Cities Sign Global Accord to Cut Emissions, Adapt to Climate Change, Report Steps Taken

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MEXICO CITY--Mayors and local leaders from around the world concluded a trio of meetings Nov. 21 with a pledge to work to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The Global Cities Covenant on Climate laid out 10 actions cities can take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to a warming climate, including a commitment to develop ways for cities to access international funding for local actions. The voluntary agreement, known as the Mexico City Pact, also highlighted the important role in addressing climate change played by the world's cities, which accounted for more than 70 percent of the Earth's greenhouse gas emissions in 2006, according to the International Energy Agency.

Cities that signed onto the agreement agreed to report any actions they take in a new carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR). The registry will be operated by the Bonn Center for Local Climate Action and Reporting--hence the use of “carbonn” in the name. The registry was launched the same day the pact was signed, during the first World Mayors Summit on Climate, hosted by Mexico City.

The Mexico City Pact also envisioned the establishment of a Global Cities Covenant on Climate Secretariat that would be encourage more cities to join the agreement and would follow up on actions laid out in the pact.

The one-day summit was sponsored by Mexico City, the World Mayors Council on Climate Change, the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

The meeting also marked the final day of a pair of related meetings of mayors and local leaders. The Third Congress of United Cities and Local Governments and the Local and Regional Leaders World Summit both concluded six-day meetings in Mexico City with the Nov. 21 signing of the pact at the World Mayors Summit.

The trio of meetings attracted some 3,000 city officials from 114 countries.

Importance of International Funding

Earlier in the week, Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard discussed the importance of an international fund to help cities fight global warming.

“Today, almost all global credits are for nations, not cities,” Ebrard said Nov. 17. “For that reason, cities have great difficulty in accessing resources from the international communities. So this is a very interesting, new initiative that is also being adopted in this meeting.”

The objective is to promote investments in city climate change programs as quickly as possible, rather than waiting for an international accord that appears to be foundering, Ebrard told Radio Formula, a local radio station, Nov. 18. “We can change energy, reduce auto emissions, and take other steps in our cities … and not wait for an international pact that we see is not coming and is being delayed,” Ebrard said.

Ebrard said the financing architecture used today is too slow and that the new fund for cities would speed up the allocation of resources to municipalities, where greenhouse gas emissions are highest and climate change is affecting more people. He did not specify how it would do so.

Pact to Be Presented in Cancun

The Mexico City Pact will be presented at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 16th Conference of the Parties, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, Nov. 29-Dec. 10.

“The voice of cities must be heard at the climate summit,” Ebrard said.

UCLG president and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë said at a Nov. 18 press conference that cities will pressure leaders in Cancun “to do what they have not done, what they haven’t been able to do.”

By Nacha Cattan and Terence Hyland (Washington, D.C.)  


Full text of the Global Cities Covenant on Climate, also known as the Mexico City Pact, is available at http://www.wmsc2010.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/The-Pact-Final-181110.pdf.

More information on the carbonn Cities Climate Registry is available at http://www.wmsc2010.org/carbonn-cities/.

More information on the World Mayors Summit on Climate, held Nov. 21, in Mexico City, is available at http://www.wmsc2010.org/.