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EU Cities and Regions at COP27: Wednesday, 16 November 2022  
​Welcome to the fourth edition of the COP Chronicles, bringing you fresh news on COP27 from Sharm el-Sheikh 

Wednesday 16 November marked the tenth day at COP27 climate talks, another busy day for the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) delegation to Sharm el-Sheikh. The CoR hosted an event in the EU pavilion gathering global networks of subnational governments to launch the Declaration 'EU Green Deal: from local to global'. Delegates engaged in discussions with High-Level Champions, the Czech Presidency, the European Parliament and other key institutional partners to address the current state of the negotiations and the road to the upcoming COP28 to be held in Dubai. A press conference with CoR members was held in the COP27 Cairo press room, jointly conveying the need for a stronger role of subnational governments in international climate talks and in the implementation of the Paris agreement. In a series of Blue Zone events, CoR members highlighted the importance of local and regional action in biodiversity, disaster risk reduction, the deployment of green hydrogen and the New European Bauhaus , 'the soul of the Green Deal', among others.

Climate Champions Morning Dialogue. The third and final of a series of high-level meetings between Nigel TOPPING, High-Level Climate Champion for COP26 and Mahmoud MOHIELDIN, High-Level Climate Champion for COP27, and representatives of the Marrakech Partnership, Non-State Actors Leaders, UNFCCC leadership, COP Presidencies and key partners. Taking part in the dialogue, Vincent CHAUVET (FR/Renew) applauded the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action as a good way for subnational governments cooperate and engage in global climate action, also stressing that these kinds of initiatives must lead to a stronger recognition of subnational actors within the UNFCCC process.

Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) – PLATFORMA political meeting with EU institutional delegates. PLATFORMA is the pan-European coalition of towns and regions that are active in decentralised cooperation, serving as a hub of expertise on European local and regional governments’ international action. The CoR delegation joined Diana ACCONCIA, Director on International affairs and climate finance, DG CLIMA, European Commission, in an exchange with PLATFORMA and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Africa delegates to discuss the role of decentralised cooperation in sustainable development and tackling climate change.

Side event: Building Bridges in Cities and Regions with New European Bauhaus. The New European Bauhaus, launched in November 2021, is aimed at connecting the European Green Deal to the daily lives and living spaces of citizens. The EIT Climate-KIC organised event aimed at bringing a diverse set of experts and stakeholders to the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub (UGIH) in order to discuss the role of the New European Bauhaus within the EU and beyond. Alison GILLILAND (IE/PES) highlighted the importance of culture and creative sectors in mainstreaming climate action into citizens’ everyday lives: “Very few sectors are better placed than the culture and creative sectors to bridge the gap between what we know and feel about climate change, and to critically examine and provoke a shift in cultural values and norms. The New European Bauhaus is the soul of the Green Deal”.

Bilateral meeting with the Czech Presidency of the Council. The CoR delegation met with the Czech Presidency to take stock of the negotiations and to work towards reinforcing the EU mandate for COP28. Jan DUSÍK, Deputy Minister of Environment, Czechia, welcomed the good cooperation between the CoR and the Czech Presidency on the road to COP27. The CoR delegation called on the standing Presidency to urge the Parties to integrate multilevel and cooperative action, as an essential element of implementation and ambition of the Paris Agreement, asking for the explicit recognition of these points in the COP27 conclusions.

Side event: Green hydrogen: how to reconcile North/South stakes in the development of the future market. Green hydrogen could take an important place in the global energy mix, having a profound impact on the state of geopolitics in the future.Jakub CHEŁSTOWSKI (PL/ECR), CoR rapporteur on the Energy package on gas, hydrogen and methane emissions highlighted the importance of hydrogen in addressing fossil fuel dependency: “Poland manufactures a lot of hydrogen. It is not entirely clean hydrogen because it uses coal for its production, but it can still be used to decrease dependency on fossil fuels. We must become independent of fossil fuels – this is not an option, it is an absolute necessity”.

Side event: Hearing the voice of subnational governments: Learning from the Edinburgh Declaration for biodiversity. The Edinburgh Declaration on biodiversity is a key milestone in the formal recognition of contributions by subnational governments to the achievement of global biodiversity goals and targets. At the upcoming CBD COP15 in Canada, the goal of the Edinburgh Declaration is for Parties to formalise this role via the adoption of a Plan of Action specifically dedicated to subnational governments. The CoR is an official signatory of the Declaration. Marieke SCHOUTEN (NL/The Greens) highlighted the link between the Edinburgh and UNFCCC processes: “The achievements of the Edinburgh process can be replicated for the Paris agreement and in the UNFCCC context, but the question is why and how. LRAs are at the front line when it comes to climate change impacts and biodiversity”. Roby BIWER (LU/PES), CoR rapporteur on Bio-diverse cities and regions beyond 2020 at the UN CBD COP 15 and in the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and member of the CoR delegation CBD COP15 highlighted the benefits that biodiversity and nature can have: “We have seen that high levels of biodiversity and nature in cities lead to better resilience and a higher level of wellbeing and comfort. Healthy ecosystems act as buffers against hazards and the impacts of climate change while building resilience, sustaining livelihoods, creating jobs and supporting recovery actions from disasters. It is a win-win situation”.

Bilateral meeting with MEP Javi LÓPEZ. In a bilateral meeting, Alison GILLILAND (IE/PES) sat down with MEP Javi LÓPEZ to discuss how to increase cooperation between the CoR and the European Parliament, and how to bank on the synergies between them. Both parties pointed out the importance of preparations for the upcoming COP28 in Dubai, as well as the upcoming European Parliament elections in 2024.

Side event: Disaster Risk Reduction: GCoM Risk Assessment and Solutions. The EU Pavilion panel discussion presented key urban adaptation and mitigation tools aimed at increasing resilience to climate change and helping prepare for its adverse impacts. Through valuable accounts of Mayors and local leaders from all over the world, the panel explored cities’ achievements to reduce their vulnerability to climate change and environmental hazards. Kata TÜTTŐ (HU/PES), CoR rapporteur on Gender equality and Climate change: towards mainstreaming the gender perspective in the European Green Deal highlighted the importance of decision-makers taking into account the social impacts of adaptation measures: “When we look at measures, when we look at investments, when we look at budget – we need to be looking at how they will help close the gap with disadvantaged groups of citizens. When we say that our society will carry a great burden on its shoulders this winter, we need to be aware that it is women who will have to carry a disproportionate burden. We very much need to look through a gender lens when making these decisions”.

Bilateral meeting with COP27 Presidency Youth Envoy. The CoR delegation met with Omnia EL OMRANI, COP27 Presidency Youth Envoy. Ms EL OMRANI presented the main requests of the YOUNGOs, the Constituency officially representing the voice of the youth and their policy demands in the UNFCCC. She highlighted the importance of mobilising financial assistance and simplifying the accreditation processes for youth participation at COPs. She also invited Parties to designate young people as part of national delegations, and to make them responsible of relevant agenda points. The CoR delegation highlighted the need for meaningful youth participation in decision-making and presented the CoR Young Elected Politicians programme (YEPs).

CoR event: EU Green Deal: from local to global. All around the globe, cities and regions are driving climate ambitions, promoting innovative solutions and mainstreaming sustainability into the everyday lives of citizens. Without the full engagement of their subnational governments, Parties cannot move from commitments to achievements in time to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. The CoR delegation rallied key global networks of regions and cities to renew the partnership between them and launch the Declaration on the EU Green Deal: from local to global. Representatives from ICLEI, Under2Coalition, EIT Climate-KIC, Climate Alliance, Climate Chance, Regions4 and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) gathered to discuss a joint Roadmap for COP28 and highlight the key milestones for cooperation. ​

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