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C40 Cities and the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) have released a new action plan on climate and migration at Cop26, along with new $1m investment from German charitable institution Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Launched at the Bloomberg Green Summit on the sidelines of the conference, the Global Mayors Action Agenda on Climate and Migration outlines “bold steps” to accelerate global responses to the climate crisis and human mobility.
According to the C40-MMC Task Force, the mayor-led agenda includes specific measures, already being delivered in many cities around the world, which must become the “new normal”. This will help to deliver inclusive climate action that protects people most affected by climate displacement and intentionally includes them in the green and just transition.
The measures championed by mayors include investments to better adapt in place and reduce displacement; approaches to facilitate the dignified movement of those who live in risk-prone areas, preserving their assets, rights, and agency; increasing access for newcomers to urban infrastructure and services, regardless of migration status; and green and decent job creation programmes for urban migrants and displaced people.
Recognising that putting people at the centre of climate action requires a global effort, C40-MMC mayors and their allies have also invited national governments and international donors to support their vision.
Mayors call for commitments to “significantly increase planning for – and public and private investment in – urban climate adaptation, especially in low-income countries”.
“We are sending a strong message to the world: mayors are at the frontline of climate and migration, and innovative funders are ready to support this important work”
The mayors also urged nations to seize this moment to ensure that adaptation accounts for at least 50 per cent of global climate flows and that these investments directly benefit frontline, vulnerable or marginalised urban communities.
“Guided by the expertise of the C40-MMC Task Force, this next iteration shows once again that the best solutions are developed when we support the leaders of the places where some of the most creative and inspiring innovations are taking place: cities,” said Mark Watts, executive director of C40 Cities.
“Today, we are sending a strong message to the world: mayors are at the frontline of climate and migration, and innovative funders are ready to support this important work.”
Robert Bosch Stiftung’s $1m funding commitment will be used specifically to launch a new chapter of the Global Cities Fund (GCF) originally established by the MMC to respond to the unmet needs of cities as they support migrants and displaced people during Covid-19.
“At the Robert Bosch Stiftung, we recognise the growing urgency to address the intersection between climate change and human mobility and have made this a core strategic priority,” said Sandra Breka, CEO of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
“In response to the C40-MMC Task Force’s compelling advocacy, we are proud to partner with the Mayors Migration Council and C40 Cities to open a new chapter of the Global Cities Fund to support city-led initiatives on inclusive climate action in Africa.”
The announcement follows US president Joe Biden’s issuing of a Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration, marking the first time the US government officially recognises the impact of climate breakdown on migration.
“We recognise the growing urgency to address the intersection between climate change and human mobility and have made this a core strategic priority”
The report comes after C40-MMC Task Force mayors Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Sylvester Turner of Houston, and other US mayors sent a joint letter to president Biden calling on his administration to partner with cities to proactively plan for the impact of the climate crisis on migration at home and abroad.
The report responds to this call by committing to “scaling up support to urban areas to help localities plan for, accommodate, and integrate migrants and those displaced” and “build resilient urban systems.”
Climate migration policy
The C40-MMC Task Force said it stands ready to continue to advise on the local dimension of US climate migration policy and applauds this leadership on the global stage.
The C40-MMC Task Force action plan was guided by a “statement of principles” endorsed by mayors of: Barcelona, Spain; Bristol, UK; Dakar, Senegal; Dhaka North, Bangladesh; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Houston, US; Lima, Peru; Los Angeles, US; and Milan, Italy.