(l-r) ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin, Mayor George Heartwell of Grand Rapids, USA, Mayor Gustavo Petro of Bogota, Colombia, Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines, USA, City Manager Penny Ballem of Vancouver, Canada, Mayor Geraldo Julio of Recife, Brazil, Deputy Mayor Angelica Kappel of Bonn, Germany, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, ICLEI President David Cadman, Mayor Tunc Soyer of Seferihisar, Turkey, and Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduagdhan of Delta State, Nigeria.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon emphasizes the central role cities play in transitioning to low carbon development

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres reiterates that cities and local governments are absolutely essential in the fight against climate change

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon with ICLEI President David Cadman. Cadman also spoke at the closing plenary of the Cities Day COP 19 Presidency dialogue on cities and subnational governments, urging governments to work together with cities

ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin welcomed the outcomes of the Warsaw Conference but cautioned that we still have a long way to go.

ICLEI Mayors discussed multi-level action and showcased inspiring examples of groundbreaking climate action and high levels of climate ambition

ICLEI Mayors at the City of Warsaw event on scaling up local and subnational action. They spoke about innovative ways of stepping up the pace of climate action at the local level.

ICLEI / Globe International side event "EU Implementation Day" discussed where climate action is really taking place. ICLEI Mayors presented a powerful demonstration of local action happening in their cities.

The ICLEI /Indonesia Government side event on low carbon cities mapped out a path for cities to transition to low emissions development.

On 14 November 2013, ICLEI Advocacy Head Yunus Arikan delivered the keynote presentation at the UNFCCC ADP Workshop on Sustainable Urbanization. Arikan shared how cities are raising the level of ambition through local action, and outlined concrete proposals for greater local government involvement in the climate regime.

Warsaw lays down the path for engaging local and subnational governments in Paris 2015 outcomes


At the recently concluded UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw (COP19/CMP9), countries have decided to advance the engagement of local governments in the global climate regime.

The decisions include (1) facilitating the exchange of experiences and best practices between cities and subnational authorities in identifying and implementing opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, and (2) convening a specific forum as part of the UN Bonn Climate Conference in June 2014.

Leading global cities network ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability welcomes this outcome and aims to further contribute through its various programs on climate action, including the Resilient Cities congress series, the global platform for urban resilience and climate change adaptation hosted every year in Bonn, Germany.

With the Warsaw outcomes, nations confirm that local action is the key and one of the biggest leverage to ensure the transformation of our societies into low-emission and climate resilient development”, said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI, which is also the facilitator of the Local Government Climate Roadmap, an advocacy process aiming at recognizing, engaging and empowering local governments in the global climate regime since 2007.



“21 November Cities Day”

ICLEI was a key driver of local government engagement in the Warsaw process which gave unprecedented focus on local and subnational governments by convening the workshop on urbanization, and the first ever ministers and mayors dialogue on the inaugural “21 November Cities Day”.

One of the key highlights of the “Cities Day” is the exchange between ICLEI Mayors and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Ministers from France, Netherlands, Marshall Islands, Nicaragua and Poland. ICLEI Mayors Mayor George Heartwell of Grand Rapids, USA; Mayor Gustavo Petro of Bogota, Colombia; Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines, USA; City Manager Penny Ballem of Vancouver, Canada; Councilor Ronan Dantec of Nantes, France; Mayor Julio Gerardo of Recife, Brazil; Deputy Mayor Angelica Kappel of Bonn, Germany, and Mayor Tunc Soyer of Seferihisar, Turkey took part in this high level interaction.

Prior to the Cities Day, ICLEI set the scene at ADP workshop on urbanization which provided a crucial contribution to the Warsaw Outcomes. Opening the workshop, ICLEI Advocacy head Yunus Arikan shared the vision of local climate action raising the global level of ambition and underlined concrete proposals that could feed into negotiations leading to a universal climate deal in Paris 2015.

The power of local action

Cities are central in tackling climate change. They are proving grounds for our efforts in ensuring a low carbon future that benefits people and the planet”, emphasized Ban Ki-Moon as he turned to cities and local governments as ultimate implementers of local action.


According to the November 2013 report of the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR), 414 cities have reported over 4,000 climate actions which are either completed or in progress until 2020. 63% of the reduction commitments are above 1% per year, exceeding the value of even the most ambitious national governments under the Kyoto Protocol.

While these are groundbreaking figures, ICLEI Mayors asserted the need for multilevel climate action and support in order to fully harness the power of local action.

This call was reiterated in many of the interactive platforms that ICLEI organized throughout the COP19/CMP9. Apart from its traditional UNFCCC official side event, ICLEI hosted specific events with Government of Indonesia, with GLOBE International at the EU Pavilion and with the State of California at the US Center. ICLEI further collaborated, amongst others, with World Climate Summit, Sustainable Innovation Forum and City of Warsaw for city-related events.

Through these platforms, local and subnational governments have proven to become the most important catalyzers to scale-up global efforts.

ICLEI’s take on the Warsaw Outcomes


ICLEI recognizes the Warsaw Outcomes as the direct and immediate responses of national governments to the proposals of local and subnational governments as formulated in the Nantes Declaration of World Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change in September 2013.

The Nantes Declaration outlines the global climate advocacy strategy of local governments in the 2013-2015 period, as well as the welcoming of a “Friends of Cities” group at the UNFCCC level and the organization of Ministerial-Mayoral dialogues. It also includes launching a process for a local action plan in Warsaw 2013 to conclude in Paris 2015, providing specific windows for sustainable urban development in global climate finance mechanisms, and ensuring the vertical integration of local climate action at the national level.

In the context of a universal climate agreement in Paris in 2015, countries have decided to initiate or intensify domestic preparations for their national contributions.

ICLEI shares the view of Pascal Canfin, the Minister for Development of France who cautioned that “Without cities and local authorities on board, no agreement will be possible in Paris 2015”.

Outlining the journey of local governments since 2010, Van Begin remarked: “In 2010 in Cancun, we ensured a global recognition of local and subnational governments as governmental stakeholders. After three years of intensive efforts, we laid-off the ground for effective engagement of local and subnational governments in Warsaw.”

By Paris 2015, we will cement this understanding by mobilizing the necessary technical and financial resources as well. This is not a choice but a common sense for national governments if they want to ensure success in their climate commitments. ,” remarked Van Begin.

Van Begin urged national governments to work with local and subnational government, saying: “It is now time to ensure that Paris 2015 turns this path into a solid and robust roadmap so that we can rapidly scale-up mitigation and adaptation actions at the local level”.


Related stories:

- 22.11.2013 ICLEI Mayors discuss with Ban Ki-Moon and ministers multi-level climate actions and support

- 19.11.2013 UN Climate Talks go local: First ever “Cities Day” to raise the bar of climate ambition through local action

- 14.11.2013 414 cities report raft of inspiring climate actions

- 08.11.2013  Leading cities network ICLEI spurs dialogues to scale up local action in Warsaw


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