Integrated climate plans are the result of a well-coordinated strategic local process that generates a binding document, together with the local community. They show the path towards a meaningful and effective implementation of climate action in the city within a certain period of time. In this sense, an integrated climate plan must be one of first steps a city needs to take towards a carbon neutrality goal, structuring and aligning potential initiatives, resources, and decisions through a strategic document, reaching the widest local consensus possible.
The fight for climate action in cities is built upon two main fields. Climate change mitigation refers to the reduction and prevention of GHG emissions, whilst climate change adaptation intends to prepare for the potential impacts of a warming world.
In this sense, the Covenant of Mayors for Energy & Climate (CoM) is the initiative that gathers more members interested on advancing towards climate-neutrality. With 10.898 signatories from 54 different countries and 6.221 submitted action plans, the CoM has become the main-stream initiative for cities’ climate change mitigation and adaptation. Since 2015, both mitigation and adaptation dimensions are addressed by an integrated framework under the format of Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs). SECAPs connect cities' emission reduction commitments with the measures the city plans to implement and the progress is regularly monitored using a common reporting method.
To cope with mitigation and adaptation as well as other urban challenges, urban planning has been incorporating diverse city systems to its practice since 19th century, where the need of a coordinated overall planning perspective is key to appropriately address those evolving urban challenges. This, together with a transversal participation of local stakeholders, is the root of the so-called "integrated planning" concept. Accordingly, a good SECAP would have to address both mitigation and adaptation challenges from an integrated urban planning perspective.