Message from the ICLEI President Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn

To the Members of ICLEI:

This past June, many from our network gathered at the 10th Anniversary Resilient Cities Congress. I was delighted to welcome a record number of participating local governments to the Congress in Bonn. We also kicked off the first official high-level dialogues on multilevel action at the mid-year United Nations climate talks.
 
Last year in Montréal, at the ICLEI World Congress, I was honored to take up the reins of the ICLEI Presidency from the honorable Mayor Park from Seoul.
 
And what a year it has been.
 
In Montréal, we adopted our Montréal Commitment and Strategic Vision. Together, we committed to five new pathways of low emission, nature-based, circular, resilient, and equitable and people-centered development as a way for our fast-growing constituency of local and regional governments to act together.
 
In the last year, our network has accomplished tremendous things together. In the recently updated Montréal Action Plan, we have profiled the nearly 200 programs, projects, activities, and implementation actions that the ICLEI network is advancing together at the local, national, regional and global level. Over 1900 local and subnational governments around the world are participating in these actions, which collectively address all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.
 
But we cannot stop here.
 
This past June, I led a meeting of the ICLEI Global Executive Committee, where much discussion focused on people-centered and equitable development, an ICLEI pathway I am deeply committed to.
 
The next two years - the remainder of my Presidency - present some of the most critically important opportunities to change the course of the current negative planetary trajectory we have set in motion.  It is only through an equitable and people-centered approach that we can make the transformative change our world needs to tackle climate change and restore nature and our connection with it. I urge you to join me in these priority actions in the next 18 months:

  1. Raise the ambition of your climate action: invite your city council to adopt a climate emergency declaration, set ambitious climate targets, and share your progress through ICLEI and CDP’s unified reporting system every year. Follow the upcoming proceedings of the United Nations Climate Action Summit to see how cities are contributing to global goals and ambitions.

  2. Enroll your city in CitiesWithNature. Global biodiversity is under threat, and cities have to step up to the challenge of reversing a trend that threatens lives and livelihoods. CitiesWithNature showcases local solutions and city leadership and has been endorsed by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity as the official mechanism for reporting on local and subnational government actions and commitments. Additionally, today I am thrilled to announce Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante has been appointed the ICLEI Global Ambassador For Local Biodiversity, to serve as a voice for all cities in the fight to conserve the world’s biodiversity.

  3. Show how culture can help tackle climate change. In 2020, the world will celebrate the 250th birthday of Beethoven, who was born in my city of Bonn. Beethoven had a special connection with nature, and Bonn is inviting the world to celebrate the power of music and nature together. Already thousands of musicians around the world have committed to show their support for nature and biodiversity by planning a performance inspired by Beethoven’s famous Pastoral Symphony. Learn more about how your city can connect your musicians and artists with this event.

 
I have the privilege of representing the ICLEI network at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York this September. I will ensure that the voices of our cities and regions are heard. I invite you to share your thoughts with me through president@iclei.org. Thank you for the work that you have done and will do to advance sustainable development for your city, and for the world.
 
With resolve,
 
Ashok Sridharan
ICLEI President
Mayor of Bonn

Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn.png
Timothy Shue