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EDP MEPs tell us why they chose to fight for Europe

"Languages, cultures, regional differences and local initiatives must be cherished because they are Europe’s strongest asset."

Vincent Chauvet, CoR member, at COP26 to ensure the role of local and regional authorities

Chauvet COP

As rapporteur on "Stepping up Europe's 2030 climate ambition towards COP26" and part of the CoR-delegation, Vincent Chauvet (MoDem), Mayor of Autun, successfully defended and worked for the recognition of the important role of local and regional governments, but also non-party stakeholders, such as civil society in contributing to progress towards the goal of the Paris Agreement.

The outcome of this year's COP has not fulfilled all the expectations, as several points as climate finance and the tools to address loss and damage are still vague. For the first time, there is a mention of phase down of fossil fuels, even if a more radical proposal of phase out was rejected. Yet, the COP26 also demonstrated again the urgency of having representatives of local and regional authorities in the room, if not (yet) around the negotiating table.

Vincent Chauvet declared: "Climate change needs the involvement of local and regional representatives. As Mayor, as elected politicians, we want to have our say in mitigation and fighting climate change and preserving biodiversity."

Although the overall outcome of the negotiations is relatively moderate, the work of the CoR and our global subnational partners should be considered a big success. As the rapporteur of the CoR position in Glasgow, Vincent Chauvet had an active role in pushing back the efforts of the UK presidency and the Global South to delete 'multi-level governance' from the final agreement and therewith watering down the text, compared to the Paris Agreement.

More and more it is clear that the local and regional authorities are on the front line for climate change – not just for mitigation, adaptation – but also for Co2 reduction; 70% of these efforts will have to be done at the local and regional level via public transportation, urban heating, public lights, … which is why it was so important to have locally elected leaders present at COP26.

More than having a strong voice at the UNFCCC conference, there is still a long way to go before the EU and other Parties fully integrate multi-level governance in aligning climate ambitions. Local and regional authorities are officially recognised as important partners in climate negotiations. Therefore, our work continues, and the joint declaration "EU Green Deal: from local to global" has been laid on Friday, 12 November, as the first paving stone towards Sharm el-Sheikh and COP27.