The Paris climate agreement - Now the words need strong actions!
History was made when 195 states decided and adopted the global Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework for Climate Change on December 12th 2015. After the last years disappointing COP meetings the hopes were high for the Paris meeting to finally unite the states of the world to fight with more commitment against climate change.
After 12 days of hard negotiations and discussions the head of states managed to decide on a global agreement which will have hopefully a severe impact on the world´s climate development in the coming years.
Nevertheless an agreement is foremost an agreement – the commitments are either not legally binding (as e.g. the greenhouse gas emission reductions) or mentioned only in the annex pages ( e.g. the green financing pledge). Now national policies and laws need to secure the implementation of the agreement on state level and most important of all (especially for us!): the local and regional level must be acknowledged as the main actor in putting global policy into action!
The city of Paris provided a significant forum for local and subnational representatives, with a number of events around the Climate Summit for Local leaders, which took place on Dec 4th 2015. Cities´s and regions´ leaders from all five continents conveyed to declare their contribution to the COP 21 and underline the importance of the regional and local level for the concrete implementation. The event gave a voice to mayors worldwide who are working in their cities and communities towards a climate friendly society.
Also UBC SCC´s co-chair and Development Manager for the city of Turku, Risto Veivo, was present in Paris and took part in the Cities and Regions Pavillon TAP event as well as in the Local Leaders Summit. “The atmosphere was enthusiastic and there was a great momentum among cities. Cities’ sustainability momentum was strongly visible from all around the globe and many UBC member cities made active contributions too. Cities’ activities also received recognition from the highest level: among other things UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and French President Francois Hollande took part at the Local Leaders Summit and strongly acknowledged the role of cities in both mitigation and adaptation.”
To strengthen cities and towns´imprtant role, amny of them have together with regions, companies and investors all around the globe signed up to the Paris Pledge for Action, a call to support the Paris Agreement. and tio accelerate the transformative changes needed to meet the climate change challenges.
The pledge is an initiative of the COP 21 French Presidency and is open to all non-state actors.
(Graphic source: AFP Photo/Jonathan STOREY)