From Bonn to Birmingham, ICLEI Members are leading the way in tackling climate change by declaring climate emergencies to acknowledge citizen pressure and marshal the resources and will for immediate climate action.
The city of Bonn joined other cities and regions in declaring a climate emergency in July 2019. Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn and President of ICLEI, explains:
I consider everything that is suitable to draw the public's attention to the issue of climate protection to be helpful. As a city, we are already very active in initiating and implementing what is possible on the ground. Moreover, we are also active at international level in various climate protection alliances. As President of the worldwide ICLEI network of Local Governments for Sustainability, I am constantly calling for the issue to be pursued with vigor at local level. Our motto continues to be: Think globally, act locally. The proclamation of a climate emergency for Bonn is a symbolic act in this sense, which must now be followed by action. The Administration will make concrete proposals in this regard.
Some ICLEI Members such as Darebin City in Australia declared climate emergencies as early as 2016. Councillor Kim Le Cerf, Chair of the ICLEI Oceania Regional Executive Committee, and Darebin City Council Member shared the key priorities the city is focusing on in their climate emergency response:
Since the declaration acknowledging the climate emergency in late 2016, Darebin has been working hard to develop and implement an effective climate emergency response, focusing on key areas including reaching zero emissions targets for Council and the community, community mobilization, advocacy and engagement of other councils.Mobilization, education and empowerment of our community is a key priority because everyone has a part to play in the climate emergency response. To understand how to do this more effectively Darebin has undertaken communications research which has shown how to better communicate the climate emergency, and Councils role. Darebin is also developing programs to engage and help our community get active on the climate emergency, including the ‘Ambassadors’ program, where participants will undertake to spread action amongst their peers and networks. We are providing the resources and support to do this work, but we know our community has a lot it can contribute in this space. Action is the antidote and we have had very positive feedback from people looking to play an active role in the climate emergency response in Darebin.
To date, 888 jurisdictions in 18 countries have declared climate emergencies including ICLEI Members such as Heidelberg and Münster in Germany, Basel and Zurich in Switzerland and Bristol and Glasgow in the United Kingdom.