States & Regions’ General Assembly elects five co-chairs, showing global reach and impact

Ilario D'Amato
Reading time: 3 minutes
13 November 2016

LONDON: The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance has presented its new co-chairs in its General Assembly today at COP22, when three other states and regional governments have joined the network as new members.

The high-level gathering has seen the participation of 23 members, who have reconfirmed the Canadian province of Québec – lead by Premier Philippe Couillard – and South Australia – with Premier Jay Weatherill – as North America and Asia Pacific co-chairs, respectively.

The Assembly has also elected as new co-chairs KwaZulu-Natal (Premier Willies Mchunu), Catalonia (President Carles Puigdemont) and Jalisco (Governor Aristóteles Sandoval) representing Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Libby Ferguson, Director, States & Regions Alliance

Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group, said: “Climate change is a collective issue and one that needs to be tackled with global leadership. State and regional governments around the world are critical in this challenge, and that is why we’re thrilled to have this group of co-chairs of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance. Having the support and commitment from such governments will help us drive climate action in the regions that matter the most.”

This year, for the first time, the States & Regions Alliance has expanded the number of its co-chairs from 3 to 5, reflecting the crucial role of emerging economies in driving bottom-up climate leadership. Willies Mchunu, Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, welcomed his appointment as co-chair, underlying that "the global agenda can only be influenced by dedicated leaders who lead from the front. The primary responsibility of such leaders is to make a positive impact in their communities. What distinguishes these leaders from others is that they have a sense of urgency."

Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont added: "The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance has been leading the way for more than ten years in making the voices of states and regions heard, demonstrating its capacity to bring solutions to the challenge of climate change and promoting more ambitious commitments on a subnational, national and international scale. Catalonia has been a part of the Alliance since the outset, and aims to contribute to strengthening it from the vantage point of this co-chair."

"Climate change poses a major challenge," concluded Jalisco's Governor Aristóteles Sandoval, "and being a co-chair of this Alliance is an opportunity to strengthen the participation of sub-national governments in a joint action that promotes economic development."

A moment of the General Assembly at COP22


The bold climate network is also expanding with three new members joining the States & Regions Alliance today: the Attica region in Greece, the Western Cape province in South Africa, and the state of Yucatan in Mexico, demonstrating the value of collaboration between infra-national governments bringing their own experience from different parts of the world.

Western Cape Provincial Minister Anton Bredell said: “We are all responsible for the changing climate and we are all responsible to try and mitigate it. By forming partnerships with numerous stakeholders, we can insure that we are taking steps in the right direction. Businesses, governments and citizens can all play their part in taking climate action.”

After the entry into force of the Paris Agreement few weeks ago, COP22 is the first opportunity to call governments to honour their climate commitments – and showing the sub-national leadership in this field.

“We know that much of the work necessary to tackle climate change occurs at the local community level,” commented Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia, “and we have seen the value of a network of sub-national governments working together to respond to climate change.”

“I am extremely proud to be a founding member and co-chair of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance. It enables us to share local knowledge, experience and expertise and to influence the international dialogue on climate action as a unified, collective voice.”

Québec's Premier Philippe Couillard praised the Alliance, which "has played a determining role in the recognition of sub-national governments in the Paris Agreement while offering to all its members the opportunity of exchanging on the most innovative solutions aiming at accelerating the transition toward low carbon and resilient economies. I believe that we can achieve our goals by working together, and I am honored that Québec has been chosen to lead this concerted effort for future generations."

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