Cities and regions give a boost to climate action in New York

While hundreds of thousands were striking for climate, New York welcomed leaders from across the globe on the United Nations' Climate Action summit - along with the first Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) summit. Although insufficient to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, UN's Secretary General, António Guterres, succeeded in boosting climate action with 100 cities and 77 countries committing to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 ( UN ). The European Union confirmed 25% of the next EU budget will be allocated to climate-related activities. The EU's assembly of cities and regions was represented by the First Vice-president Markku Markkula joined by several CoR members, who shared their constituencies' commitments and achievements on both climate action and on localising SDGs.

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he First Vice-president of the European Committee of the Regions Markku Markkula, said: " Now is the time to show here in New York and later at COP25 in Chile, that local and regional governments in Europe are serious and committed to climate action. That we are united and act together, between member states and within each of them, across all government levels and involving citizens, to achieve climate neutrality."

Vice-president Markku Markkula recalled that climate neutrality will not be achieved nor global warming reversed without cities and regions. VP Markkula stressed the need to formalise the role of local and regional authorities within the Paris Agreement through a multi-level system that integrates local and regional contributions to national climate plans.

Juan Espadas (ES/PES), Mayor of Seville, said: " This is a very important week for the fight against climate change at the global level. More than political statements, this week is about action plans, instruments and financial means to deliver change. As president of the Spanish Network of Cities for Climate, our presence in New York demonstrates our commitment and our contribution to reversing global warming through climate and energy action plans at the local level."

The Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina (PT/PES), stated: "We are seeing every day the challenges of climate change. One of our priorities is SDG 13 - that is the urgent call for climate action. In Lisbon, European Green Capital 2020, we are acting strongly on mobility with improvements on the public transport system, on nature-based solutions like the green infrastructure and on energy efficiency using LEDs in traffic lights and solar panels in municipal buildings. We need to act now and together."

The Mayor of Manheim, Peter Kurz (DE/PES), highlighted that "the SDG Summit is a great opportunity to give further impulse to our sustainable development. We, Europeans, have to make considerable progress in this area if we want to maintain our prosperity and conserve our natural resource. A comprehensive sustainability policy, taking into account social cohesion, economic development and the fight against poverty is of key importance."

Kata Tűttö (HU/PES), member of the Local Government of District 12 in Budapest, said: " Hundreds of thousands of our children are climate striking on the streets this week all across the world shouting that we are careless about their future. They demand us to act now. Cities can make a change and boost the transition so I call all local politicians to join the fight!"

Andre Viola (FR/PES), President of the Aude Departmental Council, declared: " The SDGs are not confined to the environmental and climate dimensions alone. It is a global agenda to "leave no one behind". As we have common challenges, we must also look for shared solutions. The recognition of the "localisation of the SDGs" has acknowledged the key role local and regional governments play in this field. From the Aude De partmental Council we have oriented all our public policies towards reaching the SDGs as the first step to localise enshrine them locally."

Anders Knape (SE/EPP), Member of Karlstad Municipal Council and President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, said: "A more gender-equal society is a prerequisite for the achievement of the Agenda 2030 targets. It is important that gender equality (goal 5) is integrated in the implementation of the other 16 Sustainable Development Goals." This was his message in a meeting with Åsa Regner, Deputy Director of UN Women in New York.

At the latest ENVE meeting, Cor Lamers (NL/PES), Chair of the ENVE Commission and Mayor of Schiedam, said: "We should put climate at the centre of our policies. We need to work together at all levels on different transitions: energy, mobility, food etc. And we need to take our citizens on board in implementing those changes."

Additional CoR members present in New York include Raffaele Cattaneo (IT/EPP), Member of the Lombardy Regional Government and Francois Decoster (FR/RE), Mayor of Saint Omer.

Amongst other activities, members presented their SDGs acceleration actions at the Local and Regional Governments Forum on SDGs.

Last June, the CoR adopted an opinion of Michele Emiliano (IT/PES), President of the Puglia region, gather

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Last modified on Monday, 30 September 2019 19:12