A blog series from C40’s City Diplomacy team.
The month of May has seen a lot of activity in the global climate field, including key announcements and a clearer sense of the Fijian Presidency’s priorities for COP23, which will be held in Bonn, Germany in November 2017.
Edmonton to Host 2018 Cities and Climate Change Science Conference
Following a competitive bidding process, Edmonton, Canada was awarded the Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, to take place in March 5-7, 2018 in partnership with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
This is a unique conference supported by a diverse group of urban, scientific and intergovernmental organizations identified as #CitiesIPCC. It will bring together representatives from the academia, from all levels of government, as well as urban and climate change practitioners. It promises to be a pivotal milestone in developing the global understanding of how climate change impacts urban areas, and the role of cities in tackling climate change.
The Cities and Climate Change Science Conference will inspire global and regional research on the topic of cities over the AR6 cycle, and prepare for the future IPCC Special Report on Cities scheduled for AR7. Its outcomes will help member states, mayors and citizens deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Bonn Climate Change Conference
The first working sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies took place in Bonn, Germany from May 8-18. It was the first time the incoming COP23 Presidency from Fiji formally presided over UNFCCC proceedings. The world was introduced to key COP23 figures from Fiji: the COP23 President and Prime Minister of Fiji, Mr. Frank Bainimarama, the COP23 High Level Climate Champion, Mr. Inia Seruiratu, the Fiji chief negotiator, Ms. Nazhat Shameem Khan and their climate ambassador, Mr. Deo Saran.
Supported by the COP22 Moroccan Presidency, the Fijian Presidency kicked off some of the year’s crucial work, including the development of modalities, procedures and guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and making progress on the Facilitative Dialogue 2018 (which will take place at COP24). The Facilitative Dialogue is a mandated event to take stock of collective efforts towards the Paris Agreement goal and to inform the Nationally Determined Contributions revision of 2020.
Another important session for the observer constituency, local governments and cities were an official UNFCCC workshop on stakeholder engagement, which recognized in its outcome report the key role of local and regional governments in the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Finally, the two High-Level Climate Champions, Mr. Seruiratu and Mrs. Hakima el-Haité began consulting parties and stakeholders on their proposed workplan for the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action. C40 is an active member of this partnership and contributes to identifying key priorities and necessary levers for cities in this process.
Cancun Disaster Risk Reduction Platform
From May 22-26, C40 participated in the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancún, Mexico. The Platform is the main forum for strategic advice, coordination, partnership development and the review of progress on international disaster risk reduction efforts. C40, as part of the Medellin Collaboration on Urban Resilience, supports this process and participated in the Cancún meeting as well as the dedicated summit for local and regional leaders held in parallel to the Global Platform, on May 23.
The G7 Summit, held in Taormina, Italy on May 26-27 closed with the release of the G7 Taormina Leaders’ Communiqué, where the “Heads of State and of Government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom and the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement (…)”. An additional clause stipulates that the United States, which is in the process of reviewing their climate change policies and the Paris Agreement, does not join the G6 in their commitment to climate action.
However short, the content of the Leaders’ Communiqué on climate and energy is nevertheless a strong signal of the G6’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, especially in an otherwise intense G7 dealing with other critical issues. Finally, while it does not put to rest the months-long speculations over President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement or scale back the United States’ commitment, it certainly reinforces the notion that there will be no back-sliding from the level of climate ambition set forth in the Paris Agreement and that leaders of the world continue to move forward.