Creating a mechanism to feedback subnational successes into national policies and initiatives supports national innovation and scale-up of good practice. The waste management and recycling program in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, provides a good example in which a bottom-up approach by local government has inspired national-level policy on legitimizing the informal work sector (ICLEI/IRENA, 2013; and Rode and Floater, 2012) (Case 8). Similarly, in China, cases of good practice in the greening of development in larger eastern cities have been formally evaluated to inform national policies and plans, with the particular aim of encouraging green development in other cities, especially in western China (CCICED, 2012). California’s clean air program is another example – the State’s standards and initiatives were adopted by the federal Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990, for scaling up to all US states6. Another example where subnational collaboration has already led to action, but where further action is urgently needed to inform national government, is the development of subnational measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) of green growth actions (Case 9).
One key component in the transition to a green economy is the improvement in the generation, management and reduction of waste. The city of Belo Horizonte took innovative actions towards more efficient waste management, years before a national policy was approved, by integrating the local associations and cooperatives of waste pickers into the formal recycling strategies.
At the recent Nantes Declaration of Mayors and Subnational Leaders on Climate Change, adopted on 28 September 2013 in Nantes, France, mayors and subnational leaders of the world have called for stronger action on MRV. Point 18 of the Nantes Declaration (2013) states:
“In terms of our vision for financing to scale-up local climate action (we, Mayors and subnational leaders) … invite national governments and intergovernmental bodies to support, facilitate and ensure vertical integration of local GHG emission accounting, management and reporting within the national procedures and practices, taking into account the evolving experience of local and subnational governments in measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) climate action.”
The Nantes Declaration represents the collective power of subnational collaboration that can lead to real green growth action at the national and even international level, by pushing both horizontal and vertical integration. More recognition of subnational green growth actions can be encouraged, especially as a way to feed into and support international protocols and declarations on green growth.
An important milestone and background for the Nantes Declaration is the Mexico City Pact (http://www.mexicocitypact.org), adopted in November 21, 2010 by mayors from 138 world cities. Today, 207 cities are signatories. The Pact is a voluntary initiative of mayors and local authority representatives committing to advance local climate action, including the reduction of emissions, adaptation to the impacts of climate change and fostering city-to-city cooperation, and by reporting these subnational activities through Carbonn Cities Climate Registry.
Carbonn Cities Climate Registry is one of the biggest subnational reporting platforms for GHG emission reductions and other subnational actions for green growth. As of March 2013, the Carbonn registry contains data from 302 cities from 42 countries. In addition, the Carbonn registry has reported 561 energy and climate commitments, 578 GHG inventories and 2,471 mitigation/adaptation actions/action plans. These subnational green growth actions range from city biodiversity plans, to water conservation programs, to pilot recycling programs, to rapid transit studies, and to awareness-raising workshops in local schools (Cities Climate Registry, 2014). Many of the reporting cities are C40 cities, and/or ICLEI member cities, including most cities and prefectures of Japan, plus 1 or 2 regions of Europe. Indeed, one of the long-term objectives of the Carbonn Cities Climate Registry is “to help national governments and the global climate community gain a better understanding of the achievements, performance and ambitions of local climate action and formulate appropriate global climate (green growth) policies which also incorporate involvement of local governments” (Cities Climate Registry, 2014).