The Metro-scale Climate Leaders Workshop, organized by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy in the Americas (GCoM Americas), funded by the European Union, took place on April 7th, 2022 in the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. The event was an opportunity for local leaders from metropolitan areas, counties, and cities across the USA to reflect on their Climate Action Plans and identify priorities and needs for implementation, exchanging experiences with funding and financing solutions.
The “Metro-scale Climate Leaders” (MSCL) initiative was a key outcome of the first phase of GCoM in the USA, implemented by the EU-funded International Urban Cooperation Program (IUC) from 2017 to 2020. It demonstrated the success of regional collaboration to achieve climate goals.
The ‘Kansas Climate Week’ brought these MSCL regions together to reflect on the outcomes of the planning process and to consider vital next steps to facilitate concrete climate action. Representatives from metro regions Chicago, the Twin Cities, East Central Florida, Washington DC, Miami-Dade and Kansas City worked together to assess how best to identify funding and financial sources and mechanisms in order to implement their priority actions.
Representing the European Union Delegation in the USA, Mercedes García Pérez highlighted that the time for action is now, with cities leading the way:
“Having visited a number of US cities in the last few weeks and months I have seen firsthand this is where the action is being taken – with more transit options, more walkable spaces, more sustainable infrastructure, attracting innovation and providing better housing. Through the renewed support by the EU to the GCoM Secretariat in Brussels and specifically to the regional covenant in the Americas, we will continue to support city climate action in the US. We are at a critical juncture, for cities the time has come to go from planning to implementation and this meeting today is a key step to bring implementation forward, inspired by the examples of what cities, counties and regions are planning and achieving across the US.”
GCoM Americas expert for North America, Ryan Glancy, who ran the workshop activity in Kansas City, stated that the workshop was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the collective success of the GCoM USA Metro-Scale Climate Leader initiative:
“We have clearly demonstrated through the award-winning plans we have created and the action we have initiated, that metropolitan and regional climate coordination is an optimal geographical scale to address the climate issue and hope that more regions will follow and join us in GCoM USA. It was fitting to host the meeting at the home of Climate Action KC, one of the most progressive and successful regional climate collaboratives in the US and globally, and a great example for others to follow”.
The Mayor of Roeland Park and Co-founder of Climate Action KC, Mike Kelly, stated that “Kansas City and Climate Action Kansas is honored to host leaders from Europe and North America at today’s Metro Scale Leader’s Workshop. Thanks to the generous support of the GCoM USA and the EU we’ve created award-winning plans, and we’re excited to develop strategies for expedited implementation”.
The week culminated in the “KC Regional Climate Action Summit” on April 9th, a chance for the Kansas region to celebrate its success with local stakeholders and their counterparts from around the US.