The Paris Agreement marks an important step towards tackling climate change and elevates adaptation to a principal objective, signalling a growing understanding of urgency to prepare for climate change impacts. Whereas climate change mitigation is widely regarded as a global problem, climate change adaptation is typically described as location-specific and national strategies need to take into account the territories where adaptation challenges should be tackled. Regional governments play a crucial role in this regard. Their adaptation plans are fundamental to complement national efforts, since these governments are at the forefront of reducing the vulnerability of their territories to climate change. Consequently, while national governments are the ones at the negotiating table, it is often the regional governments that implement the agreed policies on the ground.
Regional governments hold a strategic position between the national and local level, which allows them to translate national strategies and policies to their inhabitants and implement them on the ground. At the same time it enables them to transmit their populations’ needs to the national level. They mean a crucial support to local initiatives especially to small or isolated human settlements often in rural areas, where such local governments do not have the necessary means in terms of human, technical or budgetary resources and regional governments act in their subsidiary capacity. In addition, they are often assigned with legal responsibilities and policy tools in fields that are pivotal to climate change adaptation, such as energy, environment, economic development, transport, waste and sanitation, industry, agriculture and land-use. In doing all of this, regional governments directly contribute to national governments’ climate change adaptation efforts.
Furthermore, regional governments can help achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, especially the global goal on adaptation established in Article 7 of the Agreement, through innovative and inspiring solutions. They can act as laboratories of ambitious strategies that have powerful demonstration effects and thereby they show national governments that it is possible to adopt higher ambitions. International cooperation initiatives, like the RegionsAdapt, can further support regional governments in these efforts, fostering concrete actions, facilitate the exchange of best practices, and provide reporting mechanisms, which ultimately favour their ability in delivering adaptation measures.
This side event will provide fruitful discussions and thought dialogue on the potential of regional governments towards efficient and coherent climate change adaptation. Authorities of regional governments worldwide will discuss successful experiences and challenges regarding their adaptation strategies and plans. The event will further highlight the potential of regional governments in delivering on the global goal of adaptation included in the Paris Agreement, as well as of international networks and initiatives, like the RegionsAdapt.
- Mr Jean Lemire, Special Envoy on Climate Change and Arctic Issues, Quebec, Canada
- Mr Oscar Domingo Peppo, Governor of Chaco, Argentina
- Kivutha Kibwana, Governor, Makueni County, Kenya
- Ms Ana Maria Pellini, Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
- Salvador Samitier, Head of the Catalan Climate Change Office, Spain
- Mr Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Brown and Director of the Office of Planning and Research, California, U.S.
Sara Kupka, nrg4SD