5 August 2019

Local, subnational and national governments endorse Partnership Declaration on Collaborative Climate Action

The International Conference on Climate Action – ICCA2019 convened in Heidelberg on 22 and 23 May 2019. It was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety together with the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg and the City of Heidelberg. Roughly 1,000 participants from 80 countries discussed intensively about collaborative climate action. ICLEI European Secretariat and UN-Habitat co-led a workshop on ecosystem-based adaptation with the title: ‘Adapting to change. Enhancing local resilience’. The first part of the workshop, led by UN Habitat, explored how urban poor communities are taking action to adapt to climate change, and how these actions can be scaled up and linked to city-wide strategies and plans, national policies and governance frameworks, and international advocacy.

The second part of the workshop, led by ICLEI Europe, addressed the broader theme of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) – or the conservation, sustainable management or restoration of ecosystems to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. EbA is based on the recognition that humans are inherently dependent on ecosystems to survive and thrive, and is therefore recognized as an approach capable of delivering multiple benefits in addition to adaptation, such as carbon storage, pollination and improved health and wellbeing. The outcomes of the conference were summarized in the Heidelberg Partnership Declaration on Collaborative Climate Action across all levels of government, which can be accessed and endorsed on the ICCA 2019 website.

Ecosystem-based adaptation is of growing interest at a high level for its potential to support Articles 4.1 and 7.1 of the Paris Agreement: increasing adaptive capacity on the basis of equitable, sustainable development.  However, EbA has yet to be effectively integrated into all levels of governance, and, crucially, significant gaps remain in supporting action at the local level, where the impacts of climate change are acutely felt. The prospect of developing Regionally and Locally Determined Contributions in connection to Nationally Determined Contributions – a key demand arising from the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue and voiced at COP24, represents one possible step in this direction.