The President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Joanne Vanderheyden, issued the following statement at the close of the United Nations climate change conference (COP26):
“FCM was pleased to be part of Canada’s representation at COP26, where crucial work was done to highlight climate innovations happening in our communities that can be scaled up to help meet national goals to stop climate change.
“FCM proudly brought Canadian municipal voices to the international fight against climate change. Local governments have influence over half of the country's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and are key to meeting Canada's climate goals. From coast to coast to coast, communities of all sizes are on the front lines of climate change, but they are also at the forefront of climate action.
“In advance of COP26, FCM’s Big City Mayors Caucus declared support for the Cities Race to Zero pledge as part of the United Nation's Race to Zero campaign. FCM’s priorities at COP26 were to align national and local climate action, and promote the importance of scaling-up investments in local pathways to net-zero.
“At COP and beyond, FCM is supporting disaster mitigation, strengthening local capacity on climate, supporting communities transitioning to net zero, as well as expanding the federal-municipal collaboration on climate action in our shared mission to meet Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction target.
“Municipal leaders play a critical role in the mission to meet Canada’s emissions reduction target and set the country on a pathway to net-zero by 2050. FCM’s representation at COP26 continued building strong relationships with key partners, including Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, the Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson and Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change Patricia Fuller. Deepening federal-municipal coordination, aligning national and local climate action and identifying opportunities to scale up local solutions for deeper GHG reductions were at the heart of our discussions. It was also an opportunity to promote the ways municipalities can partner with the federal government to retrofit buildings, electrify the transportation sector, reduce methane from landfills and implement natural-climate solutions.
“Our delegation also engaged with mayors and organizations from around the world who are committed to taking urgent action on the climate crisis. That is why our delegation met with important organizations such as the federally mandated Net Zero Advisory Body, the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, C-40 and the Global Covenant of Mayors, to name a few.
“Whether we’re looking at retrofitting buildings and switching to zero-emission transit, restoring wetlands and other natural assets, building bike paths, diverting waste, or building resilient infrastructure, municipal leaders know how to build more sustainable communities. Our unique expertise makes us creative and innovative problem solvers, and empowered with the right tools, local leaders will play a vital role in this mission.
“The climate crisis is the defining challenge of our time, and while our participation in COP26 has given us determination to act, we know how much work remains to be done. As our window to act is growing smaller, FCM remains committed to working with its federal partners to tackle climate change and make it a pillar of our post-COVID recovery efforts.”
For more information please contact: FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, firstname.lastname@example.org