The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, participated in the opening of the world summit of cities on climate emergency that was held on September 24 at the United Nations coinciding with the High Level Political Forum convened by this body and which brings together Heads of State and Government with the objective of addressing the climate emergency challenge and following up on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in the 2030 Agenda. This forum was the first United Nations summit on the SDGs since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015.
This United Nations forum is the space where cities debate and speak directly with State representatives. “We want to do more than that. States must recognize cities as allies, partners and protagonists of climate action”, said Mayor Colau, who claimed that cities participate in governance and distribution of financing to make the actions more effective. She also placed cities as protagonists of change: the places where all the global challenges and the majority of the population are concentrated. “States need us, they don’t just have to come here to listen to us”, said the mayor, who is also co-president of UCLG, the world’s leading network of cities. In this regard, she proposed stable mechanisms for collaboration with States that include improvements in financing and governance.
“Who really commands here?”, asked Mayor Colau before an auditorium formed by large cities and representatives of States and the United Nations. Colau highlighted the role of the United Nations as a space where sovereignty and democratic legitimacy rests, but regretted that large declarations and action agendas are approved and then not only they are not fulfilled, but that a speculative and predatory economic model is maintained. “We want these meetings not to be limited to people who travel by plane and sleep in hotels: these summits must have a return to society, which wants concrete solutions”, said Colau, who expressed her agreement with the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and activist Greta Thunberg, who said that now is the time to take action.
On the other hand, in New York, Mayor Colau, who intensified the agenda of relations with other cities and institutions, was accompanied by the deputy mayor of Agenda 2030, Digital Transition, Sports and Territorial and Metropolitan Coordination, Laia Bonet, who is also responsible for the area of international relations of the Barcelona City Council.
Information and images in a press release of the Press Service of the Barcelona City Council (includes audio)
Video from Press Service of the Barcelona City Council
Synthesis in Info Barcelona (in English)
Press conference with the president of Costa Rica and the German Minister of Environment
On September 23, Ada Colau participated in a meeting with the press along with the president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, and the German Minister of Environment, Svenja Schulze.
More information on video of the Press Service of the Barcelona City Council
Session “Live, work and move in green”
Ada Colau also participated in the formal summit meeting on climate action in the “Living, working and moving in green” session that the United Nations organized in New York. During her speech, the mayor stressed that “in the cities we like to come here to do actions and not declarations”. “More than 70% of the emissions are concentrated in citie , these are unfortunately protagonists of the climate problem… but above all we want to be protagonists of the solutions”. She added that “in Barcelona we have approved a very ambitious Climate Plan, which has worked with social movements, experts and after a great participation process with more than 800 entities. We want to reduce emissions by 45% in 2030 and be a carbon neutral city 2050…”.
More information in a press release of the Press Service of the Barcelona City Council (in Catalan)