10 things we learnt from Day 1 of Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week

Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week (LAC CW) kicked off with a resounding call to action, setting the stage for a week of lively discussions and collaborative efforts to accelerate the region’s race to a net zero emissions, nature-positive and resilient future. With the Climate Champions Team on the ground for the week, here are our key takeaways. By Climate Champions | October 24, 2023


Collective action is essential: The day emphasized the power of collective action to address climate change. It called for collaboration among diverse stakeholders, including governments, private sector, and grassroots organizations. “This is an opportunity to inspire more ambition and contribute for the sustainable future we all hope. Together we can make a difference,” said Milciades Concepcion, Minister of Environment of Panama.


Youth and Indigenous communities play a vital role: The discussions highlighted the important role of youth and Indigenous communities in shaping the climate agenda. Their involvement is seen as crucial in driving meaningful change. “Believe in the youth. We’re waiting for a magic formula to solve our climate crisis, but young people can make their own,” said Johann Delgado from Cornell Coastal Solutions.


Resilience requires collaboration: Building resilience in the region requires multi-stakeholder collaboration, involving the private sector, technical bodies, and grassroots organizations.


Financial Institutions are focusing on adaptation: Over 70 financial institutions are using digital tools for climate risk assessment, directing adaptation funds to vulnerable communities. However, there is a need for improved climate literacy in the financial sector. “We, asset managers, are in a unique position because we can convert capital into a catalyst for positive change. We were taught to prioritize the shareholders, but fortunately academics have evolved and they’re telling us that we need to consider social and environmental considerations if we want to triumph in the long term,” said Jorge Quintanilla, founder of SAFI+Capital.


Nature-Based Solutions are essential: Placing nature at the centre of resilience efforts is crucial. Nature-based Solutions (NBS) were discussed as integral to addressing climate impacts and achieving a sustainable future. Daniela Lerario, Climate Champions’ LAC Director, underlined NbS are at the core of the Sharm el Sheikh Adaptation Agenda – a comprehensive, shared agenda to rally global action around 30 adaptation outcomes that are needed to address the adaptation gap and achieve a resilient world by 2030. In this context, The Nature Conservancy’s Water Funds was announced as a partner to the Race To Resilience. The water fund is a governance and finance mechanism that improves water security through collective action, allowing downstream water users to invest collectively in upstream water and land conservation.


Green hydrogen holds promise: There is a growing focus on green hydrogen as a clean energy source in the region. Discussions highlighted the importance of governance, transparency, and equitable access in the deployment of renewable-based hydrogen. Panelists imagined a future where Panama transforms into an “energy supermarket,” shifting from fossil fuels to green energy.


Finance for adaptation is critical: Banks, insurers, and investors were recognized as pivotal players in scaling finance for adaptation in the face of climate challenges. Climate-aligned regulations and public-private engagement were discussed as key factors. “The private sector has a unique capacity: innovation. We saw that with Covid. The private sector has also the capacity of scaling..and to enter new markets with new solutions,” said Jorge Quintanilla.


Science-Based Targets drive corporate action: The Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is gaining traction in Latin America, with countries like Colombia, Mexico and Brazil leading in setting science-driven targets. Collaboration and education are key to driving corporate climate action.


Local voices in climate governance: Local voices and community-driven decisions are essential in policy planning. Engaging communities and considering their unique realities are crucial for effective climate action.


GFANZ’s role in net zero: The launch of GFANZ Latin America & Caribbean Network and its Advisory Board yesterday signifies a commitment to driving net zero progress in the region. It will work with local financial institutions to mobilize climate finance. Read more here.

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