DUBAI (December 2, 2023) — Today at COP28, an Expert Group convened by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) and WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities (WRI) launched the Integrity Matters for Cities, States, and Regions report outlining fit-for-purpose recommendations for local, state and regional governments to ensure the credibility, accountability and transparency of their climate and sustainability commitments. 

“For cities, states and regions to keep leading from the front on climate action, they need stronger partnerships with their national governments,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “This report, which highlights the ambitious targets local leaders are setting, will give national governments more reasons to collaborate with them in fighting climate change.”

This report offers in-depth recommendations tailored for local, state and regional governments as they increasingly commit to emissions reduction pathways that are “net zero” or “net zero aligned.” The recommendations consider the distinct circumstances, scopes, resources and knowledge of subnational governments. They also spotlight instances where cities, states and regions are already surpassing the minimum standards set by the COP27 report, and the opportunity for significant progress toward net zero goals when accelerated through coordination with national government and net zero alliances and initiatives.

“City, state, and regional governments are navigating the dual reality of adapting on the frontlines of the climate crisis and being crucial to achieving net zero by 2050 – and this report charts a course for subnational leaders to accomplish both,” said Carolina Basualdo, Mayor of Despeñaderos, Argentina, and Member of the Expert Group. 

Supported in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Integrity Matters for Cities, States, and Regions was developed by a dedicated Expert Group representing leading subnational climate initiatives and alliances including UN-Habitat, the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, the Stockholm Environment Institute and Race to Zero Expert Peer Review Group, Regions4, WWF Cities, C40 Cities, the Data Driven EnviroLab, Under2 Coalition, CDP and ICLEI World Secretariat, convened by GCoM and WRI. 

“This report presents clear recommendations to help subnational governments set and achieve their net zero commitments and highlights progress already being made in these communities,” said Gregor Robertson, Chair of the Expert Group and Global Ambassador of the Global Covenant of Mayors. “These recommendations accelerate stronger multi-level governance and take us one step closer to a credible, equitable and climate-resilient future.”

The report builds upon the foundation laid by the flagship United Nations High-Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities through the Integrity Matters: Net Zero Commitments By Businesses, Financial Institutions, Cities And Regions report, published at COP27. 

It outlines actionable steps for national governments, businesses and financial institutions, and net zero initiatives and alliances to adopt in their pursuit of fulfilling net zero commitments. These recommendations align with the aspirations of the UN Climate Change Secretariat and the Paris Agreement, serving as a strategic roadmap for net zero alliances and initiatives engaged in capacity-building, technical support and advocacy endeavors with subnational governments.

“Credibility, fairness, and transparency are at the heart of effective and ambitious climate commitments. This report provides a common global starting point for the setting and implementation of ambitious, high integrity, transparent, credible and fair net zero commitments by subnational governments,” said Rogier van den Berg, Global Director for WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. “Given the Global Stocktake’s assessment, it’s more important than ever that there’s a clear pathway for cities, states and regions to achieve net zero by 2050.”

About the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM)

GCoM is the largest global alliance for city climate leadership, uniting a global coalition of over 13,000 cities and local governments and 100+ supporting partners. The cities and partners of GCoM share a long-term vision of supporting voluntary action to combat climate change and towards a resilient and low-emission society. GCoM serves cities and local governments by mobilizing and supporting ambitious, measurable, planned climate and energy action in their communities by working with city/regional networks, national governments, and other partners to achieve our vision. The coalition comprises cities across 6 continents and 144 countries, representing over 1 billion people or more than 13 percent of the global population.

To learn more about GCoM, please visit our website, or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

About WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities (WRI)

WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities is World Resources Institute’s program dedicated to shaping a future where cities work better for everyone. It enables more connected, compact and coordinated cities. The Center expands the transport and urban development expertise of the EMBARQ network to catalyze innovative solutions in other sectors, including air quality, water, buildings, land use and energy. It combines the research excellence of WRI with two decades of on-the-ground impact through a network of more than 370 experts working from Brazil, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Turkey and the United States to make cities around the world better places to live. More information at