Address to Delegates of the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 held in London, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement

We, the delegates of the 2nd conference on Water, Megacities and Global Change, organized by UNESCO, ARCEAU-IdF, SIAAP and the Metropolis of Greater Paris, which is currently scheduled for December 2021, presently participating in the pre-conference meeting from 7 to 11 December 2020, including local governments’ officials, scientists, water professionals, NGOs, specialists of international organizations, and other stakeholders in the municipal water sector, hereby acknowledge and share with the participants of the Climate Ambition Summit, the ever-growing societal concerns and critical needs for a global partnership and experience sharing of megacities, their local governments, service operators, research communities and civil societies, to jointly face, worldwide, the environmental, economic and societal climate adaptation challenges and accelerate local governance capacity building for upgrading service resilience to the increasing climate impacts on the sustainability of the metropolitan ecosystems.

More specifically we recognize:

  • The growing societal concerns of megacities facing accelerating climate change impacts, urban population growth and deteriorating water resources.
  • The critical needs for promoting governance response policy and socio-cultural adaptation to climate change, on a global scale, with locally adapted strategies to meet various sustainable development goals (in particular, the SDG6).
  • The need to ensure that consistently with the Paris Agreement and the COP’s recommendations, accessibility to drinking quality water is and must be guaranteed as a Human Right, transcending any national, socio-cultural or political frontiers, and to engage strategies for providing the world's population with a sustainable access to sufficient quality water under extreme conditions.
  • The challenge of building urban, societal, economic, operational and ecological resilience to protect the metropolitan population from the climatic hazards of water: floods and droughts.
  • The urgency of preserving and safeguarding the quality of the natural ecosystems for both human needs and biodiversity.
  • The relevance of action at the level of the Megacities (in the UNESCO’s sense) in the context of the fast-growing concentration of their population, their environmental impacts in particular on their watersheds, and their capacity for research and innovation facing the climate impacts and extreme events.

For this purpose, we call upon the participants of the Climate Ambition Summit and the International Community of Nations to support the constitution of a Global Alliance of Megacities, as outlined in the 2015 International Conference on Water, Megacities and Global Change at the occasion of the Paris Agreement, with UNESCO providing the secretariat, in order to:

  • Provide a global experience sharing and a dialogue platform to effectively assemble all the stakeholders involved, and in particular local governments’ officials, service operators, scientists, media and water professionals, in order to promote the necessary cooperation for the development and implementation of innovative, reliable and acceptable solutions for sustainable climate adaptation strategies, following the principles of Agenda 2030.
  • Support local governance capacity building to develop, implement and monitor sustainable climate adaptation, resilience building and eco-development strategies.
  • Foster the necessary cooperation between the various stakeholders involved in each Megacity and the coordination between the various urban public policies to optimize and diversify solutions, engage the necessary investments in relevant research and innovation, and promote worldwide public education, at all levels, towards climate adaptation and societal resilience culture.