The recent UN Climate Change conference, COP28, took place from 30 November to 12 December 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). It presented an opportunity to activate the Paris Agreement and escalate measures to limit global warming. On the seventh day of COP28, December 06, the focus shifted from global discussions to local actions.

The Multilevel Action, Urbanization & Built Environment/Transport Day showcased the potential for impactful changes towards a sustainable future through collaboration and commitment among local and regional governments, national authorities, communities, and the private sector.

Highlighting this was the Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change, bringing together over 1,000 ministers, mayors, governors, financial institutions, and non-government stakeholders. The joint efforts yielded 10 multilevel, Paris-aligned actions, illustrating unified policy and financial approaches for sustainable urban development. Notably, 66 countries expressed support for the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships (CHAMP), promoting inclusive climate decision-making and nature-positive urban plans. The meeting also aimed to integrate subnational inputs into upcoming Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and align financing for local actions with the Global Stocktake.

Within discussions on Urbanisation, cities emerged as hubs for climate solutions. Initiatives centred on greener urban mobility systems, low-carbon built environments, and reshaping production and consumption systems. Programs such as the Waste to Zero coalition and the Waste MAP highlighted the urgency of effective waste management and decarbonisation efforts. Moreover, initiatives like the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda emphasised the necessity of fortifying urban resilience against climate-induced shocks, while the African Cities Water Adaptation Platform stressed the importance of water resilience. Additionally, discussions included programmes aimed at expediting the adoption of policies promoting 15-minute city/proximity planning.

Discussion on Built Environment and Transport focused on the critical role of transport and infrastructure in achieving net-zero goals. Significant advancements were announced in decarbonising industries, alongside strategies to transform road and urban transport — showcased through the Cement and Concrete Breakthrough by UAE and Canada; the Buildings Breakthrough by France and Morocco; and the Road Transport Breakthrough convened by the UK, US, India, and the Breakthrough Agenda. Furthermore, commitments to sustainable transport strategies offered actionable insights to improve mobility and infrastructure sustainability in urban areas, aiming for the development of safer, healthier, and environmentally sustainable cities. Key topics encompassed transport integration, electric and shared mobility, active mobility, cleaner fuels, and hydrogen-based shipping.

The seventh day also explored technology’s role in mitigating transportation's environmental impact; highlighted youth involvement in climate action, with the Global Youth Statement, and explored the theme of AI for climate tech solutions. Additionally, the SAFE initiative was announced to mobilise $10 billion for climate-smart agriculture to address food security, livelihoods, and green job creation in African and Middle Eastern regions.

In summary, the key takeaway from this day was the importance of partnerships and policy alignment across all sectors and levels of government and society for effective climate action.

Read the full highlights here.