Climate change will feature prominently during events linked to the annual high-level week of the General Assembly. As presidents, prime ministers and other leaders arrive in New York and online, here’s what to look out for. Check here for a broader overview of all events.

Informal Roundtable on Climate Action

UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold an informal, closed-door roundtable with a small but representative group of Heads of State and Government. The Informal Leaders Roundtable on Climate Action follows the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which signaled a “code red for humanity”. The roundtable will address gaps in urgent actions on climate mitigation, finance and adaptation. It will be a chance for national leaders to demonstrate solidarity and ambition to keep the world’s 1.5C temperature goal within reach. It seeks to ensure that by the November climate talks in Glasgow, countries have resources to boost climate action and protect their people from climate impacts.



Security Council Open Debate on Climate and Security: 23 September

Heads of State and Government will convene at the Security Council to debate how to prepare for climate risks that can hinder peace and drive conflict. They will discuss practical actions that the Council can take, given mounting evidence of climate fallout as a factor in conflicts and instability. Talks will focus on peacekeeping, conflict mediation and conflict prevention. Learn more about the session.

Increasingly, the Council and other multilateral organizations stress climate actions as integral to peace in countries and regions, and as a basis for international security. In fragile countries in particular, governments often have limited resources to manage climate and other crises while helping vulnerable populations adapt to consequences such as drought and rising temperatures. In 2019, weather-related hazards displaced some 24.9 million people in 140 countries around the world, with climate change predicted to grow in force. Many women and girls face specific consequences, which the Council has recognized in its women, peace and security agenda. 



Food Systems Summit: 23 September

A virtual event, the UN Food Systems Summit will bring together people from across the world – youth, food producers, indigenous peoples, civil society, researchers, business leaders and UN representatives – to mobilize behind transforming how we produce, consume and think about food. 

The Summit is intended to be a people’s summit and a solutions summit, where everyone must make actionable commitments to change food systems in line with the needs of people and plant. Food systems span from the seed to the table, or the production, packaging, distribution and consumption of food. At a moment of record levels of hunger and poor nutrition, reforms are urgent and essential for many of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

What’s the climate angle? Food systems generate a third of greenhouse gas emissions. Without dramatic changes, food system emissions will likely increase by up to 40 per cent by 2050, given rising demand from population, more income and dietary changes. Learn more about the links to climate and about the summit itself, including how to register.



High-level Dialogue on Energy: 24 September

It’s the first global gathering of its kind on energy in 40 years. The High-level Dialogue on Energy, under the auspices of the General Assembly, presents a historic opportunity to put the production and use of energy on track to meet both the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on climate change. Slowing global warming largely depends on reducing emissions from burning fossil fuels for energy. Also critical is ensuring that all people have access to electricity and clean energy. 

Heads of State and Government as well as leaders from businesses, foundations and other organizations will attend the summit. A roadmap to achieve net-zero emissions and universal energy access will open scope for participants to present Energy Compacts defining plans and commitments, with over 100 compacts already submitted.

As highlights, the Rockefeller Foundation and IKEA Foundation have committed $1 billion to spearhead a new global funding platform and empower 1 billion people with access to distributed renewable energy, such as mini-grids. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has pledged to invest an additional $1.3 billion by 2023 to finance energy investments under its Green Cities programme in nearly 40 countries. Check here for more on the summit. And pick up a few fast factsabout energy and climate.

SDG Action Zone: 22-24 September

A popular event from previous years, the SDG Action Zone returns with a day dedicated to climate change (24 September). Join leaders, thinkers, activists and creators to push the pace of change. You can expect big picture plenaries, lightning talks and creative performances, among other activities. Kicked off by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, the climate day will be a chance to come to the cutting edge – the circular economy, the great energy transition, indigenous perspectives on planetary health and how local actions add up to global change. Find out more.

SDG Media Zone: For People and Planet: 16-24 September

The SDG Media Zone will highlight key issues related to climate action, biodiversity, vaccine equity, food systems and renewable energy. Interviews produced in collaboration with leading media organizations will feature top UN officials, experts, celebrity influencers and changemakers from across the UN system. Read more.