Without Regional Climate Weeks, COP conferences are not fit for purpose, warns WaterAid

If the world’s most vulnerable are not at the table, then UN climate talks are no longer fit for purpose, warns WaterAid

Rrecently, the UNFCCC confirmed that this year’s Regional Climate Weeks will be cancelled until further notice, which WaterAid has criticised as ‘hugely disappointing’. 

Regional Climate Weeks are a vital opportunity to bring a stronger regional voice to the international table in the lead up to COPs – those who are footing the bill on a crisis they have done the least to cause.

Last year we saw four regional climate weeks: Africa Climate Week in Nairobi, Kenya; Middle East and North Africa Climate Week in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week in Panama City, Panama; and Asia-Pacific Climate Week in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

At Africa Climate Summit alone, over 20 commitments were made by African heads of states – commitments and announcements that equated to a combined investment of nearly USD 26 billion from public, private sector, and multilateral development banks, philanthropic foundations, and other financing partners.

This is the right way forward as while extreme weather events affect all of us, we know their impacts are not felt equally.

In response to UNFCCC’s cancellation of regional climate talks, Dulce Marrumbe, Head of Partnerships and Advocacy at WaterAid’s Regional Office for Southern Africa, said:

“The climate crisis is a water crisis, and the people on the frontlines of climate change are vital to solving it. That’s why we are hugely disappointed to hear that UN Climate Change has decided to cancel the 2024 Regional Climate Weeks.                                                                                                       

“These provide a vital platform for those already experiencing the impacts of climate change – including women and girls, people experiencing marginalisation and indigenous communities – to share their experiences, expertise and unique perspectives.

“With their leadership and participation, we’re far better equipped to adapt to our changing climate, and make sure that everyone, everywhere has access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

“If the world’s most vulnerable are not at the table, then UN climate talks are no longer fit for purpose.” 

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