“Raising Global Level of Ambition Through Local Climate Action”
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LG up to Bali - 2007

Local governments have been involved in Climate Conferences of the Parties (COPs) since their beginning in 1995. At the occasion of the First Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ICLEI organized the Second Municipal Leaders Summit on Climate Change in Berlin (27-29 March 1995).

Since then, local governments and their organizations have not only used COPs to demonstrate their own achievements; they have also interacted with national governments and international agencies in order to strengthen the local voice and to demonstrate the high potential of local governments to support the implementation of the climate agreements.

At the same time, local governments have requested framework conditions from the national and international level which allow them to unfold their full potential for climate protection, energy saving and efficiency and promotion of renewable energy.

The engagement of local governments at Climate COPs is based on strong and growing activities at local level.

The most relevant local government events at a UNFCCC COP were:

COP 13 : Local Government Climate Sessions, December 2007, Bali, Indonesia

Local Government representatives from around the world showed a strong presence at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, 3-14 December 2007. In addition to exchanging experiences and knowledge on tackling climate change, during the Local Government Climate Sessions on 10-11 December 2007, Local Government leaders demonstrated their active role in international efforts to tackle climate change during the various events of the UN conference.

Over 200 representatives of local governments and their associations, from 40 countries, attended the Local Government Climate Sessions. This made the Local Government group the second largest delegation at the UN Climate Change Conference 2007.

During the Local Government Climate Session, and with the eyes of the world on the climate change negotiations in Bali, local governments and world mayors launched a global agreement to address the challenge of climate change, and to express their own commitment. The World Mayors and Local Governments Climate Protection Agreement states that mayors and local governments accept the challenge and responsibility to lead and take action to combat the dangerous rate of warming of the planet.


  • ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability
  • World Mayors Council on Climate Change (WMCCC)
  • United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
  • Metropolis

Supporters and partners:

  • Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
    Change (UNFCCC)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Government of  the United Kingdom
  • Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany and German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
  • Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Swiss Confederation
  • Ministry of the Environment, Government of Sweden
  • World Bank
  • C40 Cities
  • Association of Indonesian Municipalities (AIM)

Under the Patronage of Mr. Rachmat Witoelar, State Minister for the Environment, Indonesia

COP 12 : Local Government involvement and presence, November 2006, Nairobi, Kenya

The position of Local Government and Municipal Associations was presented to the delegations by the Deputy Mayor of London, Nicky Gavron, in a plenary statement. At a press conference jointly hosted by UNEP and UN-HABITAT on the topic: "Cities - the key to addressing climate change", the Local Government position was presented by Deputy Mayor Gavron and the Director of the World Mayors Council on Climate Change, Louise Comeau.

The African Local Government perspective was articulated through an African Local Government Statement on Climate Change, which had been prepared by African municipal leaders at the African Cities Symposium on Climate Change held in Nairobi in September 2006, prior to COP 12.

COP 11 : Fourth Municipal Leaders Summit on Climate Change, December 2005, Montréal, Canada

As a parallel event to the 11th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP11) and first Meeting of the Parties (MOP1) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Fourth Municipal Leaders Summit on Climate Change took place in Montréal. Over 300 participants from 37 countries took part in this Summit convened by ICLEI. Local government leaders gathered to make further commitments on climate change, showcasing the latest knowledge and best practices, exploring opportunities, and networking with other local governments from around the world.


ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


City of Montréal

In cooperation with:

Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)


Government of Canada
Province of Québec Ministry of Municipal and Regional Affairs

COP 10 : Side Event, December 2004, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Local Governments had a significant participation at the 10th Conference of the Parties through different activities and events organised, for example by ICLEI. Several activities were developed to highlight and raise awareness on the role of local governments in fighting global warming, including the “CDM opportunities for Local Governments” seminar and the VII CCP-LACS Workshop.

On December 13, the Mayor of Buenos Aires, Aníbal Ibarra, signed a declaration with mayors and officials from Barcelona, Spain, Salt Lake City, USA, Milano, Italy, Palmas, Brazil and Abbosford, Canada. In the document, the mayors “call on the Parties to the UNFCCC to recognise the key role of local Governments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and urge the Parties to channel resources to projects that operate at the local level”.

The mayors urged “national governments, financial institutions, the private sector and civil society to bolster our efforts by mobilising resources and channeling investment to projects that can truly make a difference: projects that operate at the local level and in requesting assistance, we ask delegates of COP-10 to remember that local government is separate and distinct from national governments and NGOs”.

More information:
Local Government Leaders’ Statement at the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

COP 8 : Meeting of Municipal Leaders, 26-27 October 2002, New Delhi, India

ICLEI convened a meeting of municipal leaders to prepare for the COP and to hear from colleagues about local greenhouse gas emission reduction activities.
This meeting was also used to provide attendees withan overview of the evolving carbon market.

The message to the United Nations (UN) was clear: while nations endlessly debate on how to prevent climate change, local governments are taking the lead by implementing real on-the-ground actions and measures that protect both the climate and local environment.

More information:
The Municipal Leaders’ Statement presented at the Eighth Conference of the Parties

Prior to COP 3 : Third Municipal Leaders Summit on Climate Change, October 1995, Saitama, Japan

On 24 - 26 October 1995, the Saitama Prefecture and ICLEI, in collaboration with the Environment Agency of Japan, hosted the "Third Local Government Leaders' Summit on Climate Change," gathering 200 local governments from 55 countries worldwide to discuss the imminent problem of global warming, and to mobilise local action for climate protection. The Saitama Summit was particularly significant as it was ICLEI's first gathering in the rapidly industrialising and urbanising Asian region.

Summit participants exchanged information on innovative municipal programs, engaged in discussions on the role of local governments in climate protection, and adopted the Local Government Leaders' Declaration on Climate Change. The Declaration called for the launch of the "Asian Cities for Climate Protection Campaign" to encourage local governments in the Asian region to create local action plans for climate protection, and supported proposals from Saitama Prefecture to create a centre for the collection and distribution of information and a "World Environment Prize." Former President of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Peace Laureate Mr. Oscar Arias Sanchez gave the Commemorative Address entitled, "Peace, Development, and the Environment: We Can Make a Difference," and was followed by Tohoku University President Prof. Junichi Nishizawa's Keynote Address on "Global Warming, Lifestyles, and Social Reform."

The main outcome of this Summit, the Saitama Declaration, was presented to the Third meeting of the COP at the UNFCCC in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997.

COP 1 : Second Municipal Leaders Summit on Climate Change, December 1995, Berlin, Germany

The Second Municipal Leaders' Summit on Climate Change coincided with the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Berlin in March 1995. This allowed municipal leaders the opportunity to present a communiqué to the COP.

The communiqué recommended that the COP create a local authority subsidiary body to support local authority efforts to help UNFCCC signatories comply with the treaty. The communiqué was supported by 150 local authorities and municipal organisations from more than 50 countries, which represented more than 250 million people worldwide.