Glasgow Chronicles: EU cities and regions celebrate COP26 conclusions making reference to ‘the urgent need for multilevel and cooperative action’

(Source: European Committee of the Regions)

We are pleased to share the third edition of the COP26 Glasgow Chronicles series, bringing you a summary of the activities – and updates on the negotiations, that the members of the European Committee of the Regions delivered during the second week of COP26, the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that was hosted by the UK in Glasgow from 31 October to 13 November 2021. On the closing daythe CoR published a COP26 political declaration endorsed by several partnersThe COP26 conclusions are gathered in the Glasgow Climate Pact. Following the end of Glasgow climate talks, the LGMA constituency, gathering subnational governments in the UNFCCC system, published that ‘Multilevel action is the beacon of hope to keep the 1.5 degree goal alive’. Already in July 2017, the CoR published that ‘Cities and regions can bridge the emissions gap’.

On COP26 closing day, the European Committee of the Regions organised a discussion on the climate negotiations with an opening statement by the CoR President Apostolos Tzitzikostas, followed by a press conference with the chair of the ENVE commission and of the Green Deal Going Local working groupJuan Espadas (ES/PES), Mayor of Seville and Rafał Trzaskowski (PL/EPP), Mayor of Warsaw and member of the political Board of the Covenant of Mayors. The CoR published a COP26 political declaration endorsed by several partners.

Day 7. Saturday 6 November was the Nature and Land Use Day at COP26. A key outcome was the pledge by 45 governments calling for urgent action and investment to protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming. You can read here the press release from the COP26 UK Presidency.

Day 8. Sunday 7 November. The Under2 Coalition General Assembly took place with the participation of several CoR members including Andries Gryffroy (BE/EA), Member of the Flemish Parliament, Marieke Schouten (NL/Greens), Alderman of the municipality of Nieuwegein and Juanma Moreno (ES/EPP), President of Andalucía and member of the CoR extended delegation to COP26. The Under2 Coalition is a global community of state and regional governments committed to ambitious climate action in line with the Paris Agreement. It brings together 260 governments representing 1.75 billion people and 50% of the global economy.

Day 9. Monday 8 November. The Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency, gathering networks of subnational governments in the UNFCCC system, organised daily briefings on the negotiations via ICLEI– Local Governments for Sustainability as its focal point, assessing progress in relation to the specific objectives of subnational governments in global climate talks such as securing direct references to multilevel cooperation in the COP26 conclusions. The CoR members Vincent Chauvet (FR/Renew Europe), Mayor of Autun, (FR/RE), and Kata Tüttő (HU/PES)deputy-mayor of Budapest joined the above-mentioned members in Glasgow.

CoR members had the occasion to participate in events organized by CoR partners in the Multilevel Action Pavilion including ‘The leading role of regions in raising ambitions for adaptation and resilience’, coordinated by Regions 4, a global network of regional governments in the fields of sustainable development, climate change and biodiversity. Members also took part in the event ‘Time4Multilevel action: 2030 agenda of cities and regions to enhance ambition and accelerate action’ organized by several CoR partners including ICLEIRegions4UGCLBC3CEMR.

Monday negotiations focused on Article 6.8 on Non-Market Approaches with some of the LGMAs’ proposals taken on board such as the reference to ‘sustainable, integrated and territorial development’.

An important outcome for subnational governments was the global leaders’ commitment to a shift towards locally-led adaptation. The COP26 President Alok Sharma announced that 88 countries are now covered by Adaptation Communications or National Adaptation Plans to increase preparedness to climate risks, with 38 published in the last year. Global leaders committed to a shift towards locally-led adaptation through over 70 endorsements to the Principles for Locally Led Adaptation and over $450m mobilised for initiatives and programmes enhancing locally-led approaches.

Day 10. Tuesday 9 November. The members of the CoR delegation participated in the European Commission (EC) briefing together with the delegation of the European Parliament at COP26. The briefing on the state of play of the negotiations was chaired by the EC’s VP Frans Timmermans in the EU coordination room. Following this meeting, Vincent Chauvet (FR/RE) and Kata Tüttő (HU/PES) and Andries Gryffroy (BE/EA) had the opportunity exchange with EVP Frans Timmermans and Andrej Vizjak, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Slovenian Presidency on the formal recognition of multilevel governance in the Glasgow conclusions. Earlier in the morning, the CoR delegation held a bilateral meeting with the Estonian Minister for Environment, Tõnis Mölder (EE/Estonian Centre Party), to discuss the involvement of Local and Regional Authorities in the UNFCCC process.

Momentum builds at COP26 for Gender Action. There has been new momentum from around the world to put gender at the forefront of climate action on Gender Day, as countries and non-state actors set out gender and climate commitments. The announcements made by the countries helped build momentum internationally to drive implementation of the Gender Action Plan agreed at COP25, ahead of the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) in March 2022, which will focus on gender equality in the context of climate change, the environment and disaster risk reduction. Read the press release here. The CoR is preparing its position on this important topic with the opinion “Gender equality and Climate change: towards mainstreaming the gender perspective in the European Green Deal”, by rapporteur Kata Tüttő (HU/PES).

The EU focal point at UNFCCC COP26 Tuesday 9 November was Adaptation and Resilience / Cities. The CoR members represented the CoR in various side events and bilateral meetings. Hanna Zdanowska (PL/EPP) joined in the afternoon Vincent Chauvet (FR/RE), Andries Gryffroy (BE/EA), Marieke Schouten (NL/Greens) and Kata Tüttő (HU/PES) who were already in Glasgow.

Day 11. Wednesday 10 November. Transport – Driving the global transition to zero emission transport. UK COP Presidencyannounced, as one of the Glasgow breakthroughs, that 30 countries agreed to work together to make zero emission vehicles the new normal in all regions by 2030 or sooner. Nineteen governments also stated their intent to support the establishment of ‘green shipping corridors’ – zero-emission shipping routes between two ports. This will involve deploying zero-emission vessel technologies and putting alternative fuel and charging infrastructure in place in ports to allow for zero emission shipping on key routes across the globe. Read the full press release here.

Sustainable Forest Management and Conservation: The sustainable management and conservation of the world’s forests has been significantly boosted at COP26 with financial pledges and technical progress. Over 130 leaders, representing more than 90% of the world’s forests committed to work together to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 in the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use. Twelve countries announced in the COP 26 Global Forest Finance pledge to collectively provide US$ 12 billion for forest-related climate finance between 2021 and 2025. These pledges will cater for enhanced collaboration to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. Read the press release here.

On Wednesday 10 November, subnational governments were alarmed by the draft text on 1/CMA.3 decision proposed by the UK Presidency, which omitted any reference to multilevel cooperation and to subnational governments, a step backwards in the recognition of the daily efforts of cities and regions worldwide in climate action.

The CoR delegation mobilized itself to raise its concerns about the Draft text on 1/CMA.3 decision proposed by the UK Presidency. The members of the CoR delegation liaised with various partners and representatives of member states as the Estonian Minister for Environment, Mr. Tõnis Mölder (EE/Estonian Centre Party)and Andrej Vizjak Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Slovenian Presidency. Juan Espadas (ES/PES) raise the same point to the EU Chief negotiator Jacob Werksman on behalf of the CoR delegation.

On Wednesday, Zdeněk Hřib (CZ/Greens) and André Viola (FR/PES) joined the list of CoR members participating at the COP26 in Glasgow.

The CoR delegation notably participated to an event organised by European Parliament Delegation to COP26 on “carbon pricing in the European Union: an invitation to the world. The Carbon Border Adjustment Measure and the EU Emissions Trading System for the aviation and maritime sectors in a global perspective” in the EU pavilion. The CoR delegation also participated to a COP workshop: “How to listen, how to talk, how to act – bringing citizens’ voices to COP” with EC EVP Timmermans.

Kata Tüttő (HU/PES) participated to an event on “A Green Deal that works for people” organized by Eurocities, MayorsAlliance4GreenDeal where Zdeněk Hřib (CZ/Greens) was speaking to showcase the Mayors Alliance for the Green Deal while Hanna Zdanowksa (PL/EPP) spoke during “Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action – Unlocking the Transition to Zero Emission Mobility” event. Kata Tüttő (HU/PES) spoke later in the day at the online side-event “The power of collaborating actions” co-organized by CoR, OECD, Comité 21, Ecolise, EESC and ICLEI; bringing her key experience on the topic of gender equality.

Throughout the day, Andries Gryffroy (BE/EA) had the occasion to represent the LGMA constituency in several high-level meetings such as the ministerial consultations on loss and damage with H.E. Ms. Carole Dischbourg, Minister for the Environment, Luxemburg and H.E Mr. Pearnel P. Charles Jr, Minister of environment and climate change, Jamaica.

Day 12. Thursday 11 November. Local and Regional Authorities cooperation for Multilevel Action recognition.

Thursday 11 November was cities and regions day at COP26. Members of the CoR delegation to the COP26 attended several bilateral meetings. Andries Gryffroy (BE/EA) and Kata Tüttő (HU/PES) met with CEMR delegation and Hanna Zdanowska (PL/EPP) and Andries Gryffroy (BE/EA) with MEP Lídia PEREIRA (PT/PES) while Kata Tüttő (HU/PES) also had a bilateral meeting with Paul Magnette, mayor of Charleroi.

The CoR delegation participated in several events. Among others, Kata Tüttő (HU/PES) spoke at the event Local Government and Municipal Authorities COP26 Multilevel Partnership organized by COSLA with UK government representative, CEMR, ICLEI, UCLG, Scottish minister and Hanna Zdanowska (PL/EPP) spoke at International Mayors Panel session.

Andries Gryffroy (BE/EA) represented the LGMA in the UNFCCC stocktaking plenaries raising the concerns raised the day before about the wording of Draft text on 1/CMA.3 decision proposed by the UK Presidency. The reference to multilevel cooperation was reintroduced, now part of the final COP26 conclusions, called the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Day 13. Friday 12 November. On COP26 closing day, the European Committee of the Regions organised a discussion on the COP26 negotiations with an opening statement by the CoR President Apostolos Tzitzikostas, followed by a press conference with the chair of the ENVE commission and of the Green Deal Going Local working group, Juan Espadas (ES/PES), Mayor of Seville and Rafał Trzaskowski (PL/EPP), Mayor of Warsaw and member of the political Board of the Covenant of Mayors.

The event was the opportunity for CoR to release the Declaration ‘EU Green Deal: from local to global‘ which puts forward the main political messages that will lead way for the CoR work towards COP27.

The COP26 political declaration, has been endorsed by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency (LGMA), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Climate KicRegions4,Climate AllianceCOSLA and AER – Assembly of European Regions.

The COP26 conclusions are gathered in the Glasgow Climate Pact.

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