ICLEI Puts Local Action on Global Stage:
A Summary from the COP21 Negotiation Zone
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
On 12 December 2015, nations at the United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) adopted a landmark “Paris Agreement” that strives to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, with the intent to pursue a 1.5-degree target. Through this Agreement, local and subnational governments are recognized as essential actors in fast tracking transformative action in the urban world.
Continuing its leading work at COPs since 1995, ICLEI played a central role at the Paris COP21 in raising the profile of local and subnational governments. This included numerous high-level events with partners from China, the European Union, the United States, United Nations agencies and the UNFCCC.
Park Won Soon, ICLEI President and Mayor of Seoul, also addressed the High-Level Action Day of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda on 5 December.
At COP21, ICLEI assembled all important networks as the focal point of the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency to the UNFCCC and facilitator of the Local Government Climate Roadmap. While urging national governments to recognize, engage and empower local and subnational governments, ICLEI united the voices of local leaders from around the world, held daily briefings on the negotiations for the LGMA Constituency and led the drafting and delivery of interventions to national negotiators.
This summary looks back on ICLEI’s advocacy efforts at COP21, which represents an essential milestone in our ongoing work. ICLEI commits to mobilize more local and subnational governments, so as to reach 30% by 2030 and 50% by 2050 of the global urban population, as well as explore 100% renewable scenarios by 2030 and 2050. Through the TAP, we will support transformative action plans that integrate climate into all dimensions of urban sustainability and will seek necessary financing for projects to complement and fast track the Paris Agreement.
With many thanks and looking forward to further cooperation with each of you,
Gino Van Begin
Secretary General, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
ICLEI welcomes the landmark commitments of 185 nations to curb the trajectory of current and future global greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, with the intent to pursue a 1.5-degree target. This inclusive Agreement provides a basis for transformation and paves the way for greater ambitions. Read the COP21 Agreement, with local action highlights (Photo courtesy of IISD.)
Through this Agreement, local and subnational governments are recognized as essential actors in fast tracking transformative action in the urban world. ICLEI will help local governments contribute to bridging the emissions gap and, through the carbonn Climate Registry, will inform the new international five-year review process. Read ICLEI's analysis of the Agreement
The Paris Agreement reflects the success of local government advocacy, enshrining local and subnational actors within an international climate agreement for the first time. Cities and regions have been recognized, engaged and empowered, as the Local Government Climate Roadmap (LGCR) desired. Now ICLEI and our partners will help them to raise ambitions and accelerate action. Read more
COP21 Negotiation Zone: ICLEI Side Events
Wednesday, 2 December: ICLEI joined the National Development and Reform Commission of China and the Rocky Mountain Institute at the China Corner to host a session on national greenhouse gas emissions peaking and the importance of local and subnational leadership in successful low-carbon development in China, where rapid urbanization continues. Read more
Monday, 7 December: ICLEI and UCLG convened mayors who are committed to and compliant with the Compact of Mayors to show Parties that the Compact of Mayors is rapidly and transparently advancing on climate goals, with more than 400 cities supported by global networks such as ICLEI. Read more
Monday, 7 December: The Urban-LEDS project, implemented by ICLEI and UN-Habitat and financed by the European Commission, helps cities to implement low-emissions development strategies. The EU Pavilion highlighted the Urban-LEDS project in an official side event in the presence of the heads of the organizations and a panel of mayors involved in the project. Read more
Tuesday, 8 December: At this flagship event on the globalization of the Covenant of Mayors, ICLEI Member Frank Cownie of Des Moines led the ICLEI delegation of cities to showcase innovative climate policies that advance global climate goals. Markku Markkula, President of the Committee of the Regions, and Maroš Šefčovič, European Commissioner for Energy Union, agreed that cities and regions are the answer to the climate and energy challenge. Read more
Tuesday, 8 December: Ulrich Sumptoh, Mayor of Port Vila, Vanuatu, delivered the intervention of the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency at the High Level Segment of COP21/CMP11. Sumptoh is the first mayor of a small island state to address the UNFCCC. "We as local and subnational governments are ready to go ahead, because we don't have another option," said Sumptoh. Watch a webcast of the intervention (Photo courtesy of IISD.)
Friday, 11 December: ICLEI Head of Global Policy and Advocacy and LGMA Focal Point, Yunus Arikan, facilitated the dialogue of observers with H.E. Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal in his capacity as the Special Envoy of the COP21 Presidency. Watch a video of Minister Vidal conveying the messages of observers to the Comité de Paris (from 03.02:30).
Saturday, 12 December: Nantes Councillor, French Senator and UCLG Spokesperson Ronan Dantec delivered the intervention of the LGMA Constituency at the closing of COP21. Dantec expressed the readiness of local and subnational governments to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Read more
The Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA)
Saturday, 5 December: At the High Level Action Day, ICLEI President and Mayor of Seoul, Park Won Soon, urged cities to follow the commitments set forth in the ICLEI Declaration and the example of Seoul as a pioneer of sustainability. "We can overcome the climate change crisis that we are facing by enhancing connection between the cities," Park said. Read more
Tuesday, 8 December: At a panel discussion on the positive impacts of climate change on the urban poor, convened within the Momentum for Change Initiative, ICLEI First Vice President James Nxumalo, Mayor of Durban and Councillor Wayne Walker of Auckland highlighted the challenges of rapid migration and the need to adapt in communities. Read more
Friday, 11 December: In a meeting with French Minister for Environment Ségolène Royal, on the eve of the adoption of the Paris Agreement, ICLEI and the LGMA Constituency expressed their full support to the French COP21 Presidency to implement in 2016 the Lima-Paris Action Five-Year Vision, elaborated jointly in 2015. Read more
ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin summarizes the importance of local and subnational action at COP21.