The largest global alliance for city climate leadership welcomes Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka, Mayor Carolina Basualdo, and Mayor Georges Youssef to its Board of Mayors and Leaders
Brussels, Belgium (18 April 2023) – Today, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) – the largest global alliance for city climate leadership – welcomed three new mayors to its Board of Mayors and Leaders: Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka of Yokohama, Japan; Mayor Carolina Basualdo of the municipality of Despeñaderos, Argentina; and Mayor Georges Youssef of Menjez, Lebanon.
In their roles as GCoM Board Members, Mayors Yamanaka, Basualdo, and Youssef will serve as ambassadors for urban climate action at the local, national, and global levels. As local climate leaders, they will represent their regions on the global stage, empowering cities to collaborate with national governments to help meet and exceed their highest ambitions under the Paris Agreement, and to push aggressive climate targets throughout East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa.
“Around the world, mayors and local leaders are behind many of the solutions to our climate crisis – and the more they lead the way, the more progress we can make,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions, Global Covenant of Mayors Co-Chair, and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “I’m glad to welcome three dynamic mayors to the Global Covenant of Mayors – Mayor Yamanaka, Mayor Basualdo, and Mayor Youssef – and our team is looking forward to working with them to find new ways to expand our ambitions and help more cities take action.”
“The impacts of the climate crisis are becoming more apparent every day. Across the world, mayors have been at the forefront of the response with local measures that make a big difference in the daily lives of everyone in their city. From taking action to boost cycling, clean road transport, reduce waste, to renovating houses or greening public spaces; mayors help make the climate transition a reality.” said Frans Timmermans, Co-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors and Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal. “I warmly congratulate Mayor Yamanaka, Mayor Basualdo and Mayor Youssef on their appointments and look forward to working together.”
As the second largest city in Japan, with a population of over 3.7 million, Yokohama has been at the forefront of local climate action in Japan for many years. In 2019, Yokohama was one of the first cities in Japan to commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Since his election in 2021, Mayor Yamanaka has continued to increase the city’s climate leadership. Most recently, the city secured a noteworthy spot on the CDP’s 2021 Cities A-List for its efforts to adapt and mitigate the growing impacts of climate change, including building resilient infrastructure to tackle extreme flooding. Under Yamanaka’s stewardship, Yokohama has also continued to work alongside more than 2,500 local and regional governments to advance sustainable urban development as a city member of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.
With GCoM open to all cities and municipalities, of any size and region worldwide, Mayor Carolina Basualdo leads a small municipality in Argentina. In 2022, under Basualdo’s leadership, Despeñaderos finalized its Local Climate Action Plan, outlining key policies and actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Basualdo also strongly believes in the power of networks to spark meaningful change, chairing the Forum of Women in Local Governments, collaborating with Red Argentina de Municipios Frente al Cambio Climático, and serving as the chair of the GCoM Regional Mayors Forum in Latin America. As a young woman leader, Mayor Basualdo brings a diverse and critical perspective to accelerating climate action at the local, regional, and global levels, including placing gender equity at the heart of climate policies.
Since his election in 2012, Mayor Youssef of Menjez has been a champion for urban sustainability and climate solutions in the Middle East. As Mayor, he has led the development of the Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan for Menjez, including solutions for clean energy, water management, reforestation, and energy efficiency. Mayor Youssef has also demonstrated robust and effective climate finance leadership, securing funding from various donors for a multitude of projects to help build resilience and green the municipality.
“It is a great honor to be appointed to the Board of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy representing ICLEI and the East Asia region. I am pleased to have this opportunity to work with like-minded leaders of global cities who share a determination to confront climate change,” remarked Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka of Yokohama, Japan. “With the continuing trend of urbanization, it is crucial for local governments to take the initiative in decarbonization through multilevel action. Yokohama will work to engage our fellow global cities through strong partnerships to contribute to decarbonization and the achievement of the SDGs.”
“We can accelerate climate action if we work together, in a committed way, with clear goals and policies for a more resilient and sustainable world,” said Mayor Carolina Basualdo of Despeñaderos, Argentina. “Whether we are a smaller or bigger city, we face the challenge of mainstreaming climate action in all our policies and levels of government. The role of women in climate action is crucial to move forward and build communities that are more equal and sustainable”
“We are at a pivotal moment for city-level climate action,” said Mayor Georges Youssef of Menjez, Lebanon. “I am honored to have an opportunity to support mayors from around the region in advancing their climate and sustainability priorities. I look forward to elevating local climate action here in the Middle East and serving as a model for cities around the world at this critical moment in history.”
Members of the Global Covenant Board represent more than 12,500 cities and local governments around the world committed to ambitious action to combat the climate crisis and build resilient communities. The GCoM alliance is co-chaired by Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP, and 108th Mayor of New York City, and Frans Timmermans, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal.
About 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.