On November 12, hundreds of local and regional leaders from around the world gathered at COP23, in Bonn, to demonstrate the power and potential of cities and regions to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement and keep the global temperature rise well below 2°C.
“This is the moment to take what we know cities and regions can accomplish and turn it into the everyday reality of citizens everywhere. We are at a crucial point. We are led by the monumental and far-reaching Paris Agreement, but we are also in a race against time. Quite simply, we must act, all of us together and with great urgency,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
Throughout a historic summit, it was the first time that a summit of local and regional leaders was held on the premises of the UNFCCC, speakers highlighted the key role of subnational governments in tackling climate change and presented their actions, initiatives and coalitions to advance cooperation between all level of governments, the private sector and the civil society. Amongst the 19 initiatives announced during the Summit, Christophe Nuttall, R20 Executive Director, presented the Africa Sub National Climate Fund (SnCF), a first of its kind initiative to address the funding gap for green infrastructure projects at the sub national level.
In the closing address of the Summit, R20 Founding Chair, Arnold Schwarzenegger, reminded local and regional leaders of the tremendous power sub national governments hold and urged them to ‘jump into action’, “You don’t have to wait for the federal government or some international agreement to start acting. Let’s not forget that government’s number one priority is to protect people’s lives, this is why each and every one of you out there has a responsibility to act now. Don’t wait for anybody.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger also highlighted the lack of financing for green projects at the sub national level and presented the R20 Foundation as a mean to create an effective deal flow of low carbon and climate resilient infrastructure projects, “Despite the growing desire to invest in green projects and despite sub national governments’ ambitious goals, the story we hear is that the funding is not available. This is why it is so important to start the R20 Foundation. Not to invest, but to connect and make sure that no solar projects, no wind farms and no green projects are left unbuilt due to a lack of financing.”