Rapidly increasing our resilience to climate risks and achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century is essential to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and protect people from the worst effects of the climate crisis. But it is also clear that to meet adaptation and mitigation goals in a way that reduces rather than exacerbates inequality and improves people’s quality of life requires a more integrated and collaborative approach – especially in urban areas, where one in three residents lack access to at least one core service today. 

WRI’s Integrated Climate Action team works to enable climate action in cities that reduces the “urban services divide,” protects nature, enhances local economic priorities, and builds collaboration and coordination between communities, institutions, businesses and different levels of government.

WRI’s Integrated Climate Action team works with partners to develop and scale innovative approaches to embedding climate priorities into city-level strategic planning, land use planning, governance processes, and policy and project cycles. We are focused on supporting systemic changes in the ways cities are organized, planned and managed.  

Our work on multi-level governance, rooted in research from the Coalition for Urban Transitions, strengthens and enhances coordination and cooperation on climate action between different levels of government and non-state actors. We support the mechanisms and enabling conditions required to build multi-level governance in a variety of jurisdictional and institutional settings, from country and city-level projects facilitating dialogue and building local coalitions, to engaging with the global climate action process, and developing research and guidance for decision-makers.

In Focus: Integrity Matters for Cities, States and Regions

Strengthening the credibility and transparency of net zero commitments and actions helps build trust and facilitates coordination and collaboration on climate action between sub-national governments, national governments, businesses, financial institutions and residents. 

WRI’s Integrated Climate Action team and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy have convened an Expert Group to consider the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary-General High-Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities, published at COP27. The Expert Group’s Integrity Matters for Cities, States, and Regions report, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and published at COP28, acknowledges the specific characteristics of city, state and regional governments and how their composition, scope and operating models differ from those of businesses and financial institutions. The report aims to apply the guiding vision of credibility and action from the original Integrity Matters recommendations to the sub-national government context. The report provides additional detail to help accelerate local climate action and highlights the role of national governments and financial institutions in enabling and supporting the transition to more equitable, climate-resilient and net-zero cities, states and regions. 

Photo by WRI México