C40 showcases bold city commitments at COP23

An update from C40's City Diplomacy Team

COP23 came to a successful conclusion on November 18th in Bonn. While nations were there to negotiate under the inspiring Fijian Presidency, C40 was present with a strong delegation to showcase the ambition of our cities, inspire ambitious commitments, build fruitful partnerships and announce the great strides that C40 cities are making to deliver the objectives of the Paris Agreement. 

The decision reached by COP23 (available in full here) is important in many ways. First it stresses the “utmost” importance of reviewing and enhancing pre-2020 climate action if we want to stay on track with the Paris Agreement objective of 1.5C and acknowledges contributions from cities and regions in this process. Second, it delivered a basic structure for the Paris Agreement Work Program (the how to implement the Paris Agreement) and commits to completing it by COP24 next year.

Most importantly, the Fijian Presidency successfully delivered one of their COP priorities: the design of the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue, inspired by the Fijian tradition – and therefore renamed – Talanoa Dialogue. In the spirit of inclusiveness, transparency and participation of Talanoa, the Dialogue will be a yearlong process that concludes at COP24. It will review how the global community is progressing towards the objectives set in the Paris Agreement, including inputs from regions, states, cities, businesses and civil society (organized under the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action). The Talanoa Dialogue will ask the following questions to all stakeholders: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?

This is a major achievement that continues to recognize how cities and regions are taking important measures in their territories, and together with nations, are part of the global equation to solve the climate change problem. At C40 we welcome these outcomes and commend the Fijian Presidency, and through our engagement at COP23 C40 has begun answering the Talanoa Dialogue questions:

Where are we?

  • The mayors of 25 pioneering cities, representing 150 million citizens, have pledged to develop and begin implementing more ambitious climate action plans before the end of 2020 to deliver emissions neutral and climate resilient cities by 2050.
  • The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy is driving ambitious commitments by cities all around the world (7,494 in the last report) and has now developed a global standard for reporting city and local governments’ greenhouse gas emissions inventories, compatible with national government reporting requirements.

Where do we want to go?

  • By 2020, all C40 cities will have adopted ambitious climate action plans, which will ensure that cities deliver their share of emissions reductions required to realise the ambition of the Paris Agreement, and particularly, carbon neutrality by 2050.

How do we get there?

  • By implementing actions in cities that can unlock the most emission reductions. A C40 and McKinsey report called Focused Acceleration was launched at COP23 and outlines exactly what the biggest emission reduction opportunities are in different types of cities.
  • Through effective partnerships, like the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, which officially released its Yearbook of Global Climate Action 2017 at COP23. The Yearbook is a formal input from nonParty Stakeholders and the Urban Leadership Council, which held its first meeting with global policymakers committed to raising awareness and knowledge on city climate action and enabling policy frameworks.
  • Through technical assistance support, which will be available to C40 cities in Asia, South America and Africa thanks to the financial support of the United Kingdom and German governments.

In the year ahead leading up to COP24 in Katowice, Poland, we look forward to providing more evidence that C40 cities are on track to deliver bold and ambitious climate action. Make sure to check out our daily COP23 blogs, photos and videos here, all provided thanks to the support of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.