Rio de Janeiro has had a City Adviser since 2007, when the city became a member of C40 as megacity. At the first stage of the partnership, C40 supported Rio positioning climate change as a central role in the strategic planning of the city. This measure was accomplished as Rio updated the GHG inventory and elaborated a comprehensive climate action plan, which served as the basis for the Municipal Climate Change Plan, enacted as law in 2011. This placed Rio as one of the first Brazilian cities to have such a plan with objective goals for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Since then, C40 has been working hand-in-hand with the city’s political, administrative and technical leadership to support implementing the strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate risk, with multiple local partners, in close collaboration with C40 networks. The areas supported by C40, identified as having the largest impact in reducing GHG emissions and climate risks are: transportation, energy efficiency, solid waste management, resilience, monitoring and land use planning. This support culminated in Rio’s achievement of becoming the first city in the world to be fully compliant with the Compact of Mayors just before COP21. The Compact is a global coalition of city leaders dedicated to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and making urban communities more resilient to climate change. Compact of Mayors commitments are analogous to the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (iNDCs) pledged by nation states. Now with the European Commission, the Compact of Mayors is part of the Global Covenant of Mayor for Climate and Energy.
Although the city currently has low GHG emissions per capita, compared to other global cities, the city has been committed to further enhancing its climate action plan with the support of C40. In April 2015, Mayor Paes was the first Mayor in the world to sign the Earth Statement and joined scientists and leaders from around the world to limit global temperature rise to 2oC. C40 has been supporting Rio to create a long-term climate goal and in March 2016, the city announced the Rio 500 Vision Plan, which sets the goal of carbon neutrality for Rio de Janeiro by 2065. This goal makes Rio the first city in the developing world to commit to carbon neutrality and to monitor and implement that long-term goal; C40 has also been supporting the Mayor’s Office to create a Sustainability Office which aims to foster cross-sectoral collaboration as well as to facilitate stakeholder engagement toward achieving this climate goal.
In summary, C40 has developed a partnership with Rio in all stages of municipal climate policy and projects: envisioning, elaboration, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Within this partnership, C40 offers a wide array of supporting tools, which includes:
- Working with project portfolio at various stages of development;
- Identifying, connecting, engaging and mobilizing key stakeholders: city, private sector, NGO’s and other governmental agencies;
- Developing win-win integrated proposals to address various stakeholders;
- Establishing strong and trusting relationship with key and high level government officials as well as their technical team;
- Diplomatic approach in conflicting areas of interest within city government;
- Providing timely technical support;
- Supporting the organization of high-level events in order to promote innovative solutions to the city’s problems, exchange information and identify opportunities for cooperation;
- Identifying funding/grants for projects and providing technical support for the application process.
Over more than 8 years, C40 has supported Rio de Janeiro, through the work of a city adviser, to move forward an ambitious climate agenda. The following summary contains an overview of key projects and events:
- Supported Rio de Janeiro Climate Action Plan Elaboration, Implementation and Monitoring: Supported planning, launch, and delivery of the Climate Action Plan; facilitated engagement between city agencies, officials and other partners to track progress on specific goals and outcomes; contributed to senior-level municipal strategy-setting and review processes; reported Rio’s progress through C40, the Compact of Mayors (currently Global Covenant of Mayor for Climate & Energy) and the Carbon Disclosure Project, The C40 advisor was directly involved in projects that led to avoided emissions of approximately 134,000 tCO2e per year in the city of Rio. Finally, C40 provided technical and political support for the elaboration of the Strategic Plan 2017-2020 and Rio Visão 500, a long-term plan for 2065, which establishes the goal of carbon neutrality by 2065, making Rio the first city in the Global South to announce such an ambitious goal.
- Strengthened and Expanded High-Impact Programs: Supported technically and politically projects that changed more than 80% of traffic lights to LED through a partnership between the city and the energy transmission utility company; conducted, with the municipal waste management company an eco-driving workshop with the potential for a 7% reduction in diesel consumption; articulated the testing of electric buses in the city; helped the arrangements for a pilot biomethanization plant at a waste processing station; supported the elaboration of Rio’s Resilience Strategy, provided technical support for compliance with the CDP; participated in the elaboration and implementation of Rio’s heat wave plan; elaborated plans and drafts for Rio’s Sustainability Office based on other C40 cities and prepared detailed briefs for the elaboration of the carbon neutrality plan.
- Managed Key City partnerships and Facilitated Cross-City Lesson-Sharing: Through direct participation and engagement of other city officials, C40’s Rio de Janeiro City Adviser facilitated cross-city learning and lesson-sharing through C40 and other regional partnerships in more than 7 networks and over 15 city-to-city interactions with London, Barcelona, Curitiba (x2), São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Tshwane, Ho Chi Minh, Dalian (x2), New York, Houston and Stockholm. Rio also hosted two network workshops (Climate Risk Assessment in 2015 and Sustainable Infrastructure Finance in 2016) and more than five high-level events on topics such as sustainable finance, waste management and the official announcement of the new C40 chair. Rio also participated in several C40 network workshops and activities across the world.
Reasons for success
Among the factors for success in the C40 Rio de Janeiro city adviser support to the City of Rio de Janeiro are:
- The long-term presence of a city adviser, which allowed for the creation of a vast network of contacts both within the city and with external partners (universities, companies, NGOs, etc.) and the consequent familiarity of city officials with the wide array of tools C40 provides to the city.
- Rio’s willingness to include climate change policies as a priority in the municipal government’s agenda through an articulated engagement of multiple secretariats and agencies in innovative sustainability programs and projects. This led to Rio showcasing strong national and international leadership in climate change urban governance, which culminated in Mayor Paes’ election as C40 chair in 2013.
- C40 regional and global support, through the regional director’s constant guidance; technical support from the Global Initiatives and Networks team; the opportunity to attend global high-level events on specific climate change topics; the various reports and assessments published by C40; and the unique opportunity to tap into a vast network of climate expertise from C40 cities and partners.