IIED at London Climate Action Week, November 2020


IIED and partners participated in London Climate Action Week, a week-long digital event from 14-20 November 2020.

 London Climate Action Week logo

The November edition of London Climate Action Week 2020 took place online (Photo: London Climate Action Week)

This was the second series of London Climate Action Week events this year, with IIED again taking part following the successful series in July 2020. This week of events fell on the dates when the UN climate summit (COP26) was originally scheduled, and was a major milestone building momentum towards the rearranged summit in November 2021. 

There were more than 100 digital events throughout the week, falling under the categories of ‘Green, fair and resilient recovery’; ‘Roadmap to COP26/Glasgow’; ‘Building a sustainable, net zero London’; and ‘Whole of society climate mobilisation’.

London Climate Action Week was an opportunity to bring forward the voices and amplify the climate actions of our partners on a global stage. Actors in the global South have a huge amount of experience on climate action, and it is crucial for us to learn from their work, so we can collectively make change happen.

IIED and partners contributed at the following events:

Thriving and just societies: integrating climate, nature and development in a COVID-19 green recovery

Online event
Date: Tuesday, 17 November, 2020

Speakers: Andrew Norton (moderator); Stanley Kimaren Ole Riamit, Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA); Harriet Bulkeley, professor of geography at Durham University; Lord Goldsmith, UK Minister for Pacific and the Environment; Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi, secretary of the National Environment Commission of the Kingdom of Bhutan and chair of the Least Developed Countries Group in the UNFCCC negotiations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed, and made worse, deeply entrenched vulnerability and inequality in our society. However, it has also revealed some useful lessons on how we can become more resilient and adaptable, ready to face and respond to other risks affecting society.

This event brought together high-level speakers from different sectors of society to articulate the importance of integrated action on climate, nature and development, particularly in the context of a green recovery from COVID-19.

Related readingCommunity solutions for a nature-based, resilient future beyond COVID-19 | United in a call for higher ambition on the global biodiversity agenda

Capacity building for climate action and ambition: what have we learned? 

Online event
Date: Wednesday, 18 November, 2020
Partner organisations: IIED, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD)

Speakers: Saleemul Huq, moderator; Mizan Khan, LUCCC; Shehnaaz Musa, SSN – CDKN; Susan Nanduddu, ACTADE, CLACC; Danise Love Dennis, ECBI junior negotiator
Opening remarks Andrew Norton, IIED

To effectively adapt to the escalating impacts of climate change, support for locally led climate action is needed. Training, advocacy and capacity building are proven pathways to change but what do we need to do now to ramp up ambition?

This online event will discuss what we have learned from past capacity building initiatives and how we can build on shared experiences to collaborate effectively with least developing countries in the face of growing inequalities.

Related reading: Five years of building climate negotiators’ capacity: lessons from the field  | LDC 2050 Vision for a climate-resilient futureLearning to negotiate for climate action

Reforming climate finance to support locally led adaptation: principles for moving to business unusual 

Online event  
Date: Wednesday, 18 November
Partner organisations: IIED, World Resources Institute (WRI) 
Speakers: Vel Gnanendran, director of Climate Change and Environment, FCDO; Rohini Kohli, lead technical specialist, Adaptation Planning, Climate Change Adaptation, UNDP; Dr Muhammed Musa, executive director, BRAC International; Farayi Madziwa, coordinator of the Readiness Programme, Adaptation Fund; Clare Shakya, director of IIED's Climate Change research group. 
Opening remarks: Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio, GCA/WRI 

Locally led adaptation is action planned by local actors (community-based organisations, citizens groups, local government, local private sector) to address the impacts of climate change – rather than being subject to decisions taken at higher levels. In addition to benefits being felt at the local level, local people and their communities also have agency over how their development and climate adaptation takes place – going beyond community ‘participation’ or ‘engagement’. 

Evidence suggests that if we localise the way we plan, finance and deliver climate, nature and poverty solutions, more just solutions will be delivered by virtue of being closer to those most affected and with least voice. Working on the local level can also deliver more integrated, context specific, agile, efficient, democratic and accountable solutions to and for the poorest and most excluded people. 

This session will present a vision of locally led adaptation in the form of eight principles: we will host ‘Hard talk: committing to locally led adaptation’ that will be in an engaging mock-interview style where respondents will be asked to explain how they align with the principles presented, explain the gaps that remain and lay out measures for enhancing their commitment to locally led adaptation.

See what happened at the event

Related readingGood climate finance guide: lessons for strengthening devolved climate finance | Calling for business unusual: why local leadership matters

Transformative climate action: how to spot it, do it and enable it 

Online event  
Date: Friday, 20 November
Organised by: EIT Climate-KIC  

Speakers: Nick Brooks, director, Garama 3C Ltd; Peter Newell, Department of International Relations, University of Sussex; Christoph Brodnik, expert advisor, Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIP-C), AIT Austrian Institute of Technology; Julie Calkins, head of adaptation and risk, EIT Climate-KIC; Aditya Bahadur, principal researcher, IIED 

As the climate community prepares for another year of climate action in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow, it is important that we don’t relabel all climate action as transformative. To do so would risk co-opting a transformation discourse into business-as-usual, missing the small window of opportunity we have left to halt runaway climate change.

Find out more

Related reading: Disruptive resilience: an agenda for the new normal in cities of the global South 

LCAW closing event: the recovery we need 

Online event  
Date: Friday, 20 November
Organised by: E3G 

Speakers: Manish Bapna (chair), executive vice president and managing director, World Resources Institute; Norbert Gorißen, deputy director general, German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU); Clare Shakya, director, climate change, IIED; Musonda Kapena, director/registered trustee, Namfumu Conservation Trust; Sima Kammourieh, senior policy advisor, E3G.

The 'Fair, green and resilient recovery' theme in November’s LCAW seeks to explore what this means in practice for climate, and understand what needs to be done if it is to become a reality. At a time of severe economic and health crisis, climate and environment risk slipping down the agenda. And while the rhetoric about 'green recovery' has been encouraging, it is not clear that this is yet a reality. Both the unprecedented scale of the stoppages in the economy, and the ongoing waves of virus outbreaks interrupting the attempts at recovery, mean that economic plans are not easily formed or delivered, let alone transformative ones that will enable the transition to a net zero economy.   

This event will look at where we are in terms of a recovery, and what needs to happen for the global economy to emerge from this crisis in a fit state to move to net zero. It will draw from conversations throughout the week of LCAW, and from the experience of the Global Dialogue, to reflect on what the climate community needs to do to make a success of recovery.

Find out more

  • All the events at London Climate Action Week can be found on the LCAW website.