Urban Transitions Mission doubles the city cohort and welcomes new Cities to embark on a resilient pathway towards net-zero futures

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (12 December 2023) — At the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Urban Transitions Mission (UTM) announced the joining of 49 additional cities to the mission’s cohort. The newcomers will work together and receive support to test, pilot, and scale up innovative solutions for a holistic, people-centred urban transition.

Launched at COP26, under the framework of Mission Innovation (MI), UTM is a joint effort by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy  (GCoM), the European Commission, and the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe (JPI). The mission offers an urban net-zero transition framework that builds on the knowledge and expertise of a Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) of supporting partners and organizations together with the first-hand experience of cities. 

“The Urban Transitions Mission is going from strength to strength to foster knowledge exchange in global cooperation with new cities joining the cohort,” says Dr. Eleanor Webster, Head of Mission Innovation Secretariat. “This is a unique tool that we bring to the table, identifying and unlocking the co-benefits of clean energy to really drive the just transition and have an impact all over the world.” 

The cities newly joining the cohort will have the opportunity to establish connections, exchange insights, as well as learn from each other and the 48 cities already working with UTM. Supported by GIA partners, the cities will receive assistance in fortifying their climate strategies, collaborating on net-zero visions, and expediting implementation. The key focus areas for action include:

  • Revise existing climate and energy action plans to prioritize actions according to scientific data and evidence and bridge implementation gaps to reach net-zero based on innovation needs.
  • Broker access to solutions, focusing on accelerating the implementation of technological, regulatory, and financial solutions.
  • Identify and remove red tape to test and upscale innovation by working with partners in the Mission’s Global Innovation Alliance to provide support for cities to pilot and scale innovative solutions.
  • Accelerate access to dedicated R&I funding and capacity building to develop sound investment plans to existing project pipelines, which will be in collaboration with national governments, private sector and global institutions, and Mission Innovation partners.

“Becoming part of the Urban Transitions Mission city cohort, alongside 48 other cities, reflects our commitment to adopt strategies to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.” says Manuel de Araujo, Mayor of Quelimane, Mozambique. “By engaging with the partners from the Global Innovation Alliance and our peers, we will work to prioritize resilient and inclusive actions to help our city accelerate access to clean energy, further climate action and systemic innovation.”

During the past year, UTM carried out over 20 tailor-made trainings and knowledge transfer opportunities following their needs, and launched a dedicated knowledge-sharing platform (the Urban Transitions Mission Center) to host additional exchanges and robust resources. Additionally, UTM worked to expand its Global Innovation Alliance to catalyze opportunities for UTM cities to learn, act, and scale up their action, teaming up with financial institutions, research, academia, national governments, and the private sector. This resulted in over 25 pilot actions that will help cities act as innovation hubs in specific areas.

Since early 2023, UTM has helped the first 48 cities continue advancing in their decarbonization journey and are committed and working towards an expected collective reduction of 21.6 Megatons of CO2 equivalent – the equivalent of around 3,000,000 people flying in economy class from Miami (US) to Newcastle (AUS) and back.

“Cities members of the Urban Transitions Mission’s cohort are leading the way in demonstrating pathways towards resilient and people centered net-zero cities.” says  Rosalinde van der Vlies, Director – Clean Planet, European Commission, and Member of the Steering Committee of Mission Innovation. “Building on the European cities mission, the mission is raising the bar when it comes to support urban climate action, bringing together a diverse group of participants, from different levels of government and geographies, enabling a rich exchange of firsthand experiences on the implementation of financing solutions for urban climate action.”

Starting in 2024, the new cities joining UTM will prioritize projects focused on energy infrastructure, efficiency, and low-emissions built environments to build critical pathways to reach net zero. Among the new cities, 23 new cities will explore renewable energy source (RES) potential, 10 will focus on digital solutions, and 22 cities will pursue integrated zero-emission solutions for mobility. Lastly, 29 cities will seek solutions in urban development and regeneration, including integrated rural-urban development, sustainable use of land, urban poverty, and access to energy as priority pathways.

Find the list of the new cities here.

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