Front-line launch event at COP23

Official launch of Front-line Cities and Islands: Uniting islands and coastal cities for resilience

On 13 November 2017, mayors and leaders of islands at the front-line of climate change, from the President of Palau to Mayor of Cozumel, Mexico, came together with mayors and leaders of cities around the world to join forces in taking action to address climate change and build resilience through the launch of Front-line Cities and Islands at COP23, the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.

Front-line is championed by Fiji, with the Presidents of Palau and Seychelles, Prime Minister of Grenada, Premier of British Virgin Islands as the Leaders of the Global Island Partnership and mayors and leaders of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, including Cozumel and Auckland, to elevate the importance of sustainable urbanization in building resilience across islands.

The President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr, launched Front-line, stressing the importance of partnerships and collaboration across boundaries. “The voyage to a resilient and sustainable future is not one that is taken alone but by a movement of cities, states, islands and countries working together to shape the future we want,” said the president. “After all, we are all in one boat and heading in the same direction.”

Islands are often recognized for being at the front-line of climate change impacts. However they are also at the front-line of spearheading integrated solutions to climate change and sustainable development. Palau itself is strengthening the resilience of marine ecosystems, Hawaii was an early mover on climate and sustainability and Cozumel has shown leadership on sustainable, smart development.

Mayor Perla Tun Pech of Cozumel, Mexico highlighted that it is critical to devise and implement solutions locally, while empowering local governments to take action. "We are here to unite our voices and thereby generate co-responsibility and commitment with the inhabitants of the world,” said the mayor.

“The involvement of national governments is needed to support local government efforts,” said Assistant Minister Eden. This is particularly important in island states, where local governments are closely linked to the national level, and are less economically independent than local governments in other, larger nations.

Going forward, the Front-line Cities and Islands will:

• Cultivate city-to-city and island-to-island learning and strategic partnerships.

• Determine priority issues that cities and islands can work on together.

• Identify island leadership and practical solutions that can be shared.

• Identify and develop funding sources and financing mechanisms for the long term.

• Promote dialogue and agreement to implement innovative resilience solutions.

Among the first pairings is between Lautoka, Fiji and Bonn, Germany, host city of COP23 who will work together to address the vulnerabilities of our islands, our cities and their inhabitants.


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