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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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05 June 2024

COP27 SURGe initiative to step up support of strengthened NDCs and urban resilience

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Ahead of SB60, the UN-Habitat Executive Board announced their support for the Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation (SURGe) initiative, with a commitment to establish a secretariat.

UN-Habitat and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability will establish this secretariat together to accelerate multilevel climate action before COP30 and beyond.

SURGe is a COP27 Presidency Initiative dedicated to connecting the local, national, and global levels with the vision to achieve global climate goals by using effective multilevel governance to transform cities to be healthy, sustainable, just, inclusive, low-emission, and resilient urban systems for a better urban future for all.

To achieve this vision, the SURGe Initiative is dedicated to equipping cities to accelerate local climate action and building more strategically on cities and sustainable urbanization as allies to help deliver the targets of the Paris Agreements and the SDGs.

The SURGe Initiative has been developed under the leadership of the COP27 Presidency in collaboration with UN-Habitat and facilitated by ICLEI. It was officially launched at the Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change at COP27. It has been endorsed by 180+ global partners.

During the May Board meeting negotiations, ICLEI and UCLG delivered a joint statement highlighting SURGe as an important tool to link sustainable urbanization to climate action through a whole-of-government approach, particularly in synergy with the UNFCCC Marrakech Partnership, the NDC Partnership, and the CHAMP initiative towards multilevel NDCs by 2025.

This step marks another milestone in a long history of collaboration between the two organizations at a global level.

ICLEI has regularly provided inputs to the UN-Habitat Executive Board meetings, including a statement in 2021 and participation at the presentation of SURGe in 2022. ICLEI Secretary General also presented a video statement in 2023.

Additionally, in 2023, UN-Habitat and ICLEI as the focal point of the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA Constituency) co-convened the Multilevel Action & Urbanization Pavillion – a space for local, national, and international leaders to meet and exchange. Together at the high-level opening and in additional sessions, the two organizations advocated for ambitious multilevel action and urbanization to be part of the COP28 outcomes.

At its first meeting of 2024 in Nairobi on 6-8 May, the UN-Habitat Executive Board responded to the historic climate change resolution adopted at the 2nd UN-Habitat Assembly in June 2023 and decided to take concrete steps to operationalize the COP27 SURGe initiative.

The complete decision from the UN-Habitat board reads:

Implementation of UN-Habitat Assembly resolution 2/5 on enhancing the interlinkage between urbanization and climate change resilience, in particular, the operationalization of the Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation (SURGe) initiative as a meaningful institutional arrangement

  • 3. Recalls resolution 2/5 of the UN-Habitat Assembly, takes note of the supporting documents provided by the secretariat regarding the Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation (SURGe) initiative, 15 and decides that UN-Habitat should operationalize the initiative in order to accelerate multilevel climate action, with full regard for the mandates of the United Nations Environment Programme and relevant multilateral environmental agreements, by establishing a secretariat for the Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation (SURGe) initiative, supporting the organization of ministerial meetings on urbanization and climate change, seeking synergies with other initiatives (including the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships for Climate Action, Building Climate Resilience of the Urban Poor and RISE-UP: Resilient Settlements for the Urban Poor), establishing a Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation (SURGe) portal to introduce the initiative and stimulate donor contributions, and providing technical advice to Member States upon their request, subject to the availability of earmarked funding, the initial target for which is 1 million United States dollars per year.
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