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Seoul Statement 2019

We, the cities and local governments participating in the Seoul Mayors Forum on Climate Change 2019, recognize that the Forum has created a positive atmosphere for greater international cooperation since its launch in 2015. The expansion of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Energy & Climate, and the collaborations and results achieved through the joint efforts of the Seoul Metropolitan Government and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, such as in the implementation of the Ambitious City Promises project, exemplify this.

However, despite some enthusiastic energy transition efforts from nations, cities and local governments around the world, we know that more urgent and aggressive actions are necessary given the current climate crisis. Frequent and devastating wildfires, and increased incidences and intensities of typhoons and hurricanes, are stark reminders that we are still falling short in our efforts to limit the temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is regarded as the minimum threshold of human survival.

As key implementers of climate actions and first responders to climate impacts, cities and local governments recognize that significant reductions in energy consumption and increasing renewable energy production are among the fastest and fundamental ways to address climate change. We shall therefore strive to continuously enhance efforts to transition toward renewable energy through initiatives such as “Solar City, Seoul,” a major project by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and RE100 initiative to achieve zero carbon. 

Convinced that cities and local governments should have more targeted and enhanced roles in the establishment and implementation of national climate actions and strategies, we:

  • Welcome the outcomes and initiatives announced at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit as well as the announcement of a decade of action at the 2019 SDG Summit and recall the opportunities of the Urban Era as essential enabling factors for implementation;
  • Urge all national governments to announce at COP25 in Santiago, Chile to accelerate their efforts to deliver climate neutrality goals of the Paris Agreement by presenting more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions by the latest by 2020 with full engagement of local and regional governments;
  • Encourage all local and regional governments to accelerate their commitment to ambitious climate action by adopting climate emergency declarations at their councils as a means to drive cross-party support to achieve climate neutrality goals by 2050;
  • Invite Global Covenant of Mayors, ICLEI, and other networks to develop climate governance strategies that enable action, promote stakeholder participation and cooperation, and establish and strengthen institutional mechanisms to capacitate and resource cities and local governments, as well as coordinated and inclusive climate action across all levels of government;
  • Call upon national governments, cities and local governments to work closely with each other to ensure holistic approaches to sustainable urban development taking into consideration systemic links between climate action and other global frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Rio Conventions on climate-nature and land, and the New Urban Agenda; 
  • Encourage cities and local governments around the world to commit to the ‘Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy,’ setting ambitious goals and implementing actions consistent with limiting the average temperature of the planet to 1.5 degrees by 2020, and to showcase all relevant commitments through the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System and NAZCA platform; 
  • Urge local communities business leaders, scientists and researchers to engage and enhance cooperation with us in responding and adapting to climate change; 
  • Support the youth, who will lead the next generation and will be the most affected by the current climate crisis, through education and by engaging them in relevant policy and action process; 
  • Emphasize the necessity to prioritize the support, partnerships and exchanges with Africa, least developed countries, nations in Amazon, and small island developing states, that are most impacted by the compounded effects of climate change and developmental challenges; and countries that try to cope with the climate crisis by recovering forest loss; 
  • Acknowledge the interconnectedness between climate change and biodiversity loss, call for integrated solutions that bring Nature into planning and implementation processes and call for a strong synergy for multilevel action between 2020 UN Nature Summit in New York in September, Biodiversity COP15 in October 2020 Kunming, China and Climate COP26 in November 2020 in Glasgow in the United Kingdom;
  • Welcome the City Climate Finance Gap Fund and Encourage global financial institutions once again to work with Global Covenant of Mayors and its associated city network partners to explore ways to improve city access to climate finance; and
  • Encourage national governments for the responsible implementation of the Paris Agreement as we enter the new climate regime through various actions such as, the development of systems to track and verify the actual implementation of the Agreement and contributions from national governments. Cities and local governments commit to playing an active role in this process. 

We hope that this document is delivered as a message from cities and local governments at the UNFCCC COP25 to be held in Santiago, Chile in December 2019. 

This provisional draft will be updated with a full list of participating cities.
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