UN releases a calendar of events to build momentum on climate change ahead of COP26 conferences

A Regional Climate Week for the Middle East and North Africa (MENACW2022) will be hosted by the government of the United Arab Emirates and is planned to take place 2-3 March 2022. PHOTO/UNSPLASH

By JAMES MASHA

newsdesk@reporter254.com

The United Nations (UN) has released a calendar of events to build regional momentum for the annual UN Climate Change Conferences and drive forward regional implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

In a press release, the UN Climate Change Secretariat announced Regional Climate Weeks in 2021 and 2022, that will provide a platform for representatives of national and sub-national 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 and 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,” Espinosa, said.  

Regional Climate Weeks are open to all stakeholders as a ‘go-to’ hub to build partnerships and to showcase groundbreaking action in the regions.

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa. PHOTO/UN

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 include; Africa Climate Week 2021 (ACW2021), hosted by the Government of Uganda, Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2021 (APCW2021), hosted by the Government of Japan and Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2021 (LACCW2021), hosted by the Government of the Dominican Republic.

“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 regional and international level and strengthen partnerships to deliver on our commitments,” Sam Cheptoris, Uganda’s Minister of Water and Environment, said.

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.

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.

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 which 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,” Koizumi said.

Shinjirō Koizumi, Japan’s Environment Minister. PHOTO/MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT JAPAN

Max Puig, Executive Vice President of the National Climate Change and CDM Council of the Dominican Republic, said this year’s Regional Climate Weeks will come with added relevance as 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,” Puig said.

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.

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