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Largest-Ever Coalition of Cities Takes on Climate Change

New York's Central Park. Photo: T photography / Shutterstock
New York's Central Park. Photo: T photography / Shutterstock

More than 7,100 cities around the world are set to fight climate change together following the merger of two key initiatives.

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy is the result of a merger between the EU’s Covenant of Mayors and the UN’s Compact of Mayors.

The new initiative is now the largest-ever global coalition of cities committed to fighting climate change.

Announced yesterday (22 June) – six months after the historic climate change summit in Paris – the new coalition will build on the commitments of cities from 119 countries and six continents. The cities represent more than 600 million inhabitants and over 8 per cent of the world’s population.

“Never before have so many cities joined forces, eager to inspire each other and committed to collectively taking the path to a low-carbon, resilient society,” said EU Commission vice president Maroš Šefčovič.

New York’s former mayor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, will co-chair the Global Covenant of Mayors.

Cities are a major source of carbon dioxide, and will play an instrumental role in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change. The EU’s main climate innovation initiative, Climate-KIC, has a special focus on cities through programmes such as Smart Sustainable Districts and its Building Technologies Accelerator.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, tweeted he is joining the coalition to take “strong climate action.” Mayor of Paris Anne Hildago tweeted that cities “have been crucial to the Paris Agreement,” and that the merger “will broaden our commitments.”

Investment Powers And Big Data

The Global Covenant of Mayors will allow for greater collaboration between cities across the world, bridging gaps and building connections.

It could also increase funding to support city action in the areas of sustainable energy and climate change.

According to a statement by the European Commission, the merger will harness the “convening and investment powers” of the European Union and Bloomberg Philanthropies – Michael Bloomberg’s charity – as well as the critical global city network partners of each initiative, including C40, ICLEI, UCLG, Eurocities, Energy Cities and Climate Alliance.

The new initiative will also bring together relevant data on cities’ energy and climate actions, allowing for comparison of cities’ achievements to other cities and towns all around the world.

The data will be made available publicly through a new website, to be launched by January 2017.

The World’s Cities Are Uniting

“Today, the world’s cities are uniting their efforts to fight climate change behind a single global organisation, something that has never before happened,” said Bloomberg in his capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for cities and climate change.

The Covenant of Mayors was launched in 2008 by the European Union, the Compact of Mayors was launched in 2014 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Michael Bloomberg and mayors from global city networks C40, ICLEI and UCLG.

Both initiatives have supported participating local governments in setting ambitious climate reduction goals, taking action to meet those objectives and measuring their progress publicly and transparently.

Interested in making cities more sustainable? Check out Climate-KIC’s Smart Sustainable Districts and Building Technology Accelerator programmes.

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