Ensuring that efforts to address climate change help create sustainable cities for all

Climate change is unfair—it was created by the privileged few, but will hit the many hardest and strongest. In addition, climate action is not always equitable and does not share its benefits fairly. Our response to climate change needs to be just and inclusive: if addressing climate change does not meet the needs of city residents, mayors will lose the permission to act.

Climate change is not solely an environmental issue, but is inextricably linked to challenges of eradicating poverty and increasing inclusiveness. Cities have the opportunity to raise living standards for all at a faster rate by following a low-carbon development path. There is also evidence that reducing inequality helps drive better environmental outcomes.

The Inclusive Climate Action (ICA) programme provides cities with a clear roadmap and support to plan, build consensus and deliver bold climate action that is equitable and beneficial for all.

ICA will help cities deliver policies that help create better job opportunities, higher living standards and improved public and environmental health for all.

Inspired and shaped by leading mayors and cutting-edge practices in C40 member cities, this progressive programme aims to help cities worldwide maximise reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and climate risk, while tackling economic inequality and social disparities and enabling greater knowledge sharing between cities. In addition, Mayors around the world are pledging to deliver inclusive climate action and community-led projects that benefit all citizens equitably. 

ICA provides hands-on support, collaborative trainings and assessments, best practice exchange, and thought leadership guidance.

More specifically, the programme will:

Enhance thought leadership of mayors, showcasing existing practices and new commitments at global and regional flagship events.

Enhance best practice exchange between cities, using C40’s existing infrastructure of thematic initiatives and networks. Cities will be provided with a best practice guidebook on inclusive climate action and city officials will be able to attend webinars and workshops on inclusive climate action and exchange information online and offline.

Provide technical assistance to cities to develop and deliver ambitious climate action plans (CAPs) that are compatible with the Paris Agreement and that are inclusive and fair. Cities will have access to customized support, training and resources focused on stakeholder and citizen engagement, inclusivity and benefits assessment of CAPs, inclusive mitigation and adaptation actions.

Provide ground-breaking and innovative research on the links between climate change and inequality, wider benefits of climate action and inclusive climate action in cities.

Going beyond the usual suspects to find common ground and develop stronger support for radical climate action.

The complex and city-specific challenges ambitiously addressed by this programme call for new, undeveloped skills and knowledge.

For this reason, C40 is building partnerships at a global level with key consituencies -- specifically those that tend to be under-represented in climate action efforts and that can be absent or openly hostile when ambitious climate action hits the ground. However, if these constituents are included in the institutional and political process, they can become critical partners and data providers of local administrations.

The goal of C40's partnerships is to further support the knowledge production, technical assistance and best practice exchange efforts described above.

C40 has developed partnerships with the following organisations:

Slum Dwellers International (SDI) is a transnational social movement of the urban poor, bringing together over a million slum dwellers in over 30 countries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. C40 and SDI aim at working together to enhance joint peer-to-peer exchanges between community groups (slum dwellers federations) and local authorities to generate new knowledge and local dialogues on sustainable slum upgrading and the resilience of the urban poor.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Transport Worker Federation (ITF) and their Just Transition Centre, together with C40 will work to build bridges in cities between local administrations, unions, employers and communities to advance climate goals, improve air quality and create decent green jobs. The organisations will aim at working with pilot cities to enhance peer-to-peer exchanges between unions and cities, enhance concrete action on the ground and showcase best practices on inclusive climate action and Just Transition.

The Mayors Migration Council (MMC) is a new initiative launched by Open Society Foundations (OSF) in December 2018, which focuses on building cities' ability to strategically engage in migration and climate diplomacy. C40 and the MMC will further explore the nexus between climate and migration in cities. The two organisations will also work together to streamline cities' contribution to global forums on climate and migration by bringing the city-led climate agenda into international migration discussions and to any other relevant global processes where climate is not usually included.