Regional collaboration is a climate-action catalyst

By Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary | March 24, 2022

Next week, the first-ever Middle East and North Africa Regional Climate Week gets underway in Dubai.

This event is significant for several reasons.

First, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is a climate change hotspot, with climate models predicting temperatures 20% higher than global averages. The region is already the most water-scarce in the world – and the increasing temperatures are predicted to lead to more persistent and acute drought. So building resilience is key.

Second, international efforts to address climate change have entered a critical new phase: countries are implementing the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change at the national level. We need precise, transformational plans, by all governments and sectors, across all jurisdictions. Faster, stronger and more ambitious climate action is crucial. Without accelerated action, the Paris Agreement’s key goal of holding global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius will slip out of reach.

Third, regional collaboration is a key catalyst for global progress. MENA Climate Week is the first opportunity to accelerate regional implementation of the Paris Agreement following the UN Climate Change Conference  COP26 in Glasgow last November. COP26 ended six years of detailed negotiations under the Paris Agreement and signalled the beginning of a new era of cooperation.

The event is also a significant milestone towards COP27 in Egypt at the end of this year, which will have a renewed focus on adaptation to climate change, and a focus on Africa and the MENA region.

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MENA Climate Week will bring together key stakeholders to take the pulse of climate action in the region, explore climate challenges and opportunities and showcase ambitious solutions.

The meeting will harness the creativity and energy of the private sector, cities, indigenous communities, youth and civil society to find common ground and collaborate on climate action.

According to the UN’s Development Programme, 64% of people in the Arab States think climate change is a global emergency. There is a sense of urgency and a real desire to bring about change.

Their discussions will be wide-ranging, from dealing with water scarcity to scaling up renewable energy and mainstreaming the green economic recovery.

Regional Climate Weeks are quickly gaining traction as key venues for bringing regional stakeholders together and promoting climate action at the regional level. Not just next week’s meeting in Dubai, but each of the Climate Weeks that will be held in 2022, with events planned in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean.

They are key regional components of making the 2020s a decade of climate action. That means working together, especially at the regional level, to make progress and establish clear plans for climate action with respect to adapting to climate change, curbing greenhouse gas emissions and catalyzing the finance notably developing countries need for all of this.

The world needs to pick up speed in its race against climate change. And we can only do that by working together, and building synergies between all key stakeholders, in every area of society, in every region of the planet.

MENACW 2022 will be held from 28 to 31 March in Dubai hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates. See the detailed programme and register here.

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