The «Meeting of Latin American and Caribbean Cities of the Global Covenant of Mayors» took place with the participation of over 20 mayors from across the region on October 23 and 24 in the vibrant Panama City as part of the Climate Week 2023.
This meeting was co-organized with the support of the European Union, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the City Climate Finance Gap Fund. It marked the first-ever gathering of cities from both the Caribbean and Latin America regions, aimed at sharing their experiences and exchanging insights on key actions and challenges. Representatives from non-governmental organizations, private companies, academic institutions, and civil society also joined the discussions.
«It’s important to remember that the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is the world’s largest alliance of local governments, allowing municipalities of all sizes to have a voice and showcase their efforts to the world,» said Carolina Basualdo, Mayor of Despeñaderos, Argentina, and President of the Covenant Mayors Forum.
The events on Monday, October 23, began with a session titled «Dialogue on Local Climate Investment,» during which Izabela Matusz, Ambassador of the European Union in Panama, emphasized the EU’s support for cities to unite their voices and ensure significant representation in various Climate Change COPs.
«Cities must lead in Climate Action, and it’s best to promote this leadership together, especially at COP30, scheduled for 2025 in Belém do Pará, Brazil, where the Amazon region will play a significant role,» Matusz pointed out.
Following this, a panel discussion on «Lessons Learned from Successful Partnerships in Local Climate Action» allowed participants to engage in a dialogue on opportunities to address climate challenges fairly and equitably, with the involvement of over ten European private companies.
«We’ve shared what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. It was also very interesting to participate in the Marketplace session because it was designed to strengthen, expand, and discuss urban climate initiatives among cities with private solution providers, financiers, and other partners,» noted Gonzalo Durán, Mayor of Independencia, Chile.
Marcia Conrado, Mayor of Serra Talhada, pointed out the value of hearing about the Caribbean’s experiences with gender and climate change. This highlighted how gender inequalities increasingly widen the opportunity gap between men and women.
«The climate crisis disproportionately affects girls and women because they bear a disproportionate responsibility for ensuring food and water. We are here today to make this reality visible and give women a voice within the climate agenda,» Conrado emphasized.
The second day of the meeting focused on workshops on «Local Climate Planning.» Winston Maragh, Mayor of May Pen in Jamaica, commented, «We have learned a lot about climate issues faced by other countries, which are similar to what Jamaica is dealing with. Upon my return, I will present these climate action plans to all my fellow mayors.»
Additionally, the second day included training sessions on the «City Climate Finance Gap Fund» initiative, aiming to teach cities how to apply for this fund. These practical sessions enhanced the city representatives’ capacities for effective participation in the Gap Fund, including understanding eligibility criteria and the Expression of Interest submission process. The Gap Fund is designed for early-stage low-carbon and climate-resilient projects, offering substantial opportunities for cities in the region.
During both days of the meeting, bilateral meetings were organized to explore business opportunities between European companies and local governments, with discussions centered on investment and collaboration in climate action.