The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) was officially launched, this Thursday (27), for the Central American region, at the Park Inn Hotel in San José, Costa Rica. More than 100 authorities and leaders from different sectors were present, including local governments, associations of municipalities and representatives of the national government. The initiative, part of the International Urban Cooperation Program in Latin America and the Caribbean (IUC-LAC), financed by the European Union, has a success story in the Latin American region since 2017. The Pact is the world’s largest alliance of local authorities the world committed to climate change.
IUC-LAC, the Confederation of Associations of Municipalities in Central America and the Caribbean (CAMCAYCA) and the National Union of Local Governments (UNGL) of Costa Rica organized the event together. The launch was attended by the First Lady of the Republic of Costa Rica, Claudia Dobles Camargo and mayors of 30 municipalities in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama and the Dominican Republic participated in the event.
The participation of the European Union Ambassador to Costa Rica, Antonia Calvo Puerta and the Director of the IUC-LAC Program, Claudio Acioly, was highlighted by the Director of the Costa Rican Municipal Development and Consulting Institute, Marcela Guerrero Campos, by the President of the Confederation of Associations of Municipalities of Central America and the Caribbean, Juan Pablo Barquero and by the Executive Director of the National Union of Local Governments, Karen Porras Arguedas.
In addition to the launch of the Global Covenant of Mayor in the region, the first meeting of its Regional Advisory Committee was held. Led by CAMCAYCA, currently chairing UNGL, experiences were shared on working strategies for implementing the objectives of the Covenant in Costa Rica. Likewise, technical representatives of the municipalities and specialists from the National Emergency Commission (CNE), the Ministry of Planning (MIDEPLAN), UNGL and the National University (UNA) met to validate a national portfolio of adaptation measures at the local level , part of the activities of the Global Covenant of Mayors in Costa Rica.
On the first day, the director of the IUC-LAC Program presented the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Latin America. Subsequently, national strategies to reduce the effects of climate change and the role of the Latin American Federation of Cities, Municipalities and Local Government Associations (FLACMA) were presented. After lunch, Costa Rica’s Cantonal Carbon Neutrality Program was presented, as well as the experiences of Costa Rican municipalities that signed the Global Covenant of Mayors in San José, La Unión and San Rafael. In the closing of the first day, local authorities in Costa Rica and Central America, along with members of the Central America Regional Committee, signed the letter of adhesion to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.
During the second day of the event, the first session of the Central American Consultative Committee, chaired by CAMCAYCA, was held in conjunction with the organization of the event. The strategy to increase the commitment of local governments to climate action and adherence to the Global Covenant in Central America and the communication mechanisms of the Global Covenant of Mayors platform were the first on the agenda. Meanwhile, Costa Rican participants conducted the first review of municipal measures to adapt to climate change.
The Vice President of the Global Council of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and expert leader in the area, Christiana Figueres, congratulated all participants by videoconference for the decision to consolidate this group of mayors committed to the reduction of greenhouse gases in their cities. According to Figueres, «in the next 10 years, the most important decade in human history, the quality of our lives and that of future generations will be decided. I challenge you to undertake your plan to reduce emissions by 50% in the coming years».
The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Costa Rica
The Covenant in Costa Rica took its first steps in Costa Rica with the creation of a National Advisory Committee, a working group that channels technical assistance from the International Urban Cooperation Program in Latin America (IUC-LAC) and supports national municipalities in the fulfilling its commitments and monitoring its progress. Costa Rica has had six signatories since 2019, the year in which a national work strategy for the Covenant was approved.
As part of the strategy, it coordinated with the Climate Change Board (DCC) to make the portfolio of measures an integral part of the strategic vision of the National Decarbonization Plan. The country’s municipalities were visited so that the portfolio could bring together the experience of adapting local governments.
About IUC-LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean)
The International Urban Cooperation Program (IUC), funded by the European Union, supports cities in different regions of the globe to connect and share solutions to common problems in sustainable urban development, within the framework of the New Urban Agenda and in the fight against climate change. The Latin America and Caribbean chapter of the IUC Global program is responsible for implementing the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in the region (www.iuc-la.eu).