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Cities as the prime driving forces for climate action

CAP can make a continuing contribution to addressing the multiple issues that arise from a changing climate. Our strength is in our considerable resource of professional planners who span the globe. CAP can be especially effective in the realm of climate change adaption and community resilience policies and actions. 


CAP’s Climate Action Working Group (CAWG) was established to mainstream climate actions. 

Planners have been at the forefront of climate change research and action. What planners need, worldwide, is shareable implementation policies and examples of projects and programs that assist in climate change mitigation, adaptation, and community resilience.

CAWG’s mandate

  • Take an active part in UN-Habitat Planners for Climate Action initiatives

  • Tie Climate Action to CAP’s Sustainable Cities Initiative/Partnership

  • Develop Climate Action statements and responses to global events, calls for action

  • Identify new partnerships and funding for projects and initiatives

  • Prepare for UN Climate Change Conferences, UN-Habitat World Urban Forums, and similar events 

  • Develop resources and/or projects to build urban resilience to climate change impacts

  • Create and post Climate Action content for CAP’s online channels.

CAWG’s principles

Through its actions, the CAWG attempts to follow certain two key principles:

(1) focus on actionable and scalable responses to various climate impacts that are interconnected and global 
(2) build resilient communities that lead to more equitable social and economic opportunities for everyone.   

Why Cities Are Essential for Climate Action

About 56% (4.4 billion) of the global population live in the cities and it is estimated 2.5 billion people will live in cities by 2050, according to the World Bank. Determined actions in urban areas can be influential in achieving long-term sustainability of the global energy system, including the carbon emission reductions required to meet the climate goals reached at COP21 in Paris.


Cities are significant contributors to climate change. According to UN Habitat, cities:

  • utilize 78% of the world's energy 

  • contribute more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions,

  • occupy less than 2% of the Earth surface.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) highlights that cities represent 70% of the cost- effective emissions-reduction opportunities between now and 2050. Cities will be the determining factor in whether the world succeeds in limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees C (3.56 degrees F) and preventing the worst effects of climate change. 

Major areas of action include: heating and cooling, sustainable transport, bridging local and international policies. 

As a subset of Green Finance (COP 26), Climate Finance and the transfer of public resources from developed to developing countries will be crucial to mitigating and adapting to climate change. Climate finance will strengthen financially unstable countries in their most vulnerable climate circumstances.

Designing urban green spaces for climate adaptation and mitigation 

According to the UNFCCC, urban green spaces contribute to the resilience and mitigation of climate change. Proper management of urban green spaces will enhance air quality, reduce the urban heat island effect, act as a flood mitigation system, and improve human health and well-being.

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