In a recent interview given by the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, the spotlight turned to UN-Habitat’s pivotal role in COP28 and our unwavering commitment to address climate challenges at the local level.

Local Climate Action Summit: A game-changer

At the heart of UN-Habitat's engagement in COP28 lies the Local Climate Action Summit, a groundbreaking initiative chaired by the Executive Director alongside Michael Bloomberg and the COP28 Presidency. The summit, held on 1 and 2 December 2023 in Dubai, brought together mayors, local government officials, indigenous representatives, youth, and women groups. The goal was clear: to delve into the intricate challenges of climate change at the grassroots level.

The Executive Director emphasized the critical role played by local leaders in addressing climate calamities. As the custodian of Sustainable Development Goal 11, which focuses on cities as sustainable, inclusive, and resilient human settlements, UN-Habitat sees COP28 as a historic moment to advance this agenda.

From local to national: Bridging the climate action gap

The outcomes of the Local Climate Action Summit didn't stop at discussions. The Executive Director of UN-Habitat revealed that on 6 December, the results were presented at the Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change that took place at COP28. This meeting, attended by key stakeholders including ministers of urbanization, finance, and environment, aimed to bridge the gap between local and national efforts.

UN-Habitat's strategy is clear – fostering collaboration between national governments, local authorities, and the private sector to enhance investments in climate action at the local level. The Executive Director stressed the urgency of this approach, noting that COP28 marks a crucial moment for UN-Habitat.

Contributions to negotiations: Putting cities on the map

Addressing her role in influencing the negotiation processes, the Executive Director highlighted UN-Habitat's contribution in presenting compelling narratives, data, and

stories that underscore the importance of cities in the climate change discourse. With a focus on vulnerable human settlements, particularly those in informal settings, UN-Habitat brings attention to issues like urban poverty, health, and housing.

The Executive Director of UN-Habitat expressed satisfaction with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) report on cities, aligning with UN-Habitat's mission. The organization has been actively engaged in advocating for multilevel engagement and its multilevel action pavilion for urbanization serves as a testament to the importance of localized actions in implementing global commitments.

The urgency of COP 28: A call to action

As the interview drew to a close, the urgency of COP28 was underscored by the Executive Director. She emphasized the need for immediate action, citing alarming reports on climate change indicators. The hottest month globally recorded in July of the current year, coupled with lagging progress on Sustainable Development Goal 11, signals a pressing need for collective efforts.

In conclusion, the Executive Director’s insights shed light on UN-Habitat's pivotal role in COP28, emphasizing the significance of local actions, collaboration, and urgent global intervention. As the conference closed, the world watches closely how these issues will continue to evolve, anticipating more outcomes and more involvement of local leaders in COP29 which will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, next November.