Key Actions from C40 Mayors’ Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery- Press Release

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Key Actions from C40 Mayors’ Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery 

Together as C40 mayors, we have collectively identified key actions that are critical to achieve our vision for a green and just recovery.

  • We will lead in taking action for jobs and an inclusive economy by:
    • Creating new good green jobs fast
    • Supporting and protecting essential workers
    • Support and deliver training programmes to upskill and reskill the workforce, and those currently unemployed, to enable a just transition to an inclusive economy.
  • We will lead in taking action for resilience and equity – providing fundamental public services for all, that underpin a fair society and strong economy, and that are resilient to future shocks, by:
    • Delivering a post COVID-safe and resilient mass transit system
    • Providing and investing in fundamental public services for all such as clean water, food, sanitation and affordable, healthy housing.
  • We will lead in taking action for health and well-being – giving public space back to people and nature, reclaiming our streets and guaranteeing clean air to ensure liveable communities, by:
    • Creating ‘15 minute cities’ where all residents of the city are able to meet most of their needs within a short walk or bicycle ride from their homes
    • Giving streets back to people, by permanently reallocating more road space to walking and cycling, investing in city-wide walking and cycling networks and green infrastructure
    • Building with nature to prioritise ‘nature based solutions’ eg. parks, green roofs, and permeable pavements, to help reduce the risks of extreme heat, drought, and flooding, and improve liveability and physical and mental health

C40 mayors call on national and regional governments, central banks and international financial institutions to join them in delivering a green and just recovery from COVID-19.

Our calls to action are:

  1. The only stimulus should be a green stimulus

Governments and multilateral agencies should invest in a green and just recovery by conditioning all stimulus packages, corporate aid and recovery funds to support the low-carbon transition we need and to prioritise investment in sustainable, climate-resilient industries and infrastructure.

  1. Commit to an equitable and inclusive recovery

Plans and investments for the recovery need to address the root causes of economic inequalities by: providing direct and equitable access to green jobs and equal employment opportunities in the low-carbon transition; increasing equitable participation in the labour force through training and upskilling, especially for currently marginalised groups; and developing and applying appropriate regularisation mechanisms (ie. formal recognition, documentation, etc.) to provide better employment conditions and social protections for essential informal workers.

  1. Protect and champion mass transit

Invest, subsidize and support affordable zero-emission mass transit. To keep our air clean and prioritise the health of our residents, governments must use stimulus funds to make public transportation more accessible, reliable, frequent, affordable, well-integrated, safe, and more resilient in the face of future potential crises. Governments must also make it easier for cities to procure electric buses whilst reallocating road space to public transit, cycling, and pedestrian infrastructure, and help cities maintain and enhance some of the successful air quality, climate and road safety improvements introduced during lockdowns.

  1. Prioritise and invest in clean energy

Invest in renewable energy and building retrofit city programmes to create thousands of jobs, help residents save on energy bills and protect people’s health and safety with better and more energy efficient, healthier homes and offices.

  1. Invest in resilient cities as the engines of the recovery

Cities have been on the front-line of the pandemic and national governments, international financial institutions, multilateral development banks and other relevant financial entities must channel financial support directly to cities and ensure that cities can easily access this finance, recognising the need to combat the existing barriers they encounter.

  1. End all public fossil fuel investments and subsidies

Accelerate the global and urban energy transition as a cornerstone of the COVID-19 green and just recovery by ending all public fossil fuel investments and subsidies. It has been 11 years since G20 governments pledged in Pittsburgh to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, yet no action has been taken. With a clear need to invest in clean power, public transport, and cities, and fossil fuel prices at historic lows, all national governments must decisively move away from investments in high carbon and fossil fuel intensive industries and increase investments in a low carbon future.

The members of the Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force are: 

Chair of the Task Force Mayor of Milan, Italy, Giuseppe Sala; Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Yvonne Aki Sawyerr; Secretary for the Environment of Hong Kong, China, KS Wong; Mayor of Lisbon, Portugal, Fernando Medina; Mayor of Rotterdam, Netherlands, Ahmed Aboutaleb; Mayor of Medellín, Colombia, Daniel Quintero Calle; Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Australia, Sally Capp; Mayor of Montréal, Canada, Valérie Plante; Mayor of New Orleans, USA, LaToya Cantrell; Mayor of Seattle, USA, Jenny Durkan; Mayor of Seoul, South Korea, Park Won-soon, was a member of the Task Force until his death.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies 

  • It has been more than a decade since the Pittsburgh declaration in 2009, in which G20 governments agreed to cut subsidies for fossil fuels in order to combat climate change.
  • Government support for the production and consumption of fossil fuels totalled USD 478 billion in 2019, according to OECD and IEA analysis of 77 economies.
  • Since 2015, G20 countries have acted directly counter to the legally binding goals of the Paris Agreement, by providing at least USD 77 billion a year in finance for oil, gas, and coal projects through their public finance institutions.
  • There is still no plan, deadline or comprehensive tracking system for G20 governments to meet their 2009 pledge.

Data made public today on the Energy Policy Tracker, a new website tracking climate and energy-related recovery policies, shows G20 governments have committed USD 151 billion to fossil fuels in COVID-19 recovery packages. Of them, only 20% make financial support conditional on green requirements, such as setting climate targets or implementing pollution reduction plans.

The C40 Knowledge Hub 

C40 is supporting cities to better understand and respond to the pandemic, including by sharing insights and expertise from cities around the world which have been managing the spread of COVID-19. Learn more at our dedicated COVID-19 Portal on the C40 Knowledge Hub.