and continually improve the ways we engage in multilevel collaboration.”

Among the 72 CHAMP Endorsers, 20 countries confirmed their in-person or remote participation at the event with active interventions by the representatives, including Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Elmar Mammadow, the Azeri COP29 Presidency, the countries of Canada, Colombia, Panama, and Rwanda, as well as Dane McQueen, Director, Programs and Partnerships for COP28 Presidency and Gregor Robertson, Special Envoy for Cities in CHAMP and Global Ambassador for the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM). Further remarks were also shared by representatives of the NDC Partnership and UN-Habitat, while the inputs on behalf of LGMA Constituency were delivered by Axel Grael, Mayor of Niterói, Brazil; Chair of the ICLEI Climate Action Support Portfolio; and Vice President of Frente Nacional de Prefeitas e Prefeitos (FNP) open) Georges Youssef, Mayor of Menjez, Lebanon   GCoM Board member, Champa Patel as Under

Yunus Arikan as LGMA Focal Point concluded the meeting with celebratory words “Since the very first COP in 1995, we’ve been asking for collaborative dialogue and action among all levels of governments which secured effective and appropriate engagement of local and other subnational governments to be included. Today, this is music to our ears.”

While the CHAMP endorser roundtable at Daring Cities 2024 showcased the collective determination of national and subnational governments to collaborate on ambitious climate actions, the 2025 NDC deadline approaches fast. Alongside commitments and progress remains the need for inclusive processes, robust frameworks, and continued support for local initiatives. But it is only by leveraging the strengths of both national and subnational entities that climate action can truly take off and set the stage for a truly sustainable future.

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