Local environmental authorities call for a Green New Deal for the Americas

On Monday, August 17, the 2nd Forum of Local Environmental Authorities of the Americas was held, which seeks to strengthen the role of environmental authorities designated by their respective heads of government and to debate “A new green deal in capitals after the coronavirus.”

The Mayor of Santiago, Felipe Alessandri, vice-president for South America of CC35 (Coalition of Capitals of the Americas against Climate Change) and President of the Mayors for Climate initiative, led this virtual meeting, which also saw Santiago granted the first ever Green Capital of the Americas Award, for its efforts developing the most emissions-free transportation of any major city on the continent.

The event began with a bilateral meeting between Mayor Alessandri and the Mayor of Glasgow, Susan Aitken, who will host the COP26 in November of 2021. In this sense, the event aimed to contribute to the Santiago to Glasgow roadmap, towards a Multi-Level Action COP26, created by the members of the global constituency of Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and presented at COP25 by LGMA with the support of the Chilean COP25 Presidency. This roadmap will mark the way for the rest of the sub-national governments of the world with a focus on six priority issues:

  1. Raising the ambition towards carbon neutrality by 2050;
  2. Strengthening climate financing for cities;
  3. Linking climate with nature and the circular economy;
  4. Promoting the vertical integration of NDCs;
  5. Achieving a balanced approach between adaptation and mitigation; and
  6. Amplifying global action on climate

During the Forum, it was recalled that cities and local governments are one of the 9 priority foci established by the Chilean COP25 Presidency and, therefore, coordination and promotion efforts are being made towards the unification of the agendas of local government networks and representatives.

The “Climate Action Agenda for Local Governments of Latin America and the Caribbean 2020 and beyond” was developed with the support of the Chilean Presidency COP25, by members of the Regional Committee of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, including the participation of UCLG/FLACMA, ICLEI, C40, Mercociudades, and strategic partners such as CC35. This Agenda establishes 5 priority areas of action for local governments in the region, reflecting those established in the global LGMA framework:

  1. Commitments and local ambition;
  2. Vertical integration of NDCs and climate policy;
  3. New climate financing mechanisms for local governments;
  4. Local planning for carbon neutrality and resilience/adaptation;
  5. Integration of local strategies with those related to just transition, green/circular economy and climate empowerment.

Today, in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the role of local governments in coordinating crisis response efforts has been highlighted throughout the world; and their role will continue to be essential in activating a green recovery based on principles of circular economy, just transition, carbon neutrality, and a resilient transformation in the face of climate change.

The health crisis marks a turning point, and as has been highlighted by the COP25 President Carolina Schmidt, “climate change is not in quarantine.” Efforts must be redoubled to ensure that communities, territories and economies are strengthened and prepared to face the tremendous challenges of climate change that affect the world today.

The COP25 Presidency will continue to work hand in hand with our counterparts in the COP26 Presidency and the High-Level Champions, LGMA constituency and all networks and local governments, to strengthen the sub-national agenda of multi-level action throughout the Chilean Presidency.