The necessity to act now – 1

Monday, 4 October 2021

10:00 – 11:00 CEST (08:00 – 09:00 UTC)

According to the Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation in Action (CEDAMIA) initiative, as of June 2021, 2000 local governments in 34 countries have declared a climate emergency.

In addition, through the Race-to-Zero and Race-to-Resilience initiatives led by the UNFCCC High Level Climate Action Champions, hundreds of cities, towns and regions are now committing to climate neutrality and climate resilience towards 2050, including setting ambitious midterm targets to be met by 2030. Day one of Daring Cities 2021 will put an emphasis on the necessity to act and lead by example. As 4 October is World Habitat Day, the sessions are also designed as a means to contribute to the day’s chosen theme of “Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world” and its particular focus on the Race-to-Zero.

This session will discuss the difference between ongoing climate action and action in a state of climate emergency, as well as the critical dimension of urgency, the need to act now and the significant risks of inaction.

Run of show

  • Welcome & Introduction
  • Keynote: The climate emergency – The necessity to act now
  • Fireside chat: Putting words to action – Beyond declaring a climate emergency
  • How to accelerate urgent climate action: What cities and regions need
  • Making the most of Daring Cities 2021
  • Wrap-up and overview of following sessions


  • Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
  • Johan Rockström, Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Professor in Earth System Science, University of Potsdam, Germany
  • Yunus Arikan, Director of Global Advocacy, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
  • Katja Dörner, Mayor, City of Bonn, Germany; ICLEI Global Executive Committee Member & Co-Chair on Climate and Low Emissions Portfolio
  • Heeta Lakhani, Co-Focal Point of UNFCCC Youth NGO Constituency (YOUNGO)
  • Abigail Binay, Mayor, City of Makati, Philippines; ICLEI Global Executive Committee Member, Innovative Financing Portfolio; Board Member, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM)