Climate change is a significant threat that is faced in many parts of the world. The accumulation of disasters over the past months, including hurricanes in the Atlantic, wildfires in parts of Europe and the US, and flooding in Nigeria, India and Bangladesh has shown that all parts of the world are affected by these events. But increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events are only part of the various impacts arising from climate change. Higher temperatures, acidification, and sea level rise have serious consequences for human health, ecosystems, biodiversity and natural resources. Even if substantial efforts are undertaken to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they can minimize future climate change, but not prevent it. Therefore, the Paris Agreement establishes the global goal on adaptation, acknowledging that different governance levels have to be taken into account to reach it. Adaptation is mostly location specific and should consider the territories where adaptation challenges should be tackled. Consequently, adaptation strategies are needed at all governance levels: local, regional, national and international level.
So far, actions on climate change have been underwhelming and national governments have not been able to act fast enough on their own. Here, subnational governments can play an important role through their unique position by shaping and implementing national policies. They are strategically well positioned between the national and local levels and are assigned with legal responsibilities and policy tools that are pivotal to this global effort. Moreover, subnational climate actions have powerful demonstration effects, showing national governments that setting ambitious targets is possible. They are crucial actors to be able to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement, scale up ambition and deliver innovative solutions for tackling the climate challenge. By partnering with a variety of stakeholders such as businesses and local actors, subnational governments are leading innovation and investing in concrete solutions.
In addition, international initiatives like the RegionsAdapt run by nrg4SD support regional governments to foster concrete actions, exchange best practices and report efforts, which ultimately favours their ability in delivering concrete climate actions. By joining RegionsAdapt, governments agree to accomplish three commitments within two years: 1) to adopt (or review) a strategic approach to adaptation and prioritize adaptation actions within two years of joining the initiative; 2) to take a concrete action on adaptation in at least one of the seven key priority areas of the initiative; and 3) to report data on the progress of the adaptation actions on an annual basis.
On the occasion of the approaching end of this two-year cycle for the founding members of RegionsAdapt to fulfil the three commitments, subnational governments will share in this event their adaptation efforts and successes and their fruitful work within the RegionsAdapt initiative. The event will further provide discussion of the role of subnational governments in scaling up ambition and accelerating climate action with regards to adaptation. It is an opportunity for subnational governments to highlight their achievements and efforts and underline the important role of cooperation with other subnational governments.
- Mr Stéphane Pouffary, Executive Director Energies 2050
- Ms Ana Maria Pellini, Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
- Ms María Elena Moreno Zaldibar, Deputy Minister for the Environment, Basque Country, Spain
- Dr Caroline Croser-Barlow, Group Executive Director Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, South Australia
- Bambang Suprayogi, Excecutive Director Yagasu Aceh, North Sumatra, Indonesia (tbc)
- Representative from Reunion Island, France (tbc)
- Representative from Minas Gerais, Brazil (tbc)
Natalia Vera, nrg4SD