Welcome to the latest edition of our Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) newsletter. We are pleased to present this extensive update to you, as it has been quite a while since our last correspondence. This edition offers a comprehensive look at the strides made by national and regional chapters of the Global Covenant of Mayors around the world in their committed efforts to address climate change.
Our collective action, bolstered by the inspiring leadership and groundbreaking initiatives of our mayors, continues to drive us closer to a sustainable, resilient future. As we navigate through the myriad challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, this newsletter serves as both an affirmation of cities’ accomplishments, and a showcase of cities on their climate action journey. Please read on to discover stories of local urban innovation, and persistence in tackling the global climate crisis.
And there’s still plenty more to come: Soon we’ll be announcing the release of the simplified Common Reporting Framework that will make it easier for some cities to report on their climate impacts, and in September in New York City the GCoM Board Members will mark an important milestone for the Alliance with its first in-person meeting since the pandemic began.
💡 News from the Global Secretariat
GCoM welcomes Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka, Mayor Carolina Basualdo, and Mayor Georges Youssef to its Board
Earlier this year we had the honor of welcoming three new mayors as global Board Members: Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka of Yokohama, Japan; Mayor Carolina Basualdo of the municipality of Despeñaderos, Argentina; and Mayor Georges Youssef of Menjez, Lebanon. In their new role, they serve as ambassadors for urban climate action at the local, national, and global levels. As local climate leaders, they represent their regions on the global stage, thus empowering cities to collaborate with national governments and meet their highest ambitions under the Paris Agreement. Read more here.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo appointed newest Global Ambassador for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy
In her new role, Mayor Hidalgo will work alongside GCoM leadership and existing Global Ambassador and former mayor of Vancouver Gregor Robertson to strengthen the role of cities in helping national governments meet emission goals, as defined by the Paris Agreement. In her capacity as global spokesperson, she will advocate for cities to secure access to direct climate financing from governments and the private sector to deliver on climate adaptation. Mayor Hidalgo will also play an active role within the organization’s governance structure, foster new signatories, and work as a trusted advisor to the Co-Chairs and GCoM Secretariat. Find out more here.
Opportunities for cities
GCoM tackles climate threats in 24 cities of Central Asia, the Ivory Coast, and the Pacific
The Global Covenant of Mayors is empowering 24 cities across Central Asia, the Ivory Coast, and the Pacific to combat climate change by bolstering their Climate Action Plans with expert technical support. Through visits for Risk and Vulnerability Assessments and participation in climate-themed events, GCoM is working to tackle challenges presented by climate change: Extreme fluctuations in temperature, including droughts and flooding, that are impacting agriculture and infrastructure. Read more about efforts in the Ivory Coast here.
The Urban Transitions Mission advances efforts brokering solutions, approaches, and knowledge for net-zero transitions
To inspire cities across world regions and help accelerate their journey towards decarbonization and resilience, the Urban Transitions Mission (UTM) launched a new open call for cities to join its City Cohort. Cities are invited to apply online and express their interest to join the Mission’s cohort by 21st September 2023.
UTM cities are leading the way in delivering on urban transitions through pilot actions, in partnership with the Global Innovation Alliance, including UTM member countries, and the private sector. 25+ pilot actions tackling urban challenges across sectors have already kicked off.
And as part of the effort to facilitate cities bridge knowledge and capacity gaps by linking them with policy, implementation, and funding solutions, the “Urban Transitions Mission Centre” (UTMC) platform has been launched. Learn more about these three key milestones here.
Registration is open for the Innovate4Cities (I4C) Global Marketplace
Building on priorities identified through key city and climate change science agendas, the Innovate4Cities Global Marketplace is a shared space to bring together cities, local governments, funders & financiers, academia, and other stakeholders in order to generate meaningful partnerships for research and innovation, thus closing the implementation gap on local climate action. The Marketplace will provide a virtual space to identify, explore, and connect the challenges, knowledge, and solutions focused on tackling the climate crisis through solutions implementation in cities and local governments. Join our online event from October 10 to 12, 2023. Register here.
Experts in gear for exchange
To facilitate knowledge exchange in implementing Climate Action Plans (CAPs) among signatory cities from different GCoM regions, the Cities-Meet-Cities Expert Exchange program was launched by the GCoM Global Secretariat last February. 78 Applications from all regions were carefully evaluated, in continuous consultation with the GCoM Regional Covenants.
The 20 cities finally selected are currently being informed, and will benefit from the program support starting from September 2023 through mutual visits by teams of city experts that will work jointly on implementing local Climate Action Plans. The costs of the exchange visits will be entirely covered by the GCoM Secretariat. For further information and updates, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The GCoM “Bankable Cities” initiative, launched last January, supports signatory cities worldwide on implementing selected projects in their Climate Action Plans.
Early stages of project preparation are critical (especially for intermediary cities) to successfully develop climate actions. The technical support provided by GCoM will help cities structure one climate infrastructure project and facilitate access to potential financing through matchmaking with multilevel institutions and donors.
45 global applications are currently being evaluated by the GCoM Global Secretariat experts, in consultation with Regional Covenants and (where required) bilateral calls with the applicant cities. The evaluation is to be completed by early September 2023, with support to start soon after.
Tailored GCoM technical support will be delivered to the projects, identifying funding needs, the bankability potential and the associated climate finance metrics, and will result (amongst other relevant documents) in an Investment Project Concept for engagement with financing institutions and donors. Read more here.
New resources for cities
The long-awaited Youth Impact Framework is out
Developed by Student Energy in partnership with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) and Melbourne Centre for Cities, University of Melbourne, the Youth Impact Framework is a key step forward towards establishing a unified methodology to evaluate and communicate the profound impacts of youth-led climate initiatives. By gathering input from 16 youth leaders and industry stakeholders, along with a literature review of 17 community project impact assessment frameworks, its purpose is to assess current youth engagements and foster stronger collaborations in the future. Explore & download the report here.
Harnessing The Energy of Local Leadership: Global Covenant of Mayors and ARUP Release New Report, “Unlocking Urban Energy Access and Poverty”
Lacking access to affordable and reliable energy is a clear indication of deprivation in the daily lives of urban residents. Local governments are well aware of the urgency and benefits associated with tackling energy access and poverty. However, they frequently encounter significant and complex barriers that limit their ability to implement interventions or explore innovative solutions.
To help local governments ensure access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for all, the Global Covenant of Mayors and ARUP released the highly anticipated Unlocking Urban Energy Access and Poverty research and summary reports, accompanying the Energy Access and Poverty Pillar (EAPP) that the GCoM alliance activated in 2023 as part of its Common Reporting Framework (CRF). Learn more and download the reports here.
💡 News from our Regional and National Covenants
Nature-based solutions and project synergies in Latin America
From June 6 to 8, 2023, GCoM participated in the 2nd ICLEI Brazil National Meeting held in Palmas, Brazil. The theme was “Sustainable Cities: solutions based on Nature and Renewable Energies.” The meeting fostered discussions on climate change mitigation and adaptation, with a particular emphasis on nature-based solutions and clean energy transition. Several local governments were recognized for their efforts in fighting climate change. Read more here.
On June 15, 2023, four Brazilian cities, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Serra Talhada, finished a series of trainings in project development designed to secure international financing for local climate action projects. These sessions were part of the GCoM’s Emblematic Cities initiative, in partnership with ICLEI South America. Read more here.
Earlier last month, on June 3, GCoM reaffirmed its pledge to assist municipalities with climate-focused projects at the 2023 Latin American Federation of Cities, Municipalities, and Municipal Associations (FLACMA) General Assembly in Costa Rica. The focus was on strengthening the Comprehensive Cooperation Program between GCoM and FLACMA, and enhancing synergy in local climate action projects. Read more here.
Local leaders from Latin America stand out at the U20 Summit
Three cities from the Global Covenant of Mayors in the Americas showcased their efforts in promoting eco-friendly behaviors and ensuring water security at the U20 Climate Change Summit in India. GCoM Board Member Mayor Basualdo of Despeñaderos emphasized circular economy and gender equality. The summit underscored the significance of local governments in the climate fight. Financing for environmental projects was also a topic of discussion. The G20 summit in Rio de Janeiro will host a preliminary U20 meeting in November. Read more here.
EU Green Deal and energy independence
The Cities Energy Saving Sprint, launched by the Covenant of Mayors – Europe and the European Commission last year, demonstrated the power of cities in realizing the EU’s objectives of energy independence and climate neutrality. Many of these emergency measures are being upheld in cities and have become a springboard for the implementation of long-term climate and energy action plans.
Building on this momentum, the government of Flanders has announced it will host an event, during the 2024 Belgian Presidency, to bring together over 500 mayors to showcase the concrete actions being taken at the city level to implement the EU Green Deal. Save the date for March 15, 2024, and join us in highlighting the vital role of cities in tackling climate change. Read more here and watch a video about the event here.
A green recovery for Ukraine
Starting on March 5, 2023, the Covenant of Mayors East began aiding Ukrainian cities in creating Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAP), which set strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting renewable energy use. Read more here.
The Secretariat ran training sessions on February 27 and 28, and March 1 and 2, 2023, focusing on the SECAP development process. The organization then held a high-level conference on May 10, 2023, in Lviv, Ukraine, discussing green recovery initiatives and the creation of a Decarbonization and Energy-Efficient Transformation Fund. The conference also highlighted that 103 cities in the region have established their own SECAPs, and 198 mayors pledged to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Read more here.
An abundance of hope in the Mediterranean
The Covenant of Mayors for the Mediterranean (CoM Med) has welcomed the adhesion of six new cities. The region has seen the release of a new short feature film, a Glimpse of Hope in Tunisia, which is the 5th in so far in an ongoing series. The series is prepared by CoM Med for its seven partner countries in the South Mediterranean region. This latest release showcases the effects of climate change affecting Tunisia’s urban, rural and natural territory and the cities’ actions and solutions for a more sustainable future. You can watch the whole series here.
Marking milestones in Sub-Saharan Africa
Since the start of 2023, the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa has celebrated several milestones including over 200 climate and energy badges awarded to signatories in the previous year, 2 Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan launches and new informative resources.
Through workshops and practical support, CoM SSA continues to deepen its work in Togo, where more than three-quarters of the cities are signatories. In Kenya, signatories are strengthening their efforts in the waste management space. To accelerate increased access to affordable and clean energy, signatories have carried out studies and training to inform their energy policies and plans.
Finance is crucial to transforming cities and therefore climate finance experts are becoming more important in the SEACAP development process. As momentum grows, signatories are moving from planning to implementation, and creating meaningful change, across all sectors in their cities. View a snapshot of CoM SSA’s 2022 successes here.
New badges for North America
This year, in the United States (US), the Global Covenant of Mayors badging system has recognized 56 cities for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and 45 cities for adapting to climate change. In addition, 20 cities were awarded the compliance medal for meeting all the milestones in both areas and completing their climate action plans.
According to the Global Covenant of Mayors 2022 Impact Report, North America’s principal risks and vulnerabilities are extreme hot temperature (18.2%), floods and sea level rise (17,7%), extreme precipitation (14%), storm and wind (12.4%), and drought (11%). Currently, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy has reached more than 182 signatory cities in the US, benefiting more than 98.5 million people with the climate actions carried out by each of them. Read more here.
East Asia Regional Conference
On April 18 and 19, GCoM Korea hosted the “GCoM East Asia Regional Conference” in Seoul, South Korea. The workshop, the 2nd of the series in the GCoM Asia Project in 2023, was successfully held with around 100 participants joining from Korea, Japan, China and Europe. Stakeholders from East Asian local governments and related agencies shared their experiences and best practices for tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions.
The two-day workshop consisted of 5 topical sessions and a site visit to the Seoul Upcycling Plaza. In the high-level dialogue session, leaders from three East Asian countries attended, including Mayor Yasuhiro Nakane of Okazaki City in Japan. They emphasized the implementation and responsibility of local governments to achieve the Paris Accord climate goal. For two days, from #Stocktake4ClimateEmergency to mitigation, adaptation and green innovation, panelists from Korea, Japan, and China showcased their local climate actions while inspiring other GCoM network cities and potential signatories. Read more here.
New cities and assistance in South Asia
The Global Covenant of Mayors South Asia is making substantial strides in the fight against climate change, with seven more cities across South Asia, including Thiruvananthapuram, Ujjain, Kandy, Nilphamari, Moulvibazar, and Dhulikhel joining the initiative. This was highlighted during the 6th Asian Cities Summit, which saw the participation of over 20 South Asian mayors. Discover climate resources here.
WRI India, with the Environment Planning & Coordination Organisation, is helping develop climate action plans for 7 smart cities in Madhya Pradesh. Additionally, the Capacity Building for Low Carbon and Climate Resilient City Development project (CapaCITIeS), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, is working to strengthen Indian cities’ capacities to plan and implement climate-resilient actions. Read more here.
The GCoM South Asia also held its 14th coordination group meeting in New Delhi, India, serving as a platform for knowledge sharing on building energy efficiency, smart-readiness of buildings, and renewable energy. A meeting in Ahmedabad, India, for GCoM South Asia signatory cities provided a venue to engage on climate through technical and financial assistance. Read more here.
Empowering Southeast Asian Cities
GCoM Southeast Asia (GCoM SEA) drives climate action in the region through its GCoM Asia Project. Working with 16 pilot cities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, the secretariat supports the development of Climate Action Plans (CAPs) through inclusive processes, including public consultations.
Eight pilot cities launched their CAPs during the GCoM SEA Regional Workshop held in Bangkok, Thailand on March 30-31, 2023. The workshop witnessed active collaboration and knowledge sharing among cities and partners in the regions.
Following the successful launch, the GCoM SEA continues its momentum with national workshops on climate finance in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. These workshops strengthen local capacity, bridge funding opportunities, and showcase outstanding commitment to CAPs implementation, including the awarding of GCoM badges to outstanding cities. The Secretariat is actively amplifying the effects of these efforts by connecting cities to financing institutions and facilitating partnerships with climate tech and solution providers.
Urgent climate challenges in the Pacific
With funding provided by the European Union, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy Oceania and ICLEI Oceania are actively supporting five towns and cities in the Pacific Islands as they confront the urgent challenges of climate change. In a recent mission, a dedicated team visited the island cities of Apia, Labasa, Savusavu, Honiara, and Tulagi to build upon earlier consultations on their most pressing issues rapid urban development and climate change.
Despite their varying geographical locations and sizes, these communities share common struggles in dealing with extreme weather events, sea level rise, and coastal flooding, exacerbated by inadequate waste management systems. The GCoM Oceania team introduced the concepts of Flood Risk Management and Circular Development.
Over the next 12 months, the towns will receive assistance in developing Climate Action Plans and designing bankable projects to address these pressing challenges.
💡 News from our partners
Cities, towns and regions are invited to provide an official contribution to the Paris Agreement’s Global Stocktake, to turn their city halls and regional parliaments into mini-COP venues. The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), the official constituency for local and regional governments within the UNFCCC, is offering a toolkit for cities to organize these dialogues. Get the toolkit here.
Contribute to Climate Resilient Infrastructure Report
The International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI) has announced a call for contributions to the second issue of their Climate Resilient Infrastructure Report.
This issue will take a closer look at the relationship between infrastructure and nature and will highlight projects that incorporate nature in their design, processes, or materials, or that positively impact natural systems. Featured case studies should elevate the agenda for resilience and adaptation across all infrastructure sectors, and showcase best-practice examples of infrastructure that incorporate, complement, and enhance natural systems. Submissions will be considered for inclusion in the report that will be launched at COP28 in December 2023. Submit a case study through this short form by August 31.
Join WWF’s One Planet City Challenge (OPCC)
This decade-long global initiative encourages cities to present ambitious climate action plans on the CDP-ICLEI international reporting platform. More than 700 cities from 69 countries have participated. WWF provides detailed feedback, training, and organizes peer learning, all based on the latest IPCC findings. The competition aims to facilitate local governments’ global transition towards a sustainable future. National and global winners are chosen to recognize and reward leadership. The deadline for entries is August 31, 2023.
OPCC finalists are invited to join the We Love Cities public engagement campaign in the third quarter of 2024.
Daring Cities 2023 Virtual Forum
From July to September 2023, join bold city leaders, practitioners, researchers, and experts on a virtual journey to tackle the multi-faceted challenges of a just and equitable climate emergency response. The virtual forum is a free, globally-accessible program of solution-oriented events on the just climate transition.
Daring Cities will offer over 15 free webinars with urban climate experts. The outcomes will build on the message from the Daring Cities 2023 Dialogues and become the central platform for city advocacy during Urban October and into COP28 in December 2023 in Dubai. See the entire schedule and register here.
Join Energy Exchange #2 on Urban Cooling
Electricity use for cooling in Asia has surged, driven by economic growth, population increase, and extreme heat events. Urban areas are particularly affected by this trend. Buildings in Asia account for a higher percentage of GHG emissions than the worldwide average, making energy efficient and passive building design strategies an important part of the discussion.
Youth Engagement for Climate Action Checklist
Want to meaningfully engage youth in your #ClimateAction efforts but not sure where to start? ICLEI’s checklist for local and regional governments will guide you step-by-step. Download it now and start building a better world together with the next generation with these practical steps. Download the checklist here.
Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for the next edition.