The capital of Côte d’Ivoire had the honour of hosting the first COP of cities from 28 June to 1 July 2022. Nearly 500 local elected officials, city representatives and partners met in Abidjan at a time when COP15 on the fight against desertification had just ended and the 27th Climate COP was being prepared in Egypt.
Mayors of the world’s major cities meeting in Abidjan called for “general mobilisation” against climate change, which, according to them, particularly affects them.
“The most vulnerable territories in the face of climate disruption, and the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, cities are also on the front line in protecting their populations and their health,” said “The Abidjan Climate Manifesto”, which the mayors signed after the first “COP of Cities” was held in the Ivorian economic capital.
They “reaffirm together the absolute necessity for their populations of determined climate action that both anticipates shocks and is combined with ever greater social needs”.
They therefore call for “a general mobilisation to build ecological and solidarity-based societies”.
To achieve this, they commit themselves “to accelerate their decentralised cooperation within the framework of their twinning arrangements, their agreements, or via the programmes and networks of which they (the cities) are members, to make them 100% compatible” with the Paris Climate Agreement, which provides for the limitation of global warming by the end of the century, “and to ensure that all the projects financed present co-benefits for the climate”.
They also commit to “regularly publish the results of their progress and present them on Cities Day”.
The COP (Conference of the Parties) is the annual meeting of states to set global climate goals. The one that took place after City Day was COP27, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in November 2022.
The signatories of the Abidjan Manifesto also called on “States to recognise the major and indispensable role of cities in the implementation of sustainable economic development” and “to significantly increase national budgets supporting climate-friendly municipal investments”.
They also called for increased international support and for central and development banks to “facilitate direct access to finance for cities’ climate-biodiversity projects”.
Among the cities supporting the manifesto are Paris, Abidjan, Niamey and Montreal.
In an intervention at the “COP of Cities”, Monique Olivier, President of the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal, noted that the population of cities could increase by “15% by 2050”.
According to her, “we need to be able to rethink urban spaces” by taking into account their “ecological, economic and social” dimensions, in coordination between “elected officials and citizens”, and she referred to the local Agendas 21, which are instruments for raising awareness, public debate, and acculturation to SD, before the baton is taken up by sectoral or strategic policies.
There are several definitions of what a sustainable city is. The first European report on sustainable cities (EC, 1994) emphasises the dynamic and evolving aspect of this notion without prejudging the contents: “A sustainable city is a city that is moving towards sustainable development”.
In concrete terms, it is a city in which the principles of sustainable development and ecological urban planning are put forward. In theory, it is a city designed and conceived in such a way as to facilitate the movement of inhabitants while limiting greenhouse gas emissions, optimising the use of renewable energy and limiting the energy consumption of households. It therefore aims to reduce the city’s ecological footprint as much as possible.