The Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders at COP23 promises to be the most widely supported climate event of the year

City of Bonn: Deutsche Post Tower (Left) and the UN-Campus (Right). © Wikimedia.org, Leit

Preparations for the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders are picking up steam: the first confirmations of attendance are coming in; the agenda for the day, as well as the program for the Climate Summit Dialogues to take place before and after the Climate Summit, is shaping up.

The Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, taking place on 12 November 2017, in Bonn, Germany, will be the focal point for local and regional governments at COP23. The Summit is co-hosted by the City of Bonn and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, with support from the German Federal Government. It is endorsed by the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, UN agencies and EU institutions. Considerable financial support is also provided by a special partner, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

ICLEI is organizing the event on behalf of the Global Taskforce and looks forward to welcoming all climate stakeholders to this series of crucial conversations on the state of our climate and our plans to fix it.

Indeed, the Climate Summit is already bringing together the broadest coalition that has ever gathered around a UN Climate Change Conference in decades. This coalition includes major networks and initiatives of local and regional governments, such as the Under 2 Coalition and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. The Climate Summit is also the first event to be officially endorsed by the COP23 Presidency.

We have an unprecedented task before us: enacting a global shift away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy, in order to keep global warming well below 2°C, aiming for 1.5°C. Only by building wide and inclusive partnerships for implementation will we ensure that climate plans and actions are as ambitious, timely and integrated as needed.

This is the spirit of the Summit, which is reflected in the official hashtag chosen for the event, #United4Climate. All ICLEI Members, partners and friends are encouraged to use it to showcase their commitment to inclusive and collective climate action at the local and global level.

The announcement by President Trump that his government intends to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement cast a shadow on the immediate future of global climate action. However, the Paris Agreement was forged by all but two nations and is supported by a growing wave of cities, regions, states, businesses, investors and citizens worldwide, including powerful actors in the USA. They have all been very vocal about ensuring that efforts to curb climate change and prepare communities for the future are in no way slowed or watered down by this untimely change of heart from the U.S. government.

Against this backdrop, the Summit will serve as a platform to show how local and regional leaders in the ICLEI network and beyond are, in fact, climate leaders. Local and regional climate action will be in the spotlight at COP23, providing an opportunity to show national governments and the world that local and regional governments, together with their partners in the business sector, academia and civil society, are #united4climate and have a strong message to share for joint climate action.

It will also be the place where existing gaps will be addressed and where the local and regional governments’ constituency will provide inputs on the Paris Agreement’s rulebook and how to ensure that efforts by climate stakeholders are integrated and synergic.

For more information regarding local and regional governments’ activities at COP23 and the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, please check the event website.

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