The Spanish Network of Cities for Climate has recognised the best of local climate action in the framework of its 15th General Assembly. At this event, the Secretary General of the FEMP, Carlos Daniel Casares, called for Climate Change to be tackled from the local level, a “problem that we cannot turn back from, but against which we can act with unity and local commitment”. In this regard, Casares highlighted the role of local authorities in bringing the most ambitious projects at national and European level, such as the Climate Change Act and the European Green Pact, and in promoting an “essential” asset in this fight: “public awareness to activate and strengthen local action for the climate”.
Faced with the great local challenges, Casares highlighted the need to transform the more than 300,000 buildings belonging to Local Bodies, thanks to European funds, into sustainable and efficient spaces and highlighted the actions of Mayors to combine “joy with sustainability” in local projects, such as Christmas lighting through more sustainable bets, such as LED lights or the adjustment of timetables. Before concluding her speech, Casares recalled the document of measures approved by the FEMP last May, which represents a “road map” to commit to “a revolution in cities, for safer, more sustainable and social cities”.
This transformation in the territories, exemplified the President of the Diputación de Málaga, Francisco Salado, “involves working on specific things such as water leaks”. In this regard, he explained that in his province alone it has been detected that there are municipalities that lose between 40-60% of their water through leaks, “that lose gold”. With this example, the First Vice-President of the Spanish Network of Cities for Climate has highlighted the need to act from the territory and in coordination, to “copy practices and successes”. From the experience of Malaga, Salado encouraged the promotion of “citizen participation because, without it, this effort will be much greater”.
The President of the Network, and Mayor of Seville, Antonio Muñoz, recalled that “it is the cities and municipalities that see the effects of Climate Change”, we see it “in our reality, which is that of our neighbours” and therefore, each measure must be adjusted to it, to the capacity and the need. Faced with this situation, the Mayor of Seville also called on the Network to carry out an exercise in dialogue and consensus. “We must address challenges such as creating sustainable lighting or low-emission areas in a responsible and joint manner” and always “with transparency and citizen participation”.
For her part, Gemma Badia, Second Vice-President of this FEMP network, and Mayoress of Gavà, emphasised in her speech the “drama of climate change”. A reality that calls for “reactivity”: to act in a tangible way and without deviating from this objective, “action against climate change is not postponable or dispensable, we can see it with the drought or with the rise in sea levels”. Badia closed his speech by reminding the audience that “there is no Plan B”.
The inauguration of the Network’s General Assembly concluded with the intervention of Valvanera Ulargui, Director General of the Spanish Office for Climate Change, who assured that “cities are the epicentre of action” and that this action requires the Spanish Cities for Climate Network, which has always been a “pioneer”, and its Local Entities to take another step forward, a quantitative leap, and to commit to adaptation policies and to “contribute positively, to share success stories”. Before concluding, Ulargui highlighted the opportunity that the European funds represent for this challenge and recalled that the commitment to a “more sustainable economy is a commitment to development and health”.