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Roundtable: Implementing the Action Agenda in 2016

  • United Nations Foundation 801 Second Ave. Fl. 9 New York (map)

New York, NY | 10:00 - 1:00 PM, April 23, 2016

Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Actions will convene a roundtable to bring together the key networks, initiatives, and stakeholders driving climate action in cities, regions, companies, and elsewhere. Hosted by the United Nations Foundation, the roundtable aims to build on the successful outcome at COP21 and the additional steps being taken in 2016 to shape the ongoing Action Agenda. Participants will delve more deeply into the substance of delivering the Action Agenda in 2016 and beyond, identify and prioritize remaining gaps, and coordinate strategies.

For further information, please see the event summary

COP21 helped mobilize an extraordinary groundswell of ambition – now to deliver it

COP21 represented an inflection point for the groundswell of climate action at all levels. A report released at COP21 documents commitments to climate action from over 7,000 cities from more than 99 countries with a combined population of 794 million (11 percent of the global population) and around 32 percent of global GDP, as well as close to 5,000 companies from over 88 countries representing over $38 trillion USD in revenue [1]. The Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) alone included over 10,000 commitments and actions from a diverse range of stakeholders in 183 countries [2]. A variety of studies released in the lead up to COP21, looking only at a handful of transformative initiatives, found their mitigation potential to be in the range of 2.5 to 4 billion tons of CO2 by 2020, more than all of India emits in a year, and similar in magnitude to the 4-6 billion tons the UN projects the INDCs will cut by 2030, a decade later [3]. It is no surprise, then, that following the adoption of the Paris Agreement, UNFCCC Executive-Secretary Christiana Figueres hailed the “tsunami” of climate action from the podium as a driver of the successful outcome. Going forward, how we continue to deliver on this extraordinary potential and shift from “aspiration” to “action”?

Paris Agreement signing ceremony – a key moment for coordination

The Action Agenda and the NAZCA platform received formal endorsements in the COP21 decision. Parties also decided to ask the COP presidents to appoint high-level champions to drive forward the Action Agenda, and the incoming Moroccan presidency declared its commitment to continue the Action Agenda under its leadership. In 2016, additional decisions are being taken both collectively and in individual organizations that will give increasing detail to the structure and modus operandi of the Action Agenda and related activities. The April 22 signing ceremony, and the High Level Thematic Event on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals the President of the General Assembly is convening on April 21, provide a ripe opportunity to take these discussions forward.

[1] Hsu, A., Y. P. Cheng, K. Y. Xu, A. Weinfurter, C. Yick, M. Ivanenko, S. Nair, T. Hale, B. Guy, C. Rosengarten (2015). “The Wider World of Nonstate and Subnational Climate Action.” December 10, 2015. Available:

[2] Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Actions (GGCA) (2015). “Lima-Paris Action Agenda Independent Assessment Report.” December 7, 2015. Available:

[3] For summary, see ibid pp. 12-13.


The roundtable will aim to maximize discussion and exchange of views on the following topics. Because there are many issues to be addressed in a relatively short period of time, it is not envisaged that participants will come to definitive conclusions on all the questions listed. Rather, the objective will be to identify areas of convergence and priorities for further discussion and action. Short framing remarks will be provided at the start of each session to guide the discussion.


Arrival (continental breakfast and coffee available)


Introduction and agenda

Dr. Thomas Hale, Oxford University and Brendan Guy, NRDC


Coordinating strategies in 2016

Framing remarks: Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC and Laurence Tubiana, High-level Champion and Ambassador in charge of climate negotiations, France.

Roundtable discussion on coordinating strategies, priorities, and activities around key moments in 2016 and beyond.


Addressing key issues of implementation and delivery

Framing remarks: H.E. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of State for Environment, Peru

  • How much progress can reasonably be expected by COP22? What benchmarks are appropriate, and how can success be defined and communicated? What are longer-term benchmarks?
  • How can progress best be tracked? What kind of light-touch monitoring system can ensure the credibility of commitments? What is the role of criteria for existing and new initiatives?
  • What common characteristics do successful initiatives share? How can initiatives be supported to become increasingly robust?
  • What considerations are needed for delivery of individual commitments outside of initiatives?


Identifying and prioritizing remaining gaps

Framing remarks: Dr. Bob Orr, Dean, University of Maryland School of Public Policy

  • Thematic gaps: What new initiatives might be organized to fill underserved areas, or is the priority scaling and fully delivering existing initiatives?
  • Geographic gaps: What are the top priorities, and how will they be addressed?
  • Ambition gaps: Can existing actors or initiatives realistically raise their level of ambition in 2016?
  • How can the Action Agenda help translate national commitments into concrete action, and enhance ambition over time?


Improving the framework for cooperative action in the Action Agenda

  • A number of decisions regarding the governance and institutional elements of the Action Agenda have yet to be determined. What does a coherent framework for the Action Agenda that provides value to all participants look like? What elements from last year should be built upon?

Closing remarks: H.E. Hakima El Haité, Minister Delegate in Charge of Environment, Morocco




Optional informal lunch: Osteria Laguna, 209 East 42nd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues).