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Latin America demonstrates strength and advances in climate actions despite the pandemic scenario

Despite the numerous challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the Latin American region, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy announces that there have been advances in climate actions in several municipalities in the region. In all, 236 local governments received or maintained medals of recognition for their work in the fight against climate change in Latin America. The Caribbean had two cities recognized, reaching three medals. In 2020, 75 local governments received at least one new medal. Governments were notified of about the recognition on Tuesday, March 30.

“Due to the global crisis resulting from the COVID-19, the Global Covenant of Mayors adopted as an institutional decision to maintain the medals received by local governments in the years before 2020. The decision recognizes the possible difficulties of moving forward during the pandemic, which demanded and still requires a lot of effort from managers”, explained Marja Edelman, Specialist for the Project to Support the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in the Americas, financed by the European Union.

Thus, according to data reported by local governments on the reporting platform CDP and ICLEI and which were institutionally validated, 182 municipalities received recognition for actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, 137 advanced in the actions of Adaptation to climate change and 38 received the recognition of Conformity, for complying with the pillars established by the Covenant, they are cities that carried out all the sub-stages of Mitigation and Adaptation, which are part of the city’s Climate Action Plan. Worldwide, 140 local governments have achieved Compliance, which means that more than 27% of these municipalities are in Latin America. In the Caribbean, two cities were recognized for their actions in Mitigation, with two medals, and Adaptation, with one medal.

It should be noted that these results are the consequence of direct mobilization and support from the National Coordinators and the City Networks. “National coordinators have a fundamental contribution to the implementation, capillarization and consolidation of the Covenant initiative in Latin America and are essential for committed local governments to continue to advance in their climate trajectories”, said Edelman.

Each of the aforementioned stages presents steps for their complete fulfillment and is proposed to guarantee solid phases of diagnosis, the establishment of goals and objectives of adaptation and mitigation, planning, and monitoring. Also, they allow aggregation and comparison with the actions of other locations.

In terms of mitigation, it is proposed that cities submit their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventories, establish and communicate their emission reduction targets and develop actions to achieve these goals. The progress in adaptation is noticed when there is the preparation and submission of an assessment of vulnerability to climatic risks, the establishment of objectives, and the preparation of an action plan at the local level.

 In this way, local governments can develop projects for mitigating and adapting to climate change to become climate-resilient. Actions can be presented in two separate plans or an integrated plan. The Covenant, in Latin America and the Caribbean, receives the data reported about each of these stages and their respective sub-stages through the unified CDP and ICLEI platform, validating them with the support of partner institutions.

The Covenant Medal System

The medals symbolize the recognition of the progress made by governments in the active fight against climate change and give transparency to the initiatives of the municipalities within the scope of the Covenant.

In Latin America, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy has reached more than 500 signatory cities. The global community of local governments already has more than 10,000 cities on six continents, representing more than 900 million citizens worldwide. The global network is committed to an ambitious action to provide a historic and powerful response to climate change.

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