The 26th, and arguably one of the most pivotal, Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate begins in Glasgow. Whatever the outcomes agreed upon during the climate negotiations, one thing is clear: they will directly impact cities and regions. That’s why the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency (LGMA), the official representative of local and regional governments at the processes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since the first Conference of Parties (COP) in 1995, has been working to shape discussions.
To this end, it’s bringing five inputs to COP to ensure subnational governments’ climate action plans are recognized and supported at the international and national level.
The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPGCA) is a mechanism developed during the 22nd climate COP in Marrakech. It facilitates collaboration on global climate action, across different governmental levels and sectors, to aid implementation of the Paris Agreement. The MPGCA Human Settlements Climate Action pathway builds on this by setting out a clear vision of how climate action in the built environment can foster just, socially equitable and low-carbon human settlements by 2050.
The Pathway focuses on addressing whole-life carbon mitigation and adaptation, which includes the indirect emissions emitted during sourcing, manufacturing and waste management as well as those emitted through consumption. This gives a more accurate picture of which sectors require immediate attention. It is estimated that 45% of global emissions result from how we produce food and products, meaning there is substantial scope for reductions through the adoption of 1.5° living, zero-waste cities and smart waste management. These aspects and how cities can lead the circular transition will be discussed during the MPGCA Cities, Regions and Built Environment Action Event Building places for people to thrive in a zero-carbon, resilient future (11 Nov.).
The outcomes of COP25 in Madrid were less ambitious than expected. Success at COP26 depends heavily on the reformulation and significant advancement of the NDCs by all nations, with collaboration across governance levels, from local to national. In acknowledgement of this, the LGMA launched the Roadmap to Glasgow in 2019. Starting out as seven pathways, the roadmap has since then streamlined into four focus areas for Glasgow and beyond.
I. Multilevel Action as the new normal for phase II of the Paris Agreement
II. Urbanization as a priority for climate action and finance
III. Just Climate Action for all through 2030 to 2050
IV. Robust LGMA engagement across all UNFCCC processes
The Multilevel Action Pavilion in the Blue Zone at COP26 will be the testing grounds to see if ambition is higher this year, and whether it will be successfully translated into action.
Cities and regions are already acting in the climate emergency from their unique position at its forefront. However, to achieve the drastic transformations the urgency of the climate reality requires, they need support not only from their fellow subnational actors and citizens, but also from national governments and the intergovernmental community. A product of the active debates at the Daring Cities 2021 urban forum, the Call for Transformation, demands national governments and the intergovernmental community do three things: declare and support nationwide climate emergencies, embrace multilevel governance and implementation as the new normal and ensure finance is directed to sustainable urbanisation.
Cities are growing. Harmful climate impacts are intensifying. Ever more people are forced to flee their homes due to a changing climate. In the last decade alone more than 215 million people have experienced climate-induced forced migration. This cannot continue. The Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) joined forces with the Mayors Migration Council (MMC), city networks, the OECD and a host of international organizations to identify how leaders can address climate-forced displacement. Together, they have produced a Call to Action that unites the voices of mayors on this urgent issue and makes that voice heard at COP26. The Call to Action on Climate Change, Cities and Forced Migration: Advancing Knowledge, Action and Collaboration. This vital Call is a living document and mayors, city network representatives as well as NGOs and INGOs are invited to sign it and support this important process.
Co-developed through a working alliance of 200 international, national and subnational networks, governments and cultural organizations and prepared by the Climate Heritage Network, the Accelerating Climate Action through the Power of Arts, Culture and Heritage Manifesto has a clear aim. Recognizing the detrimental effects anthropogenic climate changes have on people, culture and cultural heritage, the manifesto advocates for climate action that fosters thriving, resilient communities and cultures, and that centers equity and justice in synergy with biodiversity and carbon goals. Its growing number of signees pays tribute to growing calls for holistic climate action that accounts for social, cultural aspects as well as economic and ecological ones.
Follow the developments and stay up to date with the progress by joining the Pavilion.