Global Covenant of Mayors Launches Agenda for City Research and Innovation
UN Photo/Kibae Park/Sipa Press
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Through its new office in Brussels, Belgium, the Covenant will facilitate enhanced efforts to realize the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and to build a low-carbon future.

The City Research and Innovation agenda will address knowledge, data and innovation gaps to help cities undertake accelerated and more ambitious climate action through urban-focused research.

23 March 2018: The Global Covenant of Mayors for climate and energy has ramped up efforts to address climate change by merging its European and global networks, which include more than 7,500 cities. The Covenant has also launched an agenda for accelerating city research and innovation.Through its new office in Brussels, Belgium, the Covenant will facilitate enhanced efforts to realize the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and to build a low-carbon future. The Covenant will also help implement SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 13 (climate action).

European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael Bloomberg, who serve as Co-Chairs of the Global Covenant of Mayors, were present for the 22 March opening of the Brussels office, during which they announced the launch of the City Research and Innovation agenda. The agenda will address knowledge, data and innovation gaps to help cities undertake accelerated and more ambitious climate action through urban-focused research.

The Global Covenant of Mayors, created in January 2017, is the largest global coalition of cities and local governments addressing climate change, representing over 700 million people or almost 10% of the global population.

The agenda will engage cities and urban networks, as well as scientists and research institutions, to complement the IPCC’s research agenda on the science of cities and climate change. The agenda will focus on: research on low-carbon urban infrastructure, such as smart grids, access to affordable green energy, and e-mobility and integrated public transport systems, among others; support for local-level mitigation decisions and resilience measures; provision of city-level data to help local governments and practitioners use smart data for inclusive governance and financing, better planning and more ambitious action; and helping to deliver on the America’s Pledge commitment of cities, businesses and universities to ensure that the goals of the Paris Agreement are met.

Mayors and ministers will discuss the agenda during the third Mission Innovation Ministerial (MI3) from 23-24 May in Malmö, Sweden, with the objective to include cities’ needs in national research agendas. During MI3, Šefčovič will host a cities roundtable to galvanize climate science and create the next generation of research and innovation. The agenda will also be discussed during the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, US, from 12-14 September.

The initiative builds on the February 2018 Ceremony of the European Covenant of Mayors, which focused on speeding up innovation in cities, and on finding synergies between cities and industry to speed up the clean energy transition. It also draws on the CitiesIPCC Cities & Climate Change Science Conference convened in March 2018 in Edmonton, Canada, where participants adopted the Edmonton Declaration, calling on the scientific community to increase efforts in support of evidence-based city climate action.

The Global Covenant of Mayors, created in January 2017, is the largest global coalition of cities and local governments addressing climate change, representing over 700 million people or almost 10% of the global population. By 2030, Global Covenant cities could collectively reduce 1.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions of 276 million cars being taken off the road. [UN Regional Information Centre Press Release] [EC Press Release on City Research and Innovation Agenda] [Edmonton Declaration] [IISD RS Coverage of CitiesIPCC Cities & Climate Change Conference]


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