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Overcoming climate impact through city-to-city partnerships

28 September 2017

The “multi-stakeholder coalition on decentralised cooperation and partnerships” proved once again at Climate Chance 2017 in Agadir (Morocco) that cities and regions from all over the world can help each other by exchanging expertise and best practices on a wide range of policies and actions.

This coalition born at the “Climat et territoires” summit in Lyon in 2015 is co-piloted by PLATFORMA, AFCCRE, Cites Unies France and ENDA énergie, with the support of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign affairs (Delegation for external action of local governments). The coalition which gathers all actors (local governments, civil society organisation, academics, etc.) involved or interested in climate partnerships met on 12 November, during the annual event of non-state actors engaged in climate action.

The session was moderated by Secou Sarr, Director of ENDA énergie, who also animated the workshop on Citizens’ involvement and awareness raising and introduced ENDA’s initiatives DECLIC and “Diaspo Clim”.

André Sobczak, Councillor of Nantes and Vice-President of Nantes Métropole, in charge of European Affairs and international relations, emphasised that each city can learn from another, and local governments of the global North can also learn from their counterparts, and especially with regards to Climate change and its effects. That is the philosophy behind Nantes Métropole’s cooperation with Dshang (Cameroon), Kindia (Guinea) and Grand’Hanse (Haïti). He also mentioned that AFCCRE was currently drafting a publication on climate cooperation and tools for European local and regional governments, to be published for COP23 in collaboration with PLATFORMA.

Marine Gaudron, policy officer at PLATFORMA, introduced the issue of difficult access to funding for climate projects, in particular to the European funds that could benefit to cities. She presented PLATFORMA’s Handbook for a successful project as one of the initiatives that can increase local and regional governments’ knowledge of EU funds that can be relevant for their projects, and provide them with tips.

Colette Genevaux, project officer at Programme Solidarité Eau (pS-Eau), presented the French legal mechanism of “1% eau” that allows local governments to benefit from financial leverage to finance cooperation projects, through the mobilisation of 1% of their budget for water management. She provided concrete examples of partnerships such as the Evry/Kayes (Mali) water management support project or the one linking the urban area of Zorgho (Burkina Faso) with three French local governments (Nanterre, Lyon and Reims). The department of Hérault could also finance experts to support the Moroccan province of Taroudant. pS-Eau can also link local governments from developing countries with French partners to implement projects on water and sanitation.

Durmish Guri, Director of projects at the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), presented to participants two concrete initiatives where capacity building is a critical component:

CONNECT: it is an innovative mechanism that connects international partners to exchange experiences, knowledge and skills. Its main asset is its «colleague-to-colleague» approach. The mechanism connects a local government in need of a specific and concrete expertise (e.g. the revitalisation of a territory through sustainable tourism) with a local government that has already experience in similar projects, and finances for example a technical field visit.

The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA): this initiative supports Sub-Saharan cities in their fight against climate change and in their efforts in ensuring access to clean energy. By joining the CoM SSA, signatory cities can gain access to best practices and take part in knowledge exchanges while reinforcing planning capacities in the initiative’s domains, use general and technical support on climate and energy planning via the Covenant of Mayors Office Helpdesk, engage in networking opportunities with other cities (peer to peer exchange) in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, develop decentralised cooperation mechanisms…

Overall, the discussions reaffirmed the need to increase awareness of financing mechanisms, which make it possible to mobilise actors of the territories in cooperation over time and to trigger leverage effects for financing. Several participants voiced their concern about the difficulty of keeping sustainable partnerships in a context of reduced budgets for local and regional governments, as well as the need to develop new partnerships of solidarity, in addition to the historical cooperation already at work, through platforms facilitating trade.

More on the Climate Chance session: