Global Climate Action Beyond 2020: Bolstering Non-State and Subnational Action for Ambition

The Workshop Global Climate Action Beyond 2020, held on 14-15 June 2019, explored the role of non-state and subnational actors and cooperative initiatives between them in post-2020 climate governance. The event convened policy-makers, researchers and practitioners from developed and developing countries, conferring an opportunity to exchange and to debate through interactive plenaries and as well as breakout sessions. As the negotiations to formulate a post-2020 agenda are underway, the workshop aimed not only at debating climate action within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but also within the broader ecosystem of non-state and subnational climate action.

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Discussion Paper: Global Climate Action in the UNFCCC after 2020

The Marrakech Partnership will terminate at the end of 2020. The question thus arises, what role should climate action play in the UNFCCC process after 2020? This discussion paper seeks to help Parties and other stakeholders explore this critical question. It explores the changing context for climate action as the UNFCCC process shifts to implementing the goals of the Paris Agreement. It reviews the unique role of the UNFCCC climate action institutions in the broader ‘ecosystem’ of global climate action. And it highlights potential options going forward.

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Summary of responses to consultation on the future of Global Climate Action in the UNFCCC

How should the UNFCCC process engage with the groundswell of climate action after 2020?

Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Actions has consulted individuals involved in the Marrakech Partnership and its precursors (e.g. the 2014 UNSG summit, the Lima-Paris Action Agenda) to help the climate action community organize its thinking about this important question. We asked individuals to reflect on lessons learned from past experiences, and also to think ahead for what arrangements would be most effective in the future.

This summary attempts to capture the range of ideas offered. It is intended in the spirit of constructive brainstorming, and will doubtless be enriched as the conversation continues.

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Meeting Summary: The Role of Non-Party Stakeholders in International Climate Politics from COP24 to the UNSG Summit to 2020

On December 13, 2018 at the Novotel Hotel in Katowice, Poland, Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Actions (www.climategroundswell.org) convened a meeting in the toward the end of COP24. This meeting took stock of the numerous events and developments over the previous days at COP24 and inform the next steps related to non-state actor climate action, particularly in 2019. Key objectives of this meeting included the following:

  • Take stock of non-state and subnational climate action after COP24

  • Propose deliverables and shape of institutional roles for galvanizing non-state and subnational climate action in 2019 and 2020

  • Identify key priorities and next steps for early 2019

This summary synthesizes the discussion from the perspective of the organizers.

Assessing global climate action after the California summit

The surge of climate action catalyzed by the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco Sept 12-14 gives governments meeting in Katowice at COP24 new opportunities and impetus to implement and enhance their commitments by 2020. This summary assesses where global climate action stands after the California summit by highlighting:

1. Findings from reports prepared for the Summit on the scale and potential of climate action

2. Key outcomes from the Summit

3. Opportunities for national governments to build on the groundswell of climate action.

Read the full summary here.

Meeting Summary: Stepping up Climate Action at Home

On September 28, 2018 at the Instituto Cervantes, New York, Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Actions convened a meeting as part of New York Climate Week to consider how local governments, the private sector, and civil society can help countries deliver NDCs and enhance ambition in the period 2018-2020. It brought together academics, policy practitioners, and IGO representatives focusing on global climate action.

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Report: Stepping up climate action at home

As national governments look to step up climate ambition by 2020, they have an enormous opportunity to draw on the dynamism of local governments, the private sector, and civil society in their countries. These actors, in turn, have a key role to play in mobilizing at the domestic level to create conditions that facilitate higher national ambition. Indeed, many around the world are already doing so. While every country’s circumstances are unique, this report draws from a wide range of experiences to map domestic climate action around the world. By identifying the range of forms domestic level climate action can take, as well as best practices, barriers, and solutions, it seeks to inform and catalyze further ambition in the lead-up to 2020.

Read the full report here.

Memorandum: Step Up Together

2018 launches an international effort to enhance climate action and ambition by 2020, the first “ratchet” since the Paris Agreement. Cities, states and regions, business, investors, civil society groups, and other “non-Party actors” play a critical role in this process by delivering progress on the ground and in the real economy. But they also generate new opportunities for national governments to strengthen implementation and step up ambition. Focusing on this mutual reinforcement, this memo explains how non-Party actors can support countries to step up action and ambition in 2018, while also looking forward to 2020.

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Memorandum: How can countries and other actors work together to step up ambition in 2018?

2018 is a critical year to step up climate ambition on the road to 2020. The groundswell of climate action by non-party stakeholders creates opportunities for national governments to harvest the experience, resources, and achievements of cities, business, regions, investors, civil society, and others to enhance their own ambition. Summarizing a discussion of these issues held on November 15, 2017, at COP23, this document recommends how this process can unfold in 2018.

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The First Yearbook of Climate Action: What businesses, cities and regions do, and which next steps are needed?

The first Yearbook of Climate Action shows that effective climate action by businesses, cities and regions, and other actors could make significant contributions to narrowing the global emissions gap, adapting to climate change, and demonstrating to governments that higher ambition is desirable and doable. Moreover, climate action is growing in the global South, and many climate action initiatives are producing outputs toward their goals. Key challenges of inclusion and scope remain, however, creating an urgent need to invest in scaling up climate action – and the framework supporting it – in 2018.

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Explainer: Tracking and reporting climate action by non-party stakeholders in the UNFCCC and beyond

At the start of COP23, a proposed agenda item raised the issue of “MRV”—monitoring, reporting, and verification—for non-party stakeholders. While not adopted as part of the formal agenda, the topic will be the subject of informal consultations at COP23. This explainer provides an overview of the issues at stake and the current state of efforts to track non-party climate action in the UNFCCC and in the broader climate action community. 

Read the full explainer here.

Memorandum: How non-party stakeholders can use COP23 to highlight opportunities to step up ambition in 2018

2018 will be a critical year to step up climate ambition. The groundswell of climate
action by non-party stakeholders creates opportunities for national governments to harvest the
experience, resources, and achievements of non-party stakeholders to enhance their own
ambition. At COP23, non-party stakeholders can signal their interest to identify such opportunities for parties over the coming year.

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Memorandum: How non-party actors can strengthen the technical examination process in 2018 and beyond

The technical examination meetings have not lived up to their potential, but including non-party stakeholders more fully can reinvigorate them. Earlier planning, consultation with nonparty stakeholders, and better linkages with the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action can improve the technical examination process in 2018 and beyond.

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Submission to the UNFCCC on non-Party stakeholder engagement

Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Actions welcomes the opportunity to share our views on opportunities to further enhance the effective engagement of non-Party stakeholders. The wide spectrum of non-Party stakeholders play a number of important roles in the UNFCCC process and addressing climate change more broadly. Encouraging effective participation by non-Party stakeholders will support implementation of the Paris Agreement. 

Read the full submission here.

Memorandum: How can Funders Accelerate Global Climate Action to 2018 and 2020?

This memo takes stock of the current state of climate action by sub- and non-state actors, focusing on efforts to orchestrate a groundswell of action in support of the UNFCCC process. It aims to give public and private funders an overview of the ‘ecosystem’ of actors and institutions around these efforts to inform funding strategies for the 2017-2020 timeframe in order to strengthen sub- and non-state climate action. 

Read the Executive Summary here.

Read the full document here.

Next Steps for Global Climate Action

Global Climate Action is entering a critical period in 2017-2018 to deliver and increase climate action as we move toward a 2018 inflection point, and in light of political uncertainty. Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Action (GGCA) has compiled this discussion document as a way to advance the conversation. We offer some specific thoughts on who can do what in an effort to make the discussion very concrete, but these are of course intended just as suggestions and invitations for discussion. 

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Strategy Meeting: Long-Term Strategy to 2018

On November 18, 2016, on the margins of COP22, Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Action (GGCA), through the organisation of WRI, WWF, and NRDC, convened an informal dialogue with Parties, academic institutions, and experts engaged in various thematic areas to discuss ways to accelerate efforts by non-state actors. The purpose of this discussion was to reflect on where we want the global climate action agenda to be in 2018 and to consider the steps to be taken from now until then to realize that vision. This short summary synthesizes the discussion, carried out under Chatham House rules, from the perspective of GGCA.

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Tracking and Aggregating Non-State and Sub-National Climate Action Toward 2018

On November 16, 2016, on the margins of COP22, the Yale Data-Driven Environmental Solutions Group, The Stanley Foundation, and the Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Action (GGCA) Coalition, in collaboration with the UNFCCC secretariat, held a workshop for data providers, analysts, and researchers. This forum focused on discussing opportunities for participants to collaborate on harmonizing and aggregating data on sub-national (i.e., city, state and region) and non-state (i.e., business, investor and civil society) climate action. 

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New publication assesses non-state and subnational climate contributions

In a new publication in Climate Policy, 52 non-state and subnational climate actions, announced at the 2014 UN Climate Summit, are assessed on their output performance, or the production of relevant outputs – to understand whether they are likely to deliver desired social and environmental impacts. The authors also systematically analyze to which extent climate actions are implemented across developing and developed countries.

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