Climate leaders gather in Canberra to discuss local government’s role in Paris Agreement

(from the left) H.E. Tom Nørring, Ambassador of Denmark; Professor Barbara Norman, Director CURF & Chair Urban & Regional Planning University of Canberra; H. E. Dr Michael Pulch, AMbassador European Union; Kai Schaefer, Political Affairs, Protocol, Economic Affairs (Politik, Protokoll, Wirtschaft) Embassy of the Republic of Germany, Canberra; Steve Gawler, Regional Director ICLEI Oceania

(from the left) H.E. Tom Nørring, Ambassador of Denmark; Professor Barbara Norman, Director CURF & Chair Urban & Regional Planning University of Canberra; H. E. Dr Michael Pulch, AMbassador European Union; Kai Schaefer, Political Affairs, Protocol, Economic Affairs (Politik, Protokoll, Wirtschaft) Embassy of the Republic of Germany, Canberra; Steve Gawler, Regional Director ICLEI Oceania

Climate leaders from around the country gathered for a Roundtable in Canberra on 6th June to discuss the unity of local government climate action in Australia in meeting the Paris Agreement. The meeting was the second arranged by ICLEI Oceania with support from Canberra Urban & Regional Futures (CURF).

Highlights included speeches from former Deputy Chief Minister ACT Government & former Victorian Government Renewable Energy AdvocateSimon Corbell, the European Union Ambassador H.E. Dr Michael Pulch, the Ambassador of Denmark Mr Tom Nørring, Lord Mayor of Hobart Cr Anna Reynolds, and First Vice President ICLEI World Secretariat Cr Cathy Oke.

 In a captivating keynote speech Simon Corbell advocated that cities are crucial in Australia’s response to climate change because they provide hope, which became a trenchant motif that resonated throughout the day. 

 Mr Corbell also said that ‘cities have influence beyond their size’, which is why governments, including the European Union, are looking to cities as prime players for implementing the Paris Agreement. The European Commission, through its Strategic Partnerships for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA), is supporting the national consultation undertaken by ICLEI Oceania.  

Lord Mayor of Hobart Cr Anna Reynolds brought home the challenges that councils face when doing their best on climate. Budget constraints, moving with the local milieu and finding allies can be difficult, but Mayor Reynolds—echoing the message of hope—also acknowledged mayors can be great influencers beyond their boundaries. 

 And feeding into the burgeoning global movement of councils declaring climate emergencies, Cr Kim Le Cerf from the City of Darebin applauded leaders who listen to and speak their community’s sentiments; with Darebin an international leader of the climate emergency movement. 

ICLEI Oceania and CURF also presented findings from the national consultation which examined partnerships and program alignment through the lens of the common reporting framework as promoted by the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) and already adopted by 9,300+ signatories worldwide.

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