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Cities & Subnationals


Almost three quarters of global GHG emissions are emitted on urban territories. Cities are therefore key to addressing and adapting to climate change by adopting a low-carbon, resilient economies. Many cities are leading - and so are many subnational governments - in cutting emissions and greening infrastructures. Photo ©Wyliepoon

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Cities, Regions, National States, Public and Orivate Investors and International Organizations Accelerate Transformation at Local and Regional Level

Sub-National Authorities Are Largest Group on NAZCA Climate Commitments Platform, With Over 2200 Entries

Paris, 8 December 2015 - Cities and regions from five continents representing almost one-fifth of the world’s population came together today to launch a five-year vision that will increase their action to respond to climate change and ensure sustainable future living environments for their people.

Following the summit of local leaders on 4 December under the Paris Declaration, the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) Focus on Cities highlighted the unprecedented level of sub-national government climate action and the wide mobilization of all actors who are joining forces to achieve large-scale transformation across wide territories.

Cities and regions are at the heart of their countries’ economic development and generate a large share of global GDP. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says urban areas are responsible for up to 49% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cities and regions are also in the front line of global efforts to protect citizens from the impacts of climate change. "Acting on climate change is not just about a treaty, it is about all of us: cities, regions, sub-nationals", said Jerry Brown, Governor of California.

Meeting the internationally agreed goal to keep the global average temperature rise below 1,5/2 degrees Celsius therefore requires a deep transformation of local economic development models.

Humanity faces the greatest wave of urbanization in its history, with 60% of the global population expected to live in urban areas by 2030 and 70% by 2050. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity – to lock new urban expansion into a new development model towards climate-resilient and low-carbon societies at large scale, leap frogging the old patterns of urban life for a growing population. "The best actions have always started at the grassroots level," said Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th Governor of California and R20 Funding Chair.

Main announcements of the day included:  

A “Five-Year Vision” launched around 4 objectives mobilizing all actors:

  • Increasing the number of cities and regions deciding to implement an Action Plan and climate objectives;
  • Building resilience in the greatest number of cities and regions, with particular attention to vulnerable populations;
  • Improving project preparation and climate planning to ensure increased financial flows to the territories, whilst accelerating the deployment of innovative economic and financial tools;
  • Supporting multi-partnership initiatives between different levels of governance (State- local governments, decentralized cooperation, etc.).

Rising climate commitments from local and sub-national governments representing 17% of the world population

The involvement of local authorities in the climate action agenda is increasing fast and reaching all continents: more than 7000 sub-national governments have made commitments, 2,255 cities and 150 regions are already registered on the NAZCA climate commitments platform, representing 17% of the world population (1.25 billion inhabitants). Various transformative initiatives support this dynamic:

  • The Covenant of Mayors gathering 6300 municipalities’ signatories and representing 208 million people. In addition to an increase in European membership, the initiative added new targets in the European Union (-40% of GHG emissions in 2030) and has gone global, supporting sub-national governments in five continents along with incorporating resilience in its Action Plan on climate change. "This is smart financing for smart mayors," said Maroš Šefcovic, Vice-President, European Commission.
  • The Compact of Mayors, launched during the New York Summit, is now guiding 428 cities on the identification and implementation of climate objectives, the production of GHG inventories, targets and compliance;
  • The Compact of States and Regions, also launched in New York, gathers 44 members from 18 countries;
  • The Under2MOU initiative involves 80 sub national’s jurisdictions in reducing their emissions from 80 to 95% below 1990 levels by 2050 or achieving per capita annual emission target of less than 2 metric tons by 2050.

Wide mobilization to enhance resilience at territorial and local level

This mobilisation involves the implementation of adaptation plans at local levels, initiatives to protect the most vulnerable, plus financing and monitoring these commitments:

  • Launched in 2014, the adaptation part of the Covenant of Mayors (“Mayors adapt”), now brings together 141 Cities committed to implement adaptation plans and regularly report on their implementation;
  • The first ever international initiative to promote adaptation plans at the regional level ("Regions adapt");
  • The launch of a joint program on resilient cities through the “Cities alliance” aiming to strengthen resilience to climate change within the most vulnerable populations (partners: Cities Alliance, UNEP, UN-Habitat, C40, ICLEI, PFVT, NGOs such as Slum dwellers international). The goal of this alliance is to develop 100 Resilience Action Plans by 2020;
  • The 100 resilient Cities of the Rockefeller Foundation, launched in New York, is already financially and technically supporting 67 local governments;
  • The launch of the C40 and a multi-stakeholder platform on a risk assessment program whilst monitoring commitments (“CRAFT initiative”).

International community organized to finance cities and regions at scale

Launched in September 2014, the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance (CCFLA), brings together a growing number of partners. The Secretariat was announced at COP21 (by UNEP, UNDP, FMDV, R20)

  • The European Commission has announced a 60 million Euro funding package to support the development Climate Action Plans at the territorial level in developing countries;
  • Various initiatives to support project preparation, with the French Development Agency (AFD) committed to prepare co-benefits climate projects in 100 cities and the Inter-American Development Bank and GIZ launching a facility, together with C40. "Local actors know what is the most relevant for the needs of their populations", said Anne Paugam,Director General, Agence Française de Développement;
  • The launch of various innovative tools aiming to enhance access of cities to financing, such as a coalition for urban green bonds with 6-10 pilot projects and the launch of a local finance lab. 

Local and national governments join forces worldwide to accelerate the transformation

  • The US-China Agreement galvanizing joint action on climate change of 18 cities from the US and 11 cities from China; a number of these cities in the Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities commit to meet or exceed China’s goal of peaking emissions by 2030;
  • The work undertaken jointly by the WAEMU (West African Economic & Monetary Union) and the local governments networks of West Africa to facilitate the emergence of urban finance facilities;
  • The support from national States to intercity cooperation. Japan selected 14 intercity collaboration projects under the JCM during this fiscal year in 8 countries: India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. “I expect that the Lima-Paris Action Agenda would be a bridge between nations, sub-nationals and communities in order to share their experiences, and to promote partnership between actors,” said Ms Tamayo Marukawa, Minister of environment of Japan.
  • An acceleration of concerted strategies at the level of State and local governments (e.g. in India, the solar plan draws on the experience of regions and in France the positive energy at the local level); "Ideally, at the end of COP21, all sub-nationals should be able to implement a climate action plan" said Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.  

To further accelerate this action, the United Nations has announced a wide mobilization of their agencies and the creation of a sub-national action hub involving UNEP, UNDP, UN-Habitat, WHO, the World bank and UNIDO. 

This wide and inclusive multi-stakeholder partnership will be continued throughout 2016 to finalize a fully fledged action plan by COP22. "We will not stop, we will not rest, we will not give up", said Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th Governor of California and R20 Funding Chair.


The Lima-Paris Action Agenda is a joint undertaking of the Peruvian and French COP presidencies, the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UNFCCC Secretariat. It aims to strengthen climate action throughout 2015, in Paris in December and well beyond through: mobilizing robust global action towards low carbon and resilient societies; providing enhanced support to existing initiatives, such as those launched during the NY SG Climate summit in September 2014; and mobilizing new partners and providing a platform for the visibility of their actions, commitments and results in the run up to COP21.Learn more at http://newsroom.unfccc.int/lpaa/about/

The LPAA initiatives related to the Cities & Sub-nationals Focus are:

More information and Press contacts

Event Programme online http://newsroom.unfccc.int/lpaa/cop-21/#Events

Nazca commitments platform: Over 10.000 concrete actions, from cities, companies, investors, foundations, NGOs : http://climateaction.unfccc.int/                                                            

Caring for Climate Business forum www.c4cbusinessforum.org #Caring4Climate

LPAA Press Officer: Diane Gaillard | +33 6 99 62 49 79 | lpaa@cop21.gouv.fr

Press contacts for the Focus: Sophie.vieillefont@cop21.gouv.fr or Lucie.guillet@cop21.gouv.fr

Twitter UNFCCC: @UNFCCC (Eng), @CCNUCC (Fr), @CMNUCC (Esp), @UNKlima (De)

Twitter LPAA:  @LPAA_Live | #LPAA

YouTube UNFCCC: https://www.youtube.com/user/climateconference

YouTube COP21: http://bit.ly/1G7HWWj

Flickr (copyright free photos): https://www.flickr.com/photos/136161474@N05/albums

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