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Understanding the outcomes of COP21: a guide for local and subnational governments

As the focal point of local authorities and municipalities in the United Nations climate process, ICLEI has advocated that they be recognized, engaged and empowered since 2007. To understand how this was successful and how local and subnational governments can support implementation of the COP21 outcomes, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Urban-LEDS project have released a guide to the Paris Climate Package.

Global climate advocacy is an important part of ICLEI’s Low Carbon City Agenda, guided by an initiative known as the Local Government Climate Roadmap. It began in 2007 and mirrored the roadmap designed for nations to shape the new global climate regime. Both processes were concluded at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Paris, with the adoption of the Paris Climate Package.

The Paris Climate Package, including the Paris Agreement and its related decisions on implementation, opens a new era of universal, ambitious and inclusive action to tackle climate change and cope with its effects. It is essential that all actors now use the Paris Climate Package as a compass for future action, yet its implications require further unpacking to understand what it means at the local and subnational levels.

ICLEI, with the support of the Urban-LEDS project, has developed “The Paris Climate Package: A Guide for Local and Subnational Governments” to understand its implications for local governments. This guide addresses four key questions:

(1) The road towards COP21: What processes led to the recognition and engagement of local and subnational governments in the Paris Climate Package?

(2) Local and subnational governments at COP21 in Paris: How did local leaders engage in Paris?

(3) Key outcomes of the 2015 Paris Climate Package: What does the Paris Climate Package mean for local and subnational governments

(4) Accompanying the implementation of the Paris Climate Package through integrated local transformation: What steps should local and subnational governments take to support implementation of the Paris Climate Package?

Advocacy through Urban-LEDS

Urban-LEDS supported the advocacy efforts of local and subnational governments to draw attention to low emission development at the city-level in the international climate talks, including in developing countries. The key messages it carried was that cities from emerging economy countries are using climate change mitigation as a “driver” to address a multitude of other development issues, such as energy security; access to affordable, sustainable and local renewable energy; inclusive and multilevel governance; and capacity building.

Visit the following websites for more information on the Local Government Climate Roadmap and the Urban-LEDS project, implemented by ICLEI and UN-Habitat, with the support of the European Union.