Since the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance, also known as the Alliance, has been renewed in 2019 under a new Secretariat hosted by the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), the climate crisis and its impacts on urban areas and their residents have become ever more evident. Estimates suggest that by 2050, 570 low-lying coastal cities and around 800 million urban dwellers will be severely affected by rising sea levels of at least 0.5 meters. 1.6 billion urban residents will suffer from heatwaves including extreme temperatures above 35°C. Projections of around seven billion people living in urban areas by 2050 – around two thirds of the projected world population – clearly show that cities and their residents must be at the forefront of tackling the climate emergency. On the other end, greenhouse gas emissions in cities, accounting for 70% of global CO2 emissions from energy use, can be reduced by almost 90% by 2050 with technically feasible, widely available measures, potentially supporting 87 million jobs in 2030 and generating a global economic dividend of USD 24 trillion.
We are therefore convinced that strong multi-stakeholder partnerships are crucial to combat the climate crisis. The Federal Republic of Germany is thus very proud to support the Alliance that has committed itself to mobilizing finance for city level climate action at scale by 2030. With its clear focus on advocacy, knowledge sharing, cooperation, and joint action, the Alliance fills a unique niche in the urban climate finance sphere and brings together all relevant stakeholders in order to leverage synergies and amplify ambition.
Much has been achieved in the past two years. The “2019-2021 Alliance Highlights and Impact Report” marks the two-year anniversary of the renewed launch of the Alliance. It provides an overview of core activities over the last two years, key areas that members are engaging in, and identifies trends and gaps in climate finance for cities. The results show a great success – more members have joined the Alliance, more strategic and deeper engagement has been facilitated, and central knowledge products like the “State of Cities Climate Finance Report 2021” have been published. Furthermore, the Alliance took over the hosting of the Leadership for Urban Climate Investment (LUCI) initiative – an ambitious framework for catalyzing climate action along the entire value chain of subnational climate finance – launched at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019.
But let’s also be honest: current investment levels in urban infrastructure and services fall far short of estimated needs. More needs to be done to realize climate-friendly urban investment opportunities. By strengthening its knowledge and advocacy work, focusing on regionalization and improving impact measurement, the Alliance moves in the right direction to advance urban climate finance in the years ahead so that cities will become even stronger transformative agents of combatting climate change.