At COP28, the Multilevel Action, Urbanisation and Built Environment Day
took place on Wednesday the 6th of December 2023.
A statement, titled the ‘Joint Outcome Statement on Urbanization and Climate Change’ was the centre of discussions at COP28, at its Multilevel Action, Urbanisation and Built Environment Day. Organisations including Bloomberg Philanthropies, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), alongside COP28’s President, Dr Sultan Al Jaber called for the attending nations to back the statement.
Ministers from around the world within the finance, housing, urban development, and environment sectors were called upon to support the statement and its main aims. At COP28, over 40 ministers pledged their support.
At the second Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change, the COP28 presidency urged those in attendance to make sure climate action played a major part in their policies and plans when regarding mitigating climate change. It was stated that this will be incredibly important when updating the NDCs or Nationally Determined Contributions for 2025 when the world meets for COP30.
Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who is the Former Mayor of Penang Island City Council, the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN‐Habitat), and the Under-Secretary-General for the UN, stated that:
“The Ministerial Meeting was a key moment in our work toward inclusive and
climate-resilient cities and communities. A diverse range of stakeholders gathered including leaders from the national and local level, underscoring the shared priority
of supporting urban environments to withstand climate challenges.”
The new statement contains a ten point plan that should inspire governments around the world to include climate policies and plans for cities in order to increase successful decision making. This will also help to increase climate action at multiple levels, and will also help to identify areas that are in need of an injection of climate finance. In regards to finance the largest areas that needs an increase, are in countries affected the worse by the effects of climate change, as money is needed to rebuild and support those affected.
This need for finance is becoming increasingly important as more an more cities are becoming at risk of the negative affects of climate change. It has been recorded that roughly 90% of the cities around the world are being affected. This is through extreme weather events, rising temperatures, the rise in disease cases, and rising sea levels.
The new statement has been announced as a build on the ‘Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships’ which was formed at the beginning of COP28. The coalition, also known as CHAMP, was put in place to increase and quicken the rate that climate finance is deployed. This is to ensure that governments can protect their cities in the face of the climate crisis.
In regards to the event and the support for the statement, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the president of COP28 stated:
“COP28 is a paradigm shift to action. We are empowering and supporting cities
on the frontlines of climate change to seize the initiative.
We have brought over 450 mayors and governors to COP28, and their hyperlocal knowledge is crucial in informing our global solutions. When we talk about inclusivity
this is what we mean, we need all voices at the table. I thank and commend those
involved for their leadership.
Each city has individual needs and solutions but fundamentally this is a global
problem, which this Statement shows. We have bought over 1,000 mayors and
governors to COP28 as, when we talk about full inclusivity this is what we mean.
We know we can need to learn from and support those on the frontlines. I thank
and commend those involved for their leadership.”
When considering net zero, it is important to note that cities produce around 70% of the world’s global emissions, and they contain the majority of the world’s population. This means that they are key areas for not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the planet, but also for protecting the people living on it.