On the last day the CitiesIPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference in Edmonton, 10 of the leading urban and scientific global organizations presented “The Science We need for the Cities we want: working together to implement the global research agenda on cities and climate change," a joint statement describing how they will work together to support the implementation of the global research agenda on cities and climate change.
Three global city networks (C40, ICLEI and UCLG), four global scientific organizations (Future Earth, SDSN, the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP)), two UN agencies (UN-Environment and UN-Habitat), and an urban partnership (Cities Alliance) announced their commitment to unite forces and bring the relevant expertise and resources to:
- Promote and implement the global research agenda on cities and climate change, and other official outcomes of the CitiesIPCC Cities and Climate Change Science conference, in the scientific and the urban policy and practice communities, in a way that can contribute to future IPCC assessments.
- Stimulate research and the production of knowledge on the diversity of issues related to cities and climate change, including peer-reviewed research that can be included in IPCC assessments and contribute to local, national and international policy-making, encouraging the consideration of urban practitioners with appropriate expertise as IPCC authors, ensuring that a diversity of perspectives– Global South, secondary cities, women, youth, indigenous communities – are engaged, and that the research responds to city needs.
- Encourage science-based and evidence-based climate action in cities, and work with our constituencies of local governments, local communities and networks to support the capacity of policymakers and practitioners in cities on the key areas identified by the research agenda.
- Create and strengthen partnerships that bring together researchers, policymakers, practitioners, for more effective research, policy and climate action, at global, national, local and community levels.
“The conversations between scientists and city policy makers over the last few days has been important and invigorating. Discussion has revealed important gaps in climate research at the city scale, as well as opportunities for mayors to better engage the scientific community towards greater science-based decision making. This is just the start and we now need to find ways to keep the collaboration going on an ongoing basis and translate this global alliance between scientists and policy makers down to the local level. That is why C40 is strongly committed to continuing the partnerships that made this wonderful Cities IPCC event possible,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities.
“In a few years’ time, the CitiesIPCC Conference in Edmonton will be viewed as a landmark event, one that triggered a vital relationship between the scientific community, Mayors and urban practitioners. We now need to operationalise this Partnership, to provide the data and evidence needed to plan for a low-carbon and more equitable future, especially in thousands of small and medium cities where rapid urban growth is taking place,” said William Cobbett, Director, Cities Alliance.
“We see CitiesIPCC as an important first step in building long-term relationships between the researchers and cities. This conference has shown not just that the diverse communities working toward sustainable cities can work together — but also what we can gain from doing so. Together, we can build the knowledge and tools that will make a real difference in the lives of urban residents everywhere,” said Amy Luers, Executive Director, Future Earth.
“ICLEI convened its first urban research symposium with its member local governments in 2009 in Edmonton. This statement crowns legacy of Edmonton and ICLEIs efforts of more than a decade in bridging science-policy at the local level to a new era of multilevel governance under the Paris Agreement. ICLEI commits to accelerate contribution of evidence-based information through its membership and initiatives. ICLEI is further committed to connect outcomes of Edmonton into the Talanoa Dialogues of cities and regions that is just launched today worldwide in support of nations to deliver and advance Paris Agreement through multilevel action,” said Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General.
“Edmonton has offered a unique opportunity to start identifying the priorities of research related to our urban reality. Local and regional government organisations now have the responsibility to help identify key gaps of research, in particular for medium size cities,” said Emilia Saiz, Secretary General, UCLG.
“The battle against climate change will be won or lost in our cities, and the health and protection of billions of people who live in urban areas is at stake. But none of the problems we face are insurmountable if we put our minds together. That is why this conference is so important: it’s a forum that translates the science and innovation into effective, actionable solutions," said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.
“We know that cities have the potential to be positive drivers of innovation and climate action but to harness this we will need comprehensive and cohesive data to guide us and targeted activities with partners across the spectrum. As our world becomes increasingly urban, we must ensure our cities expand in a sustainable manner if we are to have any chance of meeting the commitments in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda, and UNHabitat is happy to continue to support this important process,” said Mrs Maimunah Mohd Shariff, Executive Director, UN-Habitat.
UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
“Edmonton is a first big step in bringing science, innovative policy and transformative action to bear on jointly implementing the urban SDGs and the Paris Climate agreement. The coming together of UN agencies, Mayors and urban leaders, global local government networks and leading science and sustainability organisations at Cities IPCC, is the beginning of a new set of partnerships necessary to enable local urban transformations we need, to avoid an overshoot of the 1.5 C ambition set in Paris,” said Aromar Revi, Co-Chair of SDSN Leadership Council, Director of Indian Institute of Human Settlements.
Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN)
“The Urban Climate Change Research Network will mobilize its scientists and experts from cities across the world to stimulate the co-production of knowledge so that cities can fulfil their leadership potential,” said Cynthia Rosenzweig, Co-Director, UCCRN.
“Cities represent the next frontier in climate science. Mitigation of and adaptation to urban climate change must be built on credible research leading toward reliable climate and environmental services. To that end, it is of critical importance to establish connections among academic and urban communities, and those that provide climate services, to contemplate focused climate information for the urban agenda. Providing the fundamental science that underpins research on climate predictability, adaptation, and mitigation, WCRP is keen to work with partners to underpin quality services as well as further scientific inquiry informed by emerging practitioner needs,” said Deon Terblanche, Acting Director, WCRP.
The CitiesIPCC Cities and Climate Change Science conference took place in Edmonton, Canada March 5-7.