Failure to include local governments

On Friday night at 8:15, I went to a very well attended side event on local government. Panelists included Felix Gonzalez Canto the Governor of Quintana Roo State and mayors from Denmark, Vancouver, Mexico City and North Little Rock, AR. Even though all the panelists are elected government officials, they are only allowed ‘non-governmental organization’ passes.

Local Governments side event at Cancunmesse

Ronan Dantec, the Climate spokesperson for United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) said that local governments have the most significant capacity to reduce emissions in a short time and the failure to include local governments affects the credibility of this negotiation.

While the event was titled ‘Introducing global mechanisms for measureable, reportable, verifiable local climate action’ the panelists primarily talked about the importance of local government including statistics on how many people do and will live in cities, accountability to citizens, first responders etc.

The strategy by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI, pronounced Ick-lee), the World Mayors Council on Climate Change and UCLG is to maintain and reintroduce references to local government in several different categories of the negotiating text. Some examples include:
(1) refer to local and subnational governments as “government stakeholders”
(2) integrate adaptation into local development plans
(3) as part of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) include mitigation actions at the subnational or local level. Currently most NAPAs (153/173) do not incorporates local communities in adaptation plans
(4) and of course finance at local and subnational levels.

I spoke with Eduardo Calvo Buendía (negotiator for Peru), who with Kunihiko Shimada (Japan) co-chaired a contact group on CDM. Eduardo said they already agreed to take out certain language related to “city-wide approaches.” I will be interested to see how some of this language shakes out over the next few days.