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Mediterranean cities and regions urge COP27 to support locally led climate action  
ARLEM members recall that although the world seems off track when it comes to tackle the climate emergency, the importance of subnational governments in achieving climate ambitions and in securing global energy security cannot be underestimated.

The world's leaders should use the opportunity of the COP27 global climate talks in Egypt to bring cities and regions into decision-making on climate action, unlock climate funding for subnational governments, and encourage locally sensitive responses to mitigation and adaptation. The local and regional leaders , meeting at the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) in Izmir (Türkiye) on 7-8 November, specifically called for the creation at the UN talks in Sharm el-Sheikh of an Alliance for Cities with Circular Culture to encourage a shift towards more sustainable urbanism and clean energy transition.

The ARLEM meeting focused on climate action in the Mediterranean and inclusive and resilient cities in two sessions, but also adopted two sets of recommendations designed to foster entrepreneurship in the region. The first, by Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, President of the Government of Andalusia (Spain), addressed the challenges of creating innovation eco-systems and start-ups. The second, by Abdelaziz Derouiche, President of the Prefectoral Council of Rabat and President of the Moroccan Association of the Presidents of the Councils of Prefectures (AMPCPP), considered how to re-orientate service sectors in the region by transferring skills from and to the tourism sector. Both reports focused on the recovery after the COVID-19 outbreak.

The emphasis on entrepreneurship reflects a long-standing commitment by ARLEM to encourage young people to develop businesses, and the meeting ended with the ceremony of the fourth annual ARLEM award to a young entrepreneur. The winner this year was Manar Ramadan of Banlastic (Egypt), an environmental organisation that is working with the public and private sectors, to encourage a move away from single-use plastics and, ultimately, a ban on plastic bags.

ARLEM received once again the support of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) through the deputy secretary-general Abdelkder El Khissassi, who underlined the importance of strengthening the territorial dimension of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, as well as of amplifying the voices of local and regional authorities in the Mediterranean region.

ARLEM's call for an Alliance for Cities with Circular Culture builds on an initiative by the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), and promoted by Tunç S​oyer, mayor of the metropolitan municipality of Izmir, host of this plenary session. This initiative aims at promoting the idea of a 'circular culture' that would underpin urbanism by endeavouring to achieve a harmony with nature, with each other, with the past, and with change.

The meeting of ARLEM was, however, marred by the temporary restraint by the Turkish authorities of Apostolos Tzitzikostas , First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and Governor of Central Macedonia, at the port of Izmir upon his arrival. This unacceptable and regrettable incident is now being addressed through official EU-Türkiye channels and at the request of the ARLEM bureau. Following his decision to return to Greece, the plenary session was co-chaired by Enzo Bianco, chair of the CIVEX commission in charge of external relations, and member of Catania Municipal Council, and by Ahmad Al Khazali, Mayor of Greater Ramtha municipality in Jordan.

All documents relating to the ARLEM meeting can be found here.

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