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Regional Climate Weeks Expected to Build Momentum of the Paris Climate Change Agreement Implementation

Regional climate weeks

By Joyce Mukucha

The UN Climate Change Secretariat recently 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.

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.

According to UN Climate News, 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, the secretary emphasised the need for all stakeholders to make concerted efforts 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.”

It has been highlighted that 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) with the Africa Climate Week 2021 (ACW2021), hosted by the Government of Uganda.

“Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2021 (APCW2021), will be hosted by the Government of Japan.

“Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2021 (LACCW2021), hosted by the Government of the Dominican Republic,” UN Climate News revealed.

The year kicked off with virtual regional roundtables on 3-4 March in all three regions to set the scene in terms of regional priorities, challenges and opportunities for climate action.

The event was graced by the Government of the United Arab Emirates with the other host Governments.

A series of virtual thematic sessions, UN Climate Change News revealed, 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.”

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, UN Climate Change News pointed out, will build on the success of the 2019 Regional Climate Weeks, held in Accra, Ghana; Salvador, Brazil; and Bangkok, Thailand.

Sending their messages on Regional Climate Weeks, different ministers and other relevant stakeholders emphasised the need to strengthen partnerships and ensure that commitments are delivered.

Shinjirō Koizumi, Japan’s Environment Minister said global collective actions are necessary to overcome the climate crisis.

“Among all the regional efforts to encourage and facilitate the implementation of ambitious NDCs, the Asia-Pacific region should play a particularly active role as a key driver of the world economic growth for the coming decades. Japan, as a country that pledged net-zero emissions by 2050, is pleased to host the Asia Pacific Climate Week 2021. I look forward to welcoming all actors in the region this year in the hope of enhancing collaboration for redesigning our socio-economic system through decarbonization,” said Koizumi.

The Minister of Water and Environment, for Uganda Sam Cheptoris said hosting the Africa Climate Week presents an excellent opportunity for Uganda to showcase the different in-country climate change initiatives we are undertaking, but most importantly to raise the country’s profile at the regional and international level and strengthen partnerships to deliver on our commitments.

Max Puig, Executive Vice President of the National Climate Change and CDM Council of the Dominican Republic echoed as he said, “This year’s Regional Climate Weeks will come with added relevance. They will be a scenario where the proposals for post-COVID economic recovery and the strategies for increasing resilience to face the climate crisis, converge, taking into account the three axes of sustainability, social, economic, and environmental. The Dominican Republic invites and supports the countries of the region to draw up these green recovery strategies together and thus guarantee the citizen security of our vulnerable peoples.”

Gonzalo Muñoz, COP25 High-Level Champion of Chile, said “Against the odds, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented climate action. We have seen this especially from non-State actors, who have mobilized around the north star of net-zero by 2050 and now represent over 12% of the global economy with credible climate commitments. Now, as we race towards COP26, we must pick up the pace.”

With 197 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near-universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The ultimate objective of all agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame that allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende