Thank you.  I´m Mark McCaffrey, I’m based outside of Budapest, Hungary, and I’m the founder of ECOS, the UNFCCC Climate Education, Communication, and Outreach Stakeholders (ECOS) community, which was recognized by the Secretariat in 2016. 

Since then we’ve been developing our own capacity as a network of networks, a bridge between parties and non-party stakeholders regarding ACE. Our members focus on equitable civic engagement, capacity building, policy development, and climate learning for people-centered climate action.

We have been asked to focus on the role of Non-Party Stakeholders, and as you all know, the original convention envisioned strong public awareness and participation in developing adequate responses to climate change. But for a number of reasons, that hasn’t happened.  

So let’s be clear. Without an informed, engaged, empowered public, we will never achieve the goals of the original convention, let alone the more specific goals of the Paris Agreement, which recognizes human rights obligations as an integral element.

This is precisely why the next ACE work programme is so important, as it will play a foundational role in enhancing ACE implementation on the way to 2030; and we appreciate the Secretariat’s synthesis of the February ACE submissions on this topic. From our perspective as non-party stakeholders, I will focus on three crucial areas to address going forward, while encouraging you to read our full submission as well:

First, ACE must be integrated across the UNFCCC rather than kept in a silo, where it is often a lesser priority. This can be done by aligning the new work programme with the timelines for the Global Stocktakes, NDC revision (and including ACE in the NDCs), and the 2030 Agenda. Synergies can also be made with other workstreams, like the Gender Action Plan, the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform, and the Paris Committee on Capacity Building.  

Second, ACE must have a more concrete and rigorous plan to guide our collective efforts. This can be done by creating an Action Plan for ACE, with annual targets and check-ins, in order to ensure both parties and Non-Party Stakeholders have clear, measurable goals and can hold each other accountable to process. Parties could then translate this global action framework into appropriate domestic tools, such as their own ACE national strategies, along with specific metrics and indicators, especially, guidelines that steer us towards the integration of indigenous and local knowledge and gender-responsive measures. 

Third, ACE must find a way of closing the chronic gap in financial resources which has kept us from reaching our full potential for action. This could be done in various ways: one option is setting aside a dedicated global fund for ACE initiatives; another is establishing a platform or marketplace to facilitate linking ACE project proposals from Parties and Non-Party Stakeholders to possible funders.

Because COP26 has been pushed back a year, we intend to make the best use of this time to help support the development of a truly robust, effective new work programme, which should address all of these, and other, elements.

We have identified synergies with European Climate Pact and believe it would be important to foster cooperation between the ACE agenda and this important initiative. The European Green Deal and Climate Pact can also help to outline investment and financing tools available to ensure a just and inclusive transition. 

In summary, we all need each other.  Non-party stakeholders need our governments to empower us with appropriate financial, political, and technical support. And parties, governments at every level of society, and businesses, need the publics they serve to be informed and involved in reducing climate risks, increasing societal resilience, and fostering healthy communities. 

Under the #Learn4Climate banner, we convened a coalition of organizations to mainstream, advocate and develop metrics for a transformational ACE. We have been in close coordination with Climate Outreach and the Monitoring and Evaluation for Climate Change Education project, looking for ways to amplify and enhance these important efforts.  

Whether you are an ACE focal point, a negotiator, a scientist, educator, or concerned global citizen, we invite you to join us– go to climateecos.org and find out how you can get involved in our efforts to build an international network of organizations who together will help to scale up ACE implementation in every country, every community around the world. 

Thank you again. 

Link to ECOS ACE Work Programme recommendations: https://bit.ly/33aZjwd

#Learn4Climate campaign: https://climateecos.org/learn4climate/