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
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 emissions. Against this background, local authorities have a critical role to play in reducing emissions and implementing measures to adapt to climate change. Cities and municipalities are the places where climate-friendly global economic practices and lifestyles, resilient infrastructures and social systems can be developed and implemented. 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. Accordingly, successful cooperation and coordination are essential for ambitious climate policy and need 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.


Implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement is boosted by stronger inclusion and empowerment of sub-national governments and stakeholders.


The project supports and advises BMU on strategic international efforts at the interface between climate policy and urban development. To achieve this, primarily vertical but also horizontal integration of climate change mitigation measures is promoted, as is the international exchange of knowledge and experience. This implies coordination between measures at a local level through to (inter)national policy, together with coordination among actors at common levels such as mayors and federal states, for coherent action is vital to holistic climate and urban development policy. The 2019 International Conference on Climate Action in Heidelberg (ICCA2019) will contribute significantly to the achievement of this aim.

The major objective of ICCA2019 is to support measures to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. With the Climate Action Summit that will be hosted by the UN Secretary-General in September 2019 in mind, this conference aims to make a decisive contribution to the results of the UN working group on ‘Infrastructure, cities and local measures’.

To this end, the conference aims to advance and strengthen settings, programmes and instruments at regional, state and international levels. Climate protection actors on the ground shall be enabled to contribute more effectively to the implementation of climate goals. The project will analyse specialist knowledge, develop and disseminate policy instruments and measures, identify or suggest relevant initiatives, and uncover potential for cooperation.

ICCA2019 will bring together local, regional and national decision-makers and key actors and experts from all over the world in Heidelberg on 22 and 23 May 2019. These delegates will present and advance mitigation and adaptation policies. The conference will be hosted jointly by the German Federal Environment Ministry, the state of Baden-Württemberg and the city of Heidelberg. Over 700 decision-makers have registered to attend the conference.


Further information