City level climate change plans and policies

City level climate change plans and policies

This article is published by the Evidence and Lessons from Latin America (ELLA) Learning Alliance on Climate Resilient Cities. This was a four-month online learning exchange between policymakers, practitioners and researchers from Latin America, Africa and South Asia who are policymakers, practitioners and researchers working on urban climate change issues. This document highlights the debates had around the issue of city-level climate change policies and plans, chaired by two expert stakeholders, from cities considered to be leading at integrating potentially transformative climate resilience at the city-level: Quito, Ecuador and Mexico City.

Split into three parts, the first documents the debates had amongst all stakeholders around whether comprehensive city-level policies and plans are an increasing trend in developing cities, and secondly, whether existing policy and planning contexts are enabling for enhancing urban climate resilience. The discussion highlighted that while this was an increasing trend in Latin America, city-level efforts remained rare in Africa and Asia. Some countries lacked a national focus on climate change resilience, while others had national policies but a lack of local government mandate, interest or capacity to promote resilience at the city-level. Climate change policies were claimed to be, commonly, knee-jerk responses to extreme climate events. Ultimately there is work to be done in creating enabling conditions for urban climate change policies and planning. Sections two and three describe the cases of Quito and Mexico City in terms of what were the challenges and enabling factors for their city-level policies. The experts highlight the importance of taking an inter-institutional, holistic approach to policy through focussing on steps which involve multiple stakeholders, including citizens and the private sector, and have multiple benefits i.e. mitigation, adaptation, conservation, social and environmental development. The strong political will of city-government stakeholders, especially Mayors, and young environmental leaders in civil society helped to catalyse action.

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