Partnership in Action 2020: Concluding Remarks by Mr. Pablo Vieira
As we come to the end of a tumultuous year, it is almost bewildering to take stock of all that has changed for the Partnership. The world pivoted to face the oncoming challenge of COVID-19—in its immediate health impacts and in the economic recovery that must come next. Political attention and budgets were diverted toward the crisis. On a more mundane level, many ways in which we work together—international conferences, in-country stakeholder meetings, exchange of experts—have become impossible or much harder.
But it is also encouraging to see what has remained steady. Despite extraordinary challenges presented by the pandemic, our members maintained their commitment to ambitious climate and sustainable development action. Expected NDC enhancements this year have, in some cases, been delayed—but not derailed. Our members have adapted with impressive speed to find ways of delivering support, including through economic advisors to support green recovery efforts.
This points to our strengths. The Partnership was set up in the conviction that action on the scale demanded by the Paris Agreement does not just mean setting better targets or raising more money—important though those are. It also means working together in new ways to make sure that everyone’s strengths are combined in the most effective ways. We look to countries to lead, and we align support among many organizations working through public, government-owned plans. This puts countries in the position to take a strategic, integrated approach to climate and sustainable development. It allows members and partners to deliver support in line with country needs and their comparative advantages while avoiding duplication. And it helps us learn more effectively as we go by sharing knowledge and data across all members.
This year we come to the end of our first Work Program, and we can look to this model with pride. We are supporting more than 70 countries with NDC implementation and enhancement. This support is being delivered through more than 100 partners from within and beyond our membership. Perhaps even more importantly, we have demonstrated that working together, we can all be more effective and impactful.
As we look forward to our next Work Program, we need to build on this model while keeping its spirit. But we also need to significantly boost our efforts. For all the encouraging response to the COVID crisis, countries will enter next year facing budget shortfalls, greater debt burdens and the urgent need for economic recovery. While we see many countries presenting revised NDCs and greater ambition, global efforts remain far below those demanded by the Paris Agreement. And even with extraordinary efforts to limit emissions, countries face rising temperatures for the foreseeable future. The year 2020 is among the hottest ever recorded. It may also turn out to be among the coolest in the next few decades.
None of this is a counsel of despair. As the past year has shown us, the world can change dramatically, and the future is very hard to see. For all our progress, we have a lot of work to do. But the Partnership is ready.
Pablo Vieira is Global Director of the NDC Partnership Support Unit.