The Jeuns

Phase Two of Transformative Urban Coalitions: City Progress Update

April 22, 2024 | by The Jeuns

Cities play a crucial role in both contributing to and being impacted by carbon emissions, with 75% of emissions worldwide originating from urban areas. Recognizing this, local leadership and collaboration with urban stakeholders are pivotal in reducing carbon emissions and working towards achieving net zero in cities.

One initiative that is working towards this goal is the Transformative Urban Coalitions (TUC) programme. The TUC programme aims to support cities in transforming their social, technological, and political structures towards more sustainable systems, with the overall target of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

As part of the programme, ‘urban labs’ have been established in cities such as Buenos Aires, Argentina; Leon and Naucalpan, Mexico; and Recife and Teresina, Brazil. These urban labs serve as platforms for diverse stakeholders to come together, collaborate, and exchange knowledge to create innovative solutions to urban challenges while concurrently addressing issues of urban development and inequality.

Each of these transformative urban coalitions has its own unique story, showcasing local challenges, goals, and successes in working towards decarbonized and equitable urban futures. These stories highlight various aspects of transformation, such as building new coalitions, integrating decarbonization with social justice, addressing vulnerabilities, catalyzing impact at scale, and fostering policy and governance shifts.

Together, these stories form the ‘state of the cities’, illustrating the potential for local communities, housing cooperatives, and informal settlements groups to take the lead in urban climate action. According to Anna Walnycki, a principal researcher at IIED, cities in the global South are setting an example for urban decarbonization that prioritizes the needs of the most vulnerable urban dwellers who are disproportionately affected by climate change.

Looking ahead to phase two of the TUC programme, the focus will be on further integrating efforts to achieve net zero cities with initiatives to tackle poverty, inequality, and promote social justice. This collaborative effort involves various organizations including the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), World Resources Institute (WRI), and IIED, with support from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

Through initiatives like the TUC programme and the innovative approaches taken by the urban labs, cities worldwide can learn from these experiences and work towards building more sustainable and inclusive urban environments.

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