The City of Manchester: A Leader on Climate-related Governance

The Canadian City of Calgary (Calgary) is currently completing a jurisdictional scan as part of an update to its climate governance structure. After examining the City of Manchester’s (Manchester) publicly available climate reports, Calgary determined that Manchester is a leader in climate-related governance and consequently approached the city for an interview. 

During its review, Calgary took interest in Manchester’s collaborative approach to working with multiple organizations and sectors across the city. In particular, Calgary noted Manchester’s use of the Manchester Climate Change Agency (MCCA) and Manchester Climate Change Partnership (MCCP), in partnership with City Council, to determine the best way to proceed in order to effectively and efficiently develop climate-related policy.

While conducting its jurisdictional scan, Calgary focused on a number of climate-related reports issued by Manchester. These include: 

-       The "Manchester Climate Change Framework, 2020-25":

o   Paying attention to Manchester’s partnership-based approach to climate governance, Calgary was impressed by Manchester’s ability to engage a variety of different strategic partners as part of its efforts to broaden climate-related community engagement. 

o   When researching performance-based indicators, Calgary took note of Manchester’s collaboration with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Specifically, Calgary is interested in how the collaboration informed Manchester’s development of carbon emission reduction targets in alignment with the Paris Agreement. This science-based approach is of interest to Calgary as it includes a recommendation for a carbon budget-based approach to setting targets.

-       The "Manchester City Council Climate Change Action Plan, 2020-2025":

o   Looking to identify policy directives that followed climate emergency declarations, Calgary was interested in operational changes following Manchester’s July 2019 climate emergency declaration. Of note to Calgary is Manchester’s transparency around the immediate action taken when embedding the work of the Zero Carbon Coordination Group into the Manchester’s climate-related decision-making, policies, and practices.

o   Keen to understand the extent of climate-related knowledge across Manchester’s key decision makers, Calgary took note of the fact that 1,000 Manchester City Council staff members have received carbon literacy training, therefore identifying an awareness of carbon-related impacts on day-to-day operations in the city. Calgary was particularly interested in Manchester’s commitment to ensure that its city staff has the relevant climate-related knowledge needed to make necessary decisions.

Calgary also took note of other ongoing climate-related efforts including: the various established independent advisory groups and their mandates related to the monitoring of Manchester’s progress against climate targets, Manchester’s ability to collaborate and incorporate the work of peers in order to ensure continued climate action across the city, and the dynamic approach to new topics of interest such as the introduction of the green recovery approach amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.