Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan, Italy and Mpho Phalatse, Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa have been elected as Vice Chairs of the C40 Steering Committee, the governing body providing strategic direction for the global network of 97 cities committed to addressing the climate crisis.

Giuseppe Sala was elected Mayor of Milan in June 2016 and was re-elected for a second term in October 2021. He was CEO of the Universal Exposition in Milan from June 2010 to December 2015 and was first elected as Vice Chair of the C40 Steering Committee in October 2016. He also chairs C40’s Mayoral Task Force on a Green and Just Recovery and is a founding board member of the Mayors Migration Council.

As Mayor of Milan and in his previous term as C40 Vice Chair, Mayor Sala has championed the work on urban food systems, helping launch the C40 Good Food Cities declaration, and expanding the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. This Pact is an international commitment from the mayors of over 210 cities worldwide to develop sustainable food systems that are inclusive, resilient, safe and diverse, provide healthy and affordable food for all, minimise waste and conserve biodiversity. Milan’s leadership on food systems was further recognised by winning the EarthShot prize in 2021. On behalf of C40 Cities, Mayor Sala has repeatedly called for direct EU funding to cities, highlighting the role of cities as key allies of national governments in delivering a European Green Deal. Through Mayor Sala’s leadership, Milan has also engaged with C40 Cities on zero waste, sustainable mobility, air quality, climate, migration and more.

Councillor Mpho Phalatse became the first democratically elected female Executive Mayor of Johannesburg in November 2021.  From 2016 to 2019 she served as a Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Health and Social Development, a role in which she championed the city’s urban agriculture programme. Through this programme,  residents of Johannesburg that suffered from low food security could grow their own food and sell the excess. They were also able to engage in innovative food production initiatives, including rooftop, hydroponic and aquaponic farming, and agro processing.

One of Executive Mayor Mpho Phalatse’s key mayoral priorities is to create a business-friendly city that commits to partnerships with the private sector and leverages opportunities in the green economy, especially those related to climate change mitigation. Since taking over as Executive Mayor, Phalatse has put in place plans to host an Energy Indaba conference, aimed at introducing independent power producers to the alternative energy and renewable energy space, in order to both increase the city’s energy generation capacity and set the city on a green path. Being a champion of vulnerable population groups, she has also advocated the need to build an inclusive green economy by incorporating informal sector actors into the broader value chain.

In their new roles on the C40 Steering Committee, Mayors Sala and Phalatse will be a leading voice in promoting and advocating for bold and innovative climate action in cities around the world and inspiring change for a better future for all. As Vice Chairs, both mayors will support the mayoral network within C40 Cities as they accelerate efforts to secure a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and will advocate for national governments to match the ambition of cities in delivering on the commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow. Mayor Sala was elected to represent C40’s European cities, while Mayor Phalatse was elected to represent C40’s African cities.

Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, said: “I am honoured to be re-elected as C40 Vice Chair and, together with Mayor Colau of Barcelona, represent my peers from the European region in setting the strategic direction of C40 and ensuring recognition of city climate leadership. As Vice Chair I will continue to promote the C40 Mayors Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery, as well as champion efforts around sustainable food systems and leverage Milan’s prominent global position to continue serving the network of C40 cities. Inclusive climate action and the transition towards carbon neutrality remain a focus of my second mandate, in which I will look forward to being able to continue learning from my fellow Steering Committee mayors across the world.”

Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Mpho Phalatse, said: “It is a great privilege to be elected as C40 Vice Chair for Africa. In my upcoming tenure, I look forward to working on behalf of, and alongside, C40 mayors in Africa to help shape an inclusive C40 agenda that will not only ensure  African cities build back better, but secure a positive and lasting environmental legacy. As Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, a city known for high levels of inequality and informality, my role will focus on working with my peers throughout the region to determine how best to tackle the dichotomy of the climate emergency and the COVID-19 crisis, in a way that ensures that climate action uplifts the health and wellbeing of urban residents in Africa.”

C40’s member cities represent 700 million citizens and one quarter of the world’s economy. Through collaboration and innovation, the mayors of C40 Cities are determined to deliver on the Paris Agreement’s highest ambition and keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees, and to do so in an equitable way.

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