The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) participated, on December 2nd, in the seminar “The Climate Ambition of Mercociudades,” which brought together representatives of international organizations and global actors linked to climate action, biodiversity, and municipalities. The meeting took place in the context of the 26th Mercociudades Summit.
Stephanie Horel, the Program Officer for the European Union Foreign Policy Instruments (EU-FPI) Regional Team Americas, led the Global Covenant of Mayor’s presentation, highlighting the collaborative work in seeking funding for governments to develop concrete projects and the GCoM helpdesk’s work in supporting cities to enable progress in the development of their climate action plans.
“COP26 turned out to be an inclusive COP because local governments have managed to share and give visibility to their actions against climate change. During the Conference, it was clear the fundamental role of cities, which increasingly must think globally and act locally to carry out efficient climate actions”. Stephanie also highlighted the importance of citizen participation in the energy transition process: “without the support of citizens, it will not be possible to make a just transition.”
In addition, during their presentations, representatives of the local governments of Canelones and Montevideo (Uruguay), Lima (Peru), Peñalolén (Chile), and São Leopoldo (Brazil) that are part of the GCoM network, addressed climate experiences and challenges in their cities.
At the event’s opening, Carolina Cosse, mayor of Montevideo, Uruguay, reflected on the city’s two main climate action plans presented at COP26 and pointed out the need to see environmental justice associated with social justice. In turn, the general director of Environmental Management of Canelones, Uruguay, Leonardo Herou, presented the local climate action strategy, including adaptation and mitigation actions, and the strengthening of the government’s capacity for action.
The mayor of São Leopoldo (Brazil) and president of the Brazilian Association of Municipalities (ABM), Ary Vanazzi, presented the city’s Climate Change Observatory and highlighted, among the objectives for the 2021-2023 cycle, the publication of the first emissions inventory interactive network, a platform on CO₂ emissions and its impacts on society. By 2023, the municipality aspires to issue its first carbon credits.
The Municipality of Lima was represented by the Head of Communication and Sustainability of Lima, Lorena Montellanos, who presented the actions taken to tackle climate change and highlighted the fundamental role of local governments in combating the climate crisis and continuing the work of the global commitments made.
Finally, Ricardo Cofre, Environmental Director of Peñalolén, Chile, presented the city’s progress and highlighted three areas in which they are working: sustainable waste management, environmental education, and ecosystem management.
Esteban Echeverría’s Declaration
At the end of the summit, the local governments from 9 countries signed a joint declaration that emphasizes the need to create “inclusive, sustainable and resilient territories” for a “more just, diverse and equitable world”. The declaration highlights the need for financial support and political commitment at the national, regional and global levels, to advance these objectives in the face of the constant growth of local responsibilities. See the full “Declaration of Esteban Echeverría – Local governments are always there.”
Mercociudades is one of the most important local government networks in South America and a reference in regional integration processes. The network is part of the Regional Steering Committee of the Global Covenant of Mayors, with 106 of its member cities committed to fighting the climate crisis. The network has members from 10 countries on the continent, where more than 120 million people live. Mercociudades’ mission is to promote identity and regional integration to ensure the development of cities and the well-being of South America.
See the event summary: