Mayor Annise Parker and 40 Mayors Call for International Dialogue on Climate Change to Include Cities
UN engagement to forge larger role for cities
February 6, 2014 -- Mayor Parker and mayors and top officials from more than 45 cities today joined global leaders for the third day of the biennial C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) Mayors Summit, hosted for the first time on the African continent, by the City of Johannesburg. In addition to releasing landmark research and data about the climate actions taken by cities, the C40 made a strong statement to the global community about the role of cities in tackling climate change.
C40 Chair, Mayor Eduardo Paes of Rio de Janeiro presented a letter to Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, and signed on to by more than 41 C40 mayors, including Mayor Parker, that called for a specific urban goal among the overall global sustainable development goals. The letter urged the UN’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals to recognize the unique challenges of urban spaces, and presented a strong argument for the inclusion of urban areas in national programs.
Mayor Parker is a C40 Steering Committee Member, one of only two members to serve from the U.S.
“Cities are leading, innovating and tackling real world everyday climate issues,” said Mayor Parker. “We need the international community to work with us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally and improve the quality of life for all citizens.”
“As a global mayor, and one whose city will forever be linked to the global sustainable development agenda, I cannot stress enough the fact that without an urban goal the Sustainable Development Goals will be incomplete,” said Mayor Paes.
“Mayors have the power and the will to confront climate change, and they are seizing every opportunity to take action,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist, Mayor of New York City and President of the C40 Board. “C40 cities are doing more than ever to reduce emissions and become resilient – that's why they are increasingly looked to for leadership by the international community.”
Further underscoring the larger role that cities are now playing in the international dialogue on climate change, Bloomberg was recently appointed United Nations Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. In this capacity, Bloomberg will work with other mayors to increase their climate change-related commitments and to encourage national governments to do the same. As evidence of the UN’s increasing engagement with cities, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres participated in the C40 Summit to consult mayors on the UN climate process.
Figueres said, “As we approach 2015, now is the time for city leaders to interact more effectively with national governments, to ensure coherence in the design, and collaboration in the implementation of climate change policies and measures. Only by concertedly contributing to the growing groundswell of climate action can we meet the needs of current citizens and the expectations of future generations.”
The fifth biennial C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors Summit will take place February 4th-6th, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Hosted by the city of Johannesburg and delivered in collaboration with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), this event brings together C40 Mayors from around the world to advance urban solutions to global climate change through individual efforts as well as international engagement and collaboration.
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. C40 was established in 2005 and expanded via a partnership in 2006 with President William J. Clinton’s Climate Initiative (CCI). The current chair of the C40 is Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes; 108th Mayor of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. To learn more about the work of C40 and our Cities, please visit www.c40.org, follow us on Twitter @c40cities and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/C40Cities.