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Cancellation of regional climate weeks

By Practical Action On 24.05.2024 Climate changeNews

Practical Action’s leadership team have reacted with dismay to the announcement that vital climate talks will not go ahead this year.

Regional Directors for the organisation joined with CEO Sarah Roberts in condemning the cancellation of a series of regional climate weeks, which were due to feed into the global COP 29 talks later this year.

The regional climate weeks have provided an important opportunity for people on the frontline of the climate crisis to have a platform, from which their voices could be heard by decision makers.

Regional climate weeks also help to bring the voice of the people most effected by climate change to the international table. As COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan is beyond the reach of many frontline communities, it’s absolutely vital that we have a mechanism to do this.

Practical Action CEO Sarah Roberts said:

“We must not fail to turn the tide of climate change adequately for people on the front line who are trying to adapt to it. Lives depend on it.

We need local voices to influence debates and share their experiences and learnings and help hold those most responsible to account. Without these regional events, this won’t happen.

I call upon the international community not to allow this to happen again. The annual regional climate weeks are essential, and they should in no way be seen as a supplementary activity that relies on voluntary funding from governments and foundations.”

Four regional climate weeks were due to be held:

  1. Africa Climate Week
  2. Middle East and North Africa Climate Week
  3. Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week
  4. Asia-Pacific Climate Week

These events were also where public, private, and multilateral organisations make commitments, announcements, and investments. Governments will also no longer benefit from a collaborative space to discuss their needs so plans can be made more ambitious.

Akinyi Walender, Africa Director said, “I am deeply disappointed and concerned by the cancellation of the Regional Climate Weeks, especially the Africa Climate Week. As a continent, Africa accounts for only 2 to 3 per cent of global carbon emissions but it is the most affected by global warming. Last year’s event saw over 13,000 attendees from 144 different countries, which meant there were many opportunities to engage with regional partners and donors, policymakers from African governments, and public sector stakeholders. Along with the Africa Climate Summit (held in parallel), commitments and announcements equated to over USD 26 billion of much needed investment.

“The decision not to hold it this year hampers the crucial progress and collaboration needed to address the pressing climate challenges facing our continent. It is imperative that opportunities for African voices to be heard and solutions to be shared are not sidelined, as this undermines the urgency of regional climate action.”

Ayan Banerjee, Asia Regional Director for Practical Action said, “We won’t make progress on climate issues, without inclusive platforms and constructive engaging dialogues. If it’s generally accepted to be the single largest issue, and we genuinely want to make meaningful systemic progress through policy advocacy and practical action, it is imperative to continue with the regional weeks or at least come up with suitable alternatives.”

Alicia Quezada, Latin America Regional Director said, “Regional climate weeks represent a recognised platform to gather authorities, international cooperation, academy, civil society and people on the frontline of the climate crises such as Indigenous Peoples, to discuss about priorities and goals in the region and to agree and work together to achieve them. It is also a meeting place for minorities to voice different perspectives that enrich high level dialogue.”