Today, the COP28 Presidency joined with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to call on housing, urban development, environment, and finance ministers to back the ‘Joint Outcome Statement on Urbanisation and Climate Change’ (the Statement).

The Statement, which was supported by over 40 Ministers of Environment, Urban Development and Housing was put forward at COP28 during the second Ministerial Meeting on Urbanisation and Climate Change.

At the event, the COP28 Presidency reiterated its call to national governments to fully integrate climate action among all levels of government and collaborate with subnational governments on the design and implementation of new climate plans and policies, including the next round of NDCs ahead of COP30 in 2025.

The Statement sets out a ten-point plan to boost the inclusion of cities in the decision-making process on climate change, drive multilevel climate action and accelerate the deployment of urban climate finance so that cities are prepared and supported to respond to the climate crisis.

Currently, as many as 90 percent of cities are threatened by rising sea levels and storms, and their residents are exposed to ten degrees higher temperatures than their counterparts in rural areas.

“COP28 is a paradigm shift to action. We are empowering and supporting cities on the frontlines of climate change to seize the initiative,” said Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President.

“We have brought over 450 mayors and governors to COP28 and their hyperlocal knowledge is crucial in informing our global solutions. When we talk about inclusivity this is what we mean, we need all voices at the table. I thank and commend those involved for their leadership,” Dr. Al Jaber added.

“Each city has individual needs and solutions but fundamentally this is a global problem, which this Statement shows. We have bought over 1,000 mayors and governors to COP28 as, when we talk about full inclusivity this is what we mean. We know we can need to learn from and support those on the frontlines. I thank and commend those involved for their leadership,” Dr. Al Jaber went on to say.

The Statement builds on the ‘Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships’ (CHAMP), which was launched at the Local Climate Action Summit (LCAS) on 1st December at COP28 and aims to inform and empower Ministers. CHAMP aims to identify and strengthen levers to increase and accelerate the deployment of climate finance to enable cities and local governments to respond to the climate crisis. It also aims to enable the inclusion of local and regional leaders in the formation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). To date, CHAMP has been endorsed by over 60 national governments.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Under-Secretary-General of UN-Habitat, said, “The Ministerial Meeting was a key moment in our work toward inclusive and climate-resilient cities and communities. A diverse range of stakeholders gathered including leaders from the national and local level, underscoring the shared priority of supporting urban environments to withstand climate challenges."

Though cities, which are home to most of the world’s population, contribute over 70 percent of CO2 emissions, immediate action could bring down their emissions to near net-zero. Recognising cities’ role in climate action, two-thirds of the updated NDCs feature moderate or strong urban content. However, finance remains a critical bottleneck, with only 21 percent of climate finance allocated to adaptation and resilience, and only 10 percent reaching the local level.

The Ministerial Meeting on Urbanisation and Climate Change represents the second time Ministers responsible for Housing, Urban Development, and Environment have convened during the COP process. The first was during COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh with the support of UN-Habitat, which marked a significant first step in coordinating different levels of government to address the climate crisis in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement.

During the COP28 Ministerial today, delegates called for the Ministerial Meeting on Urbanisation and Climate Change to remain a feature of future COP meetings.