UN Climate Press Release / 11 Nov, 2017
Humans Settlements: Cities and Communities Speed Coordinated Climate Action

Bonn, Nov 11 – Global cities and communities announced new initiatives on Saturday at the UN Climate Change Conference to coordinate their many climate action commitments better and deliver bigger, faster results together.

Senior delegates at the COP23 Human Settlements Day urged governments also to get more into the finer detail of policy and planning together with them and raise the ambition of the many national climate plans – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – which countries have submitted under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

"Local and regional governments are making commitments that will help national governments close the gap between current national commitments and the emissions reductions needed to achieve the Paris Agreement targets. If nations are to uphold the agreement goals and keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius, they need to set clear mechanisms for consulting and engaging with their local and regional governments, making them equal partners in a well-coordinated and effective effort," said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

The action day brought into sharp perspective the inextricably linked and urgent action required to achieve both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goal 11, which is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

“In the [last] twenty years, the world has seen a gathering of its population in urban areas. This has been accompanied by socioeconomic growth in many instances. But the urban landscape is changing and with it, the pressing need for a cohesive and realistic approach to urbanization,” said UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr Joan Clos.

Urban areas account for around two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from global energy use. Their overall contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions is estimated at between 37% and 49% globally, depending on base assumptions of data used.

Industry sectors connected to human settlements have a major impact. Buildings, for example, are responsible for some 40% of global GHG emissions yet are an essential element for countries to achieve their NDCs. 132 of the NDCs submitted explicitly mention the building sector. If these NDC pledges were achieved in addition to existing action, about 60% of buildings-related CO2 emissions would be covered. However, nearly one-third of NDCs mentioning buildings do not indicate specific actions on how to achieve their ambition.

“Over the coming years net zero carbon buildings will be essential in helping countries achieve their nationally determined contributions,” said Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council.

Seven new initiatives to improve this situation, listed in detail below, include work by ICLEI and the global NDC Partnership to design, implement and align climate action strategies across all levels of governments. 

Also, the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance (CCFLA) is mapping available finance to match known infrastructure projects – a critical requirement to help local government identify funding.

“It is up to the community of public, institutional and private investors to assist us in co-creating new markets of opportunity for their sustainable investments: in a transparent and responsible collaborative consultation with us, and by exploring the new financial models, to test and deploy at the scale of identified needs,” said François Albert Amichia, Mayor of Treichville and Minister for Sports, Cote d’Ivoire.

Meanwhile, the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, which was launched by France and UN Environment in Paris to increase the decarbonization of buildings and the construction sector, signed a common statement to dramatically speed up and scale up collaborative action.

"We need to ensure that housing and infrastructure investments that come with growing urbanization are also low-carbon, resource-efficient and resilient to deliver the 2030 Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement,” said Martina Otto, Head of Cities Unit at UN Environment.

It is increasingly evident that cities play an essential role in both climate change mitigation and adaption, while improving their citizen’s health and well-being. Well-planned cities are resilient and reduce congestion, pollution and, by promoting energy and resource efficiency, lead to reduced emissions and resource consumption. They are hubs for innovation, jobs and social interaction.

“Local and Regional Governments welcome the celebration of a Human Settlements Day in the framework of the UN Climate Change negotiations, as a recognition of the critical role of all territorial actors. It also reaffirms the inter linkages between the climate agenda and all global agendas …making cities and all human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” said Monica Fein, Mayor of Rosario, Argentina, and Vice-President of UCLG.

Further, Faster, Together: New Initiatives for Climate Action at Local Level

To support local climate action, a wide number of new initiatives and ambitious projects are being launched and highlighted at COP23. Among them:

Planners for Climate Action

A new global initiative Planners for Climate Action brings global, regional and national associations of planning professionals and planning educators together to ensure their expertise is incorporated into discussions and action.

11 Nov, 11.30am: Planners for Climate Action: Urban and Regional Planners take Climate Action

Contact: jeanette.elsworth@unhabitat.org

Front-Line Cities and Islands

Front-Line Cities and Islands is a coalition of coastal cities and islands on the front lines of the impact of climate change, working to build resilience coastal city-to-island partnerships, and designed to increase exposure to innovative resilience strategies and creative financing mechanisms

13 Nov, 3pm - Cities & Regions Pavilion: Front-Line Cities and Islands

Contact: claudio.magliulo@iclei.org

Advancing climate governance at all levels

ICLEI and the NDC Partnership are now working together to design, implement and align climate action strategies across all levels of governments. The final aim is to bring together national and subnational levels of government to improve the process of revising and implementing NDCs.

16 Nov, 10am - Cities & Regions Pavilion: Advancing climate governance at all levels

Contact: claudio.magliulo@iclei.org

The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction

The GABC was launched by France and UN Environment at COP21 as a collaborative umbrella organization for other platforms, initiatives and actors to create synergies and increase scale, pace and impact of climate actions towards decarbonization of the buildings and construction sector in line with the Paris Agreement goals. Since COP21, 25 countries and over 70 non-state actors have joined and signed a common statement to dramatically upscale action, through communication, collaboration and identifying solutions

11 Nov, 3pm to 4.30pm - Room 3, Bonn Zone: Transforming markets for buildings to deliver against SDGs 11, 7, and 3

Contact: nora.steurer@un.org

2017 Edition of the Global Mapping: “Localizing Climate Finance, Mapping Gaps and Opportunities, Designing Solutions”

CCFLA will publish its new edition of its flagship report showing that initiatives from members (50 international referent organizations in the field of financing) have more than doubled since 2016 in supporting readiness, project preparation and catalyzing funding and financing for subnational and urban infrastructure projects. 170 initiatives identified. 89 covered for this edition! Geographic scope, main modes of support, sectors addressed, new initiatives: all information and analysis on trends are covered.

13 Nov – Room 1, Bonn Zone: High Level Roundtable “Cascading Financing where it is most needed: localizing climate finance, the next frontier market?”

Contact: cdefreitas@fmdv.net

Subnational Climate Financing Integration in NDCs

On the basis of its Mapping, CCFLA is working on designing a partnership coupling source data from its Global Mapping for Localizing Climate Finance and NDC Partnership’s instruments to highlight more integrative and multilevel cooperation opportunities with Non-Party stakeholders in NDCs implementation, and deliver access to financing to subnational and local levels of action (NDCs investment plans).

13 Nov – Room 1, Bonn Zone: High Level Roundtable “Cascading Financing where it is most needed: localizing climate finance, the next frontier market?”

Contact: cdefreitas@fmdv.net

First Ever Subnational Project Preparation Practitioners Forum

CCFLA, FMDV and GIZ are co-organizing with CCFLA members the first ever Subnational Project Preparation Practitioner Forum. Main objective: to invite project preparation practitioners to meet, exchange information on their activities to support subnational climate project preparation, impediments and barriers they face (e.g., lack of funding, lack of capacity, inadequate legal frameworks, lack of understanding of subnational needs and issues, etc.).

14 Nov, 5pm to 6pm - BMZ Premises: Closed meeting and public reception

Contact: cdefreitas@fmdv.net

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability): Claudio Magliulo, claudio.magliulo@iclei.org, +49 228 976 299 15

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG): Natalène Poisson, n.poisson@uclg.org, + 34 673856477

UN Environment Programme (UN Environment): Communications Officer, Sophie Loran, sophie.loran@un.org, +33 6 01 37 79 17

UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat): Jeanette Elsworth, jeanette.elsworth@unhabitat.org, +254 723 268 135