V4 Mayors speak up at COP26

10 November 2021

The Mayors of the capital cities of the four Visegrad countries have sent a letter to UN and international leaders in charge of the efforts currently underway at the COP26 climate change negotiations to keep global warming within the 1.5C limits set under the Paris Agreement.

The mayors, from Bratislava, Budapest, Prague and Warsaw, acknowledge that “in the Central and Eastern European context national governments often drag their feet in the climate fight, and sometimes even seek to lower EU-level climate targets.”

This contrasts strongly with the mayors’ sense of climate responsibility at the local level.

In a tweet, Gergely Karácsony, the Mayor of Budapest, said “There can be no effective climate action without the robust engagement of cities.”

The mayors have previously grouped together on several occasions, including in July, when they argued that cities can bring the balance to climate ambitions, and noted that without stronger contributions from Central Eastern Europe, EU decarbonisation targets will not be met.

And in their letter, sent on Monday, the mayors state that “as the capital cities of four key Central and Eastern European countries, we recognise our capacity to advance climate action and endorse the responsibility that comes with it.”

To do this, the mayors say that they are engaging with pro-climate city alliances, such as the recently launched Mayors Alliance for the European Green Deal, working with their own pro-climate populations and other non-state actors.

However, in order to ensure that cities are able to live up to their potential, to be the matchmakers for different local initiatives and are able to act where they see fit, the mayors call for the following actions as an outcome of COP26:

  • UNFCCC Parties to revisit their Nationally Determined Contributions and to submit more ambitious NDCs by the 2023 Global Stocktaking at the latest to meet the 1.5C limit agreed in the Paris Agreement and Parties to take city level climate action into account when submitting NDCs;
  • UNFCCC Parties to adopt measures that are consistent with fundamental democratic and human rights and pave the way to a socially just and fair climate transition to ensure that no one is left behind;
  • Developed countries to make clear climate financing commitments – including special, city- tailored financial solutions to support city-level climate efforts – to ensure that the USD 100 billion per year goal of the Paris Agreement will be met as soon as possible, and by 2025 at the latest;
  • The EU to stay firmly committed to its 55% reduction target by 2030 and not to let MSs or business interests undermine the required legislative measures specified in the Fit for 55 package;
  • The EU to ensure that its financial framework, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility, Cohesion Policy funds and other MFF financing channels specifically target cities and local communities;
  • The UN and the EU to strongly involve cities, local communities and civil society in global climate policy making and negotiations, and to build a strategic relationship with the local level to reap the potentials of local climate action.

Read the full letter here.

Tune in today at 2.30 CET to hear live from the Mayors of Prague and Budapest at COP26 as they engage with other mayors and city leaders to discuss ‘A Green Deal that works for people’.


Alex Godson Eurocities Writer