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Mayors of world’s largest cities pledge $1bn for urban climate action in the Global South

Published on: October 24 2022

With global leaders due to meet next month in Egypt at COP27, the mayors of some of world’s biggest cities have announced a record investment in climate projects for cities in the Southern Hemisphere.

Colombia’s capital Bogotá is one of the cities already benefiting from the C40 Cities Finance Facility | Photo by Jorge Gardner on Unsplash

Cities in the Southern Hemisphere will be able to access over $1bn to combat the effects of climate change. The record investment was announced at last week’s C40 World Mayors Summit in Buenos Aires.

Founded in 2005 by then London mayor Ken Livingston, C40 aims to cut emissions of its member cities by half within a decade. Its global network of almost 100 mayors represents 700 million people and a quarter of the world economy. 

“Countries in the Global South are increasingly exposed to floods, fires and droughts but they are only responsible for a small percentage of global historic emissions,” said Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, chief of government of Buenos Aires.  

Investment in the Global South “is crucial to aid developing countries tackle climate change, mitigate its devastating effects, and pursue adaptation efforts”, Rodríguez Larreta said.  

2.5 million tons of greenhouse gas 

Across the Southern Hemisphere, C40 is working with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and other partners on 34 projects, which are expected to leverage over $1bn of funding by the time they are implemented.  

So far, the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) has supported 20 projects in 17 cities. These projects, in cities ranging from Guadalajara to Jakarta, Mexico City, Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro, will be contributing to the reduction of around 2.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.  

Funded by the UK, German and French governments, the CFF announced a further 15 projects in 13 cities, ranging from mobility to waste management.  

In Latin America, C40 teamed up with the International Finance Corp (IFC) to build a pipeline of urban climate action projects of over $500 million.  

COP27 

When it comes to fighting climate change, “the difference between cities and national governments has been like the difference between night and day, with the cities as the climate doers, and governments the climate delayers”, said London mayor Sadiq Khan, the current chair of C40 Cities.   

The C40 group played an important role in last year’s UN climate change conference COP26, with a coalition of more than 1,000 cities and local governments pledging their commitment to keeping global warming below the 1.5 Celsius target agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement.  

With world leaders scheduled to meet next month in Egypt at COP27, C40 warned there is still “a significant gap” between finance available for urban climate action and investment needed.  

“Finance from public and private sources needs to be mobilised now to support cities in confronting the climate crisis in an effective and timely manner,” the mayors said.