Background context to the GCoM consultation (SPIPA)

What is the SPIPA national consultation program about?

The current national consultation initiative, supported under the European Commission’s Strategic Partnership for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA) seeks to establish whether the GCoM reporting framework provides an effective approach for consistent local government climate action across reporting across Australia. It will examine effective synergies with other current or planned local climate programs and partnerships with Governments, local government associations and other organisations who see unified action on climate challenges as important.

What is the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change (GCoM)?

GCoM provides a consistent reporting framework for local government climate action. This covers the areas of municipality wide greenhouse gas reporting and targets, identification of climate risk, hazards and adaptation goals. The preliminary reporting is then used to develop a relevant and comprehensive climate action plan for adoption by the Council on both mitigation and adaptation responses.

What are the GCoM reporting requirements?

A requirement of the GCoM and accepted as a commitment in the formal letter of compliance is that all climate reporting is transparent and shared publicly. The reporting is used to monitor progress, aggregate results, share outcomes and form the basis of further strategic implementation and support.

What does a council need to do to comply with the GCoM?

A sub-national organisation (i.e. Council, city, shire, regional alliance, authority) will:

  • Develop a community greenhouse profile and identify local climate risks and hazards.

  • Set a target for reducing greenhouse emissions and identify adaptation challenges.

  • Develop a comprehensive Strategy of action to lower carbon, increase renewables, adapt to climate challenges and build overall community resilience.

  • Report regularly and publicly and meet validation steps on the unified climate registry.

What is the Common Reporting Framework (CRF)?

Reporting is based on an established framework document (the GCoM - CRF) which is underpinned by comprehensive methodologies, support resources and a global network of local council/cities networks, governments, academia and business. The reporting mirrors the approach adopted internationally among Nations that have signed the Paris Agreement.

How is reporting managed and used?

One unified reporting platform is now used with results shared with GCoM and partners. Reporting through one platform provides further alignment with carbon disclosure reporting by companies, States and Regions and over 9200 cities. Outcome reports are prepared annually. Organisations adopting this reporting approach can interrogate and filter results by program, locality/geography or progress of participants.

To contribute to National climate obligations (e.g. Paris NDC/SDG) or State level commitments, the GCoM framework provides a consistent reporting process for sub-national governments (i.e. councils/regions/States) with access to resources, support networks and -via the transparent reporting requirement, access to the exchange of ideas and examples of local actions from other participants.

What does a local council or regional body have to do?

Councils make a commitment to take action on climate challenges and in so doing aim to build climate resilience within the local community. They commit to take action to reduce greenhouse emissions while developing strategic approaches to adapt to a changing climate. The council’s climate plan reflects the locally appropriate and specific way to determine the transition to a low carbon future which also provides the policy context for adapting to a changing climate and the identified impacts. Regions of councils can also work together to meet these commitment steps.

Aligning with the Paris Targets

Council strategies reflect the community expectation and standards for action on climate. In most cases local targets and approaches will be at least equal to, but generally more ambitious than National or State targets. Council’s role in local climate action is well established and outcomes are based on genuine consultation with the community, helping communicate the key climate messages and actions, while facilitating the strategic implementation of those climate plans over time.

Aligning with State Government policies and programs.

Local government also contributes to the implementation of State Government commitments on climate. The GCoM offers State Government programs a robust platform for accountability through a standardized reporting, validation and monitoring process. The GCoM aggregated annual reporting contributes to the official international annual climate reporting events on collective local government effort.

State Governments are encouraged to use the GCoM framework to ensure a simple yet consistent way to account and report on some or all of those programs outcomes. Many councils are already using the GCoM approach and others will be invited to use the common reporting framework. Therefore supporting this reporting opportunity has the advantage of simultaneously documenting local approaches and meeting State program outcomes, while identifying the local government sectors contribution to national reporting obligations (such as determined by the Paris Agreement).

Aligning Local Government Associations, regional networks or climate interest groups.

Many programs for local councils exist and have been developed from initiatives by local government associations and/or council networks as well as those within the NGO/NFP sector. While each initiative or project has value in and of itself, the GCoM reporting framework offers a level of consistency and support to these complementary programs. Alignment and partnership with GCoM offers a pathway for discrete programs to further help councils develop a more strategic and embedded approach to local government climate plans. This embedding reflects and includes assessment of the policy context, formal council adoption process, identification of budget and financing, and implementation and review steps.


The contents of this web page was produced with the financial support of the European Union in the frame of the Strategic Partnerships for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA) programme. The contents of this page are the sole responsibility of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

The programme Strategic Partnerships for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA) is jointly commissioned by the European Commission as a Foreign Policy Instrument Action and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in the context of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). SPIPA is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.