ICLEI World Congress – You need the national government to set high targets

Cooperation between the different governmental levels is key to successful climate action. This was also a matter of the Malmö Summit hosted by ICLEI from 11th to 13th May. ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) invited members, partners and other interested people and organizations to join the three-day event which marked the highlight of the ICLEI World Congress. Due to Covid restrictions, the event could not take place in person in 2021 and therefore lasted virtually from April 2021 to May 2022. The ICLEI World Congress is a major event for cities, towns and regions worldwide. It showcases good practices and connects local and regional leaders, providing a platform for exchange.

Next to other topics, such as buildings, data, energy, or emission reductions, one of the key topics at the Malmö Summit was multi-level climate action. Even though there was no specific event, the topic was central to many discussions.

The topic reoccurred frequently throughout the three days. It started off in the opening ceremony where all participants were asked to think about how their community or organization considers multi-level climate action.

In an event titled “Accelerating ambitious climate action: Bridging climate emergency & climate neutrality”, representatives from urban and regional governments expressed their experiences with multi-level climate action. Sharon Dijksma, mayor of the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands and former Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment said: “You need the national government to set high targets”. She stressed the importance of the support from the national level to the local level.

Also, other organizations highlighted the importance of multi-level climate action and governance. In the closing plenary, UNEP emphasized their will to cooperate on the topic together with ICLEI.

Having the topic high on the agenda, ICLEI was able to share the importance of multi-level climate action with over 600 participants.