The Latin American & Caribbean Climate Week got underway on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 with an opening ceremony that attracted a notable cast of local leaders, including Eneida De Leon, Minister of Housing, Land Planning and Environment of Uruguay, who welcomed attending delegates in Montevideo.
The event is being orchestrated by the members of the Nairobi Framework Partnership, which was founded by Kofi Annan in 2006, as a means of bolstering the interlinkages between governments, the private sector, and the developing world. Following news of the former Secretary-General’s passing last weekend, it’s clear that the world needs to enhance this kind of multilateral collaboration if it is to make the Paris Agreement a reality.
The Latin American & Caribbean Climate Week – and indeed all regional Climate Weeks hosted throughout the globe annually – are therefore a tangible and necessary way of honoring Kofi Annan’s instinct to bring everyone on board to solve the world’s great problems which, in this instance, is climate change.
Representing the Nairobi Framework Partnership, Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, said: “Right now, we need ideas, best practices and lessons learned from every segment of society, whether businesses, investors, regional and local leadership, and everyday people. It’s what I call “inclusive multilateralism and it means having more voices at the table leading to more climate change solutions.”
On a continent that is flanked on each side by two great oceans – the Atlantic and the Pacific – the region is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events, tropical storms and hurricanes, such as those that recently hit the Caribbean and Meso America, with devastating consequences.
Eneida De Leon, Minister of Housing, Land Planning and Environment of Uruguay, said: “For Uruguay, as well as for the entire region of Latin America and the Caribbean, the response to climate change is a priority for our public policies. In this regard, we welcome the celebration of this event, in which we hope to exchange and work to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Agreement in our region.”
Latin American and Caribbean nations are not newcomers to the stage of climate action; Costa Rica continues its race towards carbon neutrality; Chile’s landmark carbon tax penalises less efficient vehicles based on urban performance; meanwhile, Mexico’s General Law on Climate Change is a milestone in regulatory integration. All this represents just a slice of the ambition, which is now a hallmark of the region, and which is now being showcased at the three-day Climate Week, concluding on Thursday afternoon.
Both events build momentum ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in California and New York Climate Week next week, as a means of demonstrating that there is genuine international support for stepping-up local, national, regional and international climate action on the part of all stakeholders.