City and Subnational Governance: High ambitions, innovative instruments and polycentric collaborations?

Author/s (editor/s):

Jeroen van der Heijden

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

Cities and local communities will play a key role in climate change adaptation and mitigation (Bulkeley and Betsill, 2003; Parnell, 2016; Jayne and Ward, 2017). Already in Local Agenda 21 (UNCED, 1992), adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, they were recognised and explicitly mentioned as an important site for climate action. Fast forward to the mid-2010s: the Climate Summit for Local Leaders was hosted, in parallel to the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2015. This event was attended by many urban leaders and gained much recognition in the climate negotiations that resulted in the Paris Agreement. At COP22 in Marrakech in 2016, the parallel Climate Summit for Local and Regional Leaders was held. Again, this event provided cities and other local actors with an opportunity to influence international climate change negotiations. Similarly, cities were a central focus of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of 2015. Meanwhile, the New Urban Agenda resulting from the bi-decennial HABITAT Conference in 2016 has a strong focus on the role of cities in climate change mitigation and adaptation (United Nations, 2016).

Cite the publication as

Jeroen van der Heijden (2018) “City and Subnational Governance: High Ambitions, Innovative Instruments and Polycentric Collaborations?”, in: Jordan, A. et al. (ed),Governing Climate Change: Polycentricity in Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 81-96.

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