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COP27: Declaration of the Forum of Mayors of the Covenant in Latin America highlights priorities for the region

The Mayors Forum, on behalf of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy community in Latin America, launches today its statement to decision-makers meeting in the following weeks at the UN Conference of the Parties (COP 27) in Sharm El Sheikh, putting forward key messages from Latin American cities.

Meeting face-to-face in Buenos Aires, in October 2022, local leaders have identified two main priorities for GCoM municipalities in Latin America: strengthening resilience to climate change and improving access to climate finance.

 

Read the full statement:

Declaration of the Forum of Mayors of the GCoM in Latin America before COP27

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) is the largest global alliance of cities and local governments committed to the fight against climate change. In Latin America, it brings together more than 500 municipalities acting to mitigate the impact of their localities on climate change and adapt to the consequences already affecting their communities.

The Mayors’ Forum is a new governance body of GCoM Latin America. It brings together mayors from cities signatories of GCoM representing8 countries in the region, standing out for their work and commitment to climate change. They represent the GCoM Latin-American community and act as spokespersons at national and international levels.

Preparing for COP27, the Mayors’ Forum gathers in this declaration some key messages from Latin American cities addressed to decision-makers who will meet in Sharm El Sheikh from November 6 to 18, 2022.

 

We celebrate the ambition of the European Union embodied in the Green Deal and the European Union’s Adaptation Strategy. The model proposed by the five EU missions under the Horizon Europe program is a clear example of financial commitment, combining research and innovation to propose and design concrete solutions to climate change. In particular, we highlight the Adaptation Mission, which seeks to improve the adaptability of 150 European cities and regions by 2030. These experiences can provide valuable knowledge and practices for the Latin American continent.

We welcome the priorities of GCoM’s global strategic plan that correspond with Latin America’s needs:

  • In this period of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the opportunity to rebuild and regenerate the economy in a cleaner, more resilient, sustainable, and fairer way for all citizens. To do this, partnerships between different levels of government are essential.
  • Small and medium-sized municipalities are vital to enhancing the impact of climate action at the global level. It is, therefore, necessary that the GCoM alliance continues to grow, adding more municipalities of diverse sizes and developing support solutions that respond to their needs.
  • It is necessary to identify and mobilize new resources and collaboration models that allow cities to access data, knowledge, and capital to enable them to implement their climate action plans via innovative solutions that will further inspire local governments.
  • The GCoM alliance has the potential to connect the political will of cities with the investments and financial resources needed to drive ambitious, high-impact local climate action.

We value the work carried out by city networks, and in particular, the principles set out in the Pact for the Future promoted by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG):

  • Local and regional governments have a fundamental role as political actors whose main objective is to safeguard the dreams and aspirations of communities, balancing the needs of current and future generations.
  • Equity and equality are indispensable pillars for any sustainable society, underpinning the need for changes in how we relate with nature. This novel relationship requires renewed governance, which has trust as an imperative among stakeholders. 

We join ICLEI’s call for action, led by the Mayor of Utrecht, Sharon Dijksma, to make multilevel governance a reality during COP27. The Glasgow Climate Pact, adopted at COP26, recognizes multilevel action as an integral part of the second phase of the Paris Agreement. COP27 will therefore be the first conference of this new era. We thus commit ourselves to:

  • Promote the SURGe (Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation) initiative. This initiative, which will be launched during COP27, seeks to accelerate local and urban climate action via a multilevel governance approach around five main areas: buildings and housing, urban energy, urban waste and consumption, urban mobility, and urban water/sanitation.
  • Spread the word about the first-ever ministerial meeting on climate and urbanization, to be held on November 17, 2022, and encourage our ministries to join this process. Together, we can ensure that cities, urbanization, and multilevel action remain on the agenda of all future COPs.

Meeting face-to-face in Buenos Aires in October 2022, for the first time since the pandemic, our local leaders have identified two priorities for GCoM municipalities in Latin America: 1. Strengthen capacities to adapt to climate change and 2. Improve accessibility to climate finance. Here are our main requests and proposals.

  1. Strengthen the capacity to adapt to climate change: in the last five years, our communities have been increasingly suffering the devastating effects of climate change, which are manifested mainly through heat waves, fires, droughts and floods, and a water crisis compromising access to water. Faced with this situation, we consider essential to:
  • Strengthen knowledge and capacities to implement nature-based solutions at the local level, particularly focusing on urban and rural biodiversity, green areas, and water resources;
  • Invest in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, both public and private, in areas identified as vulnerable and priorital;
  • Increase education, sensibilization, and awareness-raising actions to achieve citizen mobilization and improve citizenship with these efforts.
  1. Improving access to climate finance: our municipalities are mobilizing to identify their needs and opportunities and translate them into local climate action plans. Without access to finance for projects’ implementation, we cannot achieve the mitigation and adaptation full potential at the local level. Faced with this situation, we consider it essential:
  • Strengthen multilevel governance and streamline the use of national and transnational budgets, facilitating resource transfers to subnational governments and promoting greater inter-institutional coordination;
  • Promote and facilitate partnerships with the private sector as key investors in climate action;
  • Privilege the financing of projects that are part of climate action plans with a longer-term vision;
  • Generate financing programs for smaller-scale municipalities that have a local action plan;
  • Provide training opportunities to formulate local climate action projects that meet funders’ criteria.

We aspire to continue adding more Latin American municipalities to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy alliance, encouraging them to develop and implement local plans and actions steering our societies towards global objectives.

 

Our municipalities and local governments are already taking action, despite the scarce resources and institutional barriers they face. We, therefore, call on COP27 decision-makers to push for multilevel action, thus enabling local governments to fully contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

By combining the strengths and competencies of all, we will be able to respond to the climate emergency we are facing today. We hope the COP27 negotiations will accelerate this process and foster strategic alliances.

From the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy in Latin America, we are willing and ready to take action.

Members of the Mayors’ Forum:

Carolina Basualdo, Mayor of Despeñaderos, Argentina

Nicolás Cuesta, Mayor of San, Justo, Argentina

Márcia Conrado, Mayor of Serra Talhada, Brasil

Ana Matos, Vice Mayor of Salvador, Brasil

Carolina Leitao, Mayor of Peñalolén, Chile

Gonzalo Durán, Mayor of Independencia, Chile

Alvaro Henry Barrera Díaz, Mayor of Tópaga, Colombia

Viviana Carpio, Vice Mayor of Oreamuno, Costa Rica

Lucía Sosa Robinzon, Mayor of Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Javier Altamirano Sánchez, Mayor of Ambato, Ecuador

Raúl Díaz Pérez, Mayor of Comas, Perú

Gerardo Octavio Vargas Landeros, Mayor of Ahome, México

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