After the COP 21 in Paris last year that led to a historic agreement in the reduction of 40% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2013, the COP 22 in Marrakech is the COP of implementation measures. With the danger of a State like the United States withdrawing its engagement, the mood is bleak in the COP corridors. Another illustration of the importance of local and regional governments. When States fail, we can make a difference, as cities and regions are responsible for 80% of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
To show the commitment of European regions to fight climate change, AER came with a strong delegation : President Hande Özsan Bozati, Vice President Magnus Berntsson, Youth Regional Network President Gloria Vitaly and AER Secretary General Mathieu Mori. AER was invited to speak at no less than 3 high level meetings and was co-organiser of one meeting on climate change financing during COP 22.
The AER delegation delivered 4 messages during this COP :
1) Regions must be formally involved in COP negotiations
AER President, Dr Hande Özsan Bozatli intervened at the Climate Summit for Local and Regional Leaders to say that AER was glad to see, COP after COP, the increasing recognition of the role of cities and regions to fight climate change. It is now time that we are invited at the climate negotiation table.
2) Regions need to be innovative in their financing of anti-climate change measures
AER Vice President, Mr Magnus Berntsson (Västra Götaland-SE) defended during a co-organised event with the R20, the necessity for regions and associations of regions to look for innovative sources of funding. Of course institutional funding such as Structural and Investment Funds are crucial which is why AER lobbies for a continued cohesion policy (see campaign on Cohesion Policy post-2020 lead by Lower Austria) and organises sessions of information for its members on investment instruments (see EFSI information session on 30 November). However, AER looks at other opportunities such as partnerships with foundations and private partners in its « 100 solutions projects campaign ».
3) European and South Mediterranean regions hand in hand to fight climate change
As a member of the Committee of the Regions’ Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM), AER President was a speaker during the meeting of the ARLEM commission for sustainable territorial development. The occasion to call for regions from both sides of the mediterranean to work together for a better environnement. The AER President encouraged South Mediterranean regions to join AER as associate members. This invitation was also personally made at the occasion of a meeting with Mr Laenser, President of the Association of Moroccan Regions.
4) Women and Youth to lead the fight against climate change
In a world still men dominated, worldwide women leaders met at the COP22 Women Summit in the. AER President spoke of the need for more women, in all regions and from all walks of lives to engage in politics to defend the values of tolerance and green peace. The President of the Youth Regional Network was part of the Marrakech delegation and felt that much more could be done to have young people involved in the issue. Very little youth organisations were represented at the COP22. Some food for thoughts for next year’s COP. AER encourages its YRN and all young people across its regions to be bold, creative and active in its fight against climate change. In the end, this fight is fought for them and their children. Some of our messages have been included into the Marrakech roadmap for action that was adopted at the occasion of the Summit of local and regional leaders.