Alok Sharma – 2021 Speech at the Climate Adaptation Summit

The speech made by Alok Sharma, the President of the COP26, on 25 January 2021.

Thank you very much distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, excellencies.

I would really like to thank the Netherlands for hosting this excellent summit. We have heard some brilliant submissions and real power to the messages that have been coming through. I also want to thank the Global Center on Adaptation – I see you have my friend Feike with you. And of course, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, for his leadership in adaptation and resilience.

And I can tell you that as COP President this is a top priority indeed. And I know that it is the same for my dear friend Patricia Espinosa who you will hear from shortly as well.

Building resilience into our economies and societies is absolutely urgent, and it is essential, if we are to protect human lives and livelihoods from the effects of our changing climate.

Ultimately it requires all of us to act together: whether it’s governments or cities, or regions; businesses, investors or civil society, all of us have to act on this issue.

Of course there is a great deal of fantastic work that is already going on.

From cities like Port Moresby, investing in trees and mangroves to protect the City and its people from coastal flooding.

To the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment, which represents around $10 trillion in assets.

Driving private finance to fund resilient infrastructure and helping investors to understand climate risk which is so vital.

And of course today, we are launching two new campaigns to focus efforts and make progress faster.

This morning, as you will have heard, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the Adaptation Action Coalition. With our partners, Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, St Lucia, the UN, and, of course the Netherlands.

The Coalition will bring governments together to accelerate action ahead of COP26.

And now it is my particular pleasure to launch the Race to Resilience campaign.

This is a campaign that will mobilise businesses, investors, cities, civil society and others to act.

Bringing together initiatives with the aim of building the resilience of 4 billion people across the world – that’s representing over half of the world’s population – by 2030.

The campaign will support activities delivering for people and nature.

For example, cities protecting people against heatwaves.

Or small holder farmers utilising climate resilient technologies.

And restoring deforested and degraded land.

I would also like to thank our two brilliant Climate Champions, Nigel and Gonzalo, for the incredible effort that they have put in to make sure that this initiative happens.

And I do think that together, these two campaigns can make a real difference to the scale and pace of adaptation and resilience across all our economies and indeed across society.

So I will finish with an ask to everyone who is listening and watching this: the ask to governments, is please join the Adaptation Action Coalition; and to businesses, to cities, to civil society groups, please join the Race to Resilience.

And help us, working together, to build a more resilient and better world.

Thank you.