Championing nature and Indigenous wisdom: Latin American and Caribbean Climate Week sets the stage for COP28

By Climate Champions | October 23, 2023


Latin American and Caribbean Climate Week (LACCW) opens in Panama City today aiming to galvanize the LAC community around a common vision of what it takes to transition to a net zero emissions, nature-positive and resilient world.

With just over one month to go until COP28, LAC CW, the third of four Regional Climate Weeks to be held this year, runs until 27 October, hosted by the Government of Panama in collaboration with the UN and key regional and global partners.

As a critical precursor to COP28, commitments from this event will serve as a powerful representation of the region’s climate and nature leadership. The week also presents an opportunity to contribute to the Global Stocktake process and identify region-relevant actions and timelines necessary to accelerate the progress needed to keep the Paris Agreement in sight.

The backdrop to LAC CW 2023 is stark. Despite contributing less than 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the region’s countries already experience the tip of the climate change spear — from slow onset droughts and floods to sudden-onset disasters — disrupting economic activity and livelihoods. Climate change and weather-related disasters have already displaced millions across Latin America and the Caribbean; a UNICEF report reveals that between 2016 and 2021, 2.3 million children were displaced by weather-related disasters in the region.

Despite these challenges, the region is ripe with opportunity, particularly for solutions that harness its abundant nature. Latin America and the Caribbean is home to around 40% of the world’s biodiversity, a third of its freshwater, half of its mangroves and more than half of its primary forests.  For this reason, a key objective for the High-Level Champions this week will be raising awareness among different stakeholders about the importance of nature-positive action agendas and the role they play in catalyzing a net zero and resilient world.

The launch of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero’s Latin America and the Caribbean Network, with over 20 financial institutions from the region, will draw attention to the need to mobilize finance behind nature-positive business in the region.

Within increasing migration to LAC cities, nature will also be held up as a silver bullet to alleviating increasing urban challenges. Emphasis will be put on aligning with recommendations of Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), as well as setting science-based targets for climate and nature.

Other HLC-led events will highlight the indispensable role of Indigenous communities in shaping climate strategies and ensuring their voices are central to the discourse; strategies by diverse stakeholders to achieve equitable climate financing and build community resilience; and advocating for a just and inclusive energy transition.

“Renowned for its unrivalled biodiversity and enriched by the wisdom of its Indigenous peoples, the Latin America and Caribbean region embodies the intricate balance between nature, climate and culture,” commented H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28.

“As we seek solutions for resilience and mitigation, we must champion the region’s natural treasures, understanding that our climate goals and nature conservation are inextricably linked. Our collective endeavours, with the invaluable insights of our Indigenous communities, will shape a sustainable future for the region – and the world.”

“In the LAC region, where environmental challenges can erode up to 5 percent of GDP, green and just financing is not just timely but transformative,” added Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP27.

“Witnessing the uptake of ‘blue bonds’ in nations like Belize and Ecuador, the commitment to green bonds in Chile and Uruguay, and the dedication of Brazil’s Amazon Fund, it’s evident that the region is undertaking serious steps to mobilize climate finance. With the private sector’s increasing engagement in carbon markets and impact investing, the horizon looks promising. Together, we can channel these innovative financial avenues to bring about the resilient and net zero future that the region deserves.”

From sustainable finance to energy transitions, Indigenous rights to nature-based solutions, the HLC events’ agenda promises a holistic view on the next steps for LAC and the globe. Real-world climate initiatives that cut emissions and uplift communities will be showcased, offering a glimpse into actionable solutions ahead of COP28.

Discover more about LAC CW, dive into Champions’ plans for the week and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and views live from Panama City.


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