30 November 2021

Reflecting on the outcomes of COP26

This final COP26 newsletter reflects on the conference and provides resources, case studies and tools for local authorities. 

With the doors of COP26 now firmly closed, now is the time for tangible action. While the voices of local actors were largely excluded from high-level negotiations, place-based action is vital if we are to catalyse a just transition to net zero. Local authorities play a vital role in tackling the climate crisis and in making a positive difference to communities across the world.

It is crucial for local authorities around the globe to collaborate and share learning with each other to tackle the impacts of climate change and other interrelated challenges.

Our Global Local service highlights local innovation and best practice responding to pressing global challenges. To find out more, please visit our websiteIf you would like to share a story on our blog or a strategy from your council to be featured on LGIU’s platform, fill in this simple form

Read: Our briefing weighing up the success of COP26
Watch: Post-COP26 and local government panel discussion
Explore: All of our recent coverage and climate content, in one place

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COP26: Meek and weak or strong and deliverable? Only time will tell
Briefing by Connor Smith, LGIU Associate
After months of anticipation and weeks of negotiations, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) came to a close, with the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed upon by delegates from 197 nations around the world on 13 November. The text spells out the direction of travel to address climate change over the next decade as understood and agreed upon by the participating parties, centring around 5 key themes:
  1. Science and urgency
  2. Adaptation
  3. Adaptation finance
  4. Mitigation
  5. Finance, technology transfer and capacity-building for mitigation and adaptation

Despite the diversity of issues raised at the talks (which also included climate justice, collaboration, and the role of communities and indigenous voices in addressing and tackling climate change), COP26 was always going to be about carbon emission reductions first and foremost. Framed as the conference to put into action the words of the Paris Agreement, it was always going to be difficult for communities from the Global South – including those already living through the real impacts of changing climates – to make their voices heard.

Nevertheless, and despite relatively low expectations, many will still be left with the lingering feeling that the outcomes reached are simply not good enough. But what do they mean for local government? Municipalities around the world are demonstrating that local climate action can be taken even when central government plans lack ambition.

So what was achieved in Glasgow, and what's left to address? 

Click here to read this briefing
LGIU Global Local highlights
Workstream: COP26 and local government
The 26th United Nations Climate Change conference in Glasgow has come to a close. What do the themes discussed and outcomes reached mean for local government? Find all of our extensive coverage and resources in one place here. View the workstream.
Place-based action: an antidote to the blah blah blah?
As COP26 closes its doors, Alice Creasy, Policy & Partnerships Officer at the LGIU, reflects on her experience of the conference and asks whether place-based action could be an antidote to the ‘blah blah blah’. Read this blog.
Local Government’s role post-COP 26: Insights from South Tyneside Council
The leader of South Tyneside Cllr Tracey Dixon outlines the important role of local government for leading change and highlights the actions they’ll be supporting in South Tyneside. Read this blog.
We need more local and regional leadership to address climate change
In light of COP26, David Minton, Director of Ireland's Northern and Western Regional Assembly calls for more local leadership to lead the charge in preventing future climate disasters. Read this blog.

Report: Exploring Economic and Enterprise Opportunities from Climate Action

This recent report by LGIU for Ireland's Eastern and Midlands Climate Action Regional Office draws on an international body of practical case studies to highlight successful work at local levels to combine climate action with local economic development opportunities. Read the report for innovative examples of local adaptation and mitigation efforts and the lessons to be drawn from them.

Download the report here: Exploring Economic and Enterprise Opportunities from Climate Action

Did you miss our post-COP26 webinar? Catch up here

Our recent event was held virtually in partnership with the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place at the University of Liverpool. This event brought together experts from across the UK and Ireland to consider the key outcomes from COP26 with a specific focus on what they mean for local authorities; including how they can be practically achieved and delivered.

Watch the recording of the event below, or visit our website for a written summary of the key discussions.

Speakers: Chris Murray (Director, Core Cities UK); Anna Marie Delaney (Chief Executive, Offaly County Council); Mark Atherton (Director of Environment, Greater Manchester Combined Authority).

Resources and Events

Online Training: Effective Local Climate Governance after COP26
This recent LGIU seminar explored what effective climate governance means at a local level using UK case studies as a framework. Other key aspects examined included collaboration and community engagement. Watch the recorded online training here
Access Passcode: c6NEXE?&

Climate change communications – what next for local authorities?
Download presentations from other councils' climate communications strategies via the LGA website. Visit the website here.
Thanks for reading!

Next week's edition of the Global Local Recap will look at the value of rural cultural and creative industries and explore how municipalities can support them. The following week we'll be reflecting on 2021, including revisiting some of our most popular content.

If you would like to share a story on our blog or a strategy from your council, fill in this simple form or drop me a line at Please forward this free newsletter to a colleague or share it on social media to help us reach even more people who value local government globally. We tweet from @GlobalLocalLGIU.

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