In the lead up to and during the 2017 climate change conference COP23 in Bonn, the UN System Staff College and UN Climate Change organised the SD Talks Special Series on Climate Action. The webinar series was conceived to set the stage for COP23, and to further discussions around climate change and sustainable development. Each webinar featured climate change and sustainable development experts and practitioners, and concluded with a live Q&A session in which the online audience had the opportunity to pose questions directly to the speakers.
In the opening webinar, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, explained that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and sustainable development are intricately linked. She emphasised that although the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement were negotiated separately at the intergovernmental level, they are implemented together at country level. 'Climate action and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin. At the country level, these things happen together', said Ms. Mohammed. She highlighted the different roles the private sector, youth, governments, and the UN play to ensure that we adopt an integrated approach.
Koko Warner and Claudio Forner of UN Climate Change then presented the blueprints necessary to translate these ambitious goals into action through the national climate plans, or NDCs. Yet alongside national leadership comes collective global responsibility. To strike the right balance between the two, setting guidelines and incentivising cooperation among different actors is crucial. In the next webinar, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Chief Negotiator for the COP23 Presidency, State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and Halldór Thorgeirsson, Senior Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at UN Climate Change, outlined their ambitions for COP23 to create a space for progress on such guidelines and cooperation.
The next two webinars then took a closer look at different modes of cooperation. Shortly before COP23, Yunus Arikan of ICLEI, and James Grabert of UN Climate Change provided examples of how companies and cities have an important role to play in fostering cross-sectoral partnerships and game-changing climate actions. Then during the climate conference, three of this year’s Momentum for Change Climate Solutions Award winners presented innovative initiatives that address climate change in different contexts.
The webinar series concluded with Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, who reflected on the progress made at COP23, with respect to the negotiations, implementation of the Paris Agreement, and new commitments and partnerships made by parties and non-party stakeholders. She emphasised the importance of contextualizing all processes of climate action in local realities, noting that ‘it is in the communities where change happens - and where we need to see change happen’. Indeed, a recurring theme throughout the series was that sustainable development and climate action must be integrated, at the level of conceptualisation and intergovernmental negotiations, as well as the level of implementation.
As detailed below, the recordings and slides of all webinars have been made available on the SD Talks website, to serve as a learning resource for all.
Opening session with Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina Mohammed - Paris Agreement and the SDGs: One agenda for a sustainable future
3 May 2017 | Watch the recording here: http://bit.ly/SDCA-1rc
This first webinar with Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, focused on the link between the Paris Agreement and the sustainable development agenda, and looked at how this mutually reinforcing relationship affects their implementation. The discussion was moderated by Nick Nuttall, UN Climate Change and COP23 Spokesperson, and Simona Costanzo-Sow, Policy Support Team Lead, UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development.
National climate plans (NDCs): Blueprints for a global transformation
7 June 2017 | Watch the recording here: http://bit.ly/SDCA-2r
The Paris Climate Change Agreement set the goals, and now countries must translate them into action. The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) set out what each country plans to do as part of the Paris Agreement to contribute to the international effort to secure a sustainable future for all. In this webinar, Koko Warner, Manager of the ‘Impacts, Vulnerability, & Risks’ subprogramme at UN Climate Change Adaptation and Claudio Forner, Team Lead of Mitigation, UN Climate Change, explained how NDCs open up a new universe of economic and cooperation opportunities to realize the mitigation and adaptation plans and increase climate resilience. The discussion was moderated by Simona Costanzo-Sow, Policy Support Team Lead, UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development.
COP23 in Bonn: Setting the rules of the climate game; making cooperation stick
27 September 2017 | Watch the recording here: http://bit.ly/SDCA-4r
Between 6-17 November, thousands of government delegates and leaders from all sectors of society gathered in Bonn, Germany, for the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference. Under the Presidency of Fiji, UN Climate Change with the support of Germany hosted this annual meeting with one clear objective: making progress for a successful, inclusive and ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement. This included negotiations on the implementation guidelines—or operating manual—for transparent climate action under the Paris Agreement, as well as showcasing cooperative climate action, including on vulnerability and resilience, from around the globe. In this webinar, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Chief Negotiator for the COP23 Presidency, State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and Halldór Thorgeirsson, Senior Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at UN Climate Change, explained the milestones and key challenges that lay ahead of COP23. The discussion was moderated by Simona Costanzo-Sow, Policy Support Team Lead, UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development.
From companies to cities: Crucial climate role of CEOs and mayors
30 October 2017 | Watch the recording here: http://bit.ly/SDCA-5r
Non-Party Stakeholders are essential in the global effort to realise the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Wide-ranging cross-sectoral partnerships are fundamental for nations to fulfil their objectives. In November 2017, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), showcased a wide array of the thousands of leading examples of game-changing climate actions from the private sector, cities, and other sub-national governments across the world but more commitments and urgent actions are needed. In this webinar, Yunus Arikan, Head of Global Policy and Advocacy at ICLEI, and James Grabert, Director, Sustainable Development Mechanisms, and Lead, Global Climate Action at UN Climate Change, highlighted the great momentum for more ambition and cooperation from all parts of society. The discussion was moderated by Simona Costanzo-Sow, Policy Support Team Lead, UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development.
Innovation in climate action: Meet the 2017 Momentum for Change award winners
15 November 2017 | Watch the recording here: http://bit.ly/SDCA6r
During COP23, the people behind some of the 2017 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities demonstrated how they are creating positive impact in the lives of people, communities and on the planet´s health, through innovative approaches. The Momentum for Change initiative is spearheaded by UN Climate Change to shine a light on some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change. This webinar featured Laura Stachel, who presented 'We Care Solar', Trevor Bell, presenting 'SmartICE', and Giulia Kathleen Houston, presenting 'From Waste to Wow'. The discussion was moderated by Sarah Marchildon, Team Lead, Momentum for Change, UN Climate Change, and Simona Costanzo-Sow, Policy Support Team Lead, UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development.
COP 23: From Bonn to a sustainable 21st century
28 November 2017 | Watch the recording here: http://bit.ly/SDCA-7r
This webinar featured Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, who discussed the key outcomes of COP23, including with respect to the negotiations and the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Ms. Espinosa also highlighted the measures undertaken by non-party stakeholders and underlined the next steps following COP23. The discussion was moderated by Nick Nuttall, UN Climate Change and COP23 Spokesperson, and Simona Costanzo-Sow, Policy Support Team Lead, UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development.