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Local and Regional Government Can Play a Pivotal Role in the Mediterranean Climate Agenda

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Oct 26, 2016 / 0 Comments
 

Local and Regional Governments (LRG) Possess the Advantage of Making Proposals Globally

 

The structure of LRG and the lobbying power they possess allows them to be better positioned on an international level. With the Global Task Force, a consortium of associations in which the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) has a leading role, LRGs convey messages that are better linked and increasingly valued. Therefore in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Habitat III Conference and the United Nations Conference of the Parties on climate change (COP), LRGs achieve significant progress:

 

  • Effective recognition of their important role in the inclusive and sustainable development.
  • Formal consultation with them, in the preparation of the UN negotiations concerning them directly.
  • Inclusion in the texts negotiated by the states concepts and claims strongly advocated by the LRGs: creation of a specific SDG (SDG11) concerning urban issues, discussions around the localization of the SDG, the introduction of the "Right to the City" in the draft new urban agenda...

 

In terms of climate, the energy and voluntarism of LRGs is reflected through important global networks and associations campaigning alongside UCLG [i] but also through the initiatives in place to encourage the emergence of territories with lower CO² emission and more resilience. The most known is the voluntary adherence to measure and report on reductions of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) [ii]. In many statements in preparation for the COP, LRGs reiterate their expectations: ratification and implementation by the states of the Paris Agreement, necessary involvement of the LRGs in the global fight, financing and effective decentralization.

 

Local and Regional Governments Have a Legitimate Voice in the Mediterranean

 

“The repercussions of climate change come with enormous costs, both financial and human; there is a priority to invest heavily in energy transition and agricultural development...” Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al Hoceima, Morocco.

 

The Mediterranean climate emergency is an established fact, the region is also qualified as "hot spot” in this sense. The main threats are known: the mass concentration of the population on the coastal zones, urbanization and urban smears amplify the impacts in this region.[iii]

 

The role of LRGs is therefore essential and their awareness is undeniable. However they’re not the most active. As an example they’re still underrepresented in global GHG reduction structures and events. Several factors can explain this reality, especially in the east and southern shores of the Mediterranean:

 

  • Unrest and conflicts giving priorities to more pressing emergencies.
  • Low financial resources and ability to raise funds.
  • Insufficient decentralization preventing full initiatives.

 

Nevertheless, there are in the Mediterranean region several dynamics and local initiatives of all sizes, regarding mitigation and coping.

 

By organizing the climate meeting of local and regional Mediterranean representatives (December 2014)[iv], by being a partner to the Medcop[v] or to the Trophies for Adaptation to Climate Change[vi] of ADEME, CGLU’s Mediterranean Commission participates in the development of the abundance of these practices and to their dissemination as well as to helping raise a Mediterranean voice.

 

"Networks facilitate the setting of projects that benefit citizens and allow small and medium cities with big ambitions to go further". Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen, Morocco

 

 

 

[i] ICLEI, R20, C40Cities, nrg4sd, Energy Cities, 100ResilienteCities

[ii] The recent merge of European and global covenant in one: Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy proves once again that the LRGs do not expect agreements between nations and are more proactive.

[iii] To check: Plan Bleu’s work including the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development

[iv] See acts http://www.commed-cglu.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/R%C3%A9union-Climat-Actes.pdf

[v] The Mediterranean Commission organized the roundtable of the representatives during the 1st edition of the Mediterranean Forum of Civil Society for Climate June 2015 Marseille

[vi] Awards Ceremony November 12, 2016 during the COP22

 

Catherine SIMO

Catherine SIMO, is project officer at the Mediterranean commission of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), she works on mainstreaming the role and initiatives of local and regional authorities and amplifying their messages in their countries and internationally. International Economics graduate, Catherine worked 5 years on agricultural policy and food security issues in West Africa before working with and for the Mediterranean territories.

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