Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta played host on Wednesday as hundreds of city leaders and government officials from across the world met in the nation's capital for the C40 World Mayors Summit to discuss international cooperation on climate change.
"Argentina must return to being a federal country, as our constitution says and as [Juan Bautista] Alberdi dreamed," said Rodríguez Larreta in a speech on Wednesday inaugurating the summit, an event that sees mayors take the lead in efforts to lower emissions.
The City mayor's opening remarks emphasised the importance of leadership at the municipal level, issuing a strong call for greater federalism.
"It is a source of pride for the city to organise this summit, because it means recognition for all the work we have been doing all these years in the fight against climate change," said the opposition leader.
"We need a federal plan to face the consequences of climate change, with a focus on finding federal solutions to this climate crisis," urged the head of government.
The summit, which will last until Friday, is a triennial conference that allows cities to discuss solutions to climate change. It is attended by leaders and representatives of the main world capitals, a collection of cities that constitute roughly a quarter of the global economy, and roughly a tenth of the global population.
The C40 forum has an environmental focus that addresses issues such as carbon neutrality, strategies that encourage the creation of green jobs and the fight against greenhouse gases.
“A diverse coalition of thought leaders and influential decision-makers will showcase innovative solutions, expertise and perspectives around three key pillars; a fair and inclusive pandemic recovery, the well-being of cities, and the urgent need for climate finance,” reads the event's agenda.
The summit comes just weeks before the opening of COP 27, an annual climate conference that will draw environment ministers from around the world to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6-18.
The conference’s opening panel on Wednesday was also attended by City Hall Government Minister Jorge Macri, Secretary General and International Relations chief Fernando Straface and mayors including Pablo Javkin (Rosario), Soledad Martínez (Vicente López), Bettina Romero (Salta) and Eduardo Tassano (Corrientes).
A number of leaders from the United States, including mayors Eric Adams (New York City), Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles), and Steve Adler (Austin) are some of the other high-profile guests who will be participating in the event, as is billionaire media mogul and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London and Chair of C40 Cities, was also in attendance, along with Anne Hidalgo (Paris), Ada Colau Ballano (Barcelona) and Ricardo Luís Reis Nunes (São Paulo).
Khan, from the opposition Labour Party, due attention on Thursday when he joked at a press conference about UK Prime Minister Liz Truss’ resignation earlier that day. “If I had known that organising this summit would lead to Truss’ resignation, I would have organised it earlier,” he joshed.
On Wednesday, accompanied by the AmCham chamber of commerce, US Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley hosted a number of US mayors at the Palacio Bosch, connecting Argentine leaders and business leaders with elected officials.
“Fighting climate change is a top priority for the United States, and we can see that in action with all of you here for this year’s C40 Summit. At every level, Argentina is also making great efforts to work on climate change, as you can see with Mayor Larreta chairing this event in Buenos Aires,” Stanley remarked.
“This summit is a forum for sharing perspectives and approaches, and for fostering greater unity among leaders at different levels of government. As leaders, we need to share our bold ideas that can address the challenges of climate change in new ways,” added Stanley.
“It’s especially important here because you don’t want to change the name from ‘Buenos Aires’ to ‘Malos Aires,” he added with a smile.