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Speech by H.E. Vincent Guérend, the EU Ambassador to Indonesia, at the Launch of the Global Covenant of Mayors in Southeast Asia
Surabaya, 13 September 2018
Distinguished representatives from the Indonesian Government,
Distinguished Mayor Tri Rismaharini from Surabaya,
Distinguished mayors and city representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure, in my capacity as Head of the EUD to Indonesia to launch the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) in Southeast Asia. Being here in Surabaya, with Mayor Tri Rismaharini as member of the 2018 Global Covenant’s Board, is particularly remarkable.
It is now clearer than ever that we can only address climate change if cities take action. Cities are both where most of the CO2 is emitted and where the impact of climate change is most severely felt. At this meeting, mayors from Indonesia and other Asian can tell that climate change is real! They feel it on a daily basis.
Negative effects of climate change add more pressure and complexities to urban problems. Some impacts of climate change have already occurred in Indonesian cities, mostly in cities located in low-lying coastal areas, such as water crisis, tropical storms, sea level rise, and flooding in coastal areas. To give few illustrations, it is predicted that about 25 national growth centres and 84 regional growth centres are at high risk to coastal inundation. Indonesia’s commitment to 29% emission reduction by 2030 - and an additional 12% subject to the provision of international support – is remarkable.
But cities are also the places where innovative solutions are being developed and rolled out. This is why the Global Covenant of Mayors is so important. It is a unique global coalition of local authorities, comprising thousands of cities across 6 continents in more than 120 countries. Today's launch of the Global Covenant of Mayors in Southeast Asia here in Surabaya is an important milestone in its development. It will allow us to do more to assist cities in realising their climate ambition. The potential is huge: by 2030, Global Covenant cities could collectively reduce 1.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year, compared to a business-as-usual scenario. This is as much as taking 276 million fossil-fuel cars off the road!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The European Union has long been committed to international efforts to tackle climate change and felt the duty to set an example through robust policy-making at home. The EU has set itself some of the world’s most ambitious climate and energy targets for 2020 and it was the first region to have passed binding legislation to ensure they are achieved. Key climate and energy targets are set in the 2020 climate and energy package as well as in the 2030 climate and energy framework. These targets are defined to put the EU on the way to achieve the transformation towards a low-carbon economy as detailed in the 2050 low-carbon roadmap.
The EU tracks its progress on cutting emissions through regular monitoring and reporting (for example with support of our colleagues from the Joint Research Centre who are here today). Also, our EU Adaptation Strategy recognises that improved access to funding is critical in building a climate-resilient Europe. Therefore, the current Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 ensures that at least 20% of the European budget is climate-related expenditure, including both adaptation and mitigation. In absolute terms, close to 200 billion euros go towards energy, environment, climate and sustainable transport.
Most importantly, the Global Covenant of Mayors grounds also on the EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, a movement initiated in 2008 involving over 7.000 local and regional authorities, voluntarily committing to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources on their territories. European cities are showing leadership and engagement: By 2020 they will, collectively, have reduced CO2 emissions by 27%, increased energy efficiency by 20%, and local energy production by – listen carefully – 90%!
The Global Covenant of Mayors is capitalising on the experience gained over the past eight years in Europe and beyond; and is building upon the key success factors of the initiative: its bottom-up governance, its multi-level cooperation model and its context-driven framework for action. Also, measurable results through a sound monitoring and reporting are at the core of the GCoM actions.
Fully in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and climate justice principles, the Global Covenant of Mayors will tackle three key issues: climate change mitigation, adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change and universal access to secure, clean and affordable energy.
The European Union is supporting the implementation of the Global Covenant of Mayors in Southeast Asia through the International Urban Cooperation (IUC) project. The IUC project will not only support cities in elaborating energy and climate action plans but will also provide knowledge on many areas including existing Financial Climate & Energy (FCE) instruments to implement the plans and fill the green investment gap at city level.
As a global project with chapters in North and Latin America as well as several in Asian countries, the IUC will also draw on best practices from Europe and other regions. Also, the IUC project will aim at drawing on established experience of the GCoM partners (including UN Habitat and city networks) with cities in Indonesia based on their technical capacity to carry out specific solutions for climate change challenges at city level.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you have heard, there is a lot of work to be done. But today is also a day to celebrate. Let me conclude by thanking you all for being present today, especially to those who have travelled from other countries.
I wish the Global Covenant of Mayors in Southeast Asia a long life. It is the most ambitious effort to promote local climate action the world.
I thank you very much for your attention.