Maimunah Mohd Sharif 11-1701875502539
Maimunah Mohd Sharif reads out the Joint Outcome Statement on Urbanisation and Climate Change at COP28 at Expo City Dubai on Wednesday Image Credit: Screen grab

Dubai: COP28 Presidency on Wednesday announced that it has mobilised $467m for urban climate action.

The announcement came as the UN Climate Change Conference observed Multilevel Action Day during which a Ministerial Meeting called for more funding to address the impact of climate changes in cities.

The COP28 Presidency hosted the second ever Ministerial Meeting on Urbanisation and Climate Change, with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Housing, urban development, environment, and finance ministers issued a ‘Joint Outcome Statement on Urbanisation and Climate Change.’ It was supported by over 40 Ministers of Environment, Urban Development and Housing.

The Statement sets out a ten-point plan to boost the inclusion of cities in the decision-making process on climate change, drive multilevel climate action and accelerate the deployment of urban climate finance so that cities are prepared and supported to respond to the climate crisis.

Threats to cities

Currently, as many as 90 percent of cities are threatened by rising sea levels and storms, and their residents are exposed to ten degrees higher temperatures than their counterparts in rural areas.

“COP28 is a paradigm shift to action. We are empowering and supporting cities on the frontlines of climate change to seize the initiative,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the COP28 President.

“We have brought over 450 mayors and governors to COP28 and their hyperlocal knowledge is crucial in informing our global solutions. When we talk about inclusivity this is what we mean, we need all voices at the table. I thank and commend those involved for their leadership.”

He pointed out that each city has individual needs and solutions but fundamentally this is a global problem, which the Statement shows. “We have brought over 1,000 mayors and governors to COP28 and when we talk about full inclusivity this is what we mean. We know we need to learn from and support those on the frontlines. I thank and commend those involved for their leadership,” added Dr. Al Jaber.

Building on CHAMP

The Statement builds on the ‘Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships’ (CHAMP), which was launched at the Local Climate Action Summit (LCAS) on December 1 at COP28 and aims to inform and empower Ministers.

CHAMP aims to identify and strengthen levers to increase and accelerate the deployment of climate finance to enable cities and local governments to respond to the climate crisis. It also aims to enable the inclusion of local and regional leaders in the formation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). To date, CHAMP has been endorsed by over 60 national governments.

During LCAS, the Bloomberg Foundation had announced a $65m commitment to support local leadership around the world.

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Cities make 70% CO2 emissions

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Under-Secretary-General of UN-Habitat, said, “The Ministerial Meeting was a key moment in our work toward inclusive and climate-resilient cities and communities. A diverse range of stakeholders gathered including leaders from the national and local level, underscoring the shared priority of supporting urban environments to withstand climate challenges.”

Though cities, which are home to most of the world’s population, contribute over 70 percent of CO2 emissions, she said, immediate action could bring down their emissions to near net-zero. Recognising cities’ role in climate action, two-thirds of the updated NDCs feature moderate or strong urban content. However, finance remains a critical bottleneck, with only 21 percent of climate finance allocated to adaptation and resilience, and only 10 percent reaching the local level.

The Ministerial Meeting on Wednesday represented the second time Ministers responsible for Housing, Urban Development, and Environment have convened during the COP process. The first was during COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh with the support of UN-Habitat, which marked a significant first step in coordinating different levels of government to address the climate crisis in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement.

During the COP28 Ministerial today, delegates called for the Ministerial Meeting on Urbanisation and Climate Change to remain a feature of future COP meetings.