The virtual thematic sessions of Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2021 being hosted by the Government of the Dominican Republic kicked off on Tuesday, May 11 with calls to urgently ramp up regional climate action.
The sessions, which will run until May 14, are designed to boost the region’s response to climate change and build momentum for the crucial UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November in Glasgow.
At the opening of the sessions, the Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic, Orlando Jorge Mera, said: “Ahead of COP26 we are going to increase the ambition of our national climate action plan and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 27% and progress towards climate neutrality in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals. (…) For us climate action is not just about mitigation, we need to prepare for what is coming ahead. In light of this, we especially welcome this Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week. Let’s consolidate a regional vision in the face of climate change and bring a strong regional position to COP26.”
Chile’s Environment Minister and President of the UN Climate Change Conference COP25, Carolina Schmidt of Chile, said: “The countries of the region must be united on the way to COP26, to promote the greatest possible ambition with a common goal: carbon neutrality and resilience by 2050 at the latest.”
The Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week (LACCW2021) provides a major platform to boost regional as well as global climate ambition. The wide array of regional stakeholders will showcase climate action to date and track progress on the submission of stronger national climate plans – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – under the Paris Agreement ahead of COP26.
A further focus of LACCW2021 is to provide information on the UN’s Race to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns, and to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard in the multilateral climate process.
“Ambitiously updating NDCs is more important than ever. NDCs can truly be a beacon that, together with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), guide the sustainable and clean recovery after the COVID crisis with a clear vision of how to improve people’s quality of life,” Minister Schmidt said.
Ms. Schmidt and COP26 President Alok Sharma have called on all countries to either follow through on commitments made under the Climate Ambition Alliance or to join its efforts. Launched by the Chilean Presidency at COP25 in Madrid, the Alliance brings together countries, businesses, investors, cities and regions which are working towards achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050, as well as countries committed to updating their NDCs.
Underlining the critical importance of success at COP26, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, said: “COP26 is nothing less than a credibility test for our collective efforts to address climate change, implement the Paris Agreement and continue building climate ambition.”
“2021 must be the year of tough decisions and significant progress by nations. Yet it also offers an unprecedented opportunity, as nations build forward from COVID-19, to structure resilient, sustainable and green post-recovery economies aligned with the Paris Agreement.”
LACCW2021 will focus on three key areas: A) Integrating ambitious action in key economic sectors into national planning; B) Adapting to climate risks and building resilience; and C) Seizing transformational opportunities to put the region on a low-emission and highly resilient development pathway.
A dedicated session at the LACCW2021 regional Ministerial Event in August will ensure that outcomes from the 2021 thematic sessions are captured and framed within the larger context of COP26.
Around 3,200 people have registered for the virtual thematic sessions of LACCW2021, including government ministers and senior representatives of multilateral agencies and non-governmental organizations, as well as civil society, including indigenous leaders and youth.