The Paris City Hall Declaration: a decisive contribution to COP21

Representatives of cities, regions and local governments from around the world gathered for the Climate Summit for Local Leaders at Paris City Hall on 4 December, at the invitation of Mayor of Paris and UCLG Co-President, Anne Hidalgo, and convened by Michael R. Bloomberg U.N. Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, in partnership with the global networks of cities and local governments: C40, ICLEI and UCLG. This special event that counted with the presence of UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, culminated with the Paris City Hall Declaration, in which city and regional leaders agree that “climate change action is the only path forward.”

Mayor of Istanbul and President of UCLG, Kadir Topbaş, argued during its intervention at the Summit that local leaders must use participatory mechanisms to make their decisions based on their citizens’ needs: “to make sure that we involve our citizens and inform them about the changes that we need to make to mitigate and adapt to climate change”. He added that: “the fight against climate change is not only about technical solutions but it is about social change and political commitment”.

The Paris City Hall Declaration recognizes that “local and regional leaders have an increasingly important role to play in charting the course to a low carbon future” and reaffirms the commitment of city and regional leaders to act to tackle climate disruption.

The mayors, governors, and other local government leaders who are signatories to the Declaration have committed to achieve ambitious goals to protect the planet and ensure a sustainable future, including a goal to “implement participatory resilience strategies and action plans to adapt to the rising incidence of climate related hazards by 2020”.

The Declaration recalls significant existing international climate initiatives by local governments, such as the Compact of Mayors, the Covenant of Mayors, the Compact of States and Regions, the Local Government Climate Roadmap and the NAZCA platform.

The text states that, if it is to unlock the potential of local governments, the climate agreement by UN Member States must empower all levels of government, underlining the fact that local and regional governments “require increased access to climate finance, budget authority, and stronger legislative capacity to maximize climate change action”.

The Declaration closes by committing cities to coordinate climate action with their work on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Habitat III Conference, and to “join with global organizations, national governments, the private sector, and civil society to deliver a common response to climate change that will protect our planet.”

Read the Declaration