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A simple guide for Canadian municipalities using the PCP and/or BARC frameworks who want to join the Global Covenant of Mayors, the world’s largest alliance of cities and local governments in the fight against climate change

Aligning and Supporting Climate Initiatives for Canadian Municipalities

The Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) brings a complementary set of support to Canadian municipalities that leverages the resources already available through the established national programs such as Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) and Building Adaptive and Resilient Communities (BARC). Combined, the access to support resources and peer networks is intended to enable Canadian municipalities to accelerate the scale and scope of their climate change actions in response to the climate emergency. The table below provides a brief description of the focus of each initiative and the associated resources provided.

PCP

Focuses on capacity development, technical assistance and peer learning as a Canadian network focused on greenhouse gas reductions and community energy.
  • Regional coaches through the regional climate advisors
  • Help desk for technical assistance and milestone reviews
  • In-person training and networking opportunities
  • Online community with the PCP hub
  • PCP milestone tool for guided completion of framework steps

BARC

Focuses on capacity development, technical assistance and peer learning as a Canadian network focused on climate risk response, adaptation and resilience.
  • Dedicated liaison for consultation, technical support, and guidance throughout the adaptation planning process
  • Established milestone-based framework that is flexible and customizable to assist in the creation and implementation of adaptation and resilience plans
  • Networking, training and opportunities to engage with thought leaders
  • Online BARC Tool access to record climate impacts, workshop results, vulnerability and risk data, and adaptation actions in a centralized place

GCoM

Focuses on raising ambition of local governments and their contributions toward global goals through consistent standards, reporting and access to a global network of peers.
  • Help desk for technical assistance
  • National and international communications support, networking and recognition
  • Technical support for reporting mitigation and adaptation data
  • A global coalition of 10,000+ cities
  • Some high-level data reported publicly through the GCoM websites
  • Support for cities through the data4cities, innovate4cities and invest4cities initiatives

GCoM Canada Common Reporting Framework

The GCoM Canada ‘Common Reporting Framework’ (CRF) sets out the basic principles which GCoM signatories commit to working through to achieve their badges. In Canada, the CRF has been modified to better reflect the realities of Canadian municipalities and in particular to align with the reporting protocols already in place through the PCP and BARC initiatives. In this way Canadian municipalities can use/supplement data already reported to PCP and BARC to quickly and easily reach their GCoM reporting obligations, making the transition to GCoM membership as smooth and easy as possible. 

Where certain data collection or reporting aspects of the CRF are more complex, the availability of notation keys provides flexibility to municipalities. Municipalities should aim to report all data that is:

  • a significant source (i.e. >5%) of GHG emissions in their territory;
  • a source of GHG emissions which the city intends to take action to reduce;
  • has significance in terms of the municipalities’ selection or prioritization of mitigation or adaptation actions.

The Canadian Common Reporting Framework can be accessed at this link.

Canada Companion Reporting Framework

How GCoM Reporting Compares to PCP and BARC

GCoM reporting for Canadian municipalities aligns very closely with the requirements for PCP (mitigation) and BARC (adaptation). All GCoM municipalities worldwide commit to undertake measures to:
i. reduce / avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,
ii. prepare for the impacts of climate change,
iii. increase access to sustainable energy, and
iv. track progress toward these objectives.

All of these aspects will be checked and validated by GCoM Canada as they are submitted.
The minor discrepancies between PCP and BARC programs and GCoM are described in reference to the associated GCoM badges below. Please note, that all references to PCP refer to the ‘community-wide’ aspect of the program. While GCoM recognises the importance of municipalities taking action in their own operations and asks municipalities to report the related information as a sector of activity, the overall objectives are all associated with reducing emissions and adapting to climate change at the community level (i.e. all sectors of activity within the municipal boundary).
A group of GCoM Canada ‘Showcase Cities’ were brought together in 2019 to test the ability of PCP and BARC members to report to GCoM using the PCP Milestone and BARC tools.

Learn from the Experience

GCoM Badges

A series of badges are available to GCoM members to allow municipalities to demonstrate that their climate action plans align with international best-practice (see images below). GCoM signatories receive a Commitment badge when they first join the initiative before working through the elements listed above related to the two GCoM pillars: (i) mitigation and (ii) adaptation[1]. For each of these ‘pillars’ there are three badges to achieve based on the assessment (or inventory), target/goal setting and planning. Finally, once all of these elements are complete, a Compliant badge is awarded. A more detailed description of the requirements of each badge and how they relate to equivalent PCP and/or BARC milestones is provided in the following sections.

[1] A third pillar based on the ‘Access to Energy’ component of GCoM is currently under development along with the associated badges

GCoM Commitment Badge

All GCoM signatories complete the Commitment badge by signing on to GCoM via the GCoM Canada commitment letter.

GCoM Mitigation Badges

Badge 1: GHG Inventory 

GCoM Requirement: A community-wide GHG emissions inventory including all required sectors submitted through the PCP Milestone tool (or CDP/ICLEI unified reporting platform). 

Municipalities that have completed or updated their PCP Milestone 1 since February 2019 may already be able to achieve GCoM compliance or may require a light refresh of their data to achieve this badge.  If the inventory was reported prior to February 2019, some additional fields may need to be reviewed/updated to ensure it is GCoM compliant. A table of differences between PCP Milestone 1 (community-wide) and GCoM GHG Inventory requirements is provided below.

GHG Inventories

Component/Task

Description

PCP Milestone 1

GCoM GHG Inventory Badge

Geographic boundary

The spatial dimension or physical perimeter of the local government’s administrative boundary, from which emissions are measured.

Required: identify municipality covered in inventory.

Required: provide a description/link to map of the boundary and population.

Optional: GDP, type of climate, heating/cooling degree days, and other context.

Inventory year

The 12-month period that is covered by the inventory. Can be a calendar year or fiscal year.

Required

Required

Types of GHGs

Quantification of emissions from the following gases:
carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). All GHG emissions data should be reported as metric tonnes of each gas, and/or metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e).

Required

Required

Activity data

Report the energy consumption (in MWh, PJ, etc.) for all sectors and subsectors, by fuel type, and the amount of waste and wastewater generated.

Optional, but recommended

Required

Emission factors

Report emission intensity values/coefficients (for all sources of emissions and energy types, including electricity).

Required. Reference to ECCC’s National Inventory Report suffices.
(Explicit reporting not required for GHGs quantified in the PCP Milestone Tool, as they are embedded).

Required. Global Warming Potentials (GWP) should also be referenced. Reference to ECCC’s
National Inventory Report
suffices.

Documentation of assumptions & sources

Documentation and reporting of data sources, methodologies, assumptions, exclusions and deviations (for all sectors/subsectors to the extent possible). It allows for review, reproducibility, replication of good practice, and tackling challenges identified (e.g., lack of access to data).

Required

Required

Use of notation keys

Notation Keys may be used to accommodate limitations in data availability.
NO (not occurring): An activity or process does not occur or exist within the municipality. This notation key may also be used for insignificant sources.
IE (included elsewhere): GHG emissions for this activity are estimated and presented in another category in the same inventory, stating where it is added. This notation key may be used where it is difficult to disaggregate data into multiple sub-sectors.
NE (not estimated): GHG emissions occur but have not been estimated or reported, with a justification why.
C (confidential):
GHG emissions which could lead to the disclosure of confidential information, and as such are not reported publicly.

Notation keys are optional, however clear justification of omissions is required for PCP.

Notation keys may be used to accommodate limitations in data availability and differences in emission sources between local authorities. Where notation keys are used, local authorities should provide an accompanying explanation.

Reporting & re-inventorying

Compile GHG emissions inventories on a regular basis to enable monitoring of the impact of climate actions, also to support continuous improvement in data quality and accuracy of the inventories. Efforts shall be made to reduce uncertainties and make improvements over time.

No timeline requirements (however inventories must be conducted again to achieve Milestone 5).

Required: Submit GHG inventory within two years of joining and resubmit an updated inventory every subsequent four years.

Sources of Emissions for GHG Inventory

Sectors and Subsectors

Description*

PCP Milestone 1

GCoM GHG Inventory Badge

Stationary Energy

Residential buildings

This covers emissions from fuel combustion and use of grid-supplied energy by buildings, equipment and facilities within city boundary (including transportation and waste facilities), as well as fugitive emissions from production, transformation and distribution of fuels.

Required. Clear justification of omissions is required.
Required. Exclusion of emission sources shall be disclosed and justified, using the notation keys.

Commercial building and facilities

Required. Clear justification of omissions is required. Typically combined with institutional buildings & facilities.

Required. Exclusion of emission sources shall be disclosed and justified, using the notation keys.

Institutional buildings and facilities

Required. Clear justification of omissions is required. Typically combined with commercial buildings & facilities.

Required. Exclusion of emission sources shall be disclosed and justified, using the notation keys.

Industrial buildings and facilities

Required. Clear justification of omissions is required.

Required. Exclusion of emission sources shall be disclosed and justified, using the notation keys.

Agriculture, forestry and fisheries

Required for agriculture. Clear justification of omissions is required. Typically combined with residential, commercial, institutional industrial or buildings & facilities.

Recommended where significant. Exclusion of emission sources shall be disclosed and justified, using the notation keys.

Fugitive emissions

Optional

Optional. Should be reported where data is available.

Transportation

On-road

This covers emissions from fuel combustion and use of grid-supplied energy for all modes of transportation activities within city boundary (for waterborne and aviation, municipalities only need to report journeys fully confined within the city boundary).

Required. Clear justification of omissions is required.

Required. Exclusion of emission sources shall be disclosed and justified, using the notation keys.

Rail

Required. Clear justification of omissions is required.

Recommended where significant. Exclusion of emission sources shall be disclosed and justified, using the notation keys.

Waterborne navigation

Optional

Aviation

Optional

Off-road

Optional

Waste

Solid waste disposal

This covers non-energy related emissions from disposal and treatment of waste (incl. wastewater) generated within the city boundary, as a result of aerobic or anaerobic decomposition of waste, or incineration. Emissions from waste-to energy, where waste/wastewater material is used directly as fuel or converted into a fuel, should captured under the Stationary Energy sector.

Required. Clear justification of omissions is required. Solid waste sector can be included in Corporate inventory if owned and operated by the municipality (cannot be omitted from both).

Required. Exclusion of emission sources shall be disclosed and justified, using the notation keys.

Biological treatment (compost)

Recommended

Optional

Incineration and open burning

Recommended

Required

Wastewater treatment and discharge

Optional

Optional

Industrial Process and Product Use (IPPU)

Industrial process

This covers non-energy related emissions from industrial processes, the use of certain products and non-energy use of fossil fuels.

Optional

Optional

Product Use

Optional

Optional

Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU)

Livestock

This covers non-energy related emissions produced in the digestive processes of livestock and emissions/removals as a result of land use and management.

Optional

Optional

Land use

Optional

Optional

Other AFOLU

Optional

Optional

Energy Generation

Electricity-only generation

This means disclosure of information on activity and emissions specifically related to energy generation within the city boundary or outside the boundary but can be controlled or influenced by the city. It is for information only and not added to the total emissions.

Optional

Optional

Combined heat and power generation

Optional

Optional

Heat/cold generation

Optional

Optional

Local renewable generation

Optional

Optional

*An important note on GCoM reporting GHGs from sectors or subsectors considered insignificant in the municipality (in which case notation keys can be used). The combined emissions from all sources that are considered insignificant should not exceed 5% of total emissions that shall be reported. For example, if all the emissions sources that shall be reported amount to one million tonnes of CO2e, the total emissions of all insignificant sources cannot exceed 5% of that, i.e. 50,000 tonnes of CO2e.

Badge 2: GHG Emission Reduction Target

GCoM Requirement: A community-wide GHG emissions reduction target of at least 30% by 2030 compared with the baseline year.

GCoM requires that signatories commit to an ambitious GHG emission reduction target, at least as ambitious as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for the relevant country. As such, municipalities in Canada will need to commit to reducing their GHG emissions by at least 30% from 2030, compared to their chosen baseline year. Municipalities which have completed the PCP Milestone 2 and have not made a commitment for 2030 will need to do so and ensure it aims for at least a 30% reduction from their baseline levels.

A table of differences between PCP Milestone 2 (community-wide) and GCoM GHG reduction target requirements is provided below.

Target Setting

Component/Task

Description

PCP Milestone 2

GCoM GHG Emission Reduction Badge

Boundary (geographic coverage, sectors, and GHGs)

Consistency between target and emissions sources included in inventory.

No requirements, but highly recommended.

Required. Local governments are recommended to report any sector-level targets alongside their community-wide target(s).

Baseline year

Year to measure target against.

Required: should be a year with a reliable inventory. No specific year is required.

Required. If possible, the baseline year should be the same as the base year used in the National Determined Contribution (NDC). Canada’s NDC baseline year is 2005. Where the base year is different from the NDC, this must be explained (e.g. it was created before GCoM membership).

Target year

Future year when target reduction will be achieved.

Required. Must be in the future (cannot be current calendar year).

Required. The target year must be the same as, or later than, the target year adopted in the National Determined Contribution (NDC). Canada’s NDC target year is 2030. Municipalities that set a target year beyond 2030 must also include an interim target for 2030.

Target type

Base year emissions target: Reduce, or control the increase of, emissions by a specified quantity relative to a base year.
Base year intensity target: Reduce emissions intensity (emissions per unit of another variable, typically GDP or per capita) by a specified quantity relative to a base year.
Baseline scenario target: Reduce emissions by a specified quantity relative to a projected emissions baseline scenario.
Fixed-level target: Reduce, or control the increase of, emissions to an absolute emissions level in a target year (e.g. carbon neutrality).

Required: Base year emissions target (intensity or baseline targets explicitly not allowed).

All four options acceptable. If using baseline scenario, modelling methodologies and parameters must be transparently described.

Ambition

Level of target ambition

No requirements

Required: must be as or more ambitious as National Determined Contribution (NDC). Canada’s NDC: 30% below 2030 by 2005. Municipalities that set a target year beyond 2030 must also include an interim target for 2030.

Target units

Percentage reduction or absolute reduction

Required: percentage reduction. Can also be expressed as an absolute reduction

Required: percentage reduction and absolute reductions (in the target year(s) in metric tonnes CO2e).

Council Endorsement

A council resolution that adopts the targets set, including the baseline year, target year and percentage change from baseline year.

Required: proof of endorsement (e.g. council minutes).

This requirement is considered under the ‘Mitigation Plan’ badge.

Reporting

Submit municipality wide GHG reduction target(s).

No timeline requirements, however reporting progress against your target is required to achieve Milestone 5.

Required: Submit target within two years of joining.
New targets should be reported when previously reported targets have expired or been revised.

Badge 3: Mitigation Plan

GCOM Requirement: A community-wide plan to reduce GHG emissions and achieve the target prescribed (either independent or combined with adaptation elements) submitted.

Municipalities that have completed or updated their PCP Milestone 3 may already be able to achieve this badge using the existing plan (assuming the contents are also aligned with the GHG Inventory and Target GCoM requirements).

A table of differences between PCP Milestone 3 (community-wide) and GCoM mitigation plan requirements is provided below.

Climate Action Plan (Mitigation)

Component/Task

Description

PCP Milestone 3

GCoM Mitigation Plan Badge

Format

Format of submitted Climate Action Plan.

Can take for the form of a written report, presentation or website.

Formal written plan.

Description of the stakeholder engagement processes

Description of how the public or internal stakeholders participated in developing the plan, such as stakeholder working groups or steering committees, workshops with staff, open house, etc.

Required
 
Usually one to two written paragraph(s).

Required

GHG targets

Inclusion of GHG reduction targets (Milestone 2/Badges 2).

Done separately for PCP; does not explicitly need to be included in Plan but usually done first or in tandem with plan development.

Required

Description of each action

Description of activities that will help achieve target reductions.

Required

Required

Energy & GHG reduction

Assessment of energy saving, renewable energy production, and GHG emissions reduction by action, action area or sector.

Not required but considered best practice.

Required

Description of the costs and funding sources

Financial strategy for implementing the action/action area/sector. Could include a description of secured funding sources, possible future funding sources, and/or description of expected costs for implementation.

Required (at plan level or for each/most action(s)).

Recommended (for each action).

Responsible for implementation

Names of the municipal department(s), staff, or organization(s) responsible for the plan and the actions outlined in it

Required (at plan level or for each/most action(s)).

Recommended

Other implementation considerations

 -Implementation status and timeframe
-Implementing agency(ies)
- Stakeholders involved in planning and implementation
- Prioritization of actions
Policy instrument(s) to implement the actions

Optional

Recommended

Synergies, trade-offs, and co-benefits

Identification of synergies, trade-offs and co-benefits, including adaptation co-benefits or trade-offs. Can be done at the plan level or for each action.

Optional

Required

Lead Author/Team

Author or team responsible for developing plan.

Optional

Required

Council Adoption

Identification of local government(s) which formally adopted the plan and the date of adoption.

Optional

Required

Reporting

Submit Climate Action Plan. Can be separate mitigation plan or integrated with adaptation plan.

No timeline requirements.

Required: Submit climate action within three years of joining.

GCoM Adaptation Badges

Badge 1: Assessment

GCoM Requirement: Climate risk & vulnerability assessment (CRVA) submitted.

Municipalities that have completed their BARC Milestone 2 may already be able to achieve GCoM compliance or may only require minimal effort to achieve this badge. A table of differences between BARC Milestone 2 and GCoM CRVA requirements is provided below.

Climate Risk & Vulnerability Assessment

Component/Task

Description

BARC Requirement

GCoM requirement

Collection of climate data

Review and summarize historical climate data.

Required: Identify historical climate data.

Not required

Research and collect localized future climate change projections for your municipality.

Required: Collect climate change projection data for your region, including information on selected emissions scenarios, projection years, baseline, etc. Climate variables should include at minimum temperature and precipitation-related data.

Not required

Assessment of climate hazards

Review and summarize historic climate hazards and assess current hazard risk level.

Not required – However a BARC sensitivity assessment (as a component of Vulnerability Assessment) would give an indication of the consequence (however not probability).

Required – Identify most significant past or current climate hazards faced by your jurisdiction (probability and consequence).

Consider potential climate impacts

Draft impact statements based on localized climate change projection data.

Required – Draft impact statements outlining how climate change has and could affect your community’s built, social, environmental, and economic systems using the if, then, so methodology.

Optional – Describe the future expected impacts as a result of the identified climate hazards, including loss of human lives, non-economic and economic losses (direct and indirect, if possible), environmental and other context-specific impacts.

Identify primary affected areas, populations and/or services.

Required – These are done as part of Milestone 2 and for each impact listed the user must include what the primary affected service or asset or group might be.

Required - report all relevant sectors, assets or services that are expected to be most impacted by the identified hazards in the future and the magnitude of the impact for each of them (ranging from high, moderate to low, or unknown).

Vulnerability assessment

Assess sensitivity.

Required – Determine the sensitivity of the community and/or service area to harm arising from climate change impacts.

Optional - The local government should (when such information is available) provide information on vulnerable population groups (to be specified for each hazard) that are affected by hazards in the past and future.

Assess adaptive capacity.

Required – Determine the adaptive capacity of the community and/or service area to adjust to the impact with minimal resources, cost, or disruption.

Required - Description of the factor as it relates to (supporting or challenging) the adaptive capacity and degree to which the factor challenges (as opposed to supports) the adaptive capacity.

Determine vulnerability scores for each impact.

Required – Use the sensitivity and adaptive capacity scores to determine vulnerability based on the vulnerability matrix. Impacts with high (V3+) will be carried forward into risk.

Required – description of the scale of the hazard, including loss of human lives, economic losses (direct and indirect, if possible), environmental and other impacts.

Risk assessment

Assess likelihood of impacts.

Required – Utilize available climate projections and anecdotal knowledge of current conditions to determine likelihood of impact occurring in the future.

Required – Using identified climate hazards (above) indicate how you expect climate change to affect the intensity and frequency of each hazard (including timescale – e.g. short term, medium term, long-term).

Assess consequences of impacts.

Required – Determine how the impact will affect different systems and conditions within the community according the risk assessment matrices.

Required – Describe the intensity (how strong they were) and frequency (how many events occurred) in the past. These could have increased, decreased, suffered no change or not be known.

Determine risk scores for each impact.

Required – use the likelihood and consequence scores to determine risk scores for each impact, including economic, environmental, and social risk scores for each impact.

Required - All relevant sectors, assets, or services most impacted by the hazard and the magnitude of impact for each of them.

Optional - Vulnerable population groups most affected by the hazard (if available).

Submission of the vulnerability and risk assessment will also require:

  • The title of the assessment
  • Year completed
  • Scope/Boundary (e.g. is it just one municipality, a region, etc.)
  • Primary Author (e.g. local government, consultant, etc.)
  • Update/revision process [optional] (e.g. is there a formal process for updating it, what time period, and current status of update)
  • File upload of vulnerability and risk summary

Badge 2: Adaptation Goal(s) 

GCoM Requirement: Climate change adaptation goal(s) set.

Municipalities that have completed BARC Milestone 3 may already be able to achieve this GCoM badge using their existing vision supplemented with a target date and baseline year. A table of differences between BARC and GCoM Adaptation Goals requirements is provided below.

Adaptation goals

Component/Task

Description

BARC Requirements

GCoM Requirements

Determine adaptation vision, goals, and objectives

Craft vision statement for your Adaptation Plan.

Required – An adaptation vision is a statement on where you want your community to be in the future with regard to climate change adaptation. It should establish what a climate resilient community looks like; articulate where you’d like to see your community in the future; and will be something to refer back to throughout the planning process and while implementing adaptation actions.

Required – identify the main goals of your jurisdiction’s adaptation efforts.

Required – the date in which you intend to achieve this goal.

Determine goals and/or theme areas.

Optional - (if you do not have goals, you must have objectives) - Goals act as high level intentions which a community will strive towards. Goals are general statements about the expectations of a program or plan, for example: Increasing public awareness of climate change and its projected impacts on our community.
 
Alternatively, if communities do not wish to have goals, they can develop themes (e.g. stormwater, roads, public health and safety, etc.) and use these as a way to organize their plan.

Required – the baseline year against which you are tracking progress.

Draft objectives

Optional - (if you do not have objectives, you must have goals) - Objectives refer to the ways in which your community intends to overcome the impacts that have been identified and represent the path towards achieving your vision. Some objectives might be specific, while others might be broad and thus more challenging to measure. Examples: Expand and diversify water supply; increased drought preparedness; reduce shoreline erosion, etc.

Optional – what indicators will you use to track progress in completing your goals?
Optional – to what degree is the goal currently complete? (e.g. 0-25%, 26-50%, etc.)

Optional – How will you track progress on these indicators?

Badge 3: Adaptation Plan 

GCoM Requirement: A community-wide plan to adapt to the specific climate vulnerabilities and risks identified and achieve the subsequent goal(s) prescribed (either independent or combined with mitigation elements).

Municipalities that have completed their BARC Milestone 3 may already be able to achieve this badge using the existing plan (assuming the contents are also aligned with the CRVA and Adaptation Goals GCoM requirements). A table of differences between BARC and GCoM Adaptation Plan requirements is provided below.

Climate Action Plan (Adaptation)

Task

Description

BARC Requirements

GCoM Requirements

Determining adaptation actions

Brainstorm long list of adaptation actions.

Required – identify potential adaptation actions to address priority impacts, and to achieve identified goals/objectives. A strong adaptation plan should have a diverse set of actions, including policy mechanisms, land-use planning considerations, infrastructure interventions, nature-based solutions, communications and engagement, etc.

Required - Identify what climate hazard the action is addressing.

Prioritize long list of adaptation actions.

Required – the community should identify and implement a formal mechanism for prioritizing adaptation actions. This could include an analysis of co-benefits, funding resources available, political will, etc. or municipalities may choose to do a simplified drivers and constraints exercise.

Required – action names and an explanation as to how the actions were prioritized in the plan.

Determine implementation considerations

Action description.

Required – a short description of the action and what it is intended to do.

Required - a short description of the action and what it is intended to do.

Supporting actions.

Optional – more detailed actions that support the implementation of your action.

Optional - Policy instrument(s) to implement the actions.

Lead and supporting departments/organizations.

Required – the department(s) or organization(s) that will lead implementation and those that will support implementation.

Optional - the department(s) or organization(s) that will lead implementation and those that will support implementation.

Financial strategy.

Required – some explanation of the costs and possible funding source.

Optional - Financial strategy for implementing the action/action area/sector.

Anticipated timing.

Required – the timeframe for implementation.

Optional - the timeframe for implementation.

Establish monitoring/evaluation plan

Determine monitoring metric/KPI.

Required – a monitoring metric or KPI is required for each action. These can be process based indicators or outcome based indicators.

Optional – the status of implementation (e.g. not started, in progress, etc.).

Determine baseline year.

Required – a baseline year is required for each monitoring metric.

Responsible party.

Optional – identify what department or organization will be responsible to collect the data.

Optional – other stakeholders involved in planning and implementation.

Draft and finalize Adaptation Plan

Draft a plan which summarises all of the information above.

 Required – plan must include
·       Description of the stakeholder engagement processes
·       Description of methodology
·       Overview of climate science
·       Vision, goals, and objectives
·       Prioritized action
·       Implementation considerations
Monitoring and review plan

 Required - Synergies, trade-offs, and co-benefits of adaptation actions.

 

Plan must also include:

·       Description of the stakeholder engagement processes

·       Adaptation/climate resilience goals

·       All actions of priority sectors

·       Description for each action

·       The local government(s) which formally adopted the plan and the date of adoption

·       Synergies, trade-offs, and co-benefits of mitigation and adaptation actions

·       Lead author team

Formal adoption by Council

Formal review and sign-off of the draft plan.

Required: the local government(s) which formally adopted the plan and the date of adoption.

Required: the local government(s) which formally adopted the plan and the date of adoption.

Reporting

PCP Tool: The Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) Milestone Tool is a user-friendly, web-based resource that helps municipalities prepare GHG inventories, set targets, build action plans and track progress on implementation. The tool is freely available and open year-round. Some user support is provided.

BARC Tool:  The Building Adaptive and Resilient Communities (BARC) Tool is an online resource to support municipalities in planning for a changing climate, from understanding local climate science, vulnerability and risk assessments, planning, monitoring and implementation. The tool is freely available and open year-round. Some user support is provided.

Unified Reporting System Questionnaire: An online questionnaire that municipalities can use to disclose their mitigation and adaptation data, including reporting to GCoM. The questionnaire should be completed online in the online reporting platform. The questionnaire generally opens in April, and is due in July, but the platform remains open until the end of the year for GCoM reporting.

Data Sharing and Privacy

Monitoring and progress reporting are important cornerstones of the GCoM initiative. GCoM members agree to make some high-level data publicly available through GCoM via regular reporting, which is needed to track overall progress in achieving the aims of the alliance. This is an area in which GCoM differs from PCP and BARC: the data that is reported to GCoM becomes publicly available after validation. The intent of this information is to  provide evidence of each members’ commitment to act on climate change. An example of a city profile is provided here.

This information will make the case for accelerated support to municipalities by creating an evidence base for increased investment, unlocking access to financing necessary for low-carbon and climate-resilient urban and local development as well as for the energy transition. Showcasing climate and energy action leadership from municipalities is also instrumental in inspiring and driving stronger ambition at the national level.

The guiding principle embedded in the CRF and the GCoM initiative is that municipalities should strive as much as possible to ensure robust monitoring of their progress at the local level in a way that enables meaningful comparison and aggregation with their peers. This also enables assessment of the collective impact of GCoM municipalities in the fight against climate change.

Data reported to GCoM Canada may be:

  • Validated in order to ensure compliance and data quality;
  • Profiled on the GCoM Canada and GCoM Global websites;
  • Used in aggregates of national and international reporting to quantify the impact of collective local climate action;
  • Communicated to highlight efforts your municipality has been making towards sustainability.

City specific data will only be used publicly following consultation with the reporting city.

“For municipalities that are just getting started, this program helped us understand the bar that we should be trying to reach. GCoM provided us with a path forward.” – Brittany MacLean, City of Fredericton

Unified Reporting System Questionnaire: An online questionnaire that municipalities can use to disclose their mitigation and adaptation data, including reporting to GCoM. The questionnaire should be completed online in the online reporting platform. The questionnaire generally opens in April, and is due in July, but the platform remains open until the end of the year for GCoM reporting.

Getting started with GCoM

Joining the GCoM is the first step if your community is not already a signatory.

The commitment letter that can be used by your municipality can be found at this link. The commitment letter must be signed by your Mayor (or equivalent) and sent back to the GCoM Canada team via email at [email protected]. Most municipalities will require a Council resolution (or equivalent) in order to become signatories: please send the resolution to the GCoM Canada team as well. The GCOM commitment letter is separate from the joining resolution required for the PCP program, however the two could be combined with one council motion and approval.

To learn more about GCoM in Canada and the benefits for your community, please visit the Resources page on this website.

The Global Covenant of Mayors Canada helpdesk is an available resource for any GCoM signatory. The helpdesk provides information on GCoM, support for registration and reporting, communications support as well as resource sharing. Please reach out to the helpdesk at any point in your GCoM process: [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

1.What is the energy access component of GCoM? 

The GCoM Secretariat is currently evaluating how to meaningfully drive efforts around energy access. There is currently no internationally agreed-upon definition of energy access, as the topic differs greatly in various parts of the world. The Secretariat is engaging with members to determine a path forward on energy access: details will be announced as soon as guidelines are developed. The Canadian helpdesk is committed to providing input that best reflects Canadian municipalities’ efforts and needs on this topic.

2. My Council is interested in learning more about GCoM. How can I help them understand the value of this initiative? 

Please write to the helpdesk to receive further promotional support and materials on GCoM in Canada: [email protected]

3. My municipality is just getting started on climate action. Is GCoM a good fit for us? 

There are all sorts of GCoM signatories in Canada, ranging from large and small and from  beginner to advanced in terms of climate action. Some municipalities sign on to GCoM because the framework helps them know where to begin (both on adaptation and mitigation). Others want to demonstrate their commitment to the fight against climate change internationally. Whatever the reason for wanting to commit, GCoM suits all sorts of communities.

4. We are a regional government (higher-tier municipality). Can we join GCoM, and are there special requirements for us to join? 

Regional governments (below the provincial level) are welcome to join GCoM where there is a desire to coordinate a regional Climate Action Plan across a group of geographically connected lower-tier municipalities. Regional organisations (non-governmental) can also act as ‘GCoM Supporters’, using their resources and expertise to help coordinate the municipalities they represent in developing Climate Action Plans. Please reach out to the helpdesk for more information and advice: [email protected]

5. What are the financial implications of joining GCoM? Will participation require any spending on behalf of my municipality? 

The GCoM program and all associated support, documents and communications materials are provided free of charge. As much as possible, the program and framework are geared towards helping municipal staff build expertise and complete all necessary steps internally. Besides incurring the costs of staff time, participation doesn’t have any further budgetary impact. In many cases, meaningful participation may require that certain services that can’t be completed in-house be procured. GCoM also aims to build a network of members (both nationally and internationally) to share expertise and best practice, which can alleviate the pressure on municipal resources to participate.

6. Does my municipality need to be a PCP or BARC member to join GCoM? 

No. Municipalities can join GCoM without being a PCP or BARC member, but we aim to align the programs as much as possible in order to offer multiple benefits to those municipalities that are PCP and/or BARC as well as GCoM signatories. Some resources that are available to the members of those programs may not be available to municipalities that are only GCoM signatories (ex. PCP Hub, PCP newsletter, recognition events and access to PCP Regional Climate Advisors, BARC Tool). We definitely recommend joining all three programs.

7. Does my municipality have to work on both adaptation and mitigation at the same time? 

No. Municipalities can start at whatever GCoM badge they want to and can work on each badge at a pace that meets their needs (within the requirements and timelines listed in the Common Reporting Framework).

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