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COP28: 40 Nations To Finance Solutions To Advance Sustainable Urban Development

To help the world get on a path that ensures the global temperature rise is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius as per Paris temperature goal, at least 40 nations presented a new strategy to coordinate its climate foreign policy efforts across several sectors


As the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), which is being held in Dubai, enters its second week, the governments unveiled the eagerly awaited initiatives to drive climate action in cities, spanning buildings, waste, transport, water, and nature. Countries are required to prioritise ending the fossil fuel era.

Held in collaboration with UN-Habitat and the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, the COP28 Multilevel Action, Urbanisation, Built Environment, and Transport Day brought together over 40 ministries.

The ‘Cement and Concrete Breakthrough’ and ‘Buildings Breakthrough’ introductions are among the larger group of ‘Breakthroughs’  from COP26 in Glasgow and COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. These introductions encourage governments to provide funding for initiatives that are essential to the development of more sustainable, equitable, and healthful human settlements.

Other announcements include a tool that will allow policymakers to gauge the advantages of 15-minute cities and a tracking and measurement tool for methane emissions from garbage that will be implemented in 20 global megacities.

These declarations are an extension of the promises made at the Local Climate Action Summit (LCAS) at the start of COP28, wherein over 60 nations came up with nearly USD 500 million in climate finance for urban infrastructure and introduced the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships for Climate Action (CHAMP) initiative.

Holding the global average temperature increase to ‘well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels” is the primary long-term temperature goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The landmark accord calls for governments to adopt national plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions. “Meeting the aims of the Paris Agreement and keeping 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach depends on the leadership and support of the world’s mayors and governors,” Sultan Al Jaber, the COP28 President, said.

“That is why at COP28 we have empowered leaders and communities by launching CHAMP and working with organizations like UN-Habitat and Bloomberg Philanthropies to recognize and support the important roles cities and their leaders can play in addressing climate change,” he further explained.

The outcomes of Wednesday include: The Buildings Breakthrough, introduced with the support of 27 countries, is led by France and Morocco.

By 2030, the alliance hopes to establish “near-zero and resilient buildings” as the new standard. This is in response to the fact that, on its own, the building industry is responsible for roughly 40 per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions connected to energy, 50 per cent of all extracted resources, and one-third of all garbage.

Together with the United Arab Emirates, the host nation for the COP28, Canada and a group of founding members that included Britain, Ireland, Japan, and Germany, announced the Cement and Concrete Breakthrough. By 2030, the effort hopes to achieve near-zero emission cement production in every part of the world and make clean cement the go-to option in global markets.

Governments of all levels, non-governmental organisations, and the commercial sector have united in the voluntary Waste to Zero project to decarbonise the waste management industry and turn waste into resources. Headlined by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), Abu Dhabi Waste Management Company (Tadweer), and Roland Berger, it’s an official programme under the UAE’s ‘Year of Sustainability’.

C40, a network of around 100 mayors of the world’s most successful cities, is stepping up efforts to hasten the adoption of the 15-minute City (15MC)—highly livable, walkable, and people-oriented cities—for cities, which account for more than 70 per cent of emissions.

The Green and Thriving Neighborhoods programme created in collaboration with Urban Partners provides deep support to more than 40 cities to help them turn the 15MC into reality through the implementation of concrete pilot projects.

The Green and Thriving Neighborhoods programme created in collaboration with Urban Partners provides deep support to more than 40 cities to help them turn the 15MC into reality through the implementation of concrete pilot projects.

(Cities Climate Leadership Group) C40 also introduced a tool to measure the impacts of 15MC with Novo Nordisk. The Healthy Neighborhoods Explorer, created with Novo Nordisk’s Cities will enable policymakers to measure how 15MCs significantly reduce emissions and offer residents better health.” By building resilience in cities, we can trigger a process which will help all of us to live a more sustainable life,” says Simone Sandholz from United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS).

At the COP28, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patrica Scotland launched a toolkit to help governments rapidly decarbonise their oil and gas sectors and implement strategies to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The Field Development Plan (FDP) Toolkit adopts a project-based approach for countries to expedite well-known decarbonisation solutions. These include avoiding flaring and venting, methane leaks, use of renewable energy, improved efficiency, and carbon capture.

Speaking at an event on the margins of COP28, the Secretary-General said,  “We need to inject urgency into our actions to deliver the drastic emissions reductions required to avert the catastrophic consequences of climate change. Rapid decarbonisation in the oil and gas sector is technically feasible and by using the new toolkit, governments can take action in a relatively short period.”

On Wednesday, Simon Stiell, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), made it very clear that, by the end of the next week, we need COP28 to deliver a bullet train, to speed up climate action. The only way we can solve the climate catastrophe is to break with the status quo.

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