During the elaboration process of the Opinion, the rapporteur, the working document and subsequent draft opinion adopted in ENVE Commission on 30 June pointed out the need to involve not only cities but also rural areas, regions, territories in a more integrated governance on climate. This elaboration phase was accompanied by regular contact with the European Commission.
Subsequently, on 20th July, in its Communication "Accelerating Europe's transition to a low-carbon economy", the European Commission recognised the importance to involve all actors, included rural areas.
The opinion was also elaborated paralelly to the European Parliament elaboration of its resolution on COP22. CoR rapporteur and one of the MEP leading for the drafting of the resolution had close contacts. The EP resolution includes amendments directly suggested by the rapporteur and the CoR opinion: paragraphs 46 (role of non state actors including cities and regions), 47 (cities and regions the biggest contributors to the NAZCA platform, this platform should be fully integrated within the UNFCCC process), paragraph 13 (the role of cities and regions in implementing the agreement).
In the context of the COP22, while the formalisation of the role of cities and regions has not taken the form of a COP decision and an action plan for cities and regions on climate, the role of non-Party stakeholders has been further strenghtened with the launch by the high level climate champions of a Global Climate Action Plan to boost action among non-Party stakeholders and act as a bridge with Parties. In addition an High-level meeting was organised on 18 November during the COP22 with the participation of all stakeholders. The EU delegation also pushed for the organisation of an in-session workshop on the role of non-Party stakeholders in implementing the Paris Agreement during the May Bonn session preparing COP23 later this year. This workshop is a unique opportunity for the CoR together with european cities and regions, and networks to partner and help define an inclusive and integrated global climate governance as these insessions conclusions are usually followed by action and endorsement by Parties.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- The Paris Agreement is a considerable achievement in that it is universal, binding and balanced. However, even if fully implemented, the Parties' current pledges will not be sufficient to reach the agreed goals. Enhanced action will have to come from regions and cities, which are closely connected with local communities and territories, while the Parties must table updated contributions as soon as possible. With regard to the EU in particular, the European Committee of the Regions maintains its past position regarding the need for a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
- The Paris Agreement recognised the importance of multi-level governance in climate policy. This principle should now be put into practice across all levels of government in order to develop connections and to close existing gaps between national, regional and local climate change policies.
- As the biggest contributors to the LPAA and NAZCA, regions and cities have already shown the extent of their commitment to combatting climate change and their potential for increased action. Their efforts should be accounted for and included within the respective Nationally Determined Contributions.
- Better integration of regions and cities within the UNFCCC process is also necessary and would allow for feedback from the ground to be channelled back to the UN level in a timely manner. It is therefore necessary to establish a permanent and direct dialogue between the different levels, starting from the local and regional level. Measures to enhance this dialogue are included in the opinion.
- The role of research in formulating appropriate policy responses to the challenge of climate change is crucial. Close links with the academic world will contribute to good policy-making with decisions based on sound expert advice.
- Although there are different funding opportunities within the EU, regions and cities encounter various hurdles, which prevent them from accessing the support measures available at EU level; the CoR therefore calls on the European Commission, the EIB and Member States to develop the appropriate administrative capacity of regions and cities to allow them to access these resources.