A letter from the Executive Director
In the month of June, Canadians recognize two significant occasions: Indigenous History Month and Pride Month, both of which are important to consider in our local net-zero and resiliency work. We respectfully acknowledge that our work happens across Turtle Island which has traditionally been and is home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples since time immemorial. During Indigenous History Month, and throughout the year, we endeavour to listen to and learn from Indigenous Peoples. We recognize that reconciliation is a fundamental component to achieving net-zero resilient communities. Although the Pride Month celebrations of the resilience and triumphs of the 2SLGBTQA+ community might seem separate to issues of reconciliation, we recognize that dismantling systems that perpetuate homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are intricately linked to challenging the structures that uphold colonialism and white supremacy.
As we forge ahead with our net-zero and resiliency activities, we center these issues in our minds and in our actions and urge others to do the same. To help municipalities with this undertaking, we have worked with partners to develop resources that can be used to approach climate planning and action through the lens of equity. I encourage you to read these resources (featured below) this month while keeping the perspective of Indigenous Peoples and 2SLGBTQI+ communities in mind and applying insights to your work.
Executive Director, ICLEI Canada
Featured equity resources
Equitable Climate Adaptation
This resource is intended to address barriers that prevent local governments from supporting climate adaptation in a way that centers equity and community engagement. Discover the case for this approach as well as tangible, actionable ideas and tools for partners in local government.
Integrating equity, diversity and inclusion into municipal climate action
In order to address issues of inequality and to ensure a better quality of life for all residents, municipalities must integrate concepts of equity, diversity and inclusion into each stage of their climate action planning. This introductory resource was created to help your municipality take the first step on their EDI journey.
Exciting projects in the works!
Connecting Beaconsfield: Building climate resilience through social connection
Social connection plays an important role in the ability of residents and whole communities to respond to and recover from climate change impacts such as extreme weather events. The “Connecting Beaconsfield” project was initiated by the City of Beaconsfield (with financial support from the Fonds d’initiative et de rayonnement de la métropole, administered by the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine of the ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation) to increase social connection thereby also developing resilience to climate hazards. Building on work done through the City’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan, the City is currently working with ICLEI Canada and several local community groups and organizations to increase climate resilience through social connection.
Financing resilient infrastructure project
Despite the strong economic case for investing in climate adaptation at a time when our communities are experiencing increasing and worsening climate events, public funds are limited. The “Financing resilient infrastructure” project aims to build capacity to support the implementation of climate adaptation projects across Canada by unlocking private finance. In partnership with Co-operators and with support from Addenda Capital, we are currently working with 12 Canadian municipalities to develop a suite of resilient infrastructure project prospectuses that private investors could help realize in the future. An advisory group of financing experts from the federal and provincial governments, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as international climate finance institutions is helping steer the project. Stay tuned for updates!
The role of private finance in climate adaptation infrastructure
Through our work with communities across Canada, we are in touch with municipal, climate, and sustainability practitioners on a daily basis. As a result, we are acutely aware of the financial and capacity burden placed on municipalities when it comes to dealing with the impacts of climate change and building resilience. We were pleased to contribute some of our insights to the Mobilizing private capital for climate adaptation infrastructure scoping paper that was recently released by the Canadian Climate Institute.
New PCP hub article: An introduction to carbon offsetting for municipalities
Curious about carbon offsetting? Learn about carbon offsetting markets in Canada as well as best practices for municipalities including reporting carbon offsets. This article, available on the PCP Hub, provides an introduction to carbon offsetting markets in Canada as well as best practices for municipalities on how to report carbon offsets and ensure they result in actual greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. It highlights how carbon offsets can be generated from the protected and/or managed forests in Canada.
What is the PCP Hub?
The PCP Hub is a peer-to-peer online network that helps Canadian municipal staff and elected officials connect with the best resources and expertise on GHG emission reductions and local climate action. The PCP Hub is also a great way to learn about the latest funding opportunities and access resources related to climate and energy. The PCP Hub is available to 500+ PCP member municipalities from across Canada. Not a PCP member? Learn more about the program and how to get a free membership for your municipality.
Agents of Change Resources
Mobilizing community residents towards net zero and climate resilience goals is a crucial element of any municipal climate action planning process, yet that level of outreach and engagement is often lacking. The “Agents of Change” resources are designed to help municipalities conceptualize impactful local climate volunteer programs and engage residents in local climate action. If you haven’t already done so, have a look at these recently released resources!
From our global network: COP15 “Taking action for biodiversity” report
If you followed the UN Biodiversity COP15 that took place in Montreal in December 2022, you know that there was a dedicated Summit and Pavilion for subnational and local government actions. The 7th Summit for Subnational Governments & Cities and dedicated Subnational Governments & Cities Pavilion constituted an unprecedented global milestone to welcome significantly strengthened contributions from subnational governments and cities to the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework. A comprehensive report that highlights the impact of the 7th Summit and its associated Pavilion is now available.
Monthly PCP Community of Practice Calls: The next call is taking place July 6
On the first Thursday of every month, the Partners for Climate Protection program (PCP) hosts peer-to-peer discussions for member municipal staff and elected officials. Discussions led by industry experts on various climate mitigation topics provide an opportunity to learn about local climate initiatives, discuss challenges and solutions, network, and more. The next call is taking place July 6 from 2 to 3 pm EST. Guest speakers will share best practices, make recommendations, and answer questions to help municipalities implement sustainable procurement practices.
Photo credit: Ai, Summer connections, 2022. mississauga.ca/publicart
Livable Cities Forum: From Intention to Implementation
Most Canadian cities and towns were not built with a vision of a net zero, resilient, and sustainable future. So what does the transition to resilient, equitable, and livable communities look like? How can we embrace diversity and inclusion in the process? And, ultimately, how can we accelerate implementation to keep pace with challenges municipalities face? The 2023 Livable Cities Forum (LCF) will convene local leaders, urban professionals, and on-the-ground practitioners from across Canada to explore these questions through the lens of “Intention to Implementation”. Gain insights on leading-edge energy transition and resilience practices and connect with experts, leaders, and practitioners from across Canada.
From our global network: Daring Cities
Daring Cities is a global forum on climate change to empower urban decision-makers to lead the response to the climate emergency. As part of Daring Cities 2023, a virtual Forum will take place throughout July, August, and September. This Virtual Forum provides a free, globally accessible program of solution-oriented sessions on regionally and sectorally relevant issues related to just transition and the climate emergency.
From our global network: Global biodiversity webinar series
Join us at ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center webinar series, to explore the key role of subnational and local governments in the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Each online session includes inspiring and informative presentations and panel discussions from experts and political leaders. The webinars allow sharing tools, resources and/or best practices.
In case you missed it…
Webinar replay and presentations: “Agents of Change” reflections
ICLEI Canada’s Agents of Change Project helped participating municipalities conceptualize impactful local volunteer programs tailored to their community and climate mitigation and/or adaptation goals. In this webinar, select participants talked about the climate engagement volunteer programs they built as part of this project, shared reflections, and answered questions while ICLEI Canada staff shared resources available to help local governments engage community members in municipal climate action. Watch the replay to learn how three municipalities from across Canada built climate engagement volunteer programs to support municipal climate goals, and discover resources to help you do the same in your community
Special offer Cost of Doing Nothing (CODN) offer for Francophone communities is extended
Building a local business case for adaptation can help decision-makers weigh the costs of climate action versus inaction and support adaptation planning. To help municipalities do this, we developed the CODN Toolbox to frame the costs of climate change in a local context. While the CODN Toolbox provides all the resources needed to write a CODN report, it still requires time and capacity on the part of municipal staff, as well as a good understanding of local adaptation processes. Our team works with municipalities that have limited capacity to write CODN reports. This BARC member-only service is currently available for Francophone communities.
Where we’ve been
Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative AGM
We were in Chicago, IL last week for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative’s 2023 Annual General Meeting. For their 20th anniversary, the Cities Initiative planned a special program around the theme of “Climate Action: Perfecting Your City’s Plan”. We offered a climate mitigation and adaptation workshop series to 200+ Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River mayors in partnership with ICLEI USA and the Cities Initiative.
FCM Annual General Meeting
We were at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ 2023 Annual Conference and Trade Show in Toronto at the end of May. We participated in the “National Adaptation Strategy to local climate resilience” workshop to help make sense of the federal government’s new National Adaptation Strategy framework and Action Plan through a local lens with a focus on adaptation investment needs.
2nd Montréal Climate Summit
We joined leaders from across Canada and the US for the 2nd edition of the Montréal Climate Summit in early May to share insights and best practices gleaned from over 30 years of working with Canadian municipalities to take local action on climate change. We led a workshop on “Accelerating Urban Climate Action Through Collaboration” and shared examples how Canadian municipalities are using data and transparency to drive local climate action without being limited by it in the “From Ambition to Climate Action: Strengthening Trust, Transparency, and Accountability Through Data” session.
Photo credit: @Reality_Canada, retrieved from Twitter.
Summit of the Americas
We joined local leaders from across the entire Western Hemisphere in Denver, Colorado April 24 to 30 for the inaugural Cities Summit of the Americas. We participated in various sessions, workshops, and side events including ICLEI’s “Urban Development and the Circular Economy: an Inspirational Approach to Get Started” session and ICLEI USA’s Member Meetup. We shared insights, exchanged knowledge, and explored potential solutions to common challenges with peers and local leaders from across the Americas.
Photo credit: @ICLEI_USA, retrieved from Twitter.
Welcome to the team!
Adrián Tóth, Climate Change Program Lead
Adrián Tóth recently joined our team as Climate Change Program Lead. With experience working for funding institutions and cities on climate change, Adrián brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and practical insights to the team. He will be involved in the Financing Resilient Infrastructure project, support the Building Adaptive and Resilient Communities (BARC) program, and work with municipalities wanting to understand the cost of doing nothing in a local context.
Mai-Yin Johnston, Climate Change Assistant intern
Mai-Yin Johnston will be supporting our team this summer as Climate Change Assistant intern. She is a fourth year student at the University of Toronto who investigates urban resilience in the context of climate change, social justice, and equity as a research assistant. She is always seeking new and meaningful ways to engage in learning, ideas-sharing, and climate-positive initiatives, and is excited to be working with ICLEI.
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