Climate champions place delivery, accountability at centre of post-COP26


At the mandated UN High-Level Event for Global Climate Action — “Racing to a Better World” — High-Level Climate Champions, Gonzalo Munoz and Nigel Topping, formally reported on the progress made by non-state actors, and set out the five-year plan — Improved Marrakech Partnership for Enhancing Ambition — to accelerate delivery during this decisive decade.

The event on Thursday marks the culmination of the non-state actor agenda at COP26, which has sat prominently alongside the government agenda at Glasgow, and includes contributions by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, COP26 President Alok Sharma, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and Vanessa Nakate.

With significant new commitments from real economy actors on mitigation, adaptation, and mobilisation of finance, focus turns now to driving implementation.

At the event, the High-Level Climate Champions alongside the Marrakech Partnership (a global alliance of more than 320 major initiatives, coalitions, and NGOs), present their five-year plan, which has also been summarised in the Yearbook of Global Climate Action.

The vision aims to deepen engagement with regional stakeholders, enhance the implementation of commitments, and develop tools for accountability.

Core priorities include: expanding the global campaigns of Race to Zero, Race to Resilience, and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, with a focus on developing near-term plans to deliver science-based commitments, scaling action for climate-vulnerable communities, and mobilising finance to developing and emerging economies.

Also driving alignment on sectoral transformation via the 2030 Breakthroughs, the Resilience Transformations and the Climate Action Pathways to make real economy solutions accessible and affordable everywhere.

Deepening regionalisation to ensure actors are brought in from all corners of the globe, with special recognition to marginalised voices and the most vulnerable.

And upholding the highest standards of transparency and accountability for non-Party stakeholder commitments, including regular audits of campaign members and stronger mechanisms to remove individual entities that are unable to meet requirements.

The Champions are also establishing a process to deal with public enquiries on any member of the Race to Zero campaign.

They have worked over the past year to enhance integrity and track the progress and impact of commitments made by businesses, investors, cities, states and regions and initiatives.

A summary of this work, including metrics and tools to measure the efficacy of actions to boost resilience, can be found in an accompanying factsheet, also published on Thursday.

These efforts serve as a source of credible evidence on how actors are following through on their commitments ahead of the Paris Agreement’s Global Stocktake in 2023.

In direct response to the Champions’ five-year plan, leading members of the Marrakech Partnership committed to fully support its implementation with a public declaration, representing their pledge “to do everything we can to bridge this gap, and keep a 1.5C temperature limit within reach”.

Topping said: “The momentum among non-state actors is only set to grow. That is clearly welcome given the mountain left to climb. The science is clear. We’re not transitioning nearly fast enough. Turning today’s momentum into implementation is now absolutely the order of the day.”

Munoz said: “This Yearbook lands at a critical moment in the fight against climate change. However, actions by individual actors will not see us halve emissions by the end of this decade, as is required to keep in line with a 1.5C resilient future.”

“As non-Party stakeholders, we realize the imperative to work together towards a common goal, both among ourselves and in conjunction with Parties.”

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at