Everything you need to know about Race To Zero and COP26

IWMI scientists will present a showcase during the event, which has the theme "Vision of a zero-carbon, resilient future through water".

Today is water day of the Race To Zero November dialogues, part of a global campaign initially designed to drum up momentum ahead of COP26.

A farmer tends to her maize crop, an example of recession agriculture on the floodplains of the Tonle Sap at Phat Sanday, Cambodia. Photo: Neil Palmer / IWMI
A farmer tends to her maize crop at Phat Sanday, Cambodia. Photo: Neil Palmer / IWMI

IWMI’s Dr Rachael McDonnell and Dr Giriraj Amarnath will be presenting a showcase during the event, which has the theme “Vision of a zero-carbon, resilient future through water”.

But what is COP26 and the Race to Zero, and why are they so important?

What does COP26 mean?

COP is short for a ‘conference of parties’. The number refers to which event it is, so this is the 26th time a conference of parties has been held to discuss climate crisis.

COP26 has now been postponed to November 2021 due to the COVID-19 crisis, where it will be held in Glasgow, UK.

What is the point of COP26?

Governments from around the world meet to discuss how to curb the climate crisis and reduce the impact of environmental change on the world’s most vulnerable people. The event acts as a summit for all the countries which are part of the UN’s framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC): there are 197 members in total.

COP26 is significant because it marks five years since the groundbreaking Paris Agreement, which agreed to strengthen the global response against climate change, recognizing the seriousness of the issue.

What is the Race To Zero?

Businesses, cities and governments the world over are involved in the concept of the Race To Zero – to reach zero carbon emissions sustainably, and to help create a green, inclusive, stable future.

Taking part in the Race to Zero are leading net zero initiatives, including 452 cities, 22 regions, 1,101 businesses, 45 investors, and 549 universities. The Race To Zero dialogues are a chance for these entities to show they’re committed to the Paris agreement and are on the journey to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.

Why are the November Dialogues so important?

They were created to continue the momentum towards COP26 in Glasgow in 2020 which should have been taking place this week but was postponed due to COVID-19. The dialogues provide an arena for debate and exchange. Our climate is in crisis: and we cannot simply ignore big, global environmental issues for a year. The Dialogues are an opportunity for organizations and climate representatives to put their heads together and thrash out ideas around climate change.

Why is today’s session important?

Thursday 12 November is dedicated to Water Dialogues: “Vision of a zero-carbon, resilient future through water”. We know that water is key to a zero-carbon future, and sessions will discuss the “sustainable management of water resources and how water-related ecosystem services hold significant and largely untapped climate mitigation potential”.

IWMI will be presenting our transformative solutions on flood and drought management during the session, but there will also be talks from key actors including WaterAid on the power of clean water and sanitation in building climate justice, and Keeping Rivers Healthy by the World Wildlife Fund.

A full timetable can be found here and you can register using this link: https://siwi.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_yBEcdhklTViWhnzSOymT6g

Find our more about IWMI and Race to Zero

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