The event “Implementing the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean” was held today, 25, to mark the closing of the International Urban Cooperation Program in the region. The virtual meeting brought together national coordinators, members of the Regional Committee, the Global Secretariat and partners institutions that contributed to the implementation of the Covenant in the last years.
During the opening of the event, Maria Rosa Sabbatelli, Regional Director of the Foreign Policy Instruments Service (FPI) of the European Union, thanked all the organizations involved and highlighted the achievements made by local governments.
«The Covenant was a seed that, thanks to your work, grew and took root in the region,» said Sabbatelli, emphasizing that «if the world wants to achieve the objectives established by the Paris Agreement, it is essential to work with cities and governments facilities to adapt to climate change and reduce CO2 emissions in different sectors».
In this sense, the Mayor of Lima, Jorge Muñoz, emphasized that «the integration between networks, national and international institutions, cities, mayors, the private sector, academy, civil society and other actors linked to the urban agenda is key» to advance positive results in Latin America.
Members of the Regional Steering Committee reflected on the importance of partnerships to advance the implementation of the Covenant in the region.
According to Rodrigo Perpétuo, executive secretary of Iclei South America, “ the Global Covenant of Mayors is the most vigorous political commitment in relation to the Paris Agreement”, which presents effective results and can further promote sustainable development.
To refer to the importance of the value of the collective effort, the Executive Director of CDP Latin America, Lauro Marins declared: “from this work of coalition and alliance we will be able to continue developing this positive agenda”, referring to the efforts that will continue to be made by local governments.
The achievements and new goals were also highlighted by Ilan Cuperstein, C40 Regional Deputy Director for Latin America, who congratulated everyone on the achievements and stated that they are “even more motivated to work together on the next steps for a sustainable future and resilience in the cities of our region».
The Executive Director of the National Union of Local Governments of Costa Rica and representative of FLACMA, Karen Porras, said that the program has provided tools and ideas to build effective solutions on various issues related to climate action and expressed interest in “continuing to be partners and promoters of the initiative in the region and to be able to articulate it with other projects that are being developed to maximize resources”.
Representing Mercociudades, the Secretary of Local Development of the Esteban Echeverría municipality, Roberto Devoto, highlighted the different responsibilities that local governments have, especially regarding the costs for financing climate actions: «The cities in peripheral countries can not subsidize cities the problems related to climate change. And this latest challenge that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought, shows us the importance of joining forces and working in an articulated manner”, highlighted Devoto.
Guided dialogues discussed achievements and expectations for the future
In the second half of the event, two sessions of guided dialogues took place, a space to share expectations and evaluate results of the Covenant in the region. In the first session, coordinated by the GCoM-LAC Expert in charge of follow-up, monitoring and support to the National Coordinators for the implementation of the Covenant in South America, Sofiane Karroum, the responses of the national coordinators about their contributions to the program were discussed. The coordinators carried out a self-evaluation on the main challenges, achievements and functions in the implementation of the program at the national level in their respective territories. One of the main achievements highlighted in the responses was the exchange of experiences and new perspectives promoted by the Covenant through the permanent forum of national coordinators. The exchange of ideas with local actors with different backgrounds enriched the implementation experiences in each country and generated good expectations for the expansion of the program in the territories.
In the second session the national and regional coordinators shared their views on the future of the GCoM. With the moderation of Marja Edelman, coordinator of the Covenant for Latin America and the Caribbean, the expectations for the next cycle were presented. Among them, expanding the number of active signatory municipalities, providing continuous technical support for Climate Action Plans and Inventories. Also included are the ambitions to deepen and strengthen support through exchanges, dialogues, cooperation between cities and institutions, structuring of projects and support to obtain financing. In addition, ensure gender and race equity in policy formulation and align the initiatives of the new phase of the GCoM with the post-Covid-19 reconstruction.
The National and Regional Committees were important and strategic to give solidity and demonstrate the importance of local climate actions, to contextualize and reconcile global visions with local territorial reality and challenges, and to articulate, coordinate and exchange experiences at the national level. In this sense, it was identified that it is necessary to provide training and communication tools; sensitize the members with evidence of the added value of the initiative and maintain the space permanently and with constant meetings.
In the closing remarks of the event, Barbara Roces, Project Attaché of the Foreign Policy Instruments Service (FPI) of the European Union, highlighted the importance of joint work for the achievements and invited everyone to actively participate in the next stage.
«We invite you to continue with us in this new stage, seeking to join forces and collaborate in order to enhance all the results that we are achieving together,» concluded Roces.