C40 Inclusive CitiesEnsuring that efforts to address climate change help create sustainable cities for all

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Climate change is not solely an environmental issue, but is inextricably linked to challenges of eradicating poverty and increasing inclusiveness. Cities have the opportunity to raise living standards for all at a faster rate by following a low-carbon development path. There is also evidence that reducing inequality helps drive better environmental outcomes.

Through its Inclusive Cities programme, C40 seeks to build the evidence base for the benefits of climate action and identify opportunities to target those benefits to help address inequality. In addition, C40 will integrate these issues into its networks, communications, adaptation, finance and other programmes to give mayors the tools they need to tackle them in a holistic way.

With generous support from Citi Foundation, C40 has highlighted six mayors from around the world who are delivering inclusive climate actions. By sharing examples of mayors working at the intersection of climate action and improvement of quality of life for all constituents, C40 hopes to inspire other mayors to act.

Prepare to be inspired and then prepare to act

The challenges

As recognized by national governments at COP21 in Paris in 2015, truly transformational and urgent action is needed on climate change.

The staggering increase in the scale and pace of action required to meet the ambition of the Paris Agreement demands an immediate end to business-as-usual in urban development and renewal, in favor of zero or low-carbon new development and the extensive retrofitting of existing urban areas.

However, it can be challenging to make the case for prioritizing climate action when set against other issues facing cities. From employment to housing to adequate services, security and public health, mayors have a broad agenda of priorities and resident expectations to meet. These challenges are often underpinned and exacerbated by rising inequality — in housing, labor, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and even access to parks and open space — which is widening the quality-of-life gap amongst different segments of the population in most cities.

When considering how to address these challenges, it can be tempting for city leaders to see climate action as separate from these other priorities, or even to be in direct conflict with them. But C40 and its cities see these priorities as mutually reinforcing.

A solution

C40 intends to provide our cities with the evidence and tools needed to make the case for inclusive climate actions -- actions that tackle multiple mayoral priorities simultaneously, deliver multiple benefits to all segments of the population, and ultimately result in more transformational climate solutions. Inclusive climate actions present opportunities to forge a more just, equal society as well as a climate positive one. Efforts to address climate change connect with many sectors, from green jobs to efficient buildings to low-carbon transportation and clean, affordable energy. The pursuit of low-carbon development through these areas presents an opportunity for cities to tackle the dual challenges of inequality and climate change together, while ensuring sustainable economic growth.

Foundational research is already underway to support the case for inclusive action. Through its Benefits Research Programme, C40 is collaborating with a wide range of partners to deliver enabling research and unlock inclusive climate action.

Learn more about Inclusive Climate Action in C40 Cities through a publication featuring the visions of leading mayors from Bogotá, Cape Town, New York, Paris, Portland, and Seoul.

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No matter who you are — mayor or constituent, working in the private or public sector — there are things you can do to help your city become more inclusive while helping to reach its climate targets.

For mayors or other city official

  • If you have a climate action plan, read through it and identify potential barriers every community in your city may have in accessing each climate action.
  • If you do not yet have a climate action plan, consider creating one; begin by inviting community stakeholders to join the process from beginning to end so they can help identify potential barriers to climate actions.
  • Remember that inclusion is for everybody, no matter whether able-bodied or disabled, older or younger, wealthy or low-income, female or male and every ethnicity and color.
  • If you are a C40 mayor or a city official, contact your C40 regional director for more information on C40’s new Inclusive Climate Action programme and what it means for your city.

For constituents living in a city

  • Call or email your mayor and other city officials and ask them how they are delivering inclusive climate actions in your city. Make suggestions on how they can be even more inclusive while fighting climate change.
  • Volunteer to be a community stakeholder- you have valuable input to share in identifying barriers to climate actions.
  • Spread the word to your friends, family, neighbors and community groups that we all have a responsibility to help our cities become more inclusive and climate-positive; urge them to call or email the mayor and other city officials.

About C40

C40 connects more than 85 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 650+ million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is the new chair of C40; she takes over from Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, who served as Chair from 2013-2016. Three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. C40’s work is made possible by our three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania. Learn more at C40.org.

About our Partner

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit citifoundation.com.