Wed | Feb 26, 2020

Earth Today | ‘Accountability partnership’ proposed for upcoming New York summit

Published:Thursday | September 19, 2019 | 12:14 AM

THE NEED for some semblance of an accountability partnership for the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit in New York has been advanced by one local stakeholder as important to the effort to safeguard action to curtail climate change and its impacts.

“I would encourage stakeholders to be accountability partners,” said Indi Mclymont Lafayette, a development communications professional, who has spent several years as an advocate for climate justice for developing countries and civil society actors.

“We may not be at the summit, but we can follow what the actions are and hold those who commit to the actions accountable, as well as support the actions ourselves,” added the head of Change Communications Limited.

Eleanor Jones, herself a sustainable development professional and the boss at the consulting firm Environmental Solutions Limited, agreed. She cautioned, however, that efforts will have to be made to ensure results are translated for the ‘man on the street’.

“I think the concept is good, but the man on the street is not going to (follow the deliberations). It has to be intermediary organisations, like our very active youth networks who have a great deal of passion for the matter,” she insisted.

“You have to work through these organisations to get to the man on street. We have to bring what is coming out of the summit, convert it into language that can be effectively communicated to the average person to understand why it is important for them as individuals to play a role,” Jones added.

The UN Climate Summit, set for September 23, has as its objective to move beyond talk to action in the global fight against a changing climate, the impacts of which are being felt globally.

“Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies,” said the summit’s web page.

It is against this background that Secretary General António Guterres has called for “concrete, realistic plans” to help secure that outcome.


“To be effective and credible, these plans cannot address mitigation alone: they must show the way towards a full transformation of economies in line with sustainable development goals,” the web page elaborated.

“They should not create winners and losers or add to economic inequality; they must be fair and create new opportunities and protections for those negatively impacted, in the context of a just transition. And they should also include women as key decision-makers: only gender-diverse decision-making has the capacity to tackle the different needs that will emerge in this coming period of critical transformation,” it added.

The summit is to bring together a variety of interests, among them governments, the private sector, civil society, and local authorities.