With the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report confirming man-made climate change, cities and regions came together at the World Mayors Summit on Climate Change on Saturday to affirm their commitments, urge engagement with the global level on climate change, and enhance access to finance.

The Nantes Declaration of Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change has been adopted with the support of mayors and regional and global networks of local and subnational governments.

Adoption of the Declaration marks the start of a new phase for the Local Government Climate Roadmap, an advocacy process aimed at recognising, engaging and empowering local governments within the global climate regime. The Roadmap aims to pave the way to the UN Paris Climate Conference in 2015.

The adoption ceremony came on the second day of the World Mayors Summit on Climate Change, an event held under the patronage of François Hollande, President of the Republic of France and with the support of the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, which brought local leaders together to discuss funding climate actions.

Expressing his approval of the declaration, the Mayor of South Delhi, India, Farhad Suri, recited the words of Gandhi: “Our future is shaped by what we do today.”

The Mayor of Boulder, Colorado, USA, Mathew Appelbaum, spoke of the devastation of his city by extreme weather, and of the urgent need to turn words into action: “We recently experienced an incredible flood, in which a year’s worth of rain fell in four days. Events like the one that struck Boulder are becoming more common all around the globe.

“It’s clear, cities are on the frontlines – we are suffering the impacts of climate change. Because of that we have to be leaders and mitigate and adapt in the face of climate change,” he added.

Participants at the World Mayors Summit on Climate Change in Nantes (France) also strongly supported the Sustainable Cities initiative, proposed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in an effort to address key drivers of environmental degradation through city-focused action.

Lead urban specialist on cities and climate with the World Bank, Stephen Hammer, asserted that there is a need for greater information and common standard setting, in order for investors to judge the impact of their investment.

“Cities and financial institutions need to work together to simplify and standardise approaches”, he said.

Presenting the proposals of the initiative, GEF CEO and chairperson Naoko Ishii called our era a “critical juncture” in which humanity is surpassing the capacity of vital ecosystems, spurred by the trends of a rapidly growing population, changing consumption patterns, and increased urbanisation.

“By now I am more convinced than ever that this approach is the right one to proceed and promote local climate actions,” she said.

Leigh Stringer

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