Building resilience, taking action

From 8-12 October 2023, Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will host the pivotal Middle East and North Africa Climate Week (MENACW). This event comes a month before COP28 in Dubai, marking it as an essential stepping stone towards accelerated climate action in the region. The High-Level Champions and partners will gather with businesses, investors, cities, states and regions, and civil society (referred to as Non-Party Stakeholders, or (NPS) together with governments in the region.

The context

The MENA region is uniquely positioned at the intersection of climate challenges and opportunities. Decarbonization and economic diversification are critical, as is rapidly building resilience to the escalating climate impacts such as extreme heat, water scarcity, and adverse weather events that the region faces.

Local solutions and collaborative efforts are beginning to chart a path forward, and with COP27 in Egypt and the upcoming COP28 in the UAE, a window of opportunity emerges. The focus sharpens on renewable energy investments, water conservation, resilient infrastructure, and international collaborations for curbing greenhouse emissions and adapting to a changing climate.

A comprehensive approach

The High-Level Champions’ priorities for the week focus around four key tracks:

  1. Energy Systems and Industry: Rapid and just transitions in the energy sector are critical to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. A new Just Energy Transition Collaboration (JET-Co) framework will be discussed, focused on regional and national circumstances and priorities to maximize positive and minimize negative impacts of the transitions leaving no one behind, emphasizing the role of NPS in fostering community-based energy transitions through investment.
  2. Cities, Urban and Rural Settlements, Infrastructure and Transport: Addressing the challenges of rapid urbanization, this track will focus on building green, resilient infrastructure and fostering partnerships across sectors to counteract climate impacts.
  3. Land, Ocean, Food and Water: Given the region’s vulnerability to climate extremes like droughts, the emphasis here is on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to build resilient communities and ecosystems. Integrating NbS can bolster resilience while also contributing to climate mitigation.
  4. Societies, Health, Livelihoods, and Economies: Addressing the socio-economic challenges posed by climate change, this track will delve into enhancing worker adaptability, promoting safe working conditions, and integrating extreme heat resilience into transitional planning.

Each track is designed to foster dialogue, highlight innovations, and accelerate solutions. For instance, a Race to Zero side event will underscore strategies for decarbonizing the region, while a Buildings Breakthrough event will spotlight climate solutions in architecture and construction.

What lies ahead?

MENACW 2023’s ultimate aim is to encourage stakeholder collaboration and forward-thinking strategies to spur leadership and action to address the climate crisis.

The challenges are undeniable: temperature spikes, persistent droughts, flooding, and their subsequent impact on essential sectors like agriculture and construction. However, the combined efforts of local leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders at MENACW 2023 promise a roadmap to a resilient, sustainable future for the MENA region.


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