Information Note Outlines Objectives, Timeline for UN 2019 Climate Action Summit
UN Photo/Cia Pak
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The action-oriented Summit will seek to increase ambition and accelerate action to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Summit, Luis Alfonso de Alba, and the nine coalitions will present an initial list of Summit outcomes on 30 April.

UNFCCC COP 25 will provide the first opportunity to review progress on commitments made at the Summit.

April 2019: UN Secretary-General António Guterres has published an information note detailing the objectives of and the preparatory process for the UN 2019 Climate Action Summit. The Summit will focus on “sectors that create the most emissions and the areas where building resilience will make the biggest difference.”

The Climate Action Summit will convene on 23 September 2019, in New York, US, one year before countries are expected to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The action-oriented Summit will seek to increase ambition and accelerate action to implement the Paris Agreement through: raising national ambition, with countries presenting concrete, realistic plans to enhance their NDCs by 2020, and reducing emissions by 45% over the next decade and to net zero by 2050; encouraging transformative changes in a range of sectors to support implementation of the plans; and generating political momentum through enhanced social and political drivers and through youth and public engagement.

The note explains that the Summit’s deliverables and initiatives that will be presented must be “implementable, scalable and replicable,” align with the goals of the Paris Agreement and include a range of stakeholders.

The Summit’s deliverables and initiatives that will be presented must be implementable, scalable and replicable.

The document outlines the nine interdependent tracks that will identify initiatives for the Summit, each supported by a coalition led by governments, civil society, the UN and other international organizations. These are:

  • The Mitigation Strategy track that will focus on major emitters, led by Japan and Chile, with support from UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Achim Steiner and Vice-Chair of the Board of the UN Global Compact, Paul Polman;
  • The Social and Political Drivers track that will focus on issues cutting across all other tracks, including health and just transition, and consider gender, climate and security and others, led by Peru and Spain, with support from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO);
  • The Youth and Mobilization track that will streamline youth’s participation across all the tracks, led by the Marshall Islands and Ireland, with support from the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth;
  • The Energy Transition track that will focus on accelerating energy transition, including by boosting renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, access and innovation, and mobilizing investments for the transition, led by Denmark and Ethiopia and supported by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll);
  • The Resilience and Adaptation track that will focus on integrating climate risks into public and private sector decision making to ensure food, water and job sustainability, prevent disasters and enable post-disaster recovery, led by Egypt and the UK, with support from UNDP;
  • The Nature-based Solutions track, addressing forests and land-based ecosystems, smart agriculture and food systems, and regenerating life in rivers, lakes and oceans, led by China and New Zealand, with support from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and David Nabarro, Strategic Director of Skills, Systems and Synergies for Sustainable Development;
  • The Infrastructure, Cities and Local Government track, focusing on scaling commitments related to low-emission and resilient infrastructure, led by Turkey and Kenya, with support from the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat);
  • The Climate Finance and Carbon Pricing track that will focus on delivering on the existing commitments of providing USD 100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation, led by France, Jamaica and Qatar, with support from the World Bank; and
  • The Industry track, focusing on stronger commitments from hard-to-abate sectors, led by India and Sweden, with support from World Economic Forum (WEF).

Benchmarks for selection criteria for the initiatives, the note reports, are based on: transformational impact; sustainable development co-benefits; replicability and scalability; measurability and implementability; and innovation and visibility.

The note outlines the tentative timeline and key dates for the Summit. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Summit, Luis Alfonso de Alba, and the nine coalitions will present an initial list of Summit outcomes on 30 April and a revised, longer list of outcomes on 15 May. The Special Envoy will then present the refined criteria for ambition on 15 June, in advance of a preparatory meeting for the Summit, which will convene in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 30 June 2019 to 1 July 2019. The meeting will include a presentation of a list of Summit outcomes, and provide the opportunity to select proposals to be presented at the Summit.

Summit events in or around UN Headquarters will take place from 21-22 September, and include presentations of the broader work of the coalitions’ initiatives. On 23 September, the day of the Summit, only the most ambitious proposals for climate action and implementation will be presented.

A Chair’s summary will capture the initiatives and commitments showcased at the Summit. Follow-up arrangements will track progress, ensure accountability and facilitate implementation of the Summit’s proposals. The 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UNFCCC will provide the first opportunity to review progress on commitments made at the Summit. [Information Note on the UN Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit] [Climate Action Summit Website] [Interview with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Action Summit] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Coalitions for Summit]


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