November 2017
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Eyes on the City: COP21 & Urban Resilience

MAS applauds the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21), which concluded this weekend with more than 190 countries signing on to the historic Paris Agreement, making commitments to cut greenhouse emissions, limit global temperature increases and, perhaps most significantly, help developing nations adapt to the negative effects of climate change.

COP21 is part of an important series of global policy setting initiatives that the U.N. is leading, including the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the upcoming Habitat III Conference. Through its involvement with the World Urban Campaign, MAS was actively engaged in advocating for the inclusion of SDG #11 (“Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”) and in facilitating civil society participation in the formation of the New Urban Agenda (both the agenda and outcome document of Habitat 3). In October, MAS partnered with The New School to organize the New York City Urban Thinkers Campus, one of only two opportunities to contribute to the WUC’s inputs to the New Urban Agenda in the United States.

Cities will be at the forefront of the work that lies ahead as a result of the Paris Agreement, and NYC’s former mayor Michael Bloomberg has been a leader in this area through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and as the U.N.’s special envoy for cities and climate change leading up to COP 21. Mayor de Blasio has continued the commitment that Bloomberg initiated by making Sustainability one of the four main issue areas addressed through the OneNYC Plan (along with Equity, Growth and Resiliency).

As with the SDGs and The New Urban Agenda, the real impact of the Paris Agreement will be achieved and demonstrated through the creation and implementation of and accountability to ambitious and specific targets and indicators, still to be developed by each participating nation. The same can be said about local efforts to increase the equity, growth, sustainability and resilience of New York City’s neighborhoods. The news from COP21 is cause to celebrate…and then get to work.

See videos on climate change, adaptation and resilience from the 2015 Summit »»