COP28 President-Designate Sultan Al Jaber and UN Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg announce first COP-hosted 'Local Climate Action Summit' | Climate Week Skip to main content
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COP28 President-Designate Sultan Al Jaber and UN Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg announce first COP-hosted 'Local Climate Action Summit'

19th September 2023 13 min read

COP28 PRESIDENT-DESIGNATE SULTAN AL JABER AND UN SPECIAL ENVOY MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCE FIRST COP-HOSTED LOCAL CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT TO DELIVER CLIMATE PROGRESS AT ALL GOVERNMENT LEVELS

Convening hundreds of mayors, governors, and subnational leaders alongside heads of state, the Summit at COP28 in Dubai will recognize the critical role of local leaders in the COP process eight years after local leaders convened on the sidelines of COP21 to turbocharge climate ambition 

Xie Zhenhua, Special Envoy for Climate Change of the People's Republic of China; John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change; Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of United Nations Human Settlements Programme; HE Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion of COP28; and Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation expected to be global co-chairs of the Summit

New York, NY (19 September 2023) – Today, COP28 President-designate Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber and UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg announced the COP28 Local Climate Action Summit – the first time a COP Presidency has announced a formal summit designed to bring subnational leaders into the COP program and process. Hosted by the COP28 Presidency and Bloomberg Philanthropies on December 1-2, 2023 in Dubai, the COP28 Local Climate Action Summit will aim to bring together hundreds of subnational climate leaders – mayors, governors, businesses, non-government organizations, and more – who are increasingly critical in helping national governments reach emissions reduction targets and net-zero ambitions while building resilient and future-proof economies and societies.

“Cities are where the climate battle will largely be won or lost,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “We all need to push further and faster; keep collaborating, innovating and raising ambition. Mobilizing and equipping local governments with the capacity and financing to accelerate climate action is necessary if we are to bend the emissions curve. We need to achieve our 1.5-degree goal.”

“The COP28 Presidency will bring mayors into the heart of the COP process and the World Leaders Summit for the first time. City leaders have been at the forefront of climate action – accelerating ambition, delivering results and dealing with climate impacts in real time. By bringing hundreds of local leaders to COP28, we will foster new, multi-level partnerships to help fast track the energy transition, fix climate finance, focus on people, lives and livelihoods, and make sure local voices are heard at the international climate table. Only by working in true partnership can we close the gap the Global Stocktake reveals, and keep 1.5C within reach,” said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate.

“For the world to tackle climate change effectively, mayors and governors need a bigger seat at the table – and while we have a come a long way since we convened mayors at COP21 in Paris, greater collaboration is still needed between local leaders, the private sector, national governments and international finance institutions,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “This Local Climate Action Summit will be a major opportunity to empower local and regional governments – who are already leading the way in reducing emissions – to be bolder and move faster.”

“The Local Climate Action Summit is essential to gauging an accurate Global Stocktake that articulates gaps and inspires insightful climate action,” said Simon Steill, UNFCCC Executive Secretary. “The summit will showcase the vital importance of cooperation between government representatives and leaders from the public and private sectors. This collaboration is instrumental in driving forward the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and fostering the creation of a future that is both resilient and sustainable.”

“Cities are central to tackling the climate crisis. I am convinced that this Local Climate Action Summit rightly highlights the importance of multilevel climate action and collaboration at the heart of achieving global climate goals. It presents a unique opportunity for local and national authorities to collaborate, mobilize climate finance, and drive transformative change. With this feeding into the Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change on 6th December, we can build resilient, sustainable cities and accelerate our progress towards a more climate-resilient future,” said Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat. 

“Robust action from cities, states, and regions around the world is essential for keeping a 1.5-aligned, climate-resilient future within reach. The U.S. welcomes the opportunity to engage directly with subnational leaders at the Local Climate Action Summit at COP 28. Together through a whole-of-society approach, we can mobilize commitments and investment at scale and unlock enhanced ambition at all levels,” said John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change.

HE Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for COP28, said: “We must recognize the indispensable role that non-state actors have in accelerating multilevel climate action. To deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement, we need to harness and amplify the impact of leadership at the subnational level. The COP28 Local Climate Action Summit will serve as an inclusive platform that connects the work of local leaders with national governments. It aims to demonstrate the power of multi-level collaboration in raising ambition across society and driving the implementation of tangible and equitable climate action.”

“A key strength of the Paris Agreement is in its unique top-down and bottom-up design - we need everyone involved in tackling the climate crisis if we are to succeed. The Paris Agreement should continue to evolve,” said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation, France’s former Climate Change Ambassador and Special Representative for COP21, and COP22 UN High-Level Champion for Climate Action. “I am convinced that strengthening collaboration between national and subnational governments is the next level. Subnational actors are a crucial part of implementing the Paris Agreement, and especially in enhancing ambition in the next NDC ratchet cycle, to ensure robust and accountable climate plans. National and subnational governments must work in true partnership to make progress on implementing the Paris Agreement.”

Dr. Al Jaber and Mike Bloomberg will be joined by a robust council of local and global climate leaders to ensure strong multi-level partnerships at and following the Summit. Global co-chairs for the Summit are expected to include Xie Zhenhua, Special Envoy for Climate Change of the People's Republic of China; John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change; Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); HE Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion of COP28; and Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation, France’s former Climate Change Ambassador and Special Representative for COP21, and COP22 UN High-Level Champion for Climate Action. Additional global and local co-chairs will be announced soon. 

Many cities are reducing per capita emissions at a faster rate than their national governments, and subnational governments have played a critical role in integrated action on climate mitigation and adaptation over the last decade. However, with an expected 70% of the global population to live in cities by 2050 and climate-driven natural disasters on the rise, more needs to be done faster to reduce emissions and ensure cities and subnational governments are equipped for population growth and the economic, social, and environmental challenges resulting from a warming planet.

The first-ever Global Stocktake has drawn the clearest picture yet of how subnationals can serve as the bedrock of climate action implementation and what they need to achieve it. COP28 will be a pivotal moment to deliver a robust collective response to the latest climate science to reset global climate efforts. The COP Presidency will welcome the inaugural global delegation of mayors and governors at the World Climate Action Summit, which will firmly establish subnational governments’ voices in global climate talks. The complementary COP28 Local Climate Action Summit will unite subnational and national leaders to establish a new paradigm for fully-integrated climate action between governments at all levels across four core themes:

  1. Transforming Local Climate Finance: Strengthen sustainable financial mechanisms to mobilize the trillions of dollars in public and private investment needed globally at the subnational level to deliver real change.
  2. Integrating Local Contributions to Enhance Global Action: Incorporate local implementation into national and international climate policy design and determine how best to factor subnational action into future national and global climate goals, including for 2030. 
  3. Fast-tracking the Local Energy Transition: Propel rapid advancements across pivotal sectors and surface new strategies to deliver ambitious results locally.
  4. Strengthening Local Resilience and Adaptation: Protect residents and infrastructure from immediate and future climate risks. 

In 2015, UN Special Envoy Mike Bloomberg and Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo hosted the Climate Summit for Local Leaders on the sidelines of COP21, where the historic Paris Agreement was ultimately adopted. This first-of-its-kind Summit aimed to empower cities, local, and subnational governments to establish more ambitious carbon reduction targets, create feasible plans to achieve these goals, and consistently report progress. Today, more than 12,500 local governments – across six continents and 144 countries representing over one billion people – have committed to long-term plans and voluntary action to combat climate change.

“Cities have an incredible potential for ambitious climate action and play  a crucial role in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations, and Foresight. “Local leaders are frequently setting more ambitious targets than their national counterparts and acting faster. I am confident that the Local Climate Action Summit will be a unique opportunity for both national and local governments to join forces to double down on the efforts to fight climate change.”

Local leaders from around the world joined Mike Bloomberg and Dr. Al Jaber for the announcement and highlighted their eagerness for stronger collaboration with national governments at the Summit to supercharge local climate action. Following today’s announcement, national government ministers, mayors, governors, and other key stakeholders met to forge multi-level partnerships ahead of COP28. These efforts set the stage for multilevel engagement at COP28 and will feed into subsequent events and processes, notably the Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change scheduled for the Multilevel Action, Urbanization, Built Environment and Transport Day on December 6th, held in partnership with UN-Habitat, which will convene ministers, local leaders and other key stakeholders around accelerating local finance. 

The Summit will be supported by a strong cohort of city networks and subnational partner organizations including: America is All In; C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; Catalytic Finance Foundation; CDP; Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance (CCFLA); Climate Mayors; the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM); ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability; the We Mean Business Coalition; United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); UN-Habitat; the Under2 Coalition; The Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) at the University of Maryland; US Conference of Mayors; World Resources Institute (WRI), among others. For more information about the Summit, please visit www.cop28.com/LCAS

“States and cities are the first to feel the devastation brought on by climate change, which is why they’re often the first to act,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom, North America Co-Chair of the Under2 Coalition. “This new effort by local leaders is critical for our shared success. California will continue to play an outsized role in responding to the climate crisis, and we are proud to stand with other subnational leaders to tackle this existential threat.”

Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and Africa Co-Chair of the Under2 Coalition said, “This Summit will give a voice to those who so often aren’t heard in climate change debates, but who are dealing with its impacts day in, day out. Such impacts are felt especially acutely in Africa, which contributes only 4% to global emissions but suffers disproportionately from the results, socially, economically and otherwise. States, regions and other subnational governments act as first responders to extreme weather events while testing out ways to reduce emissions and adapt to a changing climate. We are an important part of the debate and I look forward to joining my colleagues at COP28 to find new solutions for our planet – together.”

“The Local Climate Action Summit at COP28 demonstrates the urgency of engaging every level of government, together with every sector of business, and every person to fight the climate crisis,” said Vi Lyles, Mayor of Charlotte and Co-Chair of America is All In. “Putting local leaders at the forefront of global climate negotiations will ensure that cities have a critical voice in building a more sustainable future for the communities we serve.”

Recognizeengage and empower has long been the fierce mantra of cities, towns, regions and subnationals towards the parties in the UNFCCC. This Summit at COP28 is an extraordinary opportunity for these stakeholders to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with nations, and bring our commitment, action and influence to the table so that parties strengthen their next round of national commitments,” said Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, USA and President of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. “ICLEI, as the focal point for the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency to the UNFCCC, is ready to motivate our constituents and seize the opportunity to make multilevel action and sustainable urbanization the new normal.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London and Chair of C40 Cities, said, “As we approach climate tipping points, urgent and effective action must be taken. As Chair of C40 Cities, I have witnessed first-hand how vital global collaboration is to tackling climate change. This Summit, which will bring together hundreds of international leaders, activists and experts, will be a step towards tackling the climate crisis and ensuring a healthier, safer future for the communities we serve.”

“Each of us has the power to influence the climate change narrative. The Local Climate Action Summit in Dubai on December 2 underpins the importance of collective action and broad-based partnerships. Let's harness this power and write a story of resilience and renewal,” said Abby Binay, Mayor of Makati City.

“Cities are the beating heart of global climate action,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Global Ambassador of the Global Covenant of Mayors. “As local leaders, we stand at the forefront of change, ready to drive transformation. The Local Climate Action Summit will bring together thousands of leaders spanning government tiers, illuminating a clear pathway for subnational governments to propel global climate ambition. Together, we can turn our Paris ambitions into action, building a more sustainable and resilient world for all to thrive.” 

“Collaboration between governments is the bedrock of our success in achieving our highest climate ambitions,” said Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro. “Alignment between local, regional, and national efforts and greater access to financial resources is critical to orchestrating transformative change. By joining forces and combining our resources, with the support of international organizations and networks, our work will resonate across borders, driving us towards a resilient, more sustainable future.”

ENDS

About the COP28 Local Climate Action Summit

The COP28 Local Climate Action Summit will be a first-of-its-kind gathering to recognize the critical role local leaders play in reducing emissions, addressing climate risk, and supercharging national efforts to move further and faster on climate progress. Hosted by the COP28 Presidency and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Summit aims to bring together hundreds of national and subnational climate leaders to transform climate finance, enhance global action, fast-track the energy transition, and strengthen resilience and adaptation at the local level. This Summit is backed by world-leading networks of local leaders including the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), US Conference of Mayors, the Under2 Coalition, and others. For more information about the Summit, please visit www.cop28.com/LCAS

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed US$ 1.7 billion. For more information, please visit  bloomberg.org, sign up for our newsletter,  or follow us on  Facebook,  Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Media contact: [email protected] 

About COP28 UAE

COP28 UAE will take place at Expo City Dubai from November 30-December 12, 2023. The Conference is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth, and non-state actors.

As mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, COP28 UAE will deliver the first ever Global Stocktake – a comprehensive evaluation of progress against climate goals. The UAE will lead a process for all parties to agree upon a clear roadmap to accelerate progress through a pragmatic global energy transition and a “leave no one behind” approach to inclusive climate action.

Media Contact: [email protected] 

About the UNFCCC

With 198 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The ultimate objective of all agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.

Media Contact: [email protected]