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Subnational Integration Working Group at Low Carbon Cities


The LEDS GP Subnational Integration of LEDS Working Group participated in the Low Carbon Cities event in Medellín, Colombia, from the 10th-12th October 2016. As the first global forum directed by citizens, the event emphasized synergies between reducing emissions and economic and social development. This feature introduces Low Carbon Cities and highlights the Subnational Integration Working Group’s involvement in the initiative. 

Low Carbon Cities is a citizen-led initiative inspired by the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the Paris Agreement – both of which stress the importance of cities to mitigate climate change. The initiative promotes a social mobilization for the collective construction of Low Carbon Cities through awareness and communication strategies, training, and promoting urban innovations in different sectors such as energy, transport, construction, industry, biodiversity, waste, technology and innovation, and more. The initiative promotes tools that generate citizen ownership, participation, and cooperation between the public and private sectors.

A global citizen-led forum on Low Carbon Cities

This year, right before Habitat III in Quito, the first Low Carbon City Forum was held in Medellín, Colombia. The Forum attracted more than 3,000 citizens, politicians, academics, urban leaders and change-makers from 33 countries, focusing on tackling climate change from a localized and citizen-driven approach. Members of Subnational Integration of LEDS Working Group also attended the event, in which Working Group co-chair Scott Muller gave a presentation on Mobilization and Innovation for Climate Challenges (please note that this video is in Spanish).

As a result of the event, a citizen declaration was signed in which participants called on government leaders to collectively build low carbon cities and design inclusive public policies that encourage the public, private sector, and citizens to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to mitigate climate change and have more sustainable cities. The declaration was presented at Habitat III, see here for the declaration and video summary.

What does Low Carbon Cities want to achieve?

  • Place the Low Carbon Cities issue on the public agenda as an alternative to tackling climate change from a local and multi-stakeholder perspective, allowing different sectors and actors to contribute to building low carbon societies.
  • Discuss and build a roadmap for Low Carbon Cities including tools, academic evidence, scalable projects, and a network of stakeholders willing to work on the issue.
  • Identify and promote sectoral and current initiatives to expand to other cities.
  • Share ideas and best practices that transcend geography, gender, culture, and social or professional backgrounds.
  • Connect citizens across the globe to identify participatory urban strategies.

Subnational Integration Working Group comment on Low Carbon Cities

Co-chair Scott Muller said: “There are many moving parts in our rapidly growing cities, and intersectoral collaboration is a fundamental attribute to inclusive cities.  Medellín is walking the talk and demonstrating the power of collaboration to change our urban future.  Open and efficient interaction between different levels of government and civil society, to both define and implement low emission development strategies, accelerates collective solutions to the challenges that rapid urbanization presents. In fact, Colombia is one of the only countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that has reduced CO2 emissions from energy and manufacturing cement between 1990-2014, while growing their cities and their per capita GDP at the same time.  This is due in part, to Colombia’s national and municipal leadership on subnational integration strategies.”

Next year the Forum will be in Villahermosa, in Tabasco State in Mexico.

Photo: Iván Erre Jota, Flickr

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