19-22 November 2019 I BRUSSELS – UCLG ASPAC’s team working under the International Urban Cooperation Programme (IUC), an initiative funded by the European Union (EU) to support the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), took part in the event that brought together a global alliance to combat climate change.

A series of meetings were conducted to reflect on the IUC’s implementation progress and the challenges faced including in the Southeast Asian region. Participants also discussed a strategy to fortify their advocacy and communication campaigns, as well as concrete mechanism to coordinate voices and messages, especially from mayors within the GCoM network.

UCLG ASPAC is a key partner in this initiative and serves as GCoM Regional Secretariat and Helpdesk for Southeast Asia. Apart from UCLG ASPAC’s representatives, city officials from Bogor in Indonesia and Johor Bahru, Muar and Penampang in Malaysia participated in the event.

The event started with GCoM Open House, hosted by GCoM World Secretariat and marked the first ever gathering of more than 70 people who are working under this initiative, including at GCoM Regional Secretariats. The meeting took stock of the progress made at the global, regional and local levels, in the IUC’s three focused areas: Data4Cities; Invest4Cities and Innovate4Cities.

The participants also discussed a set of climate tools developed by Bloomberg Associates to measure cities’ progress in addressing climate change. The tools are compatible with  Common Reporting Framework, of which city members are encouraged to utilise in order to evaluate the impacts of their local climate action plans. In Southeast Asia, IUC is working in 10 pilot cities, 5 in Indonesia and 5 in Malaysia, to develop the local climate action plan. Once finalised, the plans will be shared among other cities within GCoM network to consider initiating their own one.

Another key focus of the discussion was on communications. In order to strengthen the collective efforts on climate change advocacy, a “One Voice Strategy” was introduced to coordinate the messages especially of mayors and amplify them throughout GCoM’s as well as its partners’ social media and communication platforms. Participants from city members were invited to join on the last day of GCoM Open House to gain insights on the IUC’s work and discuss their collaboration.

On 21 November 2019, the 3rd IUC City-to-City was held with more than 200 representatives from local and regional governments from Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Europe. The participants learned about the latest development on IUC work in different regions, including the expansion of the network in Southeast Asia. Mr. Ara Wiraswara from Bogor City shared his City’s progress in mobilising 140 million dollars for climate actions through collaboration with various stakeholders such as community leaders and NGOs. A representative of Penampang, Malaysia presented about building climate resilience for a coastal city, highlighting the city’s approach that draws from local wisdoms and traditions.

GCoM Southeast Asia was launched in 2018 and since then 74 cities have been mobilised to join the Network, representing its coverage in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. Hang Tuah Jaya from Malaysia will be next to join GCoM Southeast Asia this year. At the global level, more than 10,000 cities are part of GCoM, with a combined population of 800 million people.