Mayors are essential to tackling climate change and human trafficking, says Pope Francis

"Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral imperative for humanity” Declaration of Mayors 21 July, Vatican

On July 21 2015, a large delegation of mayors, including many UCLG members and partners, attended the workshop “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the Commitment of the Cities” hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the Vatican’s Casina Pio IV. The workshop builds on the Pope Francis encyclical Laudato Si

These meetings are the first time that the Vatican has convened mayors from across the world, and UCLG and its sister networks warmly welcome Pope Francis’ recognition of the “great responsibilities” of local leaders in tackling global challenges from the bottom up.

Local leaders have recalled the many specific pledges they have made to submit their cities’ carbon emissions to regular reporting and verification, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,5 gigatons by 2020: World Summit Climate & Territories General Declaration: Placing territorial action at the heart of the response to climate challenge and the Compact of Mayors.

The Vatican meeting and declaration bring welcome international attention to the essential role of local and regional governments in providing innovation and leadership on climate change, as well as the rest of the Post 2015 agenda. July 22 will see the mayors participate in the symposium “Prosperity, People, and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities”, in collaboration with UNSDSN.

International networks of local governments, collaborating in the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, will build on our existing commitments at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, December 4, 2015 at Paris City HAll, where we will meet to agree joint contributions to the COP21 UN Summit on Climate Change, taking place at the same time.

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