UN-backed global campaign will elevate city leadership to improve urban climate resilience in frontline communities

BRUSSELS (July, 8 2021)Cities Race to Resilience is a global campaign to mobilize action on climate resilience ahead of COP26. The campaign calls attention to the urgent need to build global climate resilience in a way that prioritizes people and nature, and enables vulnerable communities to thrive in spite of climate shocks and stresses. 

Cities Race to Resilience is recruiting cities around the world to ensure adaptation and resilience are central to local urban planning and inclusive climate action efforts. The city of Makati, Philippines, is the first city to sign onto the Cities Race to Resilience.

As global temperatures increase, climate-fueled extreme weather has wreaked havoc on communities around the world, and over 90% of cities around the world are facing significant climate risks, threatening the future of humanity.

In 2020 alone, record-breaking wildfires ravaged Australia, Brazil, Siberia, and the Pacific West Coast, while Central America experienced the strongest Atlantic hurricane season on record. 

As dense population centers and global commercial hubs - often located along coastal zones, freshwater bodies or important natural habitats - cities are uniquely vulnerable to the climate crisis. People living in cities are seeing the impact firsthand, and local leaders increasingly understand the enormous cost of failing to adapt to this new reality. In response, mayors and city officials are pursuing innovative, sustainable, and inclusive strategies to weather these dangerous climate impacts.

Through a partnership of initiatives, the Cities Race to Resilience campaign helps frontline communities to build resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including extreme heat, drought, flooding and sea-level rise.

As part of their commitment to the Cities Race to Resilience, mayors and local leaders pledge to integrate climate change adaptation and resilience in all aspects of urban planning, and undertake a community-wide climate risk and vulnerability assessment that specifically addresses vulnerable communities. The commitment also requires cities to take immediate action and commit to a resilience action, and report on these commitments annually. 

“While cities are among the most vulnerable to the climate crisis, they have unique power and influence to accelerate the transition to a more resilient, inclusive future,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions; Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the 108th Mayor of New York City and Global Ambassador for the Race to Zero and Race to Resilience. “Empowering mayors and local leaders to pursue ambitious resilience strategies is essential to ensuring all people can thrive, regardless of where they live. The Cities Race to Resilience will amplify innovative strategies for climate leadership and demonstrate that a resilient, inclusive future is within our reach.”

“Building resilience is an essential element of global climate action, especially for communities most affected by the climate crisis. The aim of the Cities Race to Resilience is to place those voices front and center, and ensure that climate resilience goals are treated with the same if not greater urgency as our race to halve emissions by 2030,” said Nigel Topping, UK High Level Climate Action Champion.

"Cities have been on the frontlines tackling the impacts of climate change. The Cities Race to Zero will encourage cities to identify risks and take the immediate action that is needed on resilience leading up to COP26 and beyond," said Gonzalo Munoz, Chile High Level Climate Action Champion.

“I vow to serve as a critical voice toward meeting the goals of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Race to Resilience campaign, which aims to help communities build resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change,” said Abigail Binay, Mayor of Makati and Global Covenant Board Mayor.

Global city partners of the Cities Race to Resilience include the Resilient Cities Network, C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), Resilient Cities Network, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), CDP, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030).


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 10,500 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. Led today by UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg and European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, the coalition comprises cities across 6 continents and 142 countries, representing over 900 million people or more than 10% of the global population. More at www.globalcovenantofmayors.org.