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CAP speaks at UNs COP23 Climate Change Conference and helps launch “Planners for Climate Action”

03 January 2018

CAP was an active participant in the United Nations COP23 Climate Change conference held in Bonn from 30 October – 17 November 2017.  In particular, CAP participated in the launch of the  Planners for Climate Action initiative as part of the COP23 Human Settlements day on the 11 November.

Speaking at the launch CAPs Secretary- General, Clive Harridge said:

“Climate change is of huge significance to Commonwealth nations many of which are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts and extreme weather events. Urban and regional planners have a critical role in helping secure a more sustainable and resilient future for all.  It is a privilege to be part of this important global initiative bringing together planners from around the world.”

The context for the launch of the initiative was provided by two round table sessions – one focussed in the role of planning professionals and the other on planning education.    The planning professionals session was led by a small group of panellists as follows:

  • Shipra Narang Suri – UN Habitat

  • Didier Vancutsem – International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP)

  • Jeff Soule – American Planning Association

  • Shi Nan - Urban Planning Society of China (participated by video link)

  • Clive Harridge - Commonwealth Association of Planners

The official launch of Planners for Climate Action was by Dr Joan Clos, UN Habitat Executive Director and Said Mouline Director General of AMEE (Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency).  In launching the initiative Dr Clos spoke about the urgent need for effective planning as one of the key tools to help mitigate the causes of climate change and to  make cities more climate resilient.

Cities’ contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions is estimated at between 37 per cent an 49 per cent globally – a significant portion of total emissions. At the same time, the global population is expected to be 70 per cent urban by 2050 and the majority of urban growth is taking place in medium and small human settlements.  Despite the significant challenges that they present, it is increasingly evident that well-planned cities can reduce congestion, pollution and provide energy efficiency, leading to reduced emissions. The Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda all acknowledge the role that cities have to play in combating climate change. Under the Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action, Human Settlements Day at COP23 promoted the invaluable role of non-state actors in global action towards curbing and mitigating climate change while also emphasizing the nexus between these two key issues.  Urban and regional planners have a key role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience.

The Planners for Climate Action initiative aims to bring global, regional and national associations of planning professionals and planning educators together to ensure that their expertise is incorporated into discussion and action.   Among other activities Planners for Climate Action will:

  • Advocate for  strengthened and accelerated urban and regional planning

  • Help to monitor implementation of relevant targets

  • Map and share knowledge

  • Jointly develop guidance and knowledge products

  • Provide substantive input to ongoing relevant initiatives

Further actions to implement and promote the initiative will take place at World Urban Forum 9 to be held on Kuala Lumpur in February 2018.

Further information

  1. For further information about CAPs contribution to COP23 and Planners for Climate Action please contact Clive Harridge 

  2. A press release announcing Planners for Climate Action can be found here

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