Subnational Leaders Adopt Bonn-Fiji Commitment on Climate Action
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The Bonn-Fiji Commitment aims to advance sustainable urban development as a critical component of climate action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically SDG 11.

UN Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos said a new framework of cooperation among national, regional and local governments is required.

12 November 2017: Signaling the growing importance of subnational actors in the climate process, hundreds of local and regional leaders adopted the ‘Bonn-Fiji Commitment of Local and Regional Leaders to Deliver the Paris Agreement At All Levels.’ The Bonn-Fiji Commitment highlights the critical role that local and regional governments play in enacting programmes to combat climate change and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Cities, states and regions are “laboratories of reform, engines of innovation and where the action is,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California.

The Bonn-Fiji Commitment was made during the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, held on 12 November 2017, in Bonn, Germany, which was the first such meeting to be convened at the venue of a UN Climate Change Conference. Addressing the Summit, Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California, said that cities, states and regions are “laboratories of reform, engines of innovation and where the action is.”

More than 1,000 local and regional governments from 86 countries, representing over 800 million people, have reported emissions reduction targets on the ‘carbonn Climate Registry,’ which, if achieved, will result in a reduction of 5.6 gigatons of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2020 and 26.8 GtCO2e by 2050. However, gaps still remain in the regulatory and financial mechanisms required to scale up sustainable urban development, and city governments often have limited control over sectors such as energy, transport and finance. To help overcome these obstacles, UN Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos said, a new framework of cooperation among national, regional and local governments is required.

The Bonn-Fiji Commitment aims to advance sustainable urban development as a critical component of climate action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities). It describes commitments, ambitions and actions of local and regional government, such as implementing the Paris Agreement in local jurisdictions, and enhancing engagement of local authorities in the UNFCCC negotiating process. Calls and positions detailed in the commitment, inter alia, invite Parties to strengthen the urban, regional and territorial dimensions of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); and call on the global finance community to prioritize capacity building, technology transfer, project preparation, decentralized cooperation, and strategic plans and investments for sustainable urban and territorial development.

The Bonn-Fiji Commitment also details 19 initiatives undertaken by local and regional leaders, including: the newly created Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy; the Urban Leadership Council to build high-level political commitment to sustainable urban development; the African Sub-national Climate Fund to bridge the gap between infrastructure demands and the low number of bankable projects reaching investors; the Front-Line Cities and Islands, a coalition of coastal cities and islands on the front lines of climate change; the City Climate Planner programme to raise the global talent base of city climate planning professionals; the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa; the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative to support the construction and expansion of sustainable mobility systems in developing and newly industrialized countries; and the Climate Reporting Partnership to build a robust database of self-reported climate commitments, actions and performance tracking. [Bonn-Fiji Commitment of Local and Regional Leaders] [Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders] [UNFCCC News Story on Adoption of Bonn-Fiji Commitment] [UNFCCC News Story on Action by Local and Regional Leaders]

In a similar vein and just prior to the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, Human Settlements Action Day focused on the inextricable links between, and action required to achieve, both the Paris Agreement and SDG 11. During the Day, a number of initiatives were highlighted and discussed, including an ICLEI-NDC Partnership to advance climate governance at all levels with the objective of bringing together national and subnational levels of government to improve the process of revising and implementing NDCs. In addition, the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, which was launched by France and UN Environment in Paris in 2015 and aims to decarbonize buildings and the construction sector in line with the Paris Agreement, agreed to dramatically speed up and scale up collaborative action. [UNFCCC News Story on Human Settlements Initiatives] [Human Settlements Action Day Website]


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