Climate Action Now


for Policymakers


The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) summarizes information from the technical expert meetings focusing on mitigation and adaptation policies, technologies, initiatives and actions, and highlights other related new developments since the publication of the 2015 SPM and the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties in Paris.

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Patricia Espinosa Foreword by the High-Level Champions Purpose Of This Summary For Policymakers Key messages for Policymakers Benefits of integration Overcoming obstacles to integration Resources, support and opportunities for implementation

This 2018 Summary for Policymakers shows that policy solutions already exist. The summary confronts the challenges that policymakers face, while providing examples from around the world that show how these challenges can be overcome."

By Patricia Espinosa United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change

Foreword by Patricia Espinosa

The Paris Climate Change Agreement, the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action and the Sustainable Development Goals together represent the enablers to take us on the path toward a more sustainable, resilient and low-emissions world to prevent our planet’s temperature from reaching disastrous levels.

To create the change needed toward a more sustainable, resilient and low-emission future, it is critical that policies are put in place now so technologies can develop, mature, become commercialized and deployed at scale, and economic actors can move faster towards a low-emission and sustainable world.

For businesses, cities and organizations to do this, effective climate leadership is essential. The world’s citizens can begin and continue to implement actions and demonstrate progress; however, a much greater scale and speed is now required. This 2018 Summary for Policymakers shows that policy solutions exist, but more are needed. The summary confronts the challenges that policymakers face, while providing examples from around the world that show how these challenges can be overcome.

Synergies need to happen such as technological innovation working together with new business models and finance mechanisms; businesses, stakeholders and governments must find opportunities to integrate each other into their processes; and everyone needs to start using the ‘new oil’, that of data & information, as the new power for future economies.

This is why the Paris Agreement includes an effective engine of cooperation and co-ordination across national and international efforts to raise the global climate response rapidly, linking economic activity, emissions and the impacts of climate change in a coherent system of action.

The critical temperature goal—limiting the global rise as close as possible to 1.5°C and well below 2°C—reflects not just a scientific reality but also a vision of the future we want, because it compels us to rethink the way we produce, use and consume energy, how we manufacture and build, and how we manage our land and ecosystems.

The clear message in this summary is that cooperation, partnerships and integration across local, regional, national and international climate policy is critical to set up frameworks for businesses and stakeholders to be inspired by. National and international policy needs to set the direction and tone of action.

My thanks go to the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action for ensuring that this essential area of effective policymaking is kept as the main focus of all nations heading in to COP24 in Katowice, Poland.

I am sure it will help Poland, as President of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference, in its objective to lead the negotiations towards another significant milestone and to build a grand coalition of climate actors to fulfil the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Foreword by the High-Level Champions

This year has been the year of the Talanoa Dialogue. The Talanoa dialogue which took place during the climate conference in Bonn, May 2018, strengthened the process of increased co-operation and integration between Parties and stakeholders. It demonstrated the positive will for inclusivity through the exchange of ideas in support of the global effort to increase ambition to achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.

This inclusive, constructive and facilitative process was the first of its kind and served the purpose of building a clearer picture of where we are and where we need to go. This Summary for Policymakers (SPM) is another such tool along that path toward spurring climate action and exploring policy options that governments can adopt in specific areas to drive and enhance climate action.

We have taken efforts to promote regional technical expert meetings in the Global South in recognition of the need to boost across these geographies. Drawing from thematic and regional meetings and recommendations emanating from the technical examination process for consideration by ministers, the SPM showcases key areas of synergies and co-operation.

In particular, it presents opportunities in the areas of waste-to-energy, the circular economy and planning for adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change for vulnerable communities and ecosystems. The technical examination process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, set in the broader context, is an important platform for Parties to explore policy options that governments can adopt in specific areas to enhance climate action.

The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action is encouraging activities that galvanize immediate climate actions in the period between now and 2020. These activities support the realization and overachievement of Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Climate Change Agreement and spur new climate actions in areas of untapped mitigation and adaptation potential. This would be necessary to achieve the more ambitious target of containing global temperature increase to within 1.5°C. The science is telling us that the impacts from a 2°C increase compared to a 1.5°C increase will be significant and this difference has severe implications on the lives and sustainable development of our vulnerable developing regions.

We look forward to the 2018 High-Level Event in Poland, to further strengthen engagement on the implementation of adaptation and mitigation policy options and actions and to learn about new or strengthened voluntary efforts, initiatives and coalitions. We encourage you all to collaboratively increase our pre-2020 ambition and foster the nexus between climate action, disaster risk management and the sustainable development goals. By doing this we will be laying a strong foundation for more ambitious post-2020 action and will help put us on a pathway towards reaching a net-zero emissions and resilient society by this mid-century.

We would like to recognize the many experts from various organizations, different sectors and from regions around the world who openly shared their experiences, technologies and innovative approaches in the various technical meetings and events. Your contributions have resulted in this rich source of information and we hope that the messages in this Summary for Policymakers will spur Parties into seeking out partnerships with the various non-Party stakeholders all for the purpose of accelerating climate action and increasing ambition.

H.E. Mr. Inia Seruiratu
Fiji Minister for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime Development, and National Disaster Management

H.E. Mr. Tomasz Chruszczow
Special Envoy for Climate Change from the Ministry of Environment in Poland


This Summary for Policymakers is mandated by the Paris Agreement to provide Parties with information on specific policies, practices and actions representing best practices and with the potential to be scalable and replicable.

Under the UNFCCC’s “technical examination process” (TEP) begun in 2014, Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) on various themes are held annually during the climate change conferences in Bonn. They highlight for policymakers the “what, why and how” of pre-2020 climate action. The TEMs give Party and non-Party stakeholders a recurring venue to identify successful areas of innovation in: technology, business models and financial mechanisms. In 2018, the Talanoa Dialogue also brought forward many examples of innovation in these and other areas, such as policy developments

Starting from 2018, regional TEMs were held in Africa, Latin America and Caribbean and Asia-Pacific regions to complement the TEM sessions held in Bonn. These meetings also inform this Summary for Policymakers.

The document:

Showcases good practices and policies that integrate adaptation and mitigation actions with the principles, priorities and objectives of the Sendai Framework, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and other applicable national and international frameworks.

Presents technologies and actions that can be scaled and replicated by Parties and other stakeholders to improve industrial energy efficiency, waste-to-energy and the circular economy and plan for adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change for vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems.

Identifies common challenges to mitigation and adaptation action confronted by Parties, subnational actors, civil society organizations and other stakeholders.

Highlights actions policymakers can take to increase the rate of and ambition in implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions.

Key messages for Policymakers

  • Technical innovation has an important contribution to make to adaptation to climate change and to the transformational changes needed in material and energy efficiency.
  • Innovative business models are already being implemented that give value to materials across the life cycle of products and improve productivity of businesses. These business models need to be expanded and to be supported by the right policy framework.
  • Public finance can provide the right conditions for private financing to reach the scale needed by, for example, reducing investment risk.
  • Governments can help scale greenhouse gas mitigation by introducing a mix of policy instruments to support circular economy strategies and technologies, ensuring predictability for investors and coherent policies across sectors.
  • Integrating gender into adaptation planning must include not only consultative processes but also mechanisms that ensure equal access to resources, such as finance.
2. Opportunities for integration, including specific options, exist at all levels.
  • New business cases can be identified by involving a range of stakeholders and looking beyond traditional sector boundaries.
  • Parties are increasingly recognizing that involving local communities and vulnerable groups into adaptation planning brings benefits in terms of enhanced understanding of local conditions and increased buy in to any actions.
  • The involvement of local stakeholders in planning and implementing technology transfer helps tailor to local conditions and build acceptance. Accompanying technology transfer with capacity building is important for sustainability of solutions and realizing wider social benefits.
  • Implementing a circular economy will bring huge benefits in material and energy efficiency and reduce damaging health, social and environmental impacts along the value chain. Engagement of the consumer in the process will be crucial to achieving the behavioral changes that will also be needed.
  • Nature based solutions and eco-system based adaptation are both built upon already existing natural systems. This can bring multiple benefits in terms of adaptation and mitigation and protecting human and natural systems.
  • Data and information about the impacts of climate change and the options for responding to those impacts are not widely available to investors, leading to investment decisions that are not optimal for the long term.
  • To scale up mitigation from implementation of the circular economy and waste-to-energy, knowledge on waste quantities and characterization needs to be improved, as well as metrics to improve management and increase transfer of technology.
  • The scientific community has a wealth of information that needs to be shared with Parties and non-Party stakeholders in a way that can be easily understood and acted upon quickly.
  • Optimization of material flows in value chains will be greatly facilitated with an increasing use of digitization and real time tracking.
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