European Regions sign Lyon Declaration, call for climate action

21 October 2011

BRUSSELS: European Regions today signed the Lyon Declaration of Regions for Climate Action which calls upon the international community to act on climate change and commits sub?national governments to take ambitious actions within their own area of influence.

The Declaration was signed at the European Conference of Regions on Climate Change, jointly organized by the Government of the Rhone?Alpes region, the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD) and The Climate Group.

The Declaration was signed by Jean?Jack Queyranne, President of the Regional Council of the Rhones Alpes region, Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group and Lluís Recoder i Miralles, Minister for Territory and Sustainability of Catalonia, Co?Chair of nrg4SD, and representatives of the participating Regions.

The Lyon Declaration of Regions for Climate Action provides a roadmap for further cooperation between the European regions. It acknowledges the urgency of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and, drawing on a constructive debate on how to accelerate the shift to a prosperous low carbon economy during the conference, outlines a voluntary political framework which builds on the efforts regions are already making.

Calling upon international climate negotiators to sustain their efforts for a global agreement that will address the problem of climate change, the Declaration also highlights the role of sub?national governments, their commitment to concrete action, their support for the Clean Revolution and the importance of decentralized cooperation.

The Declaration continues the long?standing engagement of nrg4SD and The Climate Group with subnational governments, for a Clean Revolution towards a sustainable, low carbon society, and of the region Rhone?Alpes as one of the leading members of both organizations.

“The European Regions and Federated States haven’t waited to reduce their GHG emissions and to prepare their territories to climate impacts, as we have been showing in Rhone?Alpes since 2004 by installing an Eco Region”, underlined Jean?Jack Queyranne, President of the Rhone?Alpes Region. “Through this declaration, we are today speaking with one voice about the climate solutions already implemented and the future challenges to still overcome.” 

“In the last years, sub?national governments have concretely shown that they take their climate change responsibilities in a more proactive way than ever before. In fact, their accomplishments in this area have grown tremendously in sophistication and effectiveness. The Declaration we are signing today demonstrates that the important lessons being learned at sub?national level can often feed into and improve national policy and shape more ambitious and innovative responses to climate change. This is why we believe that the revenues originated from CO2 auctioning should be allocated to climate action and more financial means given to sub?national governments to deploy climate initiatives, stressed Lluís Recoder i Miralles, co?chair of nrg4SD and Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Catalonia.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, says: “The Clean Revolution is already underway and states and regions around the world are at the forefront of this growing global movement. The Climate Group is delighted to be working closely with the regions in its International States and Regions Alliance and applauds the Lyon Declaration. This conference, which has highlighted the many exciting initiatives that are taking place around Europe, and the accompanying commitments in the Lyon Declaration, demonstrate that sub?national governments will continue to be the drivers of the transition to a prosperous, low carbon society.”

The Declaration was presented to high?level representatives of the European Commission and the UN. It will be taken to the International Climate Conference in Durban in South Africa (COP 17) to reaffirm the role of European regions in addressing climate change, and used in the run?up to the Rio+20 Summit next year.

The signing followed a day of in?depth exchanges between about 350 European and international participants from sub?national and local governments, business and civil society on the three work streams of sustainable transport, energy efficiency and international solidarity for adaptation. Each of the workshops highlighted the best practices of regional governments, analyzing the lessons learned from the challenges and opportunities in the respective areas.

Baden?Württemberg also announced its membership of The Climate Group, and has offered to organize a follow?up European Conference of Regions next year.

At the conference, Premier Rann of South Australia also announced Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond as this year’s winner of the International Climate Change Leadership Award, honoring his long?term commitment to leading Scotland towards a low carbon future. The Scottish government has set itself an ambitious target of reducing emissions by 42% from 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050, and aims at 100% of its electricity consumption to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Download the Lyon Declaration of Regions for Climate Action

Read the Scottish Government press release of FM Alex Salmond's award


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