16 Nov, 2021

Securing role for local and regional governments at COP26

As rapporteur on “Stepping up Europe’s 2030 climate ambition towards COP26” and as part of the delegation of the Renew Europe Group in the European Committee of the Regions (Renew Europe CoR) Vincent Chauvet, Mayor of Autun, successfully defended and worked for the recognition of the important role local and regional governments, but also non-party stakeholders, such as civil society, play in contributing to progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The outcome of this year’s COP has not fulfilled all expectations, as several points, such as climate finance and the tools to address loss and damage, were left vague. For the first time, the phasing down of fossil fuels was mentioned, even if a more radical proposal for phasing out was rejected. Yet, the COP26 has demonstrated again the urgency of having representatives of local and regional authorities in the room, if not (yet) around the negotiating table.

Climate change needs the involvement of local and regional representatives. As Mayor, as elected politicians, we want to have our say in mitigation and fighting climate change and preserving biodiversity,” Chauvet said.

Although the overall outcome of the negotiations is rather moderate, the work of the Committee of the Regions and the global subnational partners should be considered a big success.

As the rapporteur of the Committee of the Region’s position in Glasgow, Chauvet had an active role in pushing back the efforts of the UK presidency and the Global South to delete ‘multi-level governance’ from the final agreement and therewith watering down the text, compared to the Paris Agreement.

More and more it is clear that the local and regional authorities are on the front line for climate change – not just for mitigation, adaptation – but also for CO2 reduction; 70% of these efforts will have to be done at the local and regional level via public transportation, urban heating, public lights, … which is why it was so important to have locally elected leaders present at COP26,” Chauvet noted.

More than having a strong voice at the UNFCCC conference, there is still a long way to go before the European Union and subsequently other parties fully

integrate multi-level governance in aligning climate ambitions, and before local and regional authorities are officially recognised as important partners in climate negotiations.

Therefore, the work for the Renew Europe CoR continues and the joint declaration entitled “EU Green Deal: from local to global” has been laid on 12 November as the first paving stone towards Sharm el-Sheikh and COP27.

Follow Renew Europe CoR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates.

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