By Rita Joshi
BONN (IDN | UNFCCC) - In run-up to 2016 UN Climate Conference in Morocco, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is focusing on ‘Global South’, and has launched a global public awareness campaign to spotlight these game-changing commitments, including the many which are happening in the developing world.
According to the UNFCCC, based in former West German capital Bonn, climate action by cities and companies and by regions and investors is continuing strongly since the December 2015 Paris climate change conference with some 50 new actions posted on the UN portal which was set up to showcase private sector and local authority ambition.
Ranging from South African hospitals group Netcare Ltd to Dutch banking group ING, the new commitments join over 11,000 already registered on NAZCA -- the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action, established in 2014 at the request of the Government of Peru.
For example, the city of Puebla in Mexico committed and registered on NAZCA its aim to reduce emissions by 90% by 2050. And India’s Tata Motors has committed to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2020 and procure 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources.
The UNFCC hopes the new campaign – titled ‘We’re Accelerating Climate Action’ –will encourage more entities to consider how they can make climate action commitments working with partners like We Mean Business and data providers to the NAZCA portal including CDP, the Climate Group and ICLEI’s Carbon Registry.
Other data providers include Investors on Climate Change; the UN Global Compact; the Covenant of Mayors and the Climate Bonds Initiative.
With the next UN climate conference to be held in Morocco in November 2016, companies, investors, cities, regions and provinces from the global south and Africa are especially welcome, the UNFCCC said on May 9.
Ahead of and during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC, held in Paris in December 2015, unprecedented momentum was triggered among individual and cooperative initiatives in support of governments and the realizing of the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement, notes the UNFCCC.
The NAZCA portal and its registered commitments dovetailed with a range of larger ones showcased under the related Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) – an initiative of the Governments of France and Peru, the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UNFCCC.
Under the LPAA, 70 mainly large cooperative initiatives, from ‘Removing Commodity Driven Deforestation from all Supply Chains by 2020’ to the ‘International Solar Alliance’ which aims to mobilize $1trillion by 2030, have also registered their commitments on NAZCA.
During COP 21, all these initiatives presented their commitments during 12 "focus days", alongside some of the most significant commitments from individual companies and local leaders registered under NAZCA.
Information relating to the LPAA cooperative initiatives was provided by the secretariats of these initiatives through the LPAA partners – Peru, France and the UN.
Ségolène Royal, President of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the French Minister of Environment, Energy and the Sea, said: "The Lima-Paris Action Agenda has been critical in contributing to the success of Paris."
“We now need to make the multiple initiatives thrive and the NAZCA portal will be an essential tool to drive the momentum. I encourage all non-State actors to make the most of it," she added.
Hakima El Haité, Morocco’s Minister of the Environment, said: “The Climate Action Agenda does more than complement climate policies. With its bottom-up dynamic, it makes the entire society an agent of change and this is exactly what we need.”
By formally registering their aims and ambitions on the UN’s NAZCA online portal (Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action), non-Party actors can demonstrate climate ambition that can support governments to achieve their central objectives agreed at under the Paris Agreement, namely to peak emissions as soon as possible and put to the world firmly on a path towards zero carbon and resilience.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “More than 11,000 cities, regions, companies, investors, and civil society organizations have so far pledged actions with many of these now logged under NAZCA.”
“The mobilization, commitment and ambition of so many so-called ‘non-party stakeholders’ was a key to the success of realizing the Paris Agreement. Moving and motivating even higher ambition from those already committed and broadening the numbers and geography to ever more cities and companies will be a crucial key in assisting governments in implementing their aims swiftly, sustainably and at scale,” she added.
The new ‘We’re Accelerating Climate Action’ campaign also builds on the success of the Paris Pledge for Action (L’Appel de Paris) launched by the UN and the government of France immediately after the conclusion of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, adopted by 195 countries and now signed by 176 countries and the EU.
Nigel Topping, Chief Executive Officer of We Mean Business said: “The We Mean Business coalition is dedicated to demonstrating how businesses and investors are making significant commitments towards climate action. We will continue to mobilize our partners to make many more commitments that can be captured on the NAZCA portal as we head towards the UN Climate Change Conference in Morocco in November, including from the Global South.”
Mark Kenber, CEO at The Climate Group, said: “Since business, state and regional leaders played a transformational role in COP21's historic success last year, they have continued to lead the way with ambitious climate action around the world. This year, we’ve seen corporates from India to North America join RE100 and commit to going 100% renewable across their operations, to highly industrialized state and regional economies accelerating the implementation of innovative clean energy policies. The UNFCCC's campaign will undoubtedly ensure non-state actors continue to make such bold commitments - all of which are crucial in not only delivering the Paris Agreement, but also supporting pre-2020 climate mitigation efforts.”
Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability said: "NAZCA was a core building block for a successful outcome in Paris. By documenting and encouraging commitments by all actors, NAZCA links real climate action by cities, regions, business and investors to the UNFCCC process. ICLEI proudly supports NAZCA through the carbonn® Climate Registry, the first reporting partner to NAZCA with local and subnational government climate commitments and actions.
Over 600 entities are now reporting to the Registry, pledging a total of 1 GtCO2e of GHG emissions reductions by 2020. Full implementation of the Paris Agreement now requires all actors and levels of government to work jointly to scale up their ambitions and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon society."
The CEO of CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) Paul Simpson said: “CDP strongly encourages companies and cities to commit to the highest level of climate action in line with the Paris Agreement and to annually disclose progress – our data shows they are the ones best placed to flourish in the transition to a zero carbon future.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 9 May 2016]
IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.
Photo: Solar panels. Credit: UNFCCC