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ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.

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07 December 2023

Local and regional governments headline second Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change at COP28


On 6 December, UN-Habitat, the COP28 Presidency and the UN Climate Change High Level Champions co-hosted the second Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change at COP28.

The Ministerial Meeting convened more than 1000 attendees, including 40 Ministers and more than 200 subnational leaders in collaboration with the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency to the UNFCCC. 

The goal of the event was laid out clearly by co-host UN-Habitat. “We are here to discuss the need to align local and national strategies and unlock climate finance for local actions,” said Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), during the event.

Subnational leaders George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy of British Columbia; Katja Dörner, Mayor, City of Bonn; Yousef Shawarbeh, Mayor, City of Amman; Yawo Winny Dogbatse, Mayor of Kloto I, Togo; and Baraniko Baaro, Mayor, Teinainano Urban Council, took stage together with their national ministers. 

These remarks were followed by Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, and the event was concluded by the closing remarks of Mayor of Belém, Brazil, Edmilson Rodrigues, host city of COP30 in 2025 and chair of Forum of Amazon Cities, together with Jader Filho, Minister of Cities of Brazil, which will hold the Presidency for COP30.

Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI, said of the occasion, “We commend UN-Habitat and the COP28 Presidency for co-hosting and convening a strong representation of national and local cooperation. We encourage the UNFCCC to make the meetings of these Ministers a mandated meeting at every COP, so that we can ensure that these productive exchanges continue to build on each other in the coming years.”

Abigail Binay, Mayor of Makati, COP28 Local Climate Action Summit Co-Chair, and ICLEI Global Executive Committee Member, speaking on behalf of the LGMA, emphasized at the High-Level opening session, “This is a real opportunity for inclusive dialogue that positions local governments as active participants in climate action and not just as beneficiaries. I thank the COP28 Presidency for their bold leadership and inclusive approach and collaboration with the LGMA Constituency to position the voices of local and regional governments.” 

The COP process’ second Urban Ministerial anchored COP28’s Multilevel Action, Urbanization and Built Environment Day on 6 December. The high-level event convened a diverse set of ministers, local and regional leaders, financial institutions, and non-government stakeholders to agree on a suite of multilevel, Paris-aligned actions for cooperation in the UNFCCC space, focused on joint policy and finance for sustainable urbanization across sectors including buildings, waste, transport, water, energy, and nature.   

The event marked the second official event for local and regional leaders on the COP28 Presidency’s agenda this year – the first being the  Local Climate Action Summit on 1-2 December. 

The first Ministerial Meeting was hosted by the Egyptian COP27 Presidency in 2022, with a focus on housing, urban development, and multilevel action for climate change. That meeting reinforced the Paris Climate Agreement Commitments and discussed commitments to climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, and local climate finance. The COP27 initiative Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation (SURGe) was launched at the event.

Joint outcomes from COP28 local and regional events

A joint outcome statement for both the Ministerial Meeting and LCAS was released that encourages the Parties to include multilevel cooperation in achieving the Paris agreement, and including CHAMP and local stocktakes as critical mechanisms for this goal. The hope is that this outcome statement can now feed into the negotiated results of COP28.

Read the joint outcome statement.

After the event, delegates gathered at the Multilevel Action & Urbanization Pavilion, for a session co-hosted by ICLEI and UN-Habitat, to reflect on operationalizing the Ministerial Meeting, the status of negotiations and goals of the constituency at COP28. You can watch the webcast here

Yunus Arikan, Director of Global Advocacy for ICLEI, and focal point to the LGMA, reflected on the meeting, “The Urban Ministerial is the perfect event to anchor Multilevel Action Day here at COP28. This Ministerial builds on the 2023 advocacy achievements for multilevel action, including at the UH-Habitat Assembly, and here at COP28.  We look forward to supporting the design and delivery of future Urban Ministerials, and that we can use the momentum of the Ministerial to strengthen commitment to and implementation of multilevel initiatives together like CHAMP and SURGe.” 

Karishma Asaporta, COP28 Youth Delegate spoke at the Ministerial Meeting, and said, “The youth local stocktakes conducted by the LGMA in collaboration with YOUNGO assessed the prospect and challenges for integrating youth into the UNFCCC as an official contribution to the Paris Agreement.  From this process we call for a more inclusive planning, adaptive governance structures, capacity building and upscaling youth to green economies jobs, and increasing the access to finance. By 2030 youth will make up 60% of the urban population. The time is now to include young voices and, more importantly, their passion, ideas, and innovation to help address pressing challenges in our urban areas today.” 

The event was followed by a joint press conference on the outcomes of the Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change. Chilando Chitangala, Mayor of Lusaka, Zambia, joined on behalf of the LGMA. She said, “Collaborating with national governments becomes essential not only for harmonizing financing strategies but also for accessing national-level financial instruments to respond to the urgent call for a fair and sufficient allocation of resources, establishing equitable mechanisms to comprehensively address loss and damage.” 

Read the press release from the COP28 Presidency

Watch the webcast of the Ministerial Meeting here

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