ICLEI World Congress 2015 sees Mayors commit ahead of Paris COP 21

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Over 3000 participants, including over 100 mayors from around the world, came together for the ICLEI World Congress 2015, held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, where a number of announcements were made, aimed at increasing local climate action.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon highlighted in his message to the Congress that cities will be the drivers of global transformation and encourage the participants to strengthen their networks.

Thirty-five mayors added their names to the Compact of Mayors; a coalition of mayors and city leaders, launched at the 2014 UN Climate Summit, voluntarily committing to cut emissions, track progress and prepare for the impacts of climate change, through consistent, public reporting of efforts. This Compact acts to demonstrate that international cooperation on climate change can lead to results.

As well as announcing the city’s emissions reduction commitment of 10 million metric tons by 2020, the Mayor of Seoul, announced the Seoul Action Plan, which aims to:

  • motivate more cities to take part in the Compact;
  • enable cities to make significant progress before the Paris Climate Change Conference in December 2015, and pressure national governments to reach a binding agreement; and
  • address climate change through, inter alia, planning low-emission development and intensifying city-city cooperation.

The mayor highlighted that city-level activities account for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions, but that the majority of actions relating to climate goals also lie within cities and urban areas. A future of “unprecedented levels of urbanization,” means that the need for effective local climate action is more urgent. Also at the Congress, ICLEI launched the new Transformative Actions Program (TAP) intended to progress local and subnational action ahead of the Paris Conference later this year.

The attending Mayors adopted the Seoul Declaration, set out to establish how cities can evolve in a sustainable way for the future.