COP27 | Subnational governments must be empowered to deliver on the Paris climate agreement
On the occasion of the Solutions Day at COP27, the European Committee of the Regions, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), ICLEI, Regions4, EUROCITIES, the Under2Coalition and C40 call on national governments, the Parties and international organisations to fully support local and regional authorities in delivering climate action on the ground.
Cities and regions worldwide are taking over political leadership at COP27 climate talks as national governments are failing to reach any meaningful agreement. As echoed in the latest IPCC report, local and regional governments have a growing role in delivering climate action. However, subnational governments – unified under the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency to the United Nations – still lack a formal role in global climate negotiations and in the implementation of the Paris agreement. Reinforcing multi-level cooperation, direct funds and technical assistance for subnational governments and a global system to collect and monitor cities’ and regions’ carbon emission reductions are amongst the key claims subnational governments are fighting for at COP27.
The president of the European Committee of the Regions, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, said: « The energy crisis and the geopolitical situation must not hinder the much-needed increase of global ambition at COP27. The top-down approach is showing its limitations when it comes to move from commitments to achievements. Cities and regions are willing to help filling the gap, but for this they need a consistent framework for place-based sustainable development strategies, bringing together climate action, nature protection and Sustainable Development Goals. A new UN framework based on local and regional action is needed, and the European Committee of the Regions is ready to work with the Parties, UN agencies and all partner organisations towards this objective. »
Stefano Bonaccini, president of the region of Emilia–Romagna and president of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), said: « The implementation of the Paris Agreement is lagging behind, and it is essential to act now to achieve the goals at all levels of government: mitigation, adaptation, energy transition and safeguarding biodiversity. To do this, we need adequate resources, a supportive regulatory and governance framework, localisation and territorialisation of sustainable development goals, decentralised cooperation and exchange of experience between municipalities and regions around the world. This is a global challenge that can best be met if we all act locally and in an accountable, inclusive, fair, equitable and partnered manner. »
The Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment of the Basque Government and president of Regions 4 – The Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development, Arantxa Tapia, stressed that: “The voice of the regions must sound loud and clear at this COP27, since regions apply 90% of the adaptation measures to climate change. We are natural leaders of some of the transformations necessary for adaptation due to our direct connection with citizens and our capacity to mobilise territorial commitments connecting all stakeholders. From ‘Regions4’, we are going to launch in this COP27 the ‘Declaration of regional governments’ that highlights our main recommendations and commitments towards a resilient future. I believe that support to regions for the effective implementation of climate actions at multiple levels is key, especially in the development of capacities, financing and technical support.”
The Mayor of Utrecht and ICLEI-LGMA Special Envoy for COP27 Ministerials, Sharon Dijksma, said “In the past years, important steps have been taken to involve cities more in the UNFCCC agenda. With the adoption of the COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact, multilevel action is recognised as an important pillar in reaching the international climate goals. I welcome the first-ever Ministerial on Urbanisation and Climate during COP27, which puts multilevel collaboration at the heart of the debate. But I reiterate that COP27 should be the last climate conference where cities and regions are only on the informal agenda of the UNFCCC. From next year onwards, multilevel action must be an integral part of the official COP process. I am thrilled to see hundreds of mayors and other local and subnational leaders as well as other non-state actors so enthusiastically joining me in this call. I look forward to engaging these parties during COP27 and the years to come. Together we will work on accelerating climate finance to cities and regions across the world, including loss and damage.”