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Diverse research voices shape Climate Action Summit debate

23/09/2019

Diverse research voices shape Climate Action Summit debate

“The devil is in the detail of how to deliver a climate action agenda. We should favour an emphasis on capacity building of the most vulnerable communities. There is also a need to emphasise the importance of nature-based solutions and investing in young people as transformation often requires generational change.” This is the view of climate policy expert, Dr Saleemul Huq. His is one of 45 expert voices which, through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), has been influential in helping shape discussions ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit taking place in New York today (23 September).

The importance of ecological resilience and social transformation as part of climate resilience are highlighted by researchers and thought leaders from across low and middle income countries in a policy brief (UN Climate Action Summit: GCRF Policy Brief (PDF 1MB) (PDF, 1.3MB)) issued yesterday at a side meeting convened by the Global Resilience Partnership (22 September).

Additionally, their views have played a role in shaping a new programme of research committed to addressing the challenges arising from the priorities of the Climate Action Summit. The Climate Resilient Networks programme, also announced yesterday, is a £6 million investment for international collaborations between researchers, practitioners and policy makers across the globe to catalyse innovation to deliver the ‘Resilience’ track of the Summit outcomes. The programme will be funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and UK Research and Innovation through GCRF.

The UN Climate Action Summit sets out key global priorities to combat climate change by galvanizing ambitious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across several key areas, including climate finance and carbon pricing, energy transition, industry transition, nature-based solutions, cities and local action and resilience and adaptation.

As part of the extensive pre-Summit preparations, GCRF Challenge Leaders from UKRI, in partnership with DFID, brought together the views of experts from across developing countries around resilience and adaptation, whose communities are already experiencing the life-changing impacts of climate change and whose insights and expertise are vital in shaping global action. Professor Mark Pelling, GCRF Challenge Leader for Resilience explains:

“An international team of us were tasked with exploring how we go about creating resilient communities, economies and environments at a local and global scale to best help us adapt to, and limit the impact of, climate change. The enormity of this challenge cannot be underestimated and so we felt it was vital that we reached out to as diverse an expert group as possible. Using our extensive network of researchers and leaders built up through the Global Challenges Research Fund, we were able to reach out quickly and effectively to climate change experts from across developing countries, whose views and experiences were invaluable in helping us shape this strand for the Summit and more importantly, making a real difference beyond the Summit.”

The Resilience and Adaptation track of the UN Climate Summit’s global priorities is led by Bangladesh, Egypt, Malawi, the Netherlands, St Lucia, and the UK with support from UNDP. The track focuses on integrating climate risks into public and private sector decision-making to assure sustainability of food, water, and jobs for the future, as well as to prevent disasters and allow quick recovery when disasters happen, especially for the most vulnerable groups.

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