Recife takes on the leadership of ICLEI’s network in South America

Mayor of Recife Geraldo Júlio de Mello Filho attended Resilient Cities Congress in Bonn as ICLEI's new South America Regional Executive Committee President

The mayor of Recife, Brazil, Geraldo Júlio, has brought international attention to climate issues in Brazil, by elevating the the climate commitment in one of Brazil’s biggest cities. With its highly developed coastline and fully developed tourism industry, Recife is also one of the most vulnerable cities to climate change and sea-level change.

Now Mayor Geraldo Júlio is taking that message to an even bigger stage, with his recent appointment as ICLEI’s Regional Executive Committee President for South America.

“I am very happy with this new role, because this inserts Recife in a global debate with high-level bodies, such as the UN, and ICLEI is one of their main partners for the climate change agenda at the local level,” said the mayor during an interview for Rede Globo in Brazil. “It is very important that climate change impacts are confronted by cities, be it through sanitation, waste management, mobility and transport policies,” he said. “GHG emissions can be more ambitiously reduced by the municipalities.” 

His new role has been widely reported in local media, and was picked up by major Brazilian news outlets such as Folha PE, G1, Diário de Pernambuco and others.

In his first act in his new role, the mayor attended ICLEI’s Global Executive Committee (GexCom) meeting during the 10th Annual Resilient Cities Congress, which took place on 26-28 June, in Bonn, Germany.

"Count on me, as I am an active participant in this process and I want to do my part so that we can fulfill our role in the South American region,” said Mayor Geraldo Júlio to a delegation of South American mayors who had gathered for the Congress. Recife takes on this role after Quito concluded a successful term, with Mayor Mauricio Rodas leaving office in May this year.

During the Resilient Cities Congress, the mayor also attended the UNFCCC event “Driving Change Together,” a special joint event on multilevel action focusing on e-mobility and adaptation, co-hosted by ICLEI and the COP24 Presidency. The mayor debated alongside other local leaders regarding the city’s role for adaptation to climate change. 

The Recife mayor also participated at the High Level Session of the Finance Forum, presenting projects such as the Capibaribe Park, which was developed taking into account low emission development strategies, nature integration and better mobility for the city. At the Congress, he also met with ICLEI President Ashok Sridharan, mayor of the host city of Bonn, where they discussed the governance strategy of the network and advocacy for cities.

Recife is the 9th largest city in Brazil, located in the northeastern region of the country on the coast. The International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) projections show that Recife is within the group of cities which will be the most vulnerable cities due to the sea-level rise and floodings due to higher and heavier rainfall patterns. 

Taking into account these predictions, Recife has sought to implement an overarching policy and local programs to tackle climate change impacts and low emission development. The city has been a project city for Urban-LEDS, an ICLEI-UN Habitat joint project, since 2012 and a member of the ICLEI network since 2015. The municipality has been implementing a climate action plan guided by the GreenClimateCities methodology and has been a pioneer city in implementing legislation for sustainable and climate-oriented urban planning.
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