The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, the State of Baden-Württemberg and the City of Heidelberg jointly hosted the International Conference on Climate Action – ICCA2019 – in Heidelberg on 22 and 23 May 2019. Centred on “Collaboration for Climate action”, the conference intended to strengthen multi-level cooperation at the global level. High-level representatives from all levels of government — from the United Nations to mayors — attended the event and promoted local climate action.
The conference's plenary sessions highlighted the importance of city actions and city networks like the Covenants of Mayors (at the European and Global level). Thematic break-out sessions allowed participants to discuss around more practical issues and exchange good practices.
The Covenant of Mayors co-organised two sessions: The Mayors’ session and the “Multilevel climate & Energy Planning” governance session, both on Thursday.
The Mayors’ session (Thursday May 23, 09:00-10:30):
This Mayors’ session followed the Mayors’ breakfast organised by the Global Covenant of Mayors. In an informal atmosphere, mayors from the 5 continent discussed the issues they face every day, while progressing in their path towards a sustainable future.
After an opening from the newly nominated Global Covenant Board Member and Host Mayor of Heidelberg, the speakers brought various issues to the table, with a particular focus on identifying the frameworks necessary for local stakeholders to implement the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Among other issues, the one of jurisdiction on matters related to climate action (e.g. transport or public infrastructures renovation) was the source of a fruitful exchange.
The “Collaborative planning for ambitious climate and energy policies’ Governance Workshop (Thursday May 23, 11:00 - 12:30):
During this workshop, participants were split in different tables, each dedicated to a specific issue. The conversations aimed at showcasing examples of successful multi-level cooperation, to reflect on how to replicate such good practices across the world. Covenant supporters Klimaatverbond (Netherlands) and Klimatkommunerna (Sweden) presented their contribution to these processes in their respective countries.
Paolo Bertoldi, expert at the Joint Research Center of the European Commission shared its experience regarding the Covenant of Mayors — and especially Climate Action Plans. The issue of disparity between political commitments and the technical steps to develop and implement climate action and policies was brought to the table. Specific issues related to the different templates available for climate action plans were also discussed. Cities highlighted the necessity to coordinate climate action plans with other sectors’ action plans (e.g. economical or urbanisation). Also, participants discussed potential improvements to the reporting mechanisms to avoid common problems like multiple-reporting (at national and European level).
The outcomes of this session’s discussion will be food-for-thought for the various actors when providing feedback on the future of the Covenant of Mayors movement.