Paris (F), 4 March 2010.
The main leaders of Regions and Federated states, as well as the main regional networks met today in Paris on the invitation of the Ile-de-France Region (F) and the Climate group. Together, in line with the commitments made in Copenhagen at the Climate Leaders Summit, they reaffirmed their major role in the fight against climate change and stated the means of their action.
Michèle Sabban, President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER), reminded the audience that Regions and local governments are implementing 50 to 70% of actions to reduce CO2 emissions in the world. They already develop green economy, aid to individuals, territorial climate plans, and innovative initiatives concerning travelling. “They thus have a know-how and an expertise that states would be smart to take into account! The European Union on its side should fully associate regions in its environmental action, and in the perspective of the future budget for regional policy” Mrs Sabban added. “I take this opportunity to say that AER will carefully read the European Commission’s proposal for the new economic strategy, the so-called Europe 2020”.
A first step for the 2010 agenda on regional action against climate change, the Ile-de-France Statement, emerged from the meeting. This statement specifies the philosophy and the role of the regions to tackle climate change, to preserve the environment and stimulate the green economy. By calling directly the European Union (EU), the leaders gathered underlined notably that they:
- fully support the European Commission and EU member states, the European Parliament as well as civil society actors and the private sector, in order to reinforce the EU’s role and leadership in international negotiations on climate change;
- ask the European leaders to increase the EU Greenhouse gases (GHG) emission reduction target objective, notably in order to encourage developing countries to adopt ambitious objectives of GHG emission reduction.
Thus, the participants to the Ile-de-France conference commit themselves to pay full attention to the EU Budget Review Process, which is currently under way.
AER has supported this initiative for a while. “AER was already present in Copenhagen. It is now up to us, European regions, to carry this statement to European Commissioners, in a cooperative spirit, and to show European citizens that their regional representatives tackle a vital topic for them: the protection of environment and the preservation of our planet”, underlined Mrs Sabban, “My counterparts in our 270 member regions will also relay the decisions to towards every stakeholders they’ll meet. It is the regional level which will push forward the fight against climate change”, Mrs Sabban added during her presentation on the role of partnerships between European and international territories to reach sustainable development.
Jean-Paul Huchon, President of the Region Ile-de-France stated: “Today, in this room, we represent around twenty regions of the world, and through them more than 150 millions inhabitants, and even much more if we consider the networks presents. I do affirm it, we are at the eve of a world of Regions and Federated states. 2010 will be a crucial year, and today is the first step of the stairs that we will climb together, in Bonn, Belem and Los Angeles with California. One of the objectives to reach will be to obtain from COP 16 a decrease of 30% of the GHG emissions for 2030”.
Mark Kenber, International Policy Director of The Climate Group, said: “Europe’s regional economies want to lead the low carbon economy and future-proof EU competitiveness, growth and jobs. Their ability to compete internationally in the clean industrial revolution depends on how fast Europe’s national leaders can increase their ambition for a truly integrated European climate and energy policy. We are working with over 60 developed and developing regions around the world who are already leading their national counterparts in creating important laboratories for low carbon development ahead of an international climate deal.”
This conference was the starting point of numerous stages for regional diplomacy before the 16th Conference of the Parties in Mexico (29 November-10 December 2010): the preparation of negotiations in Bonn (31 May-11 June), the World Summit of Presidents of regions and Governors of federated states on Climate Change in Los Angeles, around the launch of the R20 coalition by Governor Schwarzenegger, which will constitute a new step in the redefinition of the relations between Northern and Southern Regions at global level (23-24 September).
The Ile-de-France Statement of Regional Governments to the EU – On the road to COP 16 and a low carbon economy will be available at: www.aer.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/PressComm/CommuniquesPresse/2010/Paris_IDF_declaration_-_EN.pdf
Among the Regions and Federal states present at this event: Aragon, Catalonia, Basque country (E), Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westfalia (D), Bretagne, Ile-de-France, Rhône-Alpes (F), Tuscany (I), Azores (P), Wielkopolska (PL), Scotland, Wales (UK), Flanders, Wallonie (B), Jämtland (S), Quebec (CDN), California (USA), State of Para (Brazil), Oriental Province (Morocco), Delta State (Nigeria), Algeria.
The Assembly of European Regions (AER.eu) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 270 regions from 33 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
The Climate Group (www.theclimategroup.org)
The Climate Group is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working internationally with government and business leaders to advance smart policies and technologies to cut global emissions and accelerate a low carbon economy. Its global coalition of 78 leading companies, states, regions and cities around the world recognise the economic and environmental imperatives of taking decisive action now. The Climate Group was founded in 2004 and has operations in Australia, China, Europe, India and North America. For the Climate Group’s alliance of states and regions see: www.theclimategroup.org/programs/states-and-regions/
AER Press Contact: Francine Huhardeaux, Press and Communications Officer - Tel.: +33 3 88 22 74 49