ICLEI: Cities and scientific community unite to plan an ambitious new climate change agenda

Global Mayors Summit lays the groundwork for science based, action-oriented policies at the city level to combat climate change.

Ahead of the start of the CitiesIPCC Cities & Climate Change Science Conference, the “Change for Climate” Global Mayors Summit brought together policymakers, scientists and city networks on Sunday, March 4, to create a critical new dialogue between these vital groups of climate change stakeholders. Though cities and researchers work diligently to address their individual climate concerns and priorities, rarely have they had the mechanism to align their activities. Given the speed of climate change and the necessity of a collective knowledge base, these groups must now work together to advance innovation for quicker and more ambitious local climate action.

The Summit, hosted by the City of Edmonton, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), convened mayors from Canada, Ecuador, United States and India, key members from the science community and the world’s major city networks C40, ICLEI and UCLG to discuss the critical role cities play in addressing climate change. The Summit initiated a new platform that will raise the bar on climate action in cities worldwide and serve as a catalyst for further city- and climate-focused dialogues between city practitioners and scientists at events.

These important dialogues will continue throughout 2018 at other major cities and climate events. The process will also contribute to the 2018 Talanoa Dialogues under the Paris Agreement in which cities and regions announced their commitment to advance national climate plans through effective multilevel governance.

Cities contain more than half of the world’s population and consume more than two-thirds of the world’s energy. Without the involvement of cities, no true progress can be made in the fight against climate change. The vital two-way flow of information created at the Summit enables cities to shape the climate change research agenda, ensuring that research considers the unique needs of cities and ultimately results in more informed local actions and policies. Conversation focused on identifying the most urgent knowledge gaps that cities need to bridge to accelerate local climate action and exploring strategies to address them in partnership with the research community. The emphasis of the discussion was on governance, finance, adaptation and resilience, as well as the connection of climate research to quality of life and economic prosperity in cities.

The importance of sound research and city data played a major role in the discussion. Data insights are increasingly informing cities’ climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, and it’s vital that local decision makers and researchers have opportunities to continue engaging each other to further refine and advance their joint goals.

Source: News ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, 05.03.2018