The event to declare the commitment of Colombian cities signatories to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean (GCoM LAC) was held today (28).
“It is a very important milestone in the history of the GCoM in Colombia. We are sure that we are building a solid path in the country, joining forces to strengthen local climate action ”- highlighted the coordinator of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean, Marja Edelman. He also highlighted that this work is possible thanks to the institutional commitment of key actors such as the delegation of the European Union in Colombia, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Colombian Association of Capital Cities (Asocapitales), the Colombian Federation of Municipalities (FCM), WWF, ICLEI and especially of mayors who have participated by entering the Covenant or reaffirming their commitment.
In this sense, the executive secretary of ICLEI South America, Rodrigo Perpétuo, also highlighted the importance of collaboration between these institutions to make this great meeting possible: “with this event we strengthen the working link between ICLEI, Asocapitales and the Colombian Federation of Municipalities, demonstrating the union of the entities linked to the Covenant, with the support of the European Union and the Colombian government promoting this agenda”, said Perpétuo.
During the meeting, the main objectives and goals of the Covenant were presented, as well as the main commitments assumed by the cities that adhere: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; identify and adapt to the risks associated with climate change and increase access to clean and affordable energy.
The ambassador of the European Union in Colombia, Patrícia Llombart, stressed that cities should be considered essential to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals and implement the Green Pact. «We are satisfied that Colombia enters the Covenant, because the local authorities are the pioneers in introducing the transformations and changes that are necessary to fight against climate change,» he stressed.
The Covenant has more than 10,000 local governments engaged in more than 135 countries around the world, representing almost 10% of the world’s population. This network is possible thanks to the efforts of many fronts, as highlighted by the ICLEI Colombia coordinator, Mónica Santa, sharing the experience of her country.
“The great gain that this process leaves us is the issue of joints, it is not over yet, but in this phase we have been able to make an operational joint that has been working as we go. We have managed to bring practically all the strategic actors of the Covenant in Colombia to the table and that augurs us a future of successful actions in the territory, ”said Mónica.
The Covenant initiative aims to reduce the unavoidable impacts of climate change on municipalities, which cause damage to their infrastructure and directly affect populations; and to facilitate access to sustainable energy. For the executive director of the Colombian Federation of Municipalities, Gilberto Toro Giraldo, «the alliances of local governments are decisive for the incidence of impact climate actions that can mitigate these problems.»
It is in this perspective of a shared long-term vision that the interconnected challenges of mitigation, adaptation to climate change, and access to safe, sustainable and affordable energy can be overcome. As highlighted by the director of government relations and international affairs of WWF Colombia, María Ximenes Barrera, «the contribution that subnational actors are making to comply with the Paris Agreement is very important.»
In practical terms, local governments committed to the GCoM make commitments such as preparing GHG emissions inventories, climate risk and vulnerability assessments, goals and action plans, which include mitigation, adaptation or both.
In this sense and recognizing the importance of public policies, the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Nicolás Galarza Sánchez, spoke. «I am very happy to participate in this declaration of commitment to the Covenant, reiterating Colombia’s commitment to public policies on climate change,» said Sánchez.
In the event attended by representatives of more than 30 municipalities, the Executive Director of Asocapitales, Luz María Zapata ratified the commitment of the cities that have achieved with the support of the European Union, IUC and ICLEI, great steps in the construction of the municipal inventories of greenhouse gases, in the evaluation of climate risk, as well as in the climate action plans of our cities. “Today we have managed to make 13 capital cities part of this great alliance. Six cities have committed to the Covenant during the year 2020: Villavicencio, Pasto, Manizales, Pereira, Riohacha and Quibdó ”, added Luz María Zapata.
The cities of: Pereira, Riohacha, Quibdó, San Juan de Pasto, Villavicencio, Gámeza, Beteitiva, Bucaramanga, Miranda, Monguí, Busbanzá, Chivatá, Corrales, Encino, Floresta, Manizales, Santa Helena del Opón, Morelia, also participated in the event. Mongua, Bahía Solano, Gámeza, La Estrella, Cumbitara, Ocamonte, Solano, Caldas, Riosucio (Caldas), Tópaga, Cartagena de Indias, Cicuco, Silvia, San José de Caldas, Briceño and Macanal.
The event was organized by the Global Covenant of Mayors in Latin America and the Caribbean, funded by the International Urban Cooperation Program for Latin America and the Caribbean of the European Commission (IUC-LAC) and implemented in Colombia by ICLEI South America, with the support of Asocapitales and the Colombian Federation of Municipalities.