Bogota, 21 September 2015-- Environmentalists, government and NGO officials gathered in Bogota, Colombia between 20 and 23 September for the Latin American summit, as part of preparations for the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris in December this year. UN-Habitat took part in the summit.

Beyond advocating immediate action and the empowerment of non-state actors, the summit paved the way for the adoption, during COP21 in Paris, of an ambitious and exhaustive global agreement on climate change. The focus was placed on the development of a new global climate agenda that also includes the participation of citizens, civil society groups, the private sector and local governments.

It also pressed for pro-climate commitments at national and international levels, as well as the presentation of a strong and concerted message at the COP21. “Most of the vital economic and social infrastructure, government facilities and assets are located in cities. When disaster strikes, these are at risk of collapse.

Cities need to fully accept the inevitable effects of climate change and adapt, while, at the same time, curb and mitigate the causes of climate change,” said Elkin Velasquez, UN-Habitat’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean. The summit also addressed the articulation of climate change, resilience, risk reduction and water in regards to sustainable urban development.

These considerations were organized in four themes: Cities and the new global climate agreement; Inclusive cities, resilient cities; Climate change and cultural change; and Climate Finance. UN-Habitat is currently active in 20 countries implementing climate change related programmes. Projects range from assistance to local authorities to improve systems aimed at climate proofing urban infrastructure to ensuring that climate change adaptation becomes a key component of infrastructure design and urban planning.

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