Joint Statement: The Science We Need for the Cities We Want
On the last day of the CitiesIPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference in Edmonton, 10 of the leading urban and scientific global organizations presented “The Science We Need for the Cities We Want: Working together to implement the global research agenda on cities and climate change," a joint statement describing how they will work together to support the implementation of the global research agenda on cities and climate change.
We, the science, policy and practitioner participants at the CitiesIPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, gathered in Edmonton, Canada, from March 5-7, 2018, recognizing that:
- Cities account for over 70% of global energy-related CO2 emissions and are vulnerable hotspots of climate change impacts. The scale of ongoing urban expansion (and associated infrastructure and buildings that are yet to be built) provides a unique opportunity for cities to ‘bend the curve’ to avoid further dangerous climate change. Cities and regions may also be powerhouses of ambitious mitigation and adaptation measures that are hard to legislate and implement at the national level. Cities can play a key role in safeguarding our collective human future.
- The leadership shown by cities helped make a bold agreement on climate change possible at COP21 in Paris. That leadership will remain critically important in the years ahead as the world works to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and other international global agendas, and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
- Tackling the challenges of adaptation and mitigation in cities is essential in addressing human-induced climate change. That is why in April 2016, 20 cities and 25 organizations from around the world joined the #CitiesIPCC campaign, asking the IPCC to pay greater attention to the role of cities in responding to climate change.
- At its 43rd Session in Nairobi in April 2016, the IPCC recognized the urgency of more work in this area and decided “to recommend, within the AR6 scoping processes, a stronger integration of the assessment on the impacts of climate change on cities and their unique adaptation and mitigation opportunities, and make more robust the consideration of cities in the treatment of regional issues and in chapters that are focused on human settlements, urban areas and the like, including through the enhanced engagement of urban practitioners; to include a Special Report on Climate Change and Cities in the seventh assessment cycle (AR7); and to consider working with academia, urban practitioners, and relevant scientific bodies and agencies, to organize an international scientific conference on climate change and cities early in the AR6 cycle, in order to stimulate scientific reports and peer- reviewed publications on this subject”.
- The need for structured engagement between city stakeholders (governance, policy-makers, planners, decision-makers) and the scientific community is long overdue, and urban climate science is needed to provide the rigorous evidence-base for urban policy-making. Specific attention must be given to small and medium sized cities and informal settlements, which have not been adequately represented in the climate change debate, and which generally suffer from a lack of technical capacity, resources and essential data to inform decision-making at the local level.
- In adapting to and mitigating the impact of global climate change on cities, it is critically important to have a more rigorous, evidence-based assessment, facilitating solutions, monitoring, and social and institutional learning at an unprecedented scale and pace.
- A new interface for science and cities should seek to engage national governments, international institutions, knowledge networks, in-country researchers, and international universities, promoting the sharing of knowledge, expertise, curricula and personnel between different institutions.
- The milestone CitiesIPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, held in Edmonton, Canada, March 5-7, created enhanced understanding of the impacts of climate change at the urban level, the range of possible responses, and the role of cities in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and other international global agendas. It has laid a foundation for better-informed climate decision-making at the local level as a result of greater engagement between the policy, practice, and scientific communities working on/in urban areas. The main outcome of the Conference is the definition of a global research agenda on cities and climate change that advances climate change science and gives recognition and visibility to the knowledge generated by urban actors.
We commit to unite forces and bear our relevant expertise and resources to:
1. Promote and implement the global research agenda on cities and climate change, and other official outcomes of the CitiesIPCC Cities and Climate Change Science conference, in the scientific and the urban policy and practice communities, in a way that can contribute to future IPCC assessments.
2. Stimulate research and the production of knowledge on the diversity of issues related to cities and climate change, including peer-reviewed research that can be included in IPCC assessments and contribute to local, national and international policy-making, encouraging the consideration of urban practitioners with appropriate expertise as IPCC authors, and ensuring that a diversity of perspectives – Global South, secondary cities, women, youth, indigenous communities – are engaged, and that the research responds to city needs.
3. Encourage science-based and evidence-based climate action in cities, and work with our constituencies of local governments, local communities and networks to support the capacity of policymakers and practitioners in cities on the key areas identified by the research agenda.
4. Create and strengthen partnerships that bring together researchers, policymakers, practitioners, for more effective research, policy and climate action, at global, national, local and community levels.
Done in Edmonton, Canada, on March 7, 2018
C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
SDSN – Sustainable Development Solutions Network
UCLG – United Cities and Local Governments
UCCRN – Urban Climate Change Research Network
UN-Environment – United Nations Environment Programme
UN-Habitat – United Nations Human Settlements Programme
WCRP – World Climate Research Programme
Read more about the Cities IPCC conference outcomes at the following links: