Local and regional governments mobilize towards COP 21

From 31 August to 4 September climate negotiators met for an extra inter sessional week in Bonn to progress on the text to be agreed upon during the COP 21 in Paris (30 November-11 December 2015).

The negotiators worked on the basis of the “Tool” released by the Co-chairs over the summer, an 80-page document divided into three parts:  

  • Part I titled “Draft Agreement”, which gathers all provisions that by their nature should be included in the Paris Agreement (joint and long-term commitments, provisions to enable the sustainability of the agreement and general provisions for the instrument to enter into force).
  • Part II titled “Draft Decision”, which targets the provisions relating to implementation and the pre‑2020 phase (Workstream 2).
  • Part III titled “Provisions whose placement requires further clarity among Parties in relation to the draft agreement (Part I) or draft decision (Part II)”.

These three parts reflect the content of the Geneva text (February 2015) while taking into account the consolidation work carried out in Bonn last June. (Please find attached a full analytical note produced for the Rhône-Alpes region.)

The local and regional authorities constituency (Local Governments and Municipal Authorities) gathered in the Local Government Climate Roadmap therefore built its advocacy around this tool. The tool, however, was not very satisfactory in terms of the engagement of non-state actors, and in particular the recognition of the role of local and sub-national governments. (Please find attached the proposals and amendments shared with the Friends of Cities Group and other States and partners in the negotiation process.)

ICLEI and UCLG advocated to reintroduce a reference to the specific role of local and sub-national governments within the text; referring to the Cancun agreement which recognized us as governmental stakeholders. We also focused on strengthening a local approach that would reflect urban SDG 11, adopted as part of the sustainable development agenda and calling on States to “Make Cities and Human Settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Further, in the follow-up of the Summit on Climate and Territories held in Lyon in July, we pushed for the acknowledgement of the need for a territorial approach involving and ensuring collaboration among all non‑state actors at local and sub-national levels.

A booklet compiling the full outcomes of the Lyon Summit (General political declaration and recommendations from the 10 workshops: Adaptation to climate change; Low-carbon economy and jobs; Decentralized cooperation and partnerships between territories; Territorial and urban planning; Forests; Agriculture; Energy generation, distribution and consumption; Education, awareness and mobilization; Mobility and transport; and Financing) was shared with the national delegations.

UCLG climate spokesperson attending the observer meeting with the Co-Chairs of the Bonn sessionAt the request of the Parties, a new and more ambitious negotiating text should be produced by the Co-Chairsbefore the next and final round of talks before COP 21, taking place in Bonn on 19-23 of October. We invite you to contact your national delegation with the relevant proposals to ensure that the specific role of local and sub‑national authorities is recognized and that they are provided with the relevant means to act, including through financial mechanisms.

In parallel, the French Presidency, together with the Peruvian Presidency and the UNSG Office, are working on the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, developing a specific agenda for local and regional authorities that will have a dedicated segment on the morning of 8 December in the official space of the COP 21 (the Blue Zone). This week, the French Government has also come forward with a proposal for a 5-year action plan for local and regional authorities. It is a proposal welcomed by local and regional government networks, if it is developed as a tool to ensure resources and financial means to support ongoing initiatives (such as the Compact of Mayors and Compact of States and Regions).