Source: Small Island Developing States
23 August 2019: The main themes discussed during Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Climate Week 2019 were the energy transition, industry transition, infrastructure, cities and local governments, and nature-based solutions.
The Regional Climate Weeks were launched in 2017 by the Nairobi Framework Partnership as a platform for stakeholders to meet, share experiences and best practices, and identify mutually beneficial climate action and policy making related to implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change. Regional Climate Weeks in 2019 have also aimed to provide a stepping stone to the Climate Action Summit, during which UN Secretary-General António Guterres has encouraged countries to announce new, more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
LAC Climate Week 2019 comprised two technical days, followed by two thematic dialogue days and a high-level dialogue day. The event also included an academia and youth track for participants to learn and share information about NDCs and climate action more broadly in the LAC region.
At the conclusion of LAC Climate Week 2019, Martin Frick and Mariana Castaño Cano, UNFCCC Secretariat, provided an overview of the main takeaways that will inform the Climate Action Summit. They highlighted that speakers had emphasized the region’s potential to contribute in all sectors towards the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. Additional takeaways included the need for:
- governments at all levels to develop policy frameworks for sustainable mobility, taking advantage of favorable conditions for low-emission vehicles that use renewables and biofuels;
- targeted policy and regulatory frameworks for the industrial sector to invest in decarbonization and increased adaptation;
- using cross-sectoral climate risk assessments and disaster reduction plans to increase urban resilience;
- integrating climate considerations into urban planning and development;
- realizing the large mitigation and resilience potential from protecting and restoring forests, and adopting good practices in land use;
- taking action on adaptation in coastal zones, low-lying areas, and small islands;
- taking advantage of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies that are already economically viable and available today; and
- enacting long-term planning, strategies, and policies targeted to energy production and use in transport, industry, and buildings, while addressing the social impacts of the energy transition, including through stakeholder engagement.
Gonzalo Muñoz, UNFCCC COP 25 High-Level Climate Action Champion, stressed the need to include non-state actors and strengthen public-private partnerships (PPPs). He also emphasized the LAC region’s opportunity to provide nature-based solutions, particularly in the agro-forestry sector.
Isabel Studer, Director of Strategic Alliances, The Nature Conservancy, emphasized scaling up nature-based solutions, so land use and coastal sectors could become a solution instead of a problem. She said addressing climate change requires not only an energy transition to renewables, but also transforming the ways we produce and consume food.
Frederico Villatico Campell, Regional Manager, Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), spoke of the importance of addressing country needs as a way to step up ambition. He explained that mitigation and adaptation are distinct when it comes to funding, as mitigation has more opportunities for investments than adaptation.
Stephanie Horel, EUROCLIMA+ Programme Manager, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Environment, European Commission, explained that the public sector alone is not able to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, and that the private sector and civil society also need to be engaged, adding that points of common interest help bring solutions.
Francisco Maciel, Executive Secretary, Inter-municipal Consortium of Western Brazil, underscored the role of engaging communities, and called for creative types of funding, particularly for green infrastructure.
The Dominican Republic announced it will host LAC Climate Week in 2020.
In closing, Martin Frick acknowledged those who are suffering from climate change around the world, including those affected by the ongoing fires in the Amazon.
The event took place from 19-23 August 2019, in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, and was hosted by the Federal Government of Brazil with the support of the City of Salvador, Bahia. It was co-organized by the UNFCCC Secretariat, the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UNEP Partnership with the Technical University of Denmark (UNEP-DTU Partnership), the World Bank Group, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Regional Platform for Low Emission Resilient Development Strategies (LEDS LAC), the Latin American Energy Organization, the Development Bank of Latin America, and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). [IISD RS Summary of LAC Climate Week 2019]