To ensure transformation of the Urban World towards sustainability:
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Global Climate Advocacy of Local and Subnational Governments
By 2030, two thirds of humanity will live in urban centres, where more than 75% of all energy is already consumed today. In addition, all cities, especially those fast-growing in developing countries are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Thus, local and subnational governments play a critical role in global efforts related to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adaptation to adverse effects of climate change.
As neither the UNFCCC nor the Kyoto Protocol includes any reference to the role of cities and local governments, the Local Government Climate Roadmap was launched in 2007 in Bali as a response to the Bali Action Plan, with a view to ensure recognition, engagement and empowerment of local and subnational governments in the new global climate regime.
The Local Government Climate Roadmap reached a milestone achievement in 2010 with the adoption of the Cancun Agreements (Dec.1/CP16) in which para.7 recognizes local and subnational governments as governmental stakeholders. Between 2009 and 2012, local government networks further developed innovative global mechanisms to enhance measureable, reportable, verifiable (MRV) local climate action, such as the Global Cities Covenant on Climate Change – the Mexico City Pact, Durban Adaptation Charter, carbonn Climate Registry (cCCR) and Global Protocol for Community Scale GHG Emissions (GPC).
The role of local and subnational governments are further recognized and strengthened in a number of global processes outside the UNFCCC, including; biodiversity (e.g. COP decisions in 2008, 2010 and 2012, as well as the Nagoya Plan of Action), sustainable development (e.g. para.42 and numerous references in Rio+20 Outcome document ”The Future We Want”, Goal.11 – Making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable within universal set of sustainable development goals), disaster risk reduction (e.g. Hyogo Framework for Action, and UN-ISDR “Making My Cities Resilient Campaign”).
The launch of Covenant of Mayors in Europe in 2007, urban carbon neutrality goals like Copenhagen, low carbon city pilot programmes in China or Mexico, city or state level emissions trading schemes, like in Tokyo, California, Quebec, multilateral partnerships, including Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS GP) can be considered as leading examples of innovative partnerships and initiatives that enhances local action with subnational, national, regional and global partners.
In 2011, the UN Durban Climate Conference kicked off a new round of negotiations (ADP) to agree on a new global climate regime that is aimed to be adopted by 2015 and enter into force in 2020. Workstream-2 of ADP process focuses on raising the level of ambition in the pre-2020 period, giving an opportunity for stronger engagement of local and subnational governments.
In order to ensure tangible results in the ADP process, second phase of Local Government Climate Roadmap was launched through the Nantes Declaration of Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change adopted in September 2013. Active participation at ADP workshops in 2012 and 2013 enabled an enhanced dialogue with national governments, which further led to the establishment of a “Friends of Cities” Group as well.
In 2013, through the ADP Workshop on urbanization and historic “Cities Day” including COP Presidency Cities and Subnational Dialogue, UN Warsaw Climate Conference resulted with para.5b of Dec1/CP19 as the second COP Decision, which this time engages cities and subnational authorities in raising global level of ambition.
In 2014, the ADP Cities and Subnational Forum and Technical Expert Meeting on Urban Environment created a new opportunity to contribute in the Paris2015 Outcome. At the Climate Summit 2014, the Compact of Mayors was launched as an unprecedented initiative which designated the carbonn Climate Registry as its central repository, which as of October 2014, captures climate information of local and subnational governments that serve more than 12% of world´s urban population.
There is a well-recognised inter-connectivity between biodiversity conservation, poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Humankind and all other forms of life directly depend on biodiversity for their very existence. Our rich biodiversity forms an ecological treasure chest used by humankind for agricultural, medicinal, horticultural, structural, spiritual and many other purposes.
Cities take up only about 2% of the world’s land area, yet they consume 75% of all resources, and therefore utilise far more resources than those contained within their boundaries. This highlights the critical role that local governments play in the management and conservation of biodiversity in the urban context. Local governments are in the front-line for managing urban biodiversity, and can have a significant impact on conserving and managing the world’s biodiversity in a sustainable manner.
The Rio+20 Conference reaffirmed that Sustainable Consumption and Production is a cornerstone of sustainable development. The well-being of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. These challenges are mounting as the world population is forecast to reach 9 billion by 2050, with one billion people to be lifted out of absolute poverty and an additional 1 to 3 billion middle class consumers joining the global economy by 2030. The most promising strategy for ensuring future prosperity lies in decoupling economic growth from the rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur in both consumption and production stages of product life cycles.
Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is about “the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of further generations”. SCP is about doing more and better with less. SCP is about increasing resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles. It offers important contributions for poverty alleviation and the transition towards low-carbon and green economies. It requires building cooperation among different stakeholders as well as across sectors in all countries.
The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will be held from 14 to 18 March 2015 in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. Several thousand participants are expected, including at related events linked to the World Conference under the umbrella of building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.
The United Nations General Assembly Resolution for 2013 on International Strategy for Disaster Reduction states that the World Conference will result in a concise, focused, forward-looking, and action-oriented outcome document and will have the following objectives:
The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and its preparatory process welcome the participation and contributions of all relevant stakeholders, including parliaments, civil society, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, non-governmental organizations, national platforms for disaster risk reduction, focal points for the Hyogo Framework for Action, local government representatives, scientific institutions and the private sector, as well as organizations of the United Nations system and intergovernmental organizations.
ICLEI acts as the Organizing Partner of the Local Authorities Major Group together with UCLG at the WCDRR process. ICLEI is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign.
2nd Preparatory Committee, 17-18 November 2014
1st Preparatory Committee, 15-16 July 2014
Local government driven initiatives
The High-level Political Forum on sustainable development is the main United Nations platform dealing with sustainable development. It provides political leadership and guidance; follows up and review progress in implementing sustainable development commitments and addresses new and emerging sustainable development challenges; enhances the integration of economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
The High-level Political Forum meets:
The Forum adopts negotiated declarations. It replaces the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).
ICLEI contribution to the ECOSOC Integrated Segment
Habitat III is the third global conference of nations focusing on urbanization, cities and human settlements, building up on the previous conferences held in 1976 in Vancouver, Canada and 1996 in Istanbul, Turkey.
HABITAT III is expected to play a definitive role in the global trends for sustainable urban development in the next couple of decades by creating an immediate link from the global sustainability agenda to the local level, taking into account conclusions of key intergovernmental processes on sustainability in 2015, including climate change, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development goals.
ICLEI will be involved in the preparations of the HABITATIII as an accredited observer organization with Special Consultative Status to ECOSOC,
"We urge national governments to ensure synergies with other multilateral processes including the Sustainable Development Goals negotiations and high level political forum, the Hyogo Framework for Action on Disaster Risk Reduction Phase-2-2015, HABITATIII – 2016, and the Nagoya 10-Year Plan of Action for Biodiversity."
para.5 of 2013 Nantes Declaration of Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change
A milestone for global efforts on sustainability was reached at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in June 2012.
The outcome document, “The Future We Want”, defined a new era of policy, implementation and collaboration, in particular by initiating a number of processes. These included:
“The Future We Want” document constitutes an unprecedented recognition of the role of local and subnational governments in global efforts on sustainability, including paragraph 42 and many others focusing on sustainable cities and human settlements.
As of October 2014, almost two-and-a-half years after the Conference, significant progress has been made on many of the issues listed in “The Future We Want”, including:
2015 will be a crucial year for the finalization of many of these processes, and for their convergence with a number of parallel processes, including:
Local and subnational governments have the responsibility, capacity and mandate to contribute to the development of this new agenda. At the same time, they must be prepared for the new political, economic and institutional challenges that will impact their daily work.
As the longest-standing local government network involved in these processes, ICLEI will continue to participate in these processes either as an accredited observer, as a partner or as the representative of local and subnational governments. ICLEI will also serve as the leader or co-organizer of global advocacy initiatives, uniting networks and partners in a collective effort to achieve sustainability.