About the Global Covenant of Mayors

What is the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy?

Established in 2017 through the merger of the former Covenant of Mayors and the European Covenant of Mayors, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) is the largest alliance of cities and local governments worldwide. It adopts a common long-term vision to promote and support voluntary actions against climate change and move towards a climate-resilient, low-emission future.

This coalition brings together over 13,000 cities of all sizes on 6 continents and more than 120 countries, representing almost 10% of the world’s population. Through the GCoM, local governments voluntarily commit to working towards combating climate change. It is a commitment that encourages bold actions at the local level, global collaboration, and the sharing of innovative solutions that enable mayors and their teams to act more swiftly for the climate. GCoM cities connect and share knowledge and ideas, supported by relevant regional organizations.

What's new in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM)?

Vision, ambition, and scope of action: This initiative establishes commitments and a shared long-term vision to address interconnected challenges: mitigation and adaptation to climate change and access to safe, sustainable, and affordable energy for all. The triple vision includes:

  1. Accelerating decarbonization (limiting or eliminating the use of carbon-emitting energy sources) or reducing greenhouse gas emissions in urban territories, contributing to keeping the average global warming below 2°C.
  2. Strengthening adaptation capacities to the inevitable impacts of climate change, making urban territories more resilient.
  3. Increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources in urban territories, ensuring universal access to safe, sustainable, and affordable energy services for everyone.

Who can participate in the GCoM?

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is open to all cities and municipalities worldwide, of any size or region. Other stakeholders besides local governments can participate as Covenant facilitators, providing support to cities in their regions or countries.

How to participate in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy?

The mayor (or equivalent local authority) must sign a Commitment Letter. To do this, there are two ways:

  1. Contact one of the National Coordinators in your country and express your interest. They will guide your city through the accession process.
  2. Alternatively, you can download the commitment letter below and send the signed letter from the local authority to [email protected]. Access the Commitment Letter Template and take the first step toward a more environmentally harmonious society. For more information, click here.

When to join the GCoM?

Local authorities can sign the GCoM at any time; there is no deadline! GCoM events provide all mayors with a valuable opportunity for visibility, networking, and public signing.

Why is it free to participate in the GCoM?

The Global Covenant of Mayors is a grassroots initiative and a voluntary commitment by municipalities to meet goals set by themselves and for their own benefit.

Benefits and Commitments

What are the benefits for cities of becoming signatories to the GCoM?

The most significant advantages of being a GCoM signatory are:

  1. Practical support through guidance materials and tools.
  2. Coordination of work with other organizations and governments working on the topic, promoting actions and alliances.
  3. Recognition and international visibility of member local authorities.
  4. Opportunity to contribute to the achievement of international agendas and goals, such as Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Agreement.
  5. Participation in mechanisms for reviewing and monitoring progress in climate action.
  6. Better funding opportunities for local climate and energy projects.
  7. Access to innovative methods to establish networks, exchange experiences, and develop capacities through regular events, cooperation, webinars, or online discussions.
  8. Quick access to high-level practical insights and inspiring case studies.
  9. Self-assessment facilitated by comparison with other signatories and joint monitoring.

I have signed the Letter of Commitment, now what?

Now that your municipality or local government is a signatory, it has the technical, communication, and institutional support of the GCoM.

First, we suggest making the commitment against climate change public. You can use the official communication channels of the City Council, actions organized by the involved departments, dialogues with the local community, among others. The important thing is to inform about this step that the government is taking. At this moment, it is also essential to start mobilizing teams so that municipalities can start their journey with the GCoM and progress in stages. Identify a technical focal point in the Municipality that will be in contact with the National Coordinator in your country and our Helpdesk.

Also, create a working group with people who can contribute. If it’s an interdisciplinary team, even better! It is recommended that this group meet to plan actions. In addition to the Municipal Environmental Secretariat, some of the departments that may be involved in this process are the Municipal Planning Secretariat, Municipal Secretariat of Urban Planning and Mobility, Municipal Civil Defense Secretariat, Municipal Secretariat of Economic Development, Municipal Health Secretariat, Municipal Works and Infrastructure Secretariat, among others.

The Helpdesk of the GCoM in Latin America will be available to provide any necessary support at all stages and free of charge. We look forward to your contact!

What obligations must the signatories fulfill and what must they deliver?

To participate in the Global Covenant of Mayors, the city’s commitment is necessary, reflected in the preparation of necessary documents and plans and the reporting of its progress. Thus, signatories must prepare (or compile) and report six documents to fully comply with the initiative. They are:

a) Municipal Greenhouse Gas Inventory

b) Climate Risk and Vulnerability Analysis

c) Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Target

d) Climate Adaptation Goal

e) Climate Action Plan, with mitigation and adaptation measures

f) Energy Access Plan

Climate Action Instruments

What is the Municipal Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHG)?

The Municipal Greenhouse Gas Inventory assesses the amount of CO2 emitted generated by energy consumption in the territory of the GCoM signatory. It allows identifying the main sources of CO2 emissions and their respective reduction potentials.

How to create a GHG Inventory?

The GCoM signatories choose their own tools to calculate their emissions, according to their needs. However, it is necessary to ensure that the reported inventory aligns with the general principles specified and detailed in the Common Reporting Framework (CRF) [ES] / Common Reporting Framework (CRF) [PT].

Which sectors should be considered in the GHG Inventory?

The GCoM commitments concern the entire geographical scope of local governments. Thus, the GHG Inventory must take into account energy consumed in all sectors of activity. The main sectors and subsectors are:

  1. Stationary Energy
    • Residences
    • Commerce and Institutions
    • Manufacturing and Construction Industries
    • Energy Generation Industries
    • Unspecified sources
    • Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
    • Fugitive emissions (leaks or irregular release of gases)
  2. Transportation
    • Road
    • Rail
    • Navigation
    • Aviation
    • Rural roads
  3. Waste
    • Final disposal of solid waste
    • Incineration or open burning
    • Biological treatment
    • Treatment and disposal of liquid effluents

What is the deadline for submitting the Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHG)?

The municipality has up to 2 years from the signing of the commitment letter to prepare or update and report its Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHG).

What is Risk and Vulnerability Analysis?

A Risk and Vulnerability Analysis is an assessment that determines the nature and extent of climate hazards, analyzing potential hazards and assessing vulnerability that may pose a threat or potential harm to people, properties, transportation, life, and the environment they depend on. It allows the identification of areas of critical concern and, therefore, provides information for decision-making.

The Analysis can address risks related to floods, extreme temperatures and heatwaves, droughts and water scarcity, storms and other extreme weather phenomena, increased forest fires, rising sea levels, and coastal erosion (if applicable).

The Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, along with the GHG Inventory, serves as a starting point for the development of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan.

What is the deadline for submitting the Risk and Vulnerability Analysis?

The municipality has up to 2 years from the signing of the commitment letter to prepare or update and report its risk and vulnerability analysis.

What is a Climate Action Plan?

The climate action plan is the key document that shows how the GCoM signatory will achieve its vision and goal. The plan includes an assessment of the current situation, i.e., a GHG Inventory for the climate mitigation part and a Risk and Vulnerability Analysis for the adaptation part; clearly identified greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and climate adaptation goals; and planned measures along with deadlines, assigned responsibilities, and estimated impacts. Does your city already have planned mitigation and adaptation actions? It may only be necessary to update the data and report the existing material!

What is the scope of a Climate Action Plan?

The GCoM refers to actions at the local level, within the competence of the involved local authorities. Therefore, GCoM signatories are expected to take action in many or all of their potential functions:

  1. Planner, promoter, and regulator: Local authorities are generally responsible for building, transportation, and land-use planning policies. They have the ability to optimize the energy performance of new facilities, integrate sustainable transportation measures, and adaptation strategies into local planning practices.
  2. Producer and supplier: Local authorities can also act as local companies or service providers promoting local energy production and use of energy sources.
  3. Guide and motivate: Awareness-raising activities are important to engage the entire community in supporting sustainable climate and energy policies. Local authorities can act as advisers and educators for citizens and other stakeholders (e.g., architects, urban planners, or craftsmen) and encourage their citizens to change their behavior towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

What is the deadline for submitting the Climate Action Plan?

The municipality has up to 3 years from the signing of the commitment letter to prepare (or compile and update already planned actions) and report its Climate Action Plan.

What is the Common Reporting Framework (CRF)?

The Common Reporting Framework is a set of global recommendations to help cities in the GCoM reporting process. The CRF also helps ensure robust phases of planning, implementation, and monitoring of climate actions, simplifying measurement and reporting procedures. It is designed to be flexible and adapt to specific local or regional circumstances. At the same time, it allows for global comparison and data aggregation. Through the Common Reporting Framework, the Global Covenant of Mayors alliance tracks, monitors, and discloses the achieved results and progress of city ambitions transparently. This data will help advocate for better governance at various levels on energy and climate issues among decision-makers, as well as enable better technical and financial support. See the full document click here.

What are the official reporting channels?

Below are the official platforms to report your progress to the GCoM.

  1. CDP/ICLEI Unified Reporting Track
  2. My Covenant (European Union)

Support and Recognition

Do signatories receive any financial support?

The GCoM does not transfer funds to signatories but supports them technically, logistically, and institutionally in formulating and implementing plans for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Where does the funding for the execution of the action plans come from?

The GCoM does not directly transfer funds to signatories. In addition to technical, logistical, and institutional support in formulating and implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation plans, the GCoM supports municipalities by facilitating access to and identifying national and international climate financing opportunities.

What are the Global Covenant of Mayors Recognition Badges?

Cities that commit to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy agree to promote climate action in three main areas: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate change, and accessing clean and affordable energy. As a city develops its climate commitments, its progress will be visually recognized through a badge system displayed on each city’s profile (city panel) on global and regional Covenant websites.

The badges system provides an overview of each city’s commitment and can be used by cities to communicate and promote their progress as part of this global community. The badges can also connect cities with opportunities, resources, and cities involved in the same stages or processes.

Regional and National Structures

What is the GCoM Helpdesk?

The Helpdesk provides administrative, logistical, and technical support to signatory cities, as well as to regions and other national institutions interested in the program.

The Helpdesk is, therefore, the mechanism through which the GCoM can interact daily and directly with cities and the entire GCoM community.

  • It receives commitment letters from cities in Latin America and shares “welcome kits” for new signatory cities.
  • Matches the demand and supply of municipal information, organizes and disseminates this information.
  • Contributes to and supports Alliance training events and activities.
  • Prepares and disseminates documents, tools, and other resources for signatory cities.
  • Disseminates information about the GCoM through the website, social media, and newsletters.
  • Organizes webinars, acts as a mechanism for matching bilateral alliances, based on knowledge of the needs and specific profiles of municipalities resulting from information exchange and the database thus built.

What are the Regional Structures of the GCoM?

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Latin America is structured with the support of broad governance capable of supporting signatory municipalities. This structure consists of a Secretariat, the Helpdesk, and a Regional Steering Committee.

The members of the Regional Steering Committee are: CAF (Latin American Development Bank), CDP, the European Union Delegation, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, ICLEI SAMS, UCLG represented by Mercocidades and FLACMA, and the Municipality of Despeñaderos (Argentina) represented by Carolina Basualdo, Board Member of GCoM for Latin America and the Caribbean.

What are the National Structures of the GCoM?

  1. The National Advisory Committees are working groups in which a National Strategy for GCoM implementation is defined annually in the country, seeking to unite existing efforts and initiatives at the local, regional, and national levels, aligned with Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
  2. National Coordinators are organizations, usually national associations of municipalities, that coordinate the implementation of GCoM activities in the country, through which cities can engage with the GCoM. Learn more about national coordinators click here.