Paris and Mexico City share stories of hope and ambition at the United Nations

By Agathe Cavicchioli, City Diplomacy Manager at C40 Cities

Paris, Mexico City and C40’s City Diplomacy Programme recently participated in the United Nations’ Talanoa Dialogue, an unprecedented opportunity for cities and all other members of civil society to assess our global efforts in relation to the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Our presence showcased ambitious urban leadership and sent a strong message of commitment to the 1.5 objective of the Paris Agreement via long-term climate strategies and emissions-neutrality by 2050.

“Talanoa” is a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The Talanoa Dialogue, designed under the leadership of the COP23 Fijian Presidency, relies on principles of mutual respect, trust building and empathy to reach decisions. In this spirit, the Talanoa Dialogue has included Parties to the United Nations Climate Convention and non-Party stakeholders – or observers – that represent civil society, the private sector and cities. It was designed around three questions, which all were invited to answer: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?

"To realise the aspiration of a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future, more than 40 cities have committed to becoming emissions neutral by 2050 and improving their resilience to climate impacts,” said Emmanuelle Pinault, Head of City Diplomacy at C40. “Mayors are delivering their share of global climate action and we urge the global community to join us, increase their ambition and pursue the 1.5°C objective of the Paris Agreement. We urge all Parties to put in place, by 2020, long-term strategies needed to achieve this.”

C40 is actively involved in the Talanoa Dialogue process: we submitted a written contribution and had a strong representation in the dialogue this past Sunday in Bonn, with Paris and Mexico City both sharing their stories.

“The objectives of the Paris Agreement are clear and there is overwhelming evidence determining what they mean for global GHG emissions. It is now everyone’s responsibility to achieve it at their level through long-term strategies,” said Yann Françoise, Head of Climate, Energy and Circular Economy for the City of Paris. “In Paris, we’ve incorporated these objectives to design a 2050 carbon neutrality pathway with all the stakeholders (citizens, businesses, NGOs...). Last March, we published our new Climate Action Plan with over 500 actions to become a carbon neutral, fairer, more inclusive and resilient city. We’ll achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 and more than 40 other C40 cities are doing the same, showing true urban leadership.”

"Our ultimate goal in Mexico City is [also] to reach climate neutrality by 2050,” said Tanya Müller, Secretary of Environment for Mexico City. “We understand the threat that climate change poses to our citizens and we recognise the huge potential benefits that climate action can bring to boost our economy, improve public health and create jobs. We encourage everyone to accelerate their efforts to deliver on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement and limit global temperature rise to 1.5C. This moment in our history offers a unique opportunity to restore climate justice, build inclusive and resilient cities and ensure a just transition to sustainable, low-carbon cities worldwide."

The outcome of the Talanoa Dialogue will be reported at COP24 in December 2018, when the Dialogue enters its final political phase at ministerial level.