18th Plenary Session of the Congress

      Strasbourg, 18 March 2010

      Speech by Klaus BONDAM, the Deputy Mayor of Copenhagen

      ‘After Copenhagen – cities and regions take up the challenge’

      Good afternoon.

      My name is Klaus Bondam. From the January 2010 I’ve been appointed as mayor for The Employment and Integrations Administration in The City of Copenhagen. Prior to that I was mayor of The Technical and Environmental Administration from 2006 until the end of 2009, and therefore also in charge of and responsible for Copenhagen’s role in most of the advocating and lobbying process that we as a city in collaboration with Eurocities (I was the co-chair of ECs Working Group on Climate Change) , ICLEI, C40, UCGL and other organisations engaged in.

      Our goal was to have the role of cities and local governments implemented in The Copenhagen Agreement. The outcome of the COP15 was not near anything that many had hoped for. The Copenhagen Accord was far from that legally binding agreement that had been expected and worked for. But seen from a city and local government’s point of view, the process since COP13 at Bali in Indonesia in 2007 – The Local Government Roadmap from Bali over Poznan to Copenhagen – gave a totally new dimension to the ability to work together and form productive networks between various cities and local governments’ organizations world wide. All have been able to follow the same political agenda and – lacking the desired strong, comprehensive and global post-2012 agreement – cities and local governments effectively showed the ability to influence their national governments and thereby also the international agenda leading up to COP15.

      I can strongly support the resolution and recommendations that you are about to debate in a short while. I think that it very clearly outlines the challenges up to COP16, and I am happy to learn that ICLEI and The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities has agreed on cooperating more closely on advocacy towards COP16. I see your resolution as a first, vital and important step; even further coordination must be implemented between the all the parties and organizations as we move closer to COP16.

      As mentioned; at COP13 in Bali – the global city organisations agreed on the World Mayors and Local Governments Climate Protection Agreement, committed themselves to show leadership in dealing with Climate Change. At the same time, the organisations agreed on the Local Government Climate Roadmap – which mirrored the UN Roadmap towards COP15. Since then, cities and local governments have been advocating for an agreement where the key role of cities and local governments in climate change is recognized. The goal for this work is that cities and local governments in the future will be engaged, empowered and resourced to go even further in their local climate plans and action to help national governments implementing the agreement.

      As you probably know, cities and local governments around the world are already committed to achieving ambitious reduction targets. For example The City of Copenhagen has set an ambitious 20% reduction target in 2015 (compared to 2005) – and a CO2-neutral target for 2025. The City of Copenhagen have together with ICLEI collected more that 3100 climate targets from cities and local governments all over the world in the Copenhagen City Climate Catalogue, which was presented to the Danish minister for Climate Change and Energy during the COP. Cities and local governments are more ambitious than their national governments. The catalogue is a proof that cities take action and leadership when it comes to climate change.

      It was disappointing leaving The Bella Center on the last day of COP15 just before Christmas. The Copenhagen Accord only spells out a series of general principles and guidelines on global climate action. Even though many nations consider it a relevant step towards a future international climate regime, I – off course - was very disappointed , that this ‘accord’ does not contain any references to the recognition of roles, responsibilities and opportunities of cities and local governments. But I’m sure that many of my colleagues from all over the world will work even harder to make sure that a post-2012 climate change agreement coming out of Mexico at COP16.

      I will regard a Mexican Deal as a success, if it’s strong and includes ambitious legally binding reduction targets which and also ensures that adequate financial resources are used efficiently.

      I will regard a Mexican Deal as a success, if it’s comprehensive and includes appropriate actions on mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and finance based on the principles of justice and equity.

      I will regard a Mexican Deal as a success, if it’s global and includes agreed action from all countries to combat climate change and supports the mobilisation of the implementation capacities of all stakeholders, be they governmental, including local and sub- national governments, private business and civil society.

      The City of Copenhagen found – together with our friends and colleagues from ICLEI – that the best way of convincing national governments is in a direct dialogue.

      Representatives from cities and local governments together with ICLEI have been present at the COP’s, meeting with the national delegations. At the same time, we have been present during the Climate Talks, addressing relevant national delegations. We have had several meetings with national delegations, amongst other delegations from the European Union led by Sweden, Australia, United States, Korea, Mexico and Switzerland.

      I encourage all of you to engage in this advocacy effort. Tell your governments about the crucial role you are already playing, tell them that you are their best ally in reaching their targets, tell them that you need the right legislative powers to go even further, tell them that they need to ensure that the role of cities and local governments are incorporated in the UN climate agreement.

      Therefore, an advice to you is to follow the further negotiations closely, and to have discussions with national delegations, and when it is possible, to convince national politicians of the importance of cities and local governments being included in a future climate agreement. There are many opportunities for this in the following months. There is The 6.th. European Cities and Towns Conference in Dunkerque in May, there is the UN Climate Talks in Bonn in June. Just to name a few. Be present and visible!

      The EU has in their mandate paper for the negotiations during the COP15 recognised the role of local governments. Now is the time to go further into a dialogue, and strengthen the involvement of local and regional authorities.

      There was also an advocacy process during COP15, where Copenhagen, in cooperation with ICLEI and C40, hosted the Copenhagen Climate Summit for Mayors. Almost 100 mayors from the most important cities around the world attended the summit, thus sending a strong message to the UN, that cities and local governments must be included in the UN climate agreement. A message, the Copenhagen Communiqué was delivered to the UN.

      I am happy to learn that The City of Mexico is following our example and is preparing a Climate Summit for Mayors just before the COP16 in December 2010.

      During the COP, ICLEI hosted the Local Government Climate Lounge in The Bella Center; the site if COP15. This lounge was used to bilateral meetings with national delegation during the COP. It is crucial for the advocacy process, that cities and local governments are present during the negotiations, in order to follow them closely, and to have discussions with relevant parties.

      Let me end my statement here today by quoting the mayor of Melbourne Mr. Robert Doyle. When he left Copenhagen after our summit for mayors he said; ‘I don’t return with what the heads of states might or might not sign. I bring along with me, what my colleagues have told me, what they are already doing’.

      Reducing the CO2-emissions in an urban context is a very positive thing. It’s about making our cities more liveable, healthier and more innovative. Making sure that we – as local elected politicians – live up to our most important task; making sure that we pass on our cities – with hundred of years over history – to our children and grandchildren – the future generations – in a bit better shape than when we took leadership over them.

      Thank you for your attention.

      18th of March 2010.

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