20 April 2023
G7 Ministers announce historic commitment to work with cities on subnational climate action
On 15-16 April, the 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 Urban7 (U7) – the voice of local governments at the G7 process.
In their final Communiqué, the G7 Ministers address, “the vital role of subnational actors in realizing 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 furthermore commit to, “catalyze support for actions by subnational actors, encourage sharing 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 Communiqué explicitly recognises the U7, noting that the G7 Ministers “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 this year. The G7 Ministers of Climate, Energy and Environment also committed to continuing to work with the G7 Ministers responsible for urban development on net-zero and resilience agendas.
These commitments build on and complement the increasing recognition of the importance of sustainable cities, urbanisation and multilevel action in the climate agenda. Other recent advances include the recognition of all levels of government in the 2015 Paris Agreement; the underlined 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 by the G7 Heads of State in 2022.
Throughout 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. At the 2023 U7 Mayors Summit held in Tokyo (Japan) on March 2, the U7 Mayors Declaration 2023 was 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 discussed U7 activities and main messages from the Mayors Declaration with national representatives, including Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK. (Photos and posters from the U7 booth are available below.)
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.”
“We applaud the G7 Ministers for Climate, Energy and Environment’s recognition of the value of multi-level governance, and welcome their invitation for the U7 to join the G7 Roundtable on Subnational Climate Actions”, said Mayor Peter Kurz (Mannheim, Germany), representing the U7 Secretariat as the Chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors. “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.”
Reflecting on the event, ICLEI President and Trustee to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines (USA) expressed: “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.”
Visitors at the U7 booth (from left to right): Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK; Miki Yamada, State Minister, Ministry of Environment, Japan; Naomichi Suzuki, Governor of Hokkaidō, and Katsuhiro Akimoto, Mayor of Sapporo.
U7 posters (PDF)