Recognition of local government is key to global climate deal success

by Search Gate staff. Published Tue 09 Dec 2014 11:03
Global efforts to tackle climate change should include the local level
Global efforts to tackle climate change should include the local level

Europe’s Committee of the Regions and Climate Alliance have joined forces to call on world leaders to formally recognise the role of local government in their global strategy on climate change.

The message came during a conference co-organised by the Committee – the EU's assembly of local and regional authorities – and Climate Alliance held in Lima where negotiators are thrashing out the detail of a climate change agreement ahead of the major talks in Paris next year.

Representing the Committee, Annabelle Jaeger (PES/FR) cited a UNDP report which points out how the world's local and regional governments were responsible for 70% of climate mitigation and 90% of adaptation measures. She said, " If we are all to shoulder the burden, if we are to agree that it is only through cooperation can we make the shift towards a low-carbon global economy, it is time to formally recognise local governments as partners who must help shape the global strategy on climate change".

In this regard the Committee is calling on the UN and world leaders to formally include a clear reference to the role of local governments in the final climate change text. Ms Jaeger, member of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regional Council, said: "The time has now come for the UN and all negotiating partners to formally recognise local governments as partners in our shared fight against climate change. We demand that cities and regions be formally considered as governmental organisations and call for a new governance process whereby they are not simply given observer status, but participate in the formal negotiations.”

During the conference, speakers underlined the importance of ensuring coherence between EU policies focused on emissions' reductions and the efforts to adapt to inevitable climate change. Speakers also shared local experiences and best practises in mitigating climate change in Europe.

The example of the Covenant of Mayors - whereby over 6000 local and regional authorities have agreed to meet and exceed the EU's 20% CO2 reduction objectives by 2020 – was presented as an example of the level of ambition and efforts taken by Europe's local and regional authorities.

“The Covenant of Mayors has become a reference for multi-level governance in Europe. It is based on a set of principles such as long term commitment, citizens’ involvement, and ambitious and integrated climate action. The Covenant of Mayors could serve as a model also for the other continents and be a start of a global movement” said Mercè Rius I Serra, Deputy President for Environment, Province of Barcelona and a member of Climate Alliance.




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