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FEATURE: New streamlined reporting will help local governments step up climate action

ICLEI and CDP have launched a collaboration to simplify the climate reporting process to better support subnational governments to take faster and further action. Maryke van Staden, Director, Bonn Center for Local Climate Action and Reporting at ICLEI and Kyra Appleby, Global Director, Cities, States and Regions at CDP explain how it will work. This article first appeared on talkofthecities.iclei.org

Providing services for communities, protecting citizens and building better places to live, work and do business are the core priorities of local and regional governments everywhere. Climate action and reporting are vital to achieve these aims. The easier the reporting process, the more time governments have to focus on taking action, on bringing benefits to their citizens and local economies. That’s why we – CDP and ICLEI – are partnering to present one unified process for subnational climate action reporting.

Listening to local and regional governments

Local and regional governments have called for a unified reporting system, and from April 2019 they will get just that. They will report once, through CDP, and the publicly reported data will be automatically shared with ICLEI.

We understand that the process of reporting climate data requires valuable resources and that many local and regional governments are stretched with limited capacity and pressing responsibilities. For this reason, ICLEI and CDP launched the collaboration to simplify the reporting process to better support subnational governments to take faster and further action.

Local and regional governments can’t manage well what they don’t measure at all. The reporting process encourages them to better understand and think about the climate risks they face. Reporting helps them to embed climate action planning in policy-making and spending and motivates them to create comprehensive action plans.

Delivering on these plans in turn improves public health, creates jobs, tackles fuel poverty and attracts investment to the area, as highlighted in CDP’s latest analysis and in ICLEI’s report, Data Speak Louder Than Words.

Streamlining for success

Since announcing our collaboration at COP23 in Bonn in 2017, our two organizations have been busy working out the details of the partnership. And now we’re ready to update local and regional governments on our new unified reporting system.

By streamlining ICLEI’s carbonn Climate Registry (cCR) and CDP’s reporting platform, our goal is to make climate reporting faster and easier. We aim to build on each organisation’s strengths to simplify how local and regional governments report and better enable them to track efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change.

One unified platform

Beginning in April 2019, local and regional governments will just need to report once on CDP’s platform and publicly reported data will automatically be shared with ICLEI.

Local and regional governments can give their permission to both ICLEI and CDP to use their publicly reported data and will receive the support of both organisations. We encourage local and regional governments to report publicly as this strengthens subnational data and contributes to transparency and good governance.

ICLEI will use this data to inform research and analysis activities and to represent local and regional governments on the global stage through high level political advocacy work.

CDP will use this data to produce analytics and snapshot reports for local and regional governments, allowing them to track their progress and benchmark themselves against their peers.

Reporting will remain free, and the publicly reported data will be freely available online through CDP’s Open Data Portal and on carbonn.org.

Both organisations will continue supporting the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), the largest global coalition of cities committed to climate leadership. The unified reporting system already integrates GCoM’s Common Reporting Framework, the new global framework for reporting city greenhouse gas inventories, risk and vulnerability assessments and climate action plans. GCoM’s new standards reflect the reporting that cities have already been doing and allows harmonization of city data across the globe.

CDP and ICLEI’s unified reporting system will also continue supporting the Under2 Coalition for subnational states and regions.

The global picture

With more local and regional governments reporting alongside each other, we’ll have a clearer picture of the scope and impact of subnational climate action. This will support better analysis and richer data for nation states and partners. Crucially, better data supports national governments to scale up ambition and strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020.

The scale of the climate challenge was laid out in stark detail in the IPCC special report on 1.5°C and the summary for urban policymakers. To stand any chance of staying below the 1.5°C guardrail, we must reduce our global CO2 emissions to zero within the next two decades. Both CDP and ICLEI are among a group of organisations to sign an open letter calling on city leaders to take action to cut emissions and build climate resilience.

The need for fast, effective climate action represents nothing short of a complete transformation of global decision-making and the world economy. It is going to require unprecedented co-operative action, with local and regional governments playing a critical role to manage the transition. ICLEI and CDP are excited to be able to offer a unified reporting system to support this action.

Photo: Talkofthecities

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