48 cities from 24 countries announced at COP27 will progressively engage with the Urban Transitions Mission beginning in 2023
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT (14 November 2022) — Today at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) together with the European Commission, Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe (JPI UE) and Mission Innovation (MI) announced the first group of cities that will receive support to test, pilot and scale up solutions and adopt system-wide approaches to reach net-zero.
Launched at COP26 under the framework of Mission Innovation (MI), the Urban Transitions Mission (UTM) is a joint effort by GCoM, the European Commission, and Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe. It offers an urban net-zero transition framework that builds on the knowledge and expertise of a Global Innovation Alliance of supporting partners and organizations together with the first-hand experience of cities.
Through the Urban Transitions Mission, cities will strengthen their net-zero visions, scale action, and accelerate implementation. Starting in 2023, the Urban Transitions Mission will progressively engage with cities to:
- Revise existing climate and energy action plans to prioritize actions according to scientific data and evidence, and bridge implementation gaps to reach net-zero, based on innovation needs.
- Broker access to solutions, focusing on accelerating implementation of technological, regulatory, and financial solutions.
- Identify and remove red tape to test and upscale innovation by working with partners in the Mission’s Global Innovation Alliance to provide support for cities to pilot and scale innovative solutions.
- Accelerate access to dedicated R&I funding and capacity building to develop sound investment plans to existing project pipelines, which will be in collaboration with national governments, private sector and global institutions, and Mission Innovation partners.
Of the new UTM cities, all have conducted GHG inventories and Risk and Vulnerability Assessments, 19 have set targets more ambitious than their countries Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and 27 have committed to net-zero and developed climate action plans to meet these targets.
Cities joining the UTM will prioritize projects focused on energy infrastructure, efficiency and low-emissions built environments to build critical pathways to reach net-zero. Additionally, 13 cities will explore renewable energy source (RES) potential and 4 cities will pursue clean hydrogen and zero-emission solutions for shipping and industry. Lastly, 23 cities will seek solutions in urban regeneration, sustainable use of land, urban poverty and circularity as priority pathways.
“Whether in Europe, Africa or elsewhere, cities around the world already feel the impact of the climate and biodiversity crises. The Urban Transitions Mission supports local administrations to take action and help accelerate efforts towards a green, clean, and healthy future for all their citizens.” Frans Timmermans, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, and Co-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors Climate & Energy.
“Cities have fostered huge leaps in human progression throughout history. We must replicate this ambition to solve the pressing great human challenge of climate change. The Urban Transitions Mission is pooling the collective knowledge and experience of cities across the world, helping to catalyze action and decarbonise urban spaces for millions globally.” Dr. Eleanor Webster, Head of Mission Innovation Secretariat.
“Despite limited resources and competing priorities, mayors around the world are pushing forward innovative solutions to secure jobs, drive economic development, and deliver climate-resilient communities for urban residents. It’s time we unlock the necessary support and tools to accelerate city climate progress and propel the world into a net-zero future.” Mayor Mohammed Sefiani of Chefchaouen, Morocco, regional ambassador of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCOM).
“Cities have long led on ambitious climate actions to reduce emissions and risks to urban residents. Projects like the Urban Transitions Mission provide critical support to enable cities to continue to pioneer towards greener and healthier communities for all.” Mayor Minna Arve of Turku, Finland, both an Urban Transitions Mission city and a European Mission for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities city.
THE GLOBAL COVENANT OF MAYORS FOR CLIMATE & ENERGY (GCOM)
GCoM is the largest global alliance for city climate leadership, uniting a global coalition of over 12,500 cities and local governments and 100+ supporting partners. The cities and partners of GCoM share a long-term vision of supporting voluntary action to combat climate change and towards a resilient and low-emission society. GCoM serves cities and local governments by mobilizing and supporting ambitious, measurable, planned climate and energy action in their communities by working with city/regional networks, national governments, and other partners to achieve our vision. Led today by UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg and European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, the coalition comprises cities across 6 continents and 144 countries, representing over 1 billion people or more than 13 percent of the global population.
The European Commission is the executive of the European Union (EU). It is part, on behalf of the EU, of the high-level global forum Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and Mission Innovation (MI). A decarbonised energy system, including in urban areas and integrated across sectors, is critical to reach the EU’s 2030 climate objective of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels) and to implement the EU’s long-term strategy of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. Several EU initiatives support cities and regions in the green transition. For example, under the Horizon Europe framework programme, the European Commission has launched a Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission and an Adaptation to Climate Change Mission.. Under the Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission, 100 European cities are working together towards climate neutrality by 2030. In the process, they serve as hubs of experimentation and innovation that inspire all cities. As part of its international outreach, the European Mission will link to the activities of the global Urban Transitions Mission, including through the setup of a Global Knowledge Exchange Center on pathways to climate neutrality as of December 2022.
JPI URBAN EUROPE
JPI Urban Europe was created in 2010 to address the global urban challenges of today with the ambition to develop a European research and innovation hub on urban matters and create European solutions by means of coordinated research.
During the past 10 years, the JPI UE has mobilized transnational RD&D funding collaboration across Europe, but also in collaboration with China and the international Belmont Forum. With about 130 funded projects that bring together more than 780 beneficiaries from 35 countries throughout Europe and the world, JPI Urban Europe has contracted approximately EUR 130 million in co-creative trans-disciplinary RD&I projects. In the context of those projects, city authorities and urban stakeholders have realized more than 180 Urban Living Labs, co-designing new approaches and concrete solutions for their common challenges. In its latest programme “Driving Urban Transitions to a Sustainable Future (DUT) partnership”, an overall investment in R&I projects of more than 400M EUR is expected – based on current commitments from 27 countries and the European Commission – disseminated and made available to the MI community for the development and implementation of roadmaps, as well as through dedicated JPI Urban Europe formats and/or the Global Knowledge Exchange Centre.