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Urban leaders define their demands in tackling the climate emergency ahead of COP26 in Daring Cities

Germany Architecture News - Oct 13, 2021 - 12:52   716 views

Urban leaders define their demands in tackling the climate emergency ahead of COP26 in Daring Cities

Daring Cities 2021, the virtual forum for urban leaders boldly tackling the climate emergency, was held between 4-8 October, 2021 as a virtual event and the forum has concluded with an action-oriented Call for Transformation by local and regional governments in the run-up to UNFCCC COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. 

World Architecture Community is official media partner of Daring Cities 2021 and will be bringing to you the most latest news from this year's virtual event. 

More than 1500 urban leaders, practitioners and partners from 100 countries joined the five-day Daring Cities forum, co-designed by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the City of Bonn, to set out an action plan to tackle the climate emergency. 

Urban leaders that are already actively embracing the change delivered a Call for Transformation for effective and transparent collaboration to tackle the crisis.

Urban leaders define their demands in tackling the climate emergency ahead of COP26 in Daring Cities

View from the city of Bonn

"Cities are not capable of tackling the climate emergency on their own"

"Cities and regions are uniquely positioned for the implementation of critically needed local climate action. However, no city, town or region is - nor can be expected to be - capable of tackling the climate emergency on their own," declares the Call for Transformation.

To bring urban leaders’ demands to the international decision-making level, ICLEI will convey the Call for Transformation to various international processes throughout Urban October and UNFCCC COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, and beyond.

"Daring Cities 2021 continues to act as “the” space for local and regional governments to make their voices heard, capacities advanced, and experiences shared," said Gino Van Begin, ICLEI’s Secretary General. 

"The only way forward is to urgently and collectively reverse this dangerous trend in global warming and drastically re-orient the economic and social patterns of our daily lives, re-design our built environment, align with nature and restore the natural systems in and around our cities. Through our Call for Transformation and the collection of best ‘daring’ practices, we will link and present these outcomes of Daring Cities 2021 to the Climate COP26 in Glasgow and beyond," he continued.

Urban leaders define their demands in tackling the climate emergency ahead of COP26 in Daring Cities

View from the city of Bonn at night

The organizers of Daring Cities detailed that this year representatives from nearly 300 local and regional governments participated in the the virtual forum. 

During the event, they shared their global, diverse experience of bringing bold climate action to their cities, towns, and regions as a response to the climate crisis.

Daring Cities 2021 is supported by Bonn, the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the Foundation for International Dialogue of the Savings Bank in Bonn, the Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Japan, and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany.

Urban leaders define their demands in tackling the climate emergency ahead of COP26 in Daring Cities

The city of Bonn

"As we have demonstrated over the past few days, we are all building and witnessing a new surge globally; more and more cities and regions are stepping up on climate emergency, and national governments are finally starting to incorporate them into the design of national climate plans," highlighted Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, USA, and ICLEI President. 

"This surge is the biggest source of hope for current and future generations to prove that transformation of our societies have already started, and the outcomes from COP26 can only strengthen this," Cownie continued.

Katja Dörner, Mayor of Bonn, ICLEI Global Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair on Climate and Low Emissions Portfolio introduced a special final guest at Daring Cities 2021, Annika Zeyen, a Bonn-based two-time Paralympic gold and three-time silver medalist in wheelchair basketball and in handbiking.

Drawing parallels with Ms. Zeyen’s experience, Mayor Dörner said, "You’ve been introduced to our Call for Transformation, I would like to now address our ambitions and the challenges we are facing. The best metaphor for this is sports. My fellow leaders, we need to adopt a very specific attitude – that of a true athlete. We must show discipline, passion, endurance and strength. We want to bring home the medal ... This is a race we must win."

Annika Zeyen closed the session by saying, “Leaders have to be comfortable to take the less comfortable option. But it will be worth it when you reach your climate goal and get that medal. Only you will know how much work goes into achieving that, just like we athletes. So in that spirit, I wish you, us, the best of luck working towards those goals."

Urban leaders define their demands in tackling the climate emergency ahead of COP26 in Daring Cities

Bonn square

Among other announcements at the event was the launch of RegionswithNature, a dynamic online space where regional governments and their partners can connect, demonstrate their commitment to biodiversity goals, and access resources to enhance their landscape and territorial actions for nature.

RegionsWithNature is building on the success of CitiesWithNature – which has grown to 190 cities and 17 partner organisations since its launch in 2018 – and will follow a similar model. RegionsWithNature is a partner initiative and as ICLEI we are proud to be collaborating with founding partners Regions4, IUCN, the Group of Leading Subnational Governments toward Aichi Biodiversity Targets and others, as well as the founding regions such as Yucatan State in Mexico, Sao Paulo State and Pernambuco in Brazil, Goa State in India, the Western Cape in South Africa, the Community of Madrid in Europe and others, in co-developing RegionsWithNature for regional governments.

Urban leaders define their demands in tackling the climate emergency ahead of COP26 in Daring Cities

View from the city of Bonn

"Subnational governments around the world need to connect more with each other"

"Subnational governments are well-placed to work across the urban-rural continuum, to advance integrated territorial development and to make impactful landscape-scale interventions for nature-positive development. To amplify their work and achieve even more, subnational governments around the world also need to connect more with each other," said Kobie Brand, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI and Regional Director of ICLEI Africa.

The outcomes from Daring Cities 2021 will be presented and shared throughout the events of Urban October, including the Innovate4Cities Conference, UN25 in Bonn, G20 Summit, World Cities Day, and then as part of COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

According to Johan Rockström, Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Professor in Earth System Science, University of Potsdam, Germany, "There is no safe landing if cities throughout the world do not start taking integrated approaches to decarbonization. Cities are fundamental."

Susan Aitken, Leader, Glasgow City Council, Scotland, United Kingdom, said that "Success at COP26 cannot be measured solely by nation states introducing new policies, but also practical solutions at the local level. Cities have to be involved in shaping these solutions."

You can reach the full event program on this link.  

All images courtesy of Daring Cities 2021.

> via Daring Cities