The World Summit of Regions for Climate on the Road to Paris 2015
On October 10-11th R20 had the privilege of hosting the World Summit of Regions for Climate in the great city of Paris, as part of the Road to Paris 2015 initiative that was created by World Climate Ltd. The Road to Paris 2015 is a bottom-up, multi-stakeholder platform of solutions to climate change that supports the signing of a binding global climate agreement at COP21 in Paris.
The Summit, composed of various plenary sessions with 70 illustrious speakers from a diverse array of sectors, gathered over 700 participants from around the world to address humanity's most pressing concern: climate change. The event was opened by Jean-Paul Delevoye (President of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council), Anne Hidalgo (Mayor of Paris), Michèle Sabban (President of R20), Terry Tamminen (Strategic Advisor to R20 Founding Chair) and Christophe Nuttall (R20's Executive Director).
The event strategically gathered local/subnational government leaders, business and investors to learn about effective ways to tackle global warming and build green economies - together. Mamadou Frankaly Keita, Mali's Minister of Energy, introduced R20's 50 MW solar PV project in Kita, along with Jean Ballandras, the Secretary General of Akuo Energy - R20's project partner. R20's waste management and energy efficiency program in Algeria was presented by Abdelghani Zaalane, the Governor of Oran (Algeria) and Tolba Tahar, the Director General of the Algerian Ministry of Environment. Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian (CEO of GreenWish Partners) and Garry Conille (UNOPS Director, Africa) launched the 1 GW solar initiative with R20, that will cover Central and West Africa. R20's large-scale LED streetlight program in Brazil was presented by Craig Cogut (Chairman & President, Pegasus Capital Advisors) and Renata Falcao (Head of Energy Efficiency, Eletrobras) - R20 Brazil's project partners.
Using examples such as the above, the significant impact that regions have in leading green initiatives, ways to overcome financing and regulatory obstacles, and innovative financing mechanisms for infrastructure projects, including the R20-UNOPS Pre-Investment Facility (PIF) were showcased. The PIF serves to accelerate the design and conduct of feasibility studies to structure portfolios of bankable green infrastructure projects.
Over the two days, the need for an ambitious climate deal in 2015, with ambitious targets, was a recurrent point made by the panelists. In addition, it was by and large agreed that whilst the bottom-up approach is necessary, it should not be exclusive of top-down policy making which is necessary to provide regulatory frameworks. Regions, as sub-national and locals governments, were widely hailed as catalysts for green development. "Regions have a pivotal role because it's at that level that action emerges. France will do whatever it can to make sure COP21 is a success, and if it is, it will be thanks to regions," said Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Development, during his opening speech on the second day.