10 February — World leaders should come to the Climate Summit this September prepared to announce “bold and forward-looking actions that show new determination and ambition to address climate change,” UN officials said in a briefing to Member Summit preparations.
“This will be a solutions-focused Summit,” Assistant Secretary-General Robert Orr told delegates. “We have received resounding support to maintain emphasis on political leadership and concrete actions that move us forward, make economic sense and deliver significant co-benefits.”
The Summit, hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, aims to mobilize political will for an ambitious global legal climate agreement by 2015 and catalyze ambitious action on the ground to reduce emissions and strengthen resilience.
“What the Secretary General is asking,” Orr said, “is that your governments prepare well and bring your best to the Summit – announcements that demonstrate enhanced political will and national action on climate.”
World leaders are being asked to come to the Summit with announcements that reflect greater ambition, new actions to mobilize climate finance, and new climate actions on the ground that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase resiliency to climate change.
Mr. Orr said the Summit, which will include participation by leaders from governments, finance, business and civil society, “is not another negotiation track, and there will be no negotiated outcome.” A Chair’s summary will capture the Summit outcome.
Plans for the Summit call for several simultaneous theatres of engagement during the day including a plenary, where Heads of State and Government bring forward-looking announcements of national ambition and action from domestic efforts.
According to Mr. Orr, the Action Platforms will be high-profile rooms dedicated to announcements by leaders from government, finance, business, and civil society, including multi-lateral initiatives, concrete partnerships and commitments that substantially advance action on the ground and help enable a higher level of collective ambition.
“These actions must be designed to help build governmental ambition, and they cannot substitute for it.”
Potentially transformative actions, according to Elliot Harris of the UN Environment Programme, could consist of initiatives to reduce short lived carbon pollutants and black carbon, which, if implemented, could reduce the global average temperature by as much as .5 degrees Celsius.
Other initiatives include new efforts to reduce deforestation, increase public and private financing for resilience, a range of initiative to assist cities in reducing emissions and building resilience, and to increase financing available for climate action.
A new addition to the Summit agenda calls for thematic sessions that will enable the sharing of innovative practice and policy on climate. The proposals for such sessions at this stage include the economic case for action, co-benefits of climate action, science, innovation, and sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods.
The Summit will also provide extensive outreach that will utilize communications and networking tools to bring the world to the Summit and ensure, in turn, the Summit reaches beyond the UN walls. Organizers expect the Summit to provide “plentiful and powerful” media and outreach opportunities for leaders.
To promote outreach to world leaders, the Secretary-General recently appointed two Special Envoys on Climate Change, former President of Ghana John Kufuor and former Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg. The Envoys will engage with Heads of State and Government around the world and they will be consulting with leaders to support them in pursuing an enhanced level of ambition that will enable them to bring their best to the Summit.
In addition, the Secretary-General appointed a Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg to help highlight the important roles cities play and help urban regions to engage and benefit from the Summit.
In May, the United Arab Emirates will host a high-level meeting in Abu Dhabi, the ‘Abu Dhabi Ascent,’ midway in the lead-up to the Climate Summit. The meeting, to be held 4-5 May, will be an opportunity for high-level government officials – including ministers and leaders from other sectors – to present initiatives and to broaden their partnerships, commitments and actions for potential announcements at the Summit.