The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), an international coalition of city leaders committed to raising the global ambition for climate action, launched a regional chapter for South Asia on the 5th of May in New Delhi, India.
The GCoM South Asia aims to support the efforts of cities in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and make their communities more resilient toward the effects of climate change. It was launched within the context of the South Asian Cities Summit and through support from the European Union (EU) funded International Urban Cooperation programme in India and city network partners. ICLEI South Asia is hosting the help desk to support the participation of Indian cities in the GCoM.
The Indian cities of Surat and Gangtok signed a commitment to join cities across the globe to take action as part of this coalition. Gwalior, Shimla, Rajkot, and Panaji are the other ICLEI South Asia supported Indian cities, part of the commitment, which participated in the event.
Several cities which have received technical support for the development of city level GHG emissions inventories, climate vulnerability assessments and city climate action plans, participated in the events and provided their inputs for shaping future engagement of the GCOM secretariat with cities in the region.
"Cities in South Asia have to cope with a multitude of challenges: rapid population growth, overburdened infrastructure, informal housing, income inequality, and the effects of climate change, to name just a few. These challenges can only be tackled in an integrated manner. The steps we take to address climate change at the local level are also paving the way for a better quality of life and economic development in our communities," said Jaimin Upadhyay, Mayor of Rajkot and Global Covenant of Mayors Board Member.
At the event, GCoM Vice-Chair and former UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, the architect behind the historic Paris Agreement, and EU Ambassador Tomasz Kozlowski joined mayors, commissioners, key local actors and representatives from across South Asian countries as well as global and local city network partners.
"Tackling climate in South Asian cities is about delivering this centuries’ opportunity for economic development, jobs, growth, long-term resilience and improving quality of life. It is also about ensuring that we reach the global climate turning point to bend the curve of emissions downward by 2020 in order to ensure the long-term resilience of our cities and other areas. The leadership demonstrated by cities participation in the South Asian regional chapter of the Global Covenant of Mayors is an essential part of ensuring we take this critical opportunity to create a better world," said Ms. Figueres.
Mr. Kozlowski also gave his remarks at the launch saying: "As one of the founders of GCoM, we are pleased to see the successful launch of the South Asia chapter of this international initiative. Through the EU funded International Urban Cooperation project, the EU will support the South Asian secretariat, develop context-relevant GCoM material, support the technical assistance tools as well as promote scientific assessment processes inspired by best practices from the European Union and city networks. I truly believe that this is an important initiative to implement our common goals in energy, urbanization, waste management and transport”.