A message from CityNet Secretary General from the UN Climate Summit

 

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Whoever could have imagined Governor Brown and Mayor Bloomberg jointly lighting our collective passion on engaging cities in the climate dialogue!  Yes, they did so at the cavernous and appropriately named Trusteeship Council Conference Room of the UN headquarters in New York last evening, and the world was watching.

Other speakers who followed including John Podesta, Mayor Park of Seoul, Mayor Paes of Rio, along with financiers, politicians and activists.  All of them reinforced the message that cities needed to be in the frontline of engagement; not because of the compulsions of climate change politics, but because it was in the citizen interest to be engaged, and not only reduce city footprints of the built environment, transportation, wastes, but also build resilience to natural disasters that are becoming ever too frequent and unpredictable.

Perhaps the most memorable line of the evening was from Ms. Nomusa Dube, member of the Executive Council, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, who said: “we do not inherit from our ancestors but instead borrow from our children”.

The speakers covered the entire gamut of issues dealing with cities and climate, and more importantly laid out a “how to” or action agenda for future engagement:

  •  how to make cities move toward low carbon, resilient pathways by developing consistency in performance metrics, through the Compact of Mayors that Mayor Park ably summarized,
  • how to build public-private partnerships, by enhancing efficiency of city systems that Mr. Tanaka, President of JICA – representing the International Development Finance Club of bilateral and multilateral donors – described;
  •  how to attract insurance and pension funds into cities to bridge the huge and growing investment funding gap that Mr. Sahai, the President of Standard & Poor outlined,
  • how to involve local and regional governments in the initiative, and align policies across levels of government that Mr. Simon Asimah of Ghana and Ms. Dube of South Africa reflected upon.

To read more about the Summit click here.

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2014.09.29

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