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International Conference on Climate and Territories, mobilisation of society

— 29 October 2015, by Elodie Briche

Ahead of the COP21 which will take place in Paris in December 2015, the international conference on climate and territories took place in Lyon on the 2nd and 3rd of July 2015.

The objectives of the conference were as follow:

  • To present the concrete commitments made by all territorial stakeholders. For instance, the reduction of greenhouse gas emission announced by the city of Lyon should contribute to the credibility of the scenario in which global warming is limited to an increase of 2°C.
  • To support detailed proposals aimed at integrating territorial stakeholders ‘commitments within the agreement made in Paris.

In the opening session, the president of the Rhône-Alpes region congratulated the success of the event and highlighted the importance of collective support for the success of the COP21. Mickael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, evoked the summit of local governments held also in Paris in conjunction with the COP21. He stressed that cities can afford to take three times more initiatives to face climate change and ensure the effectiveness of the adopted measures. He also pointed out the importance of the “Covenant of Mayors”, in which explicit objectives are decided and the active participation of cities is implemented, aside from their own priorities and challenges.

In the session called “decentralised cooperation and partnership between regions”, the importance of networking between regions and of the partnership between local stakeholders to “share resilience” was raised. It is a question of finding and implementing solutions that will permit to work at different scales and at multi-level. A number of applied “good practices” was presented as examples:

  • The partnership between the region of Dakar (Senegal) and the regional council (Conseil Régional) of Ile-de-France: the region of Dakar has called on the regional council to build their integrated territorial climate plan (ITCP, the first in Africa). This ITCP concerns both mitigating climate change and adapting to its impact.
  • The partnership between the state of Minas Gerais (Brasil) and the Nord Pas de Calais region (France): this decentralised cooperation partnership focuses on the development of an ITCP for the brasilian region that is directed at climate change adaptation and reduction of greenhouse gases. This project has been led by two environmental agencies, the Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (ADEME, France) and the State of Minas Gerais Environment Foundation (FEAM, Brasil).

The intergovernmental agency of the Francophonie has committed funds to 100 cities for 2020 and, since 2010, 4 billions of euros have already been used in urban projects addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation, notably by integrating cities of the South.

On the 1st july, in the afternoon, three sessions took place on the theme “climate: the society mobilised”. In the second session, titled “youth and climate: giving voice to the leaders of the future”, young representatives of different continents shared their experiences. They were able to present concrete examples of local and regional solutions. For instance, Charles-Hugo Maziade from the Canadian Arden Forest Cooperative presented his work on an educative approach to face climate change and to contribute to the carbon exchange. His work involves essentially 9 to 12 years old pupils who can also contribute by influencing their family.

Other activities also took place in Lyon (France) to demonstrate some of the possible applications, e.g. visits of the eco-neighbourhood of La Duchère or of Confluence (which is a carbon-free area), etc.

The importance of support to elected local authorities as a first course of action in facing climate change has been greatly underlined, so as the potential of economic stimulation from economic change, beyond the problematic aspect. Finally, this summit allowed China to demonstrate its commitment in the COP21.