The Ministers committed to “catalyse support for actions by subnational actors, encourage [the] sharing [of] best practices and promote city-to-city cooperation.”
The recent G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment in Sapporo, Japan concluded with the announcement of the first-ever G7 Roundtable on Subnational Climate Actions in collaboration with the Urban7 (U7) - the voice of local governments at the G7 process.
In their final Communiqué about the meeting that took place on 15-16 April the G7 Ministers for Climate, Energy, and Environment addressed “the vital role of subnational actors in realising the transformation toward net-zero, climate-resilient, circular, and nature positive economies, furthering socioeconomic opportunities based on local capacity, needs and individual environmental conditions.” The Ministers committed to “catalyse support for actions by subnational actors, encourage [the] sharing [of] best practices and promote city-to-city cooperation.”
Concretely, the Ministers established the G7 Roundtable on Subnational Climate Actions as a forum “for G7 members to share national policies and programs promoting subnational climate actions, both domestic and across borders.” The Ministers explicitly recognised the Urban7 (U7), noting that they “look forward to facilitating a dialogue with the U7 at the Roundtable.” The outcomes of the Roundtable will be presented to the G20 and at COP28 in Dubai later in the year. The G7 Ministers of Climate, Energy and Environment also committed to continue working with the G7 ministers responsible for urban development on net-zero and resilience agendas.
These commitments build on, and complement, the increasing recognition of sustainable cities, urbanisation and multilevel action in the climate agenda. These include the recognition of all levels of government in the 2015 Paris Agreement, underlining the need for multilevel action in the 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact, as well as the convening of the first-ever Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh in November 2022.
Since its inception in 2021, the U7 has become an important player in the G7 process, especially with its unprecedented recognition in the final communiqués of several Ministers Meetings and the G7 Heads of State in 2022.
Since the beginning of 2023, the U7 has been working closely with the Japanese Ministry of the Environment to ensure that the voices of cities are included in G7 debates on these important topics. At the 2023 U7 Mayors Summit held in Tokyo, on 2 March, the Urban7 Mayors Declaration 2023 laid out the priorities of the Urban7 Group, which the gathered mayors presented to Akira Yanagimoto (Parliamentary Vice Minister, Ministry of the Environment) along with other Ministries.
In Sapporo, the Urban7 was pleased to be represented by Togo Uchida (Executive Director, ICLEI Japan) and Akiko Saga (Deputy Director-General, JDCMA). They presented the goals and vision of the U7 at a booth at the welcome reception. There, they discussed the U7’s activities and the main messages of the Mayors Declaration with national representatives, including Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom.
2023 U7 Group Chair and JDCMA President Mayor Kizo Hisamoto (Kobe, Japan) said: “These are initiatives that embody the 'multilevel governance' advocated in the '2023 U7 Mayors Declaration', and we welcome the invitation of the U7 to the 'G7 Roundtable on Subnational Climate Actions.' We believe that such an open dialogue and partnership will contribute to furthering the fight against climate change, which is a key global challenge. The U7 will continue to make further contributions to solving the global challenges confronting the G7 countries.”
Representing the U7 Secretariat as Chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors, Mayor Peter Kurz (Mannheim, Germany) said, “We applaud the G7 Ministers for Climate, Energy and Environment’s recognition of the value of multilevel governance and welcome their invitation for the U7 to join the G7 Roundtable on Subnational Climate Actions. Only through open dialogue and decisive partnership like this can we jointly develop the regulatory and financial framework conditions needed to accelerate decarbonisation and reach our shared climate goals.”
ICLEI President and Trustee for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Frank Cownie, said: "The leadership shown by the G7 Ministers for Climate, Energy and Environment amplifies a fact well understood by those who take climate change seriously: A resilient, net-zero future will be achieved when cities, regions and nations work in full cooperation to address the climate emergency. As President of ICLEI, and on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I commend the G7’s decision to bring local leaders to the table as partners and, as I prepare to attend the United States Government's first Cities Summit of the Americas next week, I am excited to see multilevel action in focus for all parts of the world. ICLEI will support the Urban7 to make this engagement a success."
About the Urban7
The Urban7 (U7) advocates for a continuous dialogue between the G7 nations and municipal actors represented by national associations and supported by international city networks. It addresses the G7 Presidency and is moved forward by a strong urban alliance. The U7 Group consists of Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Urban France, Association of German Cities (DST), National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI), Japan Designated City Mayors' Association (JDCMA), Core Cities UK, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCOM), and Eurocities. United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) is a network partner. ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) serve as the U7 Secretariat. In 2023, the G7 Presidency is held by Japan and thus the Japan Designated City Mayors' Association is part of the U7 Secretariat as well.
About ICLEI Europe
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125 countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. ICLEI Europe provides members in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and West Asia with a voice on European and international stages, a platform to connect with peers, and tools to drive positive environmental, economic and social change. ICLEI Europe works closely with an extended network of local and regional governments and partners on a broad range of topics.