Climate policy meets urban development

Project description

Title: Climate policy meets urban development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: Global, Germany in cooperation with Mexico, South Africa and other partner countries
Lead executing agency: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Overall term: 2016 to 2021



The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 Special Report on global warming is a worrying call to action that underlines the urgency of the objectives of the Paris Agreement. More than half the world’s population now lives in urban areas, which are the source of over 70 per cent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Against this background, local authorities have a critical role to play in reducing emissions and implementing measures for adapting to climate change. Cities and municipalities are the places where climate-friendly economic practices and lifestyles, resilient infrastructures and social systems can be developed and implemented worldwide. They possess economic and innovative capacity and can count on the participation of citizens and other actors.

The Paris Climate Agreement calls for the inclusion and networking of all levels of government in order to cope with climate change. Collaborative Climate Action, or in other words, successful cooperation and coordination, is therefore essential for ambitious climate policy-making and needs to be strengthened. 

Increasing numbers of municipalities are setting ambitious climate protection goals for themselves, which even go beyond national and international targets in certain cases. A transition to a low-carbon, resilient economy and society is possible, and the necessary means, scientific knowledge and technological innovations are already available.


The principles of Collaborative Climate Action are taken into account when developing and implementing nationally determined contributions and long-term strategies. 


The project supports BMU with regard to strategic international work at the interface between climate policy and urban development. The project promotes both vertical and horizontal integration of climate change mitigation measures, and the international exchange of knowledge and experience. The collaborative cooperation is based on the principles of partnership, universal validity, coherence and transparency. In this context, the project is working in the following fields of action:

Supporting the tasks of international cooperation relating to environmentally friendly and climate-friendly urban development: The project observes and documents developments relating to the climate or urban development and prepares professional inputs in agreement with BMU. Moreover, it establishes a connection to international agendas such as the 2030 Agenda and New Urban Agenda. 

Further developing and positioning the Collaborative Climate Action policy area: The project supports BMU in developing a strategic approach in the area of Collaborative Climate Action and in incorporating core BMU issues such as Just Transition. In addition, it compiles a newsletter documenting offerings and requirements in the area of Collaborative Climate Action. 

Practical cooperation and support for partners in implementing Collaborative Climate Action in the context of the Partnership for Collaborative Climate Action: The project supports the expansion of the partnership-based cooperation initiated by the Partnership Declaration on Collaborative Climate Action and cooperates with selected partners on the development of learning and exchange formats for Collaborative Climate Action. In addition, it shares experience with interested groups via a web portal and by participating in international events.


  • In an initial project phase, the project team recorded, wrote about and published their experiences of multi-level cooperation. In particular, the ‘Multi-Level Climate Governance – Supporting Local Action’ study provided national governments, regional stakeholders and interested partners with practical guidelines for implementing multi-level cooperation.
  • The 2019 International Conference on Climate Action in Heidelberg (ICCA2019) constituted an important milestone in the international positioning of Collaborative Climate Action and in the sharing of practical experience of multi-level cooperation. Around 1000 participants from 80 countries took part. The political need for multi-level cooperation was expressed in the ‘Partnership Declaration on Collaborative Climate Action’. The ‘Heidelberg Outcomes’ showed what successful efforts are already being made, which methods are being used and how they can be disseminated. International experts are aware of the leverage effect of Collaborative Climate Action for achieving the climate targets.
  • In the third phase, the project is driving forward the Partnership for Collaborative Climate Action based on the conceptual preparatory work and the results of the ICCA2019. The partners are united in their shared belief that this is an important lever for implementing international and national climate targets. They use the partnership as an advocacy platform for increased climate protection and for sharing experience.
  • Together with other GIZ projects in the field, the project ensures that information flows from the people on the ground to decision-makers and between projects worldwide. Within the partnership, the project is positioned in a way that enables the partnership to have an impact on political decisions and allows experiences to be incorporated into practice in other areas too. The GIZ projects in the field contribute towards the implementation of Collaborative Climate Action in a wide range of contexts.
  • By engaging with and empowering governments and stakeholders, the project thus contributes to implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.

Additional information