GCH contributes to UNEA-6 resolutions and the Cities and Regions Summit

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The sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) takes place from 26 February to 1 March 2024 at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. UNEA-6 focuses specifically on how multilateralism can help address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. It is the largest and most significant environmental global gathering. The Assembly provides an important opportunity for all levels of governments and civil society to shape global environmental policy.

As the highest-level international decision-making body regarding environmental matters, UNEA aims to help find balance between humanity and nature, improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people. It brings together leaders, including mayors and other representatives from cities and regions worldwide, to engage in a collaborative dialogue on the pressing issues of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.  UNEA, as a traditional inter-governmental body, negotiates policy resolutions on the various issues related to the environment.

The Global Cities Hub (GCH) has contributed to the drafts of several key resolutions to ensure that the interests of local and regional governments (LRGs), instrumental partners to central governments in the implementation of those agreements, are properly reflected, and the multi-level governance for achieving the SDGs is further developed to better include LRGs.

Our proposals have been specifically reflected in the negotiation process so far in the following resolutions:

  • Draft resolution on the development of criteria, norms, standards and guidelines for nature-based solutions to support sustainable development (UNEP/OECPR.6/L.10)
  • Draft resolution on promoting synergistic approaches to address the interlinked global crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and support sustainable development (UNEP/OECPR.6/L.12)
  • Draft resolution on promoting regional cooperation on air pollution to improve air quality globally (UNEP/OECPR.6/L.16)

GCH is also a supporting partner and takes a stance on various topics at the Cities and Regions Summit on 23 February 2024. The 2024 Summit reports back to the UNEA, showcasing concrete examples of cities and regions supporting their national governments in achieving the SDGs and the MEAs’ goals. The Summit focuses on two key questions regarding cities and regions’ engagement:

  • Strengthening the multi-level governance on environmental issues for achieving the SDGs;
  • Increasing funding and financing to accelerate local climate and environmental actions.

The Summit Outcome document (Summary of the meeting) is likely to emphasize the need for national governments to help create a sound institutional coordination and knowledge base to support decision-making, financing and action at local and regional levels. It should be pointing out that cities and regions are ready to go, therefore we need to carve out space for them in international conventions and actions.

GCH’s core competence is to connect and increase space for LRGs in the work of International Bodies and Organizations, including UNEA. We are also aware that to deliver on targets and ambitious environmental goals, cities and regions need new financial mechanisms and governance systems that can scale up effectively and quickly over the next decades. By joining the discussions and negotiations, GCH aims to draw attention to how the international community can facilitate the access of local and regional governments to development and climate finance.

Read here the opening statement for the Local Authorities Major Group.