Local Government Cooperation against Climate Change

Elisabeth Mohle, Universidad Nacional de San Martín

Relevance of the Practice

We study the Argentine Network of Municipalities against Climate Change (Red Argentina de Municipios frente al Cambio Climático, RAMCC) as an example of an organization that promotes cooperation among municipalities to take action against climate change.

Cities are beginning to take an increasing role in relation to the impacts of global warming and deciding actions related to its mitigation and adaptation. In this context, it is important to study how municipalities approach one of the greatest challenges that humanity faces.

The scale and bureaucratic capacities of the vast majority of cities are clearly smaller than those of the national and provincial governments. This means serious problems in access to resources, knowledge, and tools necessary to effectively carry out adequate actions against climate change. This challenge is even greater for rural areas, which tend to be more dependent on agricultural production (and therefore on climatic conditions).

The RAMCC was created in response to this obstacle of economies of scale, capacity building, and access to resources and the local level and in rural areas.

Description of the Practice

RAMCC is a coalition of 222 Argentine municipalities that coordinates and promotes strategic plans to tackle climate change, within the objectives of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM).[1] The Network was formed in November 2010 during the First International Conference on Municipalities and Climate Change and became an instrument for coordinating and promoting local public policies to face climate change in cities and rural areas in Argentina.

The municipalities members of RAMCC represent eighteen provinces, a great diversity of regional differences, and encompassing large cities with more than 1 million inhabitants as well as small rural towns. This diversity constitutes an enormous challenge, but at the same time it allows RAMCC to address a heterogeneous variety of environmental challenges.

The network’s main goal is to promote and execute municipal, regional, or national projects or programs related to mitigation and/or adaptation to climate change, based on the mobilization of local, national, and international resources. It seeks to: i) reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 per cent by 2030, ii) reach carbon neutrality by 2050, and iii) increase the resilience of cities to extreme weather.[2]

The tools generated in RAMCC aim at: (i) socializing good practices, tools, and training programs; (ii) support the development of specific Local Climate Action Plans for each city and (iii) access to financing through a trust fund.

RAMCC Trust Fund

Local governments face several obstacles when they need to access funds to carry out actions against climate change (lack of information, insufficient technical capabilities of their human resources, lack of articulation between jurisdictions, among many others). They need technical, administrative, and financial tools that will allow them to access reliable information regarding financing sources, specific requirements of credit organizations, and their own capacities to integrate into an effective national climate change policy.

Faced with this scenario, a group of local government members of RAMCC created the first Argentine trust to manage, support, and implement projects, programs, and policies related to adaptation and mitigation of climate change: the ‘RAMCC Trust’.

This trust constitutes an economic, administrative and financial tool available to member municipalities that enables them to make investments that would not otherwise be done by an individual municipality, and allowing the inclusion of all municipal governments that wish to contribute resources to target climate change, as well as being beneficiaries of the resources, funds, and services that the RAMCC Trust manages.[3]

Climate Action Plan in the Cities of the Province of Mendoza

Another concrete example is the implementation of Climate Action Plans in the Province of Mendoza. This is a cooperation between the provincial Secretary of Environment and the RAMCC to design and implement the Provincial Program of Local Climate Action Plans in the municipalities of Mendoza.

In this way, each locality presents a Local Climate Action Plan with the coordination of the provincial government, open to citizen participation to incorporate sustainable practices.[4]The main difference between urban and rural local government’s Climate Plans is on what issues they focus. The City of Mendoza works primarily on energy efficiency, sustainable constructions and transport, efficient waste management, urban biodiversity conservation and disaster risk management programs[5]. In contrast, rural municipalities are still working on their plans and focus much more on adaptation and risk management, than mitigation.

Assessment of the Practice

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges for humanity and cities are fundamental actors to mitigate and adapt to it. However, cities face great challenges to carry out actions to tackle climate change, mainly due to scarce resources and capacities at the local level.

In order to address these obstacles, several municipalities cooperated to create the RAMCC, which allows them to solve problems of economies of scale and access to knowledge, experiences, capacities, and resources to design effective policies against global warming.

The creation of the network is especially important for rural communities considering the differences between them and urban municipalities, their relative capacities, and the climatological challenges they face.

The specific experiences analyzed, the Trust Fund and the Climate Action Plan in Mendoza, show the important role of RAMCC as a space for cooperation for the effective implementation of measures against climate change in Argentine cities. There still is much work to be done to understand and measure the impact and success of the RAMCC in accompanying the different necessities of urban and rural local governments.

References to Scientific and Non-Scientific Publications

—— ‘Los municipios aplicarán un Programa Acción Climática’ (Mendoza Gobierno, 7 June 2017) <http://www.prensa.mendoza.gov.ar/los-municipios-de-mendoza-contaran-con-un-programa-provincial-de-planes-locales-de-accion-climatica/>

—— ‘Sobre RAMCC’ (RAMCC)           <https://www.ramcc.net/ramcc.php>

—— ‘La ciudad de Mendoza profundiza sus acciones ante la emergencia climática’ (RAMCC, 28 July 2020) <https://ramcc.net/noticia.php?id=1043>

—— ‘Municipios’ (RAMCC) <https://www.ramcc.net/municipios.php>

Cejas A, ‘Fideicomiso RAMCC: un mecanismo para el financiamiento climático local’ (RAMCC, 20 August 2020) <https://ramcc.net/noticia.php?id=1060>

[1] ‘Municipios’ (RAMCC) <https://www.ramcc.net/municipios.php> accessed 7 June 2020.

[2] ‘Sobre RAMCC’ (RAMCC) <https://www.ramcc.net/ramcc.php> accessed 7 June 2020.

[3] Alejandro Cejas, ‘Fideicomiso RAMCC: un mecanismo para el financiamiento climático local’ (RAMCC, 20 August 2020) <https://ramcc.net/noticia.php?id=1060> accessed 18 October 2020.

[4] ‘Los municipios aplicarán un Programa Acción Climática’ (Mendoza Gobierno, 7 June 2017)           <http://www.prensa.mendoza.gov.ar/los-municipios-de-mendoza-contaran-con-un-programa-provincial-de-planes-locales-de-accion-climatica/> accessed 14 July 2020.

[5] ‘La ciudad de Mendoza profundiza sus acciones ante la emergencia climática’ (RAMCC, 28 July 2020)         <https://ramcc.net/noticia.php?id=1043>.