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Source: Small Island Developing States

26 July 2019: Representatives of governments, civil society, local authorities, international organizations, the private sector and other stakeholders have been working in nine coalitions to develop “credible and ambitious initiatives” to be featured at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on 23 September. A series of pre-Summit events will provide an opportunity for the coalitions to present their work to the Secretary-General ahead of the Summit.

The multi-stakeholder coalitions have focused on the following action areas: 1) social and political drivers of change; 2) transition to renewable energy; 3) industry; 4) infrastructure, cities and local action; 5) nature-based solutions; 6) resilience and adaptation; 7) mitigation; 8) finance and carbon pricing; and 9) youth and citizen mobilization.

The Secretary-General has urged all leaders “to come to the Summit ready to announce concrete national plans” to: reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050; adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change and strengthen resilience; address the social dimension of climate change; and finance the necessary transformations. These plans should include “as concrete a commitment as possible” to enhance the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2020 and the 2050 long-term low-emission development strategies (LEDS) that “all Parties and Member States” are expected to submit to the UNFCCC Secretariat by 2020.

According to an Information Note (A/INF/74/4) outlining arrangements for the high-level meetings during the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on Monday, 23 September, will be preceded by a series of pre-Summit events:

  • On Saturday, 21 September, a Youth Climate Summit will take place, co-organized by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General and the Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth;
  • On 21 and 22 September, the nine multi-stakeholder coalitions will present their work in parallel Summit events, co-organized with the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.
  • On the afternoon of 22 September, the multi-stakeholder coalitions will present to the Secretary-General a synthesis of their work in a meeting.

On 23 September, during the Climate Action Summit, Heads of State or Government will present ambitious and concrete national commitments, and relevant coalitions will showcase “initiatives that demonstrate major shifts towards carbon neutrality by 2050 in the economy or provide credible solutions to lower the financial and social costs of transition in support of enhanced actions by countries.”

Throughout 2019, a series of climate events took place, leading up to the Summit and to the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UNFCCC, including: the Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Copenhagen, Denmark, in April; the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in June-July (read a guest article about the event by UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment here); and the in-depth review of SDG 13 (climate action) by the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) convened by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July.

Three Regional Climate Weeks organized by the Nairobi Framework Partnership (NFP) throughout the year will also “serve as critical stepping stones” to the Climate Action Summit. Africa Climate Week was held in March, and Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week and Asia-Pacific Climate Week will convene in August and early September, respectively.

The SDG Knowledge Hub has reported on a number of initiatives launched ahead of the Summit. For example, in July, the Social and Political Drivers of Climate Action Coalition issued a call to action proposing health commitments for national and local governments and health commitments on finance that would help advance global climate and health goals and the SDGs. Companies called on governments to match their commitment to set climate targets aligned with limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels and a net zero future. The Clean Air Initiative, announced by the UN, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), calls on national and subnational governments to commit to achieving air quality that is safe for citizens, and to align climate change and air pollution policies by 2030.

Additionally, a number of recent reports and assessments have informed the coalitions’ work, including: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15); the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL); the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018; the UNEP Sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO); the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2018; and the UNFCCC ‘Climate Action and Support Trends’ report, prepared as input to the Summit.

The UN Climate Action Summit will convene on the theme, ‘Climate Action Summit 2019: A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.’ Convening during Climate Week NYC 2019, the Summit is one of several high-level events scheduled to take place the week of 23 September. Other events include: a High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) (23 September); the SDG Summit (24-25 September); the 2019 High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development (FfD) (26 September); and a High-level Review of Progress on SAMOA Pathway.

We look forward to bringing you coverage of the UN Climate Action Summit and associated events. [UN Climate Action Summit 2019 Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Expected Outcomes under Nine Coalitions] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Establishment of Nine Coalitions]

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News