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<< Back to: ICLEI e-News | Special Climate Edition, issue 16, December 2008

Official address to the UN: Local Governments and Municipal Authorities

Municipal Commissioner Nandkumar Jantre, Thane, India, addresses delegates at United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change Conference on behalf of Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA)   Local governments offered national governments their support and partnership to limit global warming as nations gathered at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland from 1-12 December 2008 to negotiate a new global climate agreement.


CITIES, LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND CLIMATE CHANGE Thank you, Mr President of the Conference of the Parties, Mr Executive Secretary, Excellencies, distinguished guests,

It is my privilege to address you on behalf of cities, local authorities and their representative global associations in particular, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, United Cities and Local Governments, the World Mayors Council on Climate Change, the C40 Climate Leadership Group and  Metropolis as well as their regional partners and associated city networks.

Since 2007, we, cities and our representative associations, mirror the UN Climate Roadmap in a process called the “Local Government Climate Roadmap Bali-Poznan-Copenhagen”.

We have gathered here in Poznan to advocate the need for an ambitious post-2012 climate mechanism that should also recognise the role of cities and local governments in climate action.
Cities are home to 50% of the world population. Due to rapid urbanisation, two thirds of humanity will live in urban centres by 2030.

Cities consume up to 80% of all energy. And cities account for up to 80% of humanity’s production of greenhouse gases.  

Cities are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, especially fast-growing cities in developing countries.

At the same time, cities and local governments have a long track of voluntary local climate action.

We have started to switch our communities into sustainable energy economies through energy savings. We apply renewable and high efficiency technologies to reduce dependence on fossil and nuclear fuels. In the transformation of our communities, we aim for lowest-carbon options.

We are key in the design and the implementation of energy and infrastructure guidelines, the promotion of sustainable investments and public transportation, sound local waste and water management, effective biodiversity measures and educating citizens.

If we are genuinely empowered and resourced, we have the potential to lead on climate action and can help to ensure that ambitious targets for the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions are met.

We recognise that the responsibilities for implementation of the Convention rest primarily with the Parties. However, there are multiple reasons for Parties to promote the engagement of cities and local authorities and to foster collaboration with the global local government associations.

Therefore, we ask you -the Parties of the UNFCCC- to recognise and build upon our local contributions through strategic climate partnerships.

In doing so, you  follow the example of the Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity who adopted at its 9th meeting in May 2008 a COP Decision on Promoting Engagement of Cities and Local Authorities.

On behalf of local governments and municipal authorities, we formally request you to consider the adoption of a UNFCCC COP Decision in which the Parties of the UNFCCC:
  • in accordance with and respecting national constitutions and legislation, recognise the role of cities and local authorities in the implementation of National Climate Change Strategies and Action Plans, and herethrough to facilitate local climate action throughout the world;
  • commit to provide enabling structures and effective framework conditions for climate cooperation with cities and local authorities;
  • commit to empower cities and local authorities so that they have the abilities, the capacities and the  resources required to  take necessary action at the local level as a key support to the Parties in their efforts to meet the agreed targets and to implement local climate mitigation and adaptation strategies;
  • commit to include local authority delegates in the national delegation to the Conference of the Parties and relevant decision making processes hereafter.
On behalf of local governments and municipal authorities, we formally request the Conference of the Parties:
  • to encourage that the agenda of the UNFCCC include a reporting on the development and implementation of local policies; and   
  • to request that the  UNFCCC Secretariat strengthens cooperation with cities and local authorities.


ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability