Climate protection despite corona: city administrations work virtually

An initiative for climate protection in cities ensures that authorities can operate from home and that urgent climate projects do not fall by the wayside.

They virtually walk the route planned for an electric bus using 360-degree maps instead of visiting it. Via social media, they survey citizens in Colombia on how they use bicycle rental systems. Experts from the initiative C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) are deploying creative digital ideas during the coronavirus pandemic. The solutions are enabling them to continue supporting city administrations in developing countries and emerging economies in making their cities more climate-friendly despite lockdowns. CFF is a collaboration of C40 Cities, the network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

As cities across the world have entered crisis mode to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the CFF team has implemented digital approaches such as online seminars, virtual tours or digital surveys to replace face-to-face meetings and help to ensure that climate projects within the network remain in focus. The CFF concept is working, says Carlos Orozco, the CFF’s primary contact in the city administration of Monterrey, Mexico: ‘There are hardly any disadvantages of working virtually. It feels very similar to me and I can now perform all my tasks from home.’ In Monterrey, a CFF team checked whether obstacles such as power lines or trees would get in the way of future e-bus traffic.

In Colombia, a CFF team investigated whether women use bike-sharing services in the same way as men, or whether poorly lit, dark streets discourage them from cycling. The fears of transgender people and people with physical disabilities were also taken into account. The original plan was to clarify these matters in workshops, but instead of conducting face-to-face interviews, the team opted to survey over 1,000 citizens across four cities via social media.

With innovations like these, CFF is helping cities to continue their work on priority climate projects during the coronavirus pandemic. CFF was founded in 2015 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and supports 19 projects in 17 cities across three continents.

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