Cities at the forefront of fighting climate change

Mayor of Paris

An ecological transition has been necessary for many years. It has now become vital. Faced with the prospect of the total destruction of people and the environment, we must send out an equally uncompromising wake-up call on the ties that bind humans and nature.

Only a radical overhaul of our way of living can put a stop to environmental degradation. And sustainable solutions need to come from cities, which are the leading public investors, trailblazers in testing ideas, and the driving force behind social and technological innovation.

Cities know how to create precious synergies between citizens, businesses and institutions. They have valuable human resources at hand, which can guarantee creativity and unique expertise. By forging a direct link between residents and users, cities can unite large communities tasked with thinking and doing. Thanks to their responsive modes of governance, they only need a few months to test ideas that would require years of negotiation in national and international bodies.

Local authorities must play their full part in this effort. Paris is fully committed to combating climate change and determined to move forward as quickly as possible. And I know that this objective is shared by many local leaders both in France and abroad. We intend to turn words into actions, which will benefit our lives and our cities.

This means placing the circular economy at the heart of the way we operate. We want to step out of the vicious circle of an economy, which is an increasing drain on resources, and enter another circle, one which respects human dignity, health and environmental balance. It is a circle in which humanity fights not against our possibilities, but against everything blocking the way to a freer future. The circle integrates, includes and involves everyone in a shared journey.

Local authorities need to work towards the emergence of this new economy, so that we learn how to produce without destroying, consume without wasting, and recycle without dumping.

This is precisely the direction that the City of Paris has chosen to take. And we are determined to make the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris a milestone in the fight to save our environment.

On the occasion, some 1 000 local leaders from around the world will come and fly the flag for cities and regions. Every day, local authorities implement concrete solutions at grass-roots level, which must be used to add impetus to negotiations. The Climate Summit for Local Leaders will be an opportunity to acknowledge those innovations that local authorities and their networks have put in place in their daily efforts to preserve our planet.

It is by giving all these voices the platform they deserve in order to be properly heard that we can reach an agreement that is crucial for safeguarding and freeing the future. The Climate Summit for Local Leaders will be an opportunity to deliver a powerful collective message with a single voice.

Another world is within our reach, and within the reach of all humankind, based on our ideals of unity and sharing. It is up to us to bring that world to life.

Visit and

For OECD data and information on cities and climate, visit

©OECD Observer 304, November 2015

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q1 2019 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.3% May 2019 annual
Trade: +0.4% exp, -1.2% imp, Q1 2019
Unemployment: 5.2% July 2019
Last update: 8 July 2019

OECD Observer Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Subscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To order your own paper editions,email

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • MCM logo
  • The following communiqué and Chair’s statement were issued at the close of the OECD Council Meeting at Ministerial level, this year presided by the Slovak Republic.
  • Food production will suffer some of the most immediate and brutal effects of climate change, with some regions of the world suffering far more than others. Only through unhindered global trade can we ensure that high-quality, nutritious food reaches those who need it most, Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, and José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, write in their latest Project Syndicate article. Read the article here.
  • Globalisation will continue and get stronger, and how to harness it is the great challenge, says OECD Secretary-General Gurría on Bloomberg TV. Watch the interview here.
  • OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría with UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, in New York City.
  • The new OECD Observer Crossword, with Myles Mellor. Try it online!
  • Listen to the "Robots are coming for our jobs" episode of The Guardian's "Chips with Everything podcast", in which The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott, and Jeremy Wyatt, a professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Birmingham, and Jordan Erica Webber, freelance journalist, discuss the findings of the new OECD report "Automation, skills use and training". Listen here.
  • Do we really know the difference between right and wrong? Alison Taylor of BSR and Susan Hawley of Corruption Watch tell us why it matters to play by the rules. Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview here.
  • Has public decision-making been hijacked by a privileged few? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Stav Shaffir, MK (Zionist Union) Chair of the Knesset Committee on Transparency here.
  • Can a nudge help us make more ethical decisions? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Saugatto Datta, managing director at ideas42 here.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2019