Feature Report: COP22: Making the Paris Agreement Count

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Non-State Actors : Better Organized Every Year

Cities, regions, major companies and NGOs will all once again play a highly active role at COP22 in Marrakesh from November 7 to 18, 2016. This growing contribution from representatives of civil society has been recognized by both States and the United Nations as a key factor to the success of any action to fight climate change.

Big cities are stepping up their emissions reduction initiatives. This photo shows the Autolib' electric car sharing service in Paris. ©AFP

Cities have long had a habit of reaching out to their counterparts in other countries and continents for support and trade. The practice can be traced back to the Middle Ages. In the 1950s, the city "twinning" movement gained popularity after the trauma of World War II. Today, worldwide urbanization is speeding the trend towards even greater cooperation.

Growing awareness of the impact of human activities on global warmingGlobal warming, also called planetary warming or climate change... has caused many existing networks to include environmental and energy-related aspects on their agenda and led to the creation of new dedicated organizations at the regional and global levels. The challenge now is to bring these organizations together and optimize operational synergies, particularly with relation to harmonizing greenhouse gasGas with physical properties that cause the Earth's atmosphere to warm up. There are a number of naturally occurring greenhouse gases... (GHG) emissions standards and data, pooling best practices, disseminating information and putting pressure on governments, investors and businesses to make a bigger commitment to combating climate change.

The Compact of Mayors

85 :The membership of the C40 megacities movement (despite its name).

The Compact of Mayors is a coalition bringing together the world's three biggest networks of cities: C40, UCLG and ICLEI. The Compact was launched at the September 2014 climate summit in New York organized by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

C401 represents megacities. It was founded in October 2005 by Ken Livingstone, then Labour Mayor of London, and initially brought together representatives of 18 major cities. This number quickly grew to 40, giving the network its name, and has since expanded to 85 members. According to C40, the network's members represent 650 million people who generate 25% of global GDP. In July 2016, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was elected to a three‑year term as C40 Chair, following in the footsteps of Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, and Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City. C40 receives funding from several foundations, including Michael Bloomberg's Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Clinton Foundation, set up by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his family.

UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments)2 was founded in May 2004 as the world's main city twinning body. Present in 136 countries, it represents local authorities worldwide in their dealings with international organizations.

ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability)3 is a network of more than 1,000 local governments worldwide.

One of the main aims of the Compact of Mayors is to combine the programs and commitments of all levels and provide regular, transparent information on emissions reduction efforts via the carbonn Climate Registry (cCR)4, a shared platform where local governments can register their climate data.

Climate has become a major area of cooperation among the world's big cities.

 

Regional networks

There are also many regional organizations, which often are aiming to expand their scope.

In Europe, the Covenant of Mayors5 was launched by the European Commission in 2008 following the adoption of the European Union's 2020 climate and energy package. Members include both small towns and large cities. The Covenant of Mayors defined a new set of goals in 2015, pushing the E.U. to adopt longer-term objectives. It also opened membership to cities outside the E.U., especially those in the Mediterranean basin, Middle East and Central Asia.

Similar organizations exist in the United States, Latin America, and Asia Pacific (Citynet6). Others, such as CityProtocol7, a mainly web-based movement, seek to bring together cities, universities and businesses around the world.

Corporate commitments

In May 2015, a group of 25 business associations representing six million companies from 130 countries attended the Business & Climate Summit8 in Paris to discuss possible solutions in the lead-up to COP21.

A second summit was held in London in June 2016 at the same time as the publication of "The Business End of Climate Change"9, a report showing how the private sector could help fight climate change. The Moroccan authorities had hoped that multinationals from emerging markets would play a more active role, stressing that they make up one quarter of the global economy.