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Achieving the mission requires new ways of leading and governing. It is not enough to restructure municipal operations. The transition must take place within companies, properties, transportation and consumption. The municipality must involve everyone who has control over activities and activities of importance to the climate transition - it must exercise governance in areas that are beyond the municipality's own control.

Changing complex systems

The problems cities face in addressing climate change in times of policy crisis are far from simple. They are rooted in multiple and often overlapping complex systems. Made up of many different elements - natural, technological, social, institutional - they are deeply entangled, interdependent and continuously adapting to each other. To date, most approaches to climate action have not addressed this reality, and thus remain fundamentally unsuited to what is a race against the clock. Viable Cities sees the challenge as a system and leverages the interconnectedness of, for example, technology, culture, institutions, legal frameworks and finance to act on them in coordination and accelerate change towards breakthroughs.

Holistic, long-term approach

We need to develop forms of governance, management and regulation that are appropriate for the complex situation we find ourselves in today. There is an urgent need for system innovation in the form of a more comprehensive, strategic, holistic and long-term approach to regulation, decision-making and investment in collaboration with politicians and public administration at different levels. levels, business, academia and civil society. The ongoing climate law adaptation of all laws is an important part of this.

A key part of the work on Climate City Contract 2030 is to develop new forms of governance. The climate contract lays the foundation for coordinating efforts and investments between all the different areas under the jurisdiction of municipalities, as well as with areas and actors outside the responsibility and mandate of municipalities (such as the housing sector and business development), at the local level as well as at the regional, national and international level. This is a prerequisite for the transition needed to achieve the Paris Agreement's goal of not exceeding 1.5 degrees of warming. In order for municipalities to be able to step up climate work to a new level, budget work, corporate governance and reporting at municipal level also need to be developed so that they clearly steer towards reduced emissions.

Structured coordination and deep collaboration

Climate City Contract 2030 is a tool that promotes collaboration at national level between government agencies and other funders. This work is based on three principles: 

  • a holistic approach to innovation and implementation, 
  • structured coordination and synchronization between different levels (local, regional, national, European and global). 
  • a deep and continuous interaction between relevant stakeholders in different parts of society, in particular with regard to the financing of the climate transition. 

A Swedish governance model to accelerate the transition

Allan Larsson, Viable Cities former Chairman, has authored this report on the role of cities in the climate transition and a new emerging model to lead, manage and implement the transition faster than today, what is summarized as governance. The report has been commissioned by Vinnova and aims to provide an overview of two new elements of sustainable urban development: new forms of governance for leading, managing and implementing urban development projects, and new forms of supporting innovation in the form of system-changing missions instead of many small projects. 

What is meant by Governance?

On our blog, Örjan Svane, Professor Emeritus KTH, explains key concepts in Allan Larsson's report above. The text is a supplement to the report and discusses the key concepts of Governance, System, Goal, Actor and Backcasting.