Major climate conference to be hosted by UMD in 2016

by KATIE BEMB

On Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced Climate Action 2016, a global climate implementation summit to be held on May 5 and 6 at the University of Maryland and downtown Washington D.C.

BanAction-web
Courtesy of the UN News Centre: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced Climate Action 2016.

According to UMD Right Now, Climate Action 2016 will focus on six key areas to “establish a sustained path towards global climate implementation.” These areas include:

  • City and sub-national implementation
  • Implementing resilience/adaptation
  • Energy
  • Climate-smart land use
  • Transport
  • Analysis and tools to support decision-making

This climate implementation summit will be structured as a follow-up of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) that is wrapping up right now in Paris.

“[The summit will] show that the things that were talked here in Paris are actually happening on the ground,” Bob Orr, UMD Dean of the School of Public Policy and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on climate change, told the UN News Centre in an interview.

Orr and select faculty members from the School of Public Policy have been planning this announcement for a few months now. Program Manager James Stillwell attended COP21 with Orr, and is already preparing for Climate Action 2016.

According to Stillwell, the opening ceremony will be held in the Clarice Performing Arts Center on May 5, where the keynote will be delivered by Ki-Moon.

“UMD is so rich in research and scholarship in climate, there is such a rich capacity in understanding climate change,” said Stillwell. “We will be discussing transportation, energy, adaptation, etc.- things we can act on after the summit ends, what we can do to make progress after Paris.”

On May 6, the world leaders will be reconvening in The Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C.

“The Mayflower Hotel is a great convening space for decision making,” explained Stillwell. “There will be side events, receptions, panel discussions… We will be talking abut where we’ve come from, and where we’re going with sustainability.”

A committee stemming out of the School of Public Policy is also coordinating a student outreach initiative that will be associated with Climate Action 2016.

“There will be many student engagement opportunities along with the summit,” shared Stillwell. “We want to be sure that we’re creating ways to engage current students, because you are the ones who will be inheriting this earth.”

“The work that will take place here may begin to change local climate management around the world,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh in an interview with UMD Right Now. “We will offer our policy and scientific expertise in service to this vital effort.”

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