Press release | 26.09.2017

Municipal pathways for the transformation to more climate action and global justice

International Climate Alliance Conference ‒ From goals to action

In the City of Essen, the European Green Capital 2017, 200 representatives of local authorities and organisations from all over Europe and South America met for the International Conference of the city network Climate Alliance. The focus was on the transformation of cities and towns towards increased climate protection, adaptation to climate change and global justice. Important topics were local cooperation in regions as well as municipal demands in the international climate process.

Tine Heyse, Climate Alliance President and Mayor for Environment, Climate, Energy and North-South in the City of Ghent, said that cooperation between cities, national governments andEuropean stakeholders is necessary, as municipalities have already made strong commitments to climate protection. “These are not only built on dealing with low-hanging fruit, but represent strong commitments to facing a serious challenge”.

Holger Matthäus, Co-President and Senator for Buildings and Environment in the City of Rostock, emphasised “the swarm intelligence of the more than 1,700 Climate Alliance municipalities as an infinite creative pool for the necessary climate protection”.

Two resolutions were adopted during the conference:

With the first “Local and regional authorities as drivers of climate action and sustainability ‒ towards a good life for all”, Climate Alliance members underlined the importance of the local and regional level in implementing Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement. The local authorities present reaffirmed their cooperation with the indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforests, who have contributed almost nothing to climate change but are already suffering greatly from its effects.

Global sustainability goals are essential for a successful energy transition, particularly from the point of view of the Climate Alliance and its indigenous cooperation partners in the rainforests represented by Eriberto Gualinga from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku. The poorest countries in particular need financial support to adapt to climate change, which they have not caused. Otherwise, progress in development will fall prey to climate change.

The second resolution “Implementing Adaptation to climate change at local level” contains a set of recommendations for European and national decision-makers on adaptation to climate change. It is intended to support municipalities in their efforts to protect their populations from climate impacts such as overheating and flooding.

The host City of Essen, represented by Simone Raskob, Councillor and Head of the Department for Building and Environment, is the first city in the coal and steel industry to be awarded the title of European Green Capital. Its successful history of transformation from a coal and steel city to the greenest city in North Rhine-Westphalia is a model for many European cities in structural change ‒ true to the motto of the Climate Alliance Conference “From goals to action”.

Further information


Photo: Holger Matthäus, Robert Leven, Tine Heyse, Thomas Brose and John Tanner (from the left)