The United Nations Climate Change Secretariat on Monday 1 February 2021 announced Regional Climate Weeks in 2021 and 2022, key meetings that will help build regional momentum for the annual UN Climate Change Conferences and drive forward regional implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The Regional Climate Weeks will provide a platform for representatives of national and subnational governments, cities, the private sector, financial institutions and civil society to jointly discuss opportunities to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic by identifying opportunities to deploy ambitious measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change.
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life across the world. The recovery from this crisis has to be sustainable, cleaner, healthier and more resilient. For this deep transformation, we need the efforts of all stakeholders, at all levels of government and in all sectors of society. The Climate Weeks can galvanize crucial climate action at the regional level and therefore make a significant contribution to more ambition globally.”
Regional Climate Weeks are open to all stakeholders as a ‘go-to’ hub to build partnerships and to showcase groundbreaking action in the regions.
They are also designed to encourage and facilitate the implementation of ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, along with the implementation of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), Long-Term Low greenhouse gas Emission Development Strategies (LT-LEDS), and Global Climate Action and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
In light of COVID-19, the Regional Climate Weeks in 2021 are planned in different segments and will mainly take place virtually, with the option of some physical meetings if the status of the pandemic allows, with different levels of in-person participation according to the region.
The Climate Weeks in 2021 are (in alphabetical order):
Africa Climate Week 2021 (ACW2021), hosted by the Government of Uganda
Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2021 (APCW2021), hosted by the Government of Japan
Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2021 (LACCW2021), hosted by the Government of the Dominican Republic
The year is to kick off with virtual regional roundtables 3-4 March in all three regions to set the scene in terms of regional priorities, challenges and opportunities for climate action.
A series of virtual thematic sessions will take place focusing on partnering for the whole society engagement in implementation, managing climate risks, and seizing transformation opportunities. These events, which will include workshops, virtual exhibitions and side events, will take place from May to July (11-13 May for LACCW2021, 15-18 June for ACW2021 and 6-9 July for APCW2021).
Ministerial sessions, which are to include interactions with civil society, are to be convened in each host country (9 -10 August for ACW2021, 23-25 August for LACCW2021 and 6-7 September for APCW2021). These events are to take stock of discussions held during the Climate Weeks and prepare key inputs for the Regional Climate Weeks wrap-up event at COP26 in Glasgow in November.
A Regional Climate Week for the Middle East and North Africa (MENACW2022), hosted by the government of the United Arab Emirates, is planned to take place 2-3 March 2022.
For this event, there is to be a series of preparatory roundtables and related events during 2021 to build momentum towards MENACW2022, benefitting from collaboration during the other climate weeks taking place this year. It is expected that the Government of the United Arab Emirates will attend the virtual regional roundtable on 3-4 March 2021 with the other host Governments.
The core organizing partners are UN Development Programme, UN Environment Programme, UN Climate Change, and World Bank Group.
The Regional Climate Weeks in 2021 and 2022 will build on the success of the 2019 Regional Climate Weeks, held in Accra, Ghana; Salvador, Brazil; and Bangkok, Thailand.
Niklas Hagelberg, Climate Change Coordinator, UNEP, said: “According to the latest UNEP emissions gap report, despite a brief dip in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century. This is far beyond the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C. The 2021 Regional Climate Weeks will offer a chance to encourage and facilitate the implementation of ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement and help deliver on the much-needed mitigation and adaptation action to get to a climate-proof world.”
Achim Steiner, Administrator, UNDP, said: “We must embark on a new pathway so that in ten years, we can look back on the 2020s as a Decade of Positive Transformation. We have the technology, the finance, and the ingenuity to deal with the climate crisis. And we have a plan — the Paris Agreement. We must go further: To tackle the climate emergency head-on, post-pandemic recovery plans need to trigger long-term systemic shifts that will change the trajectory of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Indeed, we are starting to see the emergence of collective will — by governments, philanthropists, businesses, financial institutions, communities, and civil society — to realise this greener future.”