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Thursday, 18 March 2010

After Copenhagen, cities and regions take the lead in the fight against global warming

On 18 March 2010, the Council of Europe held its 18th Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Strasbourg, France. During the session, the Congress discussed the implications of the Copenhagen Summit for local and regional authorities and adopted a resolution which stresses cities and regions leading role in the fight against global warming, especially after national governments did not take any legally-binding decisions at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen (COP 15).


Congress members’ also passed recommendation for national governments, calling for the formal recognition of the role of local and regional authorities, their inclusion in the negotiating process and support for their climate actions. National authorities should learn from cities and regions which transcend their political, geographical and demographic differences to make a joint commitment. The recommendation underlines that a binding global climate agreement is no longer an option but a moral and political imperative.


Thus, cities and regions – which can implement 50 to 80 per cent of the measures needed to reduce climate change effects – take up the challenge and advocate for the support of their national governments which should pass a new deal at the next COP in Mexico in December 2010.


Klaus Bondam speaks at the Local Government Climate LOUNGE at COP 15, 11 December 2009


“The onus is on local and regional authorities to continue to lead the way where central governments have failed,” said the Congress’ Vice-President Dubravka Suica at the opening of the session. “We must join forces to see a deal reached in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2010 that takes into account the ecological, economic, ethical and human rights dimensions of this issue.”


Klaus Bondam, Deputy Mayor of Copenhagen, pointed out that cities and local governments around the world are already committed to achieving ambitious reduction targets and have “effectively showed the ability to influence their national governments and thereby also the international agenda leading up to COP15.” “The EU has in their mandate paper for the negotiations during the COP15 recognised the role of local governments. Now is the time to go further into a dialogue, and strengthen the involvement of local and regional authorities.”