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Local-to-National Collaboration is the Paris Agreement’s Implementation Success Plan Following COP28

Statement from Angie Fyfe, ICLEI USA Executive Director

While sharing in celebration that COP28 signaled “the beginning of the end” for the fossil fuel era, ICLEI USA is also applauding strong references to “multilevel action” in the outcomes. These references in the Global Stocktake and Global Goal on Adaptation mean that national governments should collaborate closely with local and state governments in the next round of their Paris Agreement plans, due in 2025.

More than three dozen mayors, county commissioners, and local elected leaders from the United States traveled to Dubai to work toward this outcome, ensuring that COP28 was known as the “COP of cities.” For over two decades, ICLEI has played a special role within the COP space as the focal organization for the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) constituency to the UNFCCC. We leveraged our unique role in support of a Local Climate Action Summit in the beginning days of COP28 and welcomed more than 70 nations signing on to the Coalition for High-Ambition Multilevel Partnerships (CHAMP), their commitment to work with local and regional governments.

I remember the energy that mayors and local leaders brought to COP21 in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was born. In the years since, ICLEI has helped hundreds of cities, towns, and counties around the United States declare climate emergencies, adopt science-based targets, plan and complete high-impact climate action, and, ultimately, helped accelerate the United States’ national climate commitments. In other words, U.S. communities are already phasing out fossil fuels.

As we celebrate COP28 opening doors to a fossil-free transition, we acknowledge that we must move faster and further to ensure the Paris Agreement goals are met. As we head into a new year, implementation should be the word guiding our activities — for local governments just as it should be for nations. COP28 sets a tone, but we know what happens in our cities and communities all year long gives life to COP outcome documents. The ICLEI USA team looks forward to supporting our network with our full support systems — technical assistance, knowledge products, capacity-building cohorts, city-to-city networking, federal funding access, and elected leader engagement — to orient around implementing at scale.