Project-Supported Tunisian City Named a Frontrunner in Global Climate City Challenge

December 18, 2019

The city of Monastir, Tunisia, was recently named at a special event at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) as one of the five frontrunners and role models for climate action in the Global South. It qualifies—alongside Cotonou, Benin; Makindye, Uganda; Jambi, Indonesia; and Recife, Brazil—for the next phase of the Global Climate City Challenge (GCCC), a partnership between the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), endorsed by the European Commission.

The city of Monastir is looking at ways to integrate nature-based solutions to enhance resilience in the city’s coastal areas, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. The Tunisian municipality is a partner city of the European Union-funded Clima-Med project in the South Mediterranean. The project, implemented by DAI’s recently acquired firm Human Dynamics, works with national and local authorities from the Middle East and North Africa to prepare sustainable energy access and climate action plans.

“Monastir’s urban climate action was selected from 140 projects and 100 applicant cities. This is a huge recognition for us,” said Mondher Marzouk, the mayor of Monastir. He also stressed that “access to finance is instrumental to getting projects out of our pipeline and on to the ground.”

In light of the planned City Climate Finance Gap Fund, which will provide funding to prepare pre-feasibility studies and other support at the early stages of project preparation, the GCCC’s recognition of Monastir sets forth the successful cooperation between the Clima-Med project and the municipality. It also shows the pivotal role cities have in the overall strategic approach of the Gap Fund to help donors identify what is really needed locally “to make bankable projects, improve the lives of local people, and tackle climate change.”

Group Photo-9834e6.JPGFrontrunner cities were announced at a special event at COP25, in the presence of Frans Timmermans, newly appointed Co-Chair of GCoM and European Commission Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal; EIB President Werner Hoyer; former New York City mayor and Co-Chair and Co-Founder of GCoM Michael Bloomberg; and UN-Habitat's Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif, among other stakeholders.

The five frontrunner cities, selected for their ambitious and potentially transformative urban climate projects, will now benefit from more preliminary project scoping work. Urban finance and climate experts are working with municipalities and their partners to get their projects off the ground.

“I am a strong believer in sharing experiences between cities across the globe because the cities are the places where the biggest challenges are, but also the solutions are. The European Green Deal is our way of showing a road map to be climate neutral as a continent by 2050,” said Timmermans, a day before the official announcement of the European Green Deal in Brussels by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

Werner Hoyer, President of the EIB, announced the bank’s vision to “move from 25 percent for climate lending purposes to 50 percent in 2025. In the period 2021 to 2030, the EIB wants to trigger an investment volume of $1.1 trillion for climate action. We need to speed up, we need to gain time, and it is necessary that we join forces with cities.”

Clima-Med supports the transition of eight partner countries in the Southern Neighbourhood towards sustainable, low-carbon and climate-resilient development. The target beneficiaries covered by Clima-Med are governmental, local authorities and nonstate actors in Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia.

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