Imagine there were a country with 4.5 billion residents that didn’t have a seat at the table at the COP climate conferences. This would be outrageous. It would, in essence, make negotiations pointless, since half of the world’s population wouldn’t be represented in the outcomes or the final decisions.
The world’s cities face this reality. However, even without an official seat at the negotiations table, with over 400 delegates, including governors, mayors and councilors, in attendance, cities and regions rival the largest national delegations in attendance this year. These delegates are doing all they can to make sure subnational voices are heard.
Today is Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day at COP26, and we are excited to see the tide changing. Every year our voices are stronger and heard by more parties and leaders. This was evidenced by an exciting day yesterday, when representatives from the LGMA delivered interventions at the COP26 High Level Segment and in a closed meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UN Secretary General António Guterres. Today, other representatives will meet again with the Secretary General.
Additionally, representatives from cities and regions lobbied multiple national parties to add explicit reference to multilevel collaboration and action to the draft Glasgow Outcomes that are now being circulated.
“The draft cover text is a start, but it must be the floor - not the ceiling. The imperative for leaders now - on climate finance and the pathway to 1.5 degrees - is to negotiate the ambition significantly upwards. It must not be watered down. It is vital that the world emerges from COP26 with 1.5 degrees well and truly alive, and closing the finance gap is key to that. It is also a moral obligation developed countries owe to those less developed and most vulnerable to the impact of climate change."