Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week Provides Regional Boost for Success at COP26

The Virtual Thematic Sessions of the Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2021 (LACCW2021) are wrapping up today, providing important momentum for a successful UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November in Glasgow.

Momentum came from more than 5,000 registered attendees joining in the conversation, including from the host Government of the Dominican Republic, governments at all levels, private sector leaders, academic experts and engaged stakeholders.

The virtual sessions saw 83 events and close to 100 hours of live presentations and discussions, with around 300 speakers, in collaboration with more than 30 global and regional organizations.

Alluding to major health challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, Orlando Jorge Mera, Minister of Environment & Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic, said:

“This event has taken place under very unusual circumstances and has tested our ability to reconcile and agree on innovative solutions in times of crisis. I can confidently say that we have passed the test. In these last four days, we have managed to catalyze commitments in three key areas: integration of climate action into national planning; adaptation to climate risks; and transformative opportunities towards carbon neutrality. We are now one step closer to consolidating strong positions for COP26 in Glasgow.”

Speaking at the closing press briefing of the sessions, UN Climate Change Deputy Executive Secretary Ovais Sarmad said:

“The fruitful sessions held over the last four days here in Latin America and the Caribbean demonstrate that the climate urgency is well recognized. And I am impressed how LAC countries are working on climate action whilst battling the COVID-19 pandemic. With only six months to go to COP26, we are at a crucial moment. Many nations are right now developing new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions – national climate action plans under the Paris Agreement – and this is the year we determine if we can get on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals. LACCW 2021 gives us optimism for success at COP 26 because of the momentum we see now, and the potential for more in the future.”

Dr. Max Puig, Executive Vice President of the National Council on Climate Change of the Dominican Republic, said:

“After almost two years without sitting face to face at a discussion table with the Parties to the Convention, the Thematic Sessions of the LAC Regional Climate Week have allowed us to return to the climate agenda with strength and enthusiasm, with the active participation of all relevant stakeholders, including civil society, academia and national and local governments.”

Over three days, core organizing partners led discussions on themes that are crucial to meeting the world’s common climate challenge:

  • The World Bank examined national actions and economy-wide approaches, seeking synergies and shaping national planning for a sustainable, green recovery.
  • UNDP led sessions on integrated approaches for climate-resilient development, looking at how both climate risk and climate solutions are reshaping different sectors.
  • The UN Environment Programme led discussions on seizing transformation opportunities that explore a reimagined future and the behaviours, technologies and financing needed to get there.

On the final day of LACCW2021, the COP26 Presidency is hosting a series of events reflecting the UK’s four goals for COP26: mitigation, adaptation, mobilising finance, and collaboration.

Conversations are ranging from capacity building on NDC ambition in the region as part of the COP26 Catalyst for Climate Action, to dialogues with Indigenous Peoples on leading nature-based solutions, as well as research and innovation and climate finance.

Fiona Clouder, COP26 Regional Ambassador for Latin America and the Caribbean, said:

“LACCW2021 has enabled us to come together and focus on the challenges and opportunities to deliver on the Paris Agreement and move to net zero in the Latin America and Caribbean Region. With six months to go now until the COP26 conference, together we need to build partnerships and tangible and ambitious action to tackle climate change to ensure we safeguard the future of this diverse region and its environment.”

A dedicated session at the LACCW2021 Ministerial Event in August will ensure that outcomes from the 2021 Virtual Thematic Sessions are captured and framed within the larger context of COP26.

Next steps to COP 26 include the upcoming May–June 2021 Climate Change Conference (sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies) and the Asia Pacific Climate Week and Africa Climate Week in July before COP 26 convenes in Glasgow in November.