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Climate-Action Partnership to Help Transform Heavy Industry and Transport

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The Mission Possible Partnership, a new coalition formed to accelerate the decarbonization of global industries representing 30% of global emissions, launched today at the Davos Agenda.

Run by the World Economic Forum, Energy Transitions Commission, Rocky Mountain Institute, the We Mean Business Coalition, the Mission Possible Partnership aims to accelerate several pathways for decarbonizing heavy industry and transport by unifying the critical actors needed to influence and enable industry transformation at speed and scale.

The Partnership builds on the success of the Mission Possible Platform, which launched at the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit in 2019, and has grown from 30 companies in 2019 to 400 – who all are committed to working on concrete actions towards net-zero. The International Energy Agency will be a strategic partner for the Partnership, central to engagement with governments and bringing to bear its expertise on modelling and technology roadmaps.

The Partnership will help more industries mobilize resources, align across a greater number of organizations, and accelerate the Race to Zero. This initiative will help carbon-intensive sectors reach their targets and bring in the systemic change needed to succeed by providing a clear path to net zero emissions.

“The number of country commitments to net-zero emissions targets by 2050 has grown during 2020 and is significant,” said Christoph Wolff, Head of Mobility, World Economic Forum. “Public private cooperation across the transport and heavy industry sectors is crucial for the next phrase of action. The launch of the Mission Possible Partnership at the Davos Agenda will accelerate these efforts in the run-up to COP26 in November.”

“As we move into the decade of delivery, we must not only grow the number of actors committed to a resilient, zero carbon future, we must foster the radical collaboration needed to drive transformational change in every sector of the economy,” said Nigel Topping, UK High-Level Champion, COP26. “To achieve these goals requires truly transformational change, and demands leadership and action from across each sector. We are thrilled to be working hand in hand with the Mission Possible Partnership to drive this work forward in seven of the heaviest emitting sectors of the economy.”

The Partnership is centred on the idea that, while the Paris Agreement lays the groundwork for global cooperation, its focus on national targets will not generate the plans and solutions necessary to achieve efficient and effective transition strategies for global industries on its own. The most important missing piece of the global climate action architecture is an effort by sectors, complementing country-centric strategies with action from global industries to unlock technology and energy transformation. This is particularly important for heavy emitting industries.

The Mission Possible Partnership will be the delivery mechanism for Race to Zero Breakthroughs in hard-to-abate sectors. These are specific near-term tipping points for each sector of the global economy in the race to net zero emissions, being launched by COP26 President Alok Sharma and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry as part of the Davos Agenda.

In late 2021, the Partnership will aim to showcase net-zero agreement breakthroughs in shipping, aviation, and steel. Within three years, it plans to help companies complete climate action agreements in these sectors as well as trucking, chemicals, cement, and aluminium.

Together, these seven sectors comprise 30 percent of global emissions. Within five years, the Partnership aims for clear shifts in investment patterns across the seven sectors and will be pursuing net-zero climate action agreements in additional sectors, including potentially food and agriculture.

About the partnership

The Partnership is comprised of four core partners – World Economic Forum, the Energy Transitions Commission, Rocky Mountain Institute, the We Mean Business Coalition. The International Energy Agency will provide guidance and input on various aspects of the Partnership’s work, including engagement with governments and energy modelling. Initial funders include the Bezos Earth Fund and Breakthrough Energy.

The Partnership’s efforts will be strengthened by the expertise of its supporting partners, which rank among the world´s most influential organizations in industrial decarbonization, finance and policy development. These include the Center for Climate-Aligned Finance, Ceres, the Climate Champions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Global Maritime Forum, SYSTEMIQ, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The seven platforms under formation include:

· Shipping – Getting to Zero Coalition – 157 companies to date are engaged to ensure the viability of zero-emission vessels along deep-sea trade routes by 2030 and build the infrastructure for scalable zero-carbon maritime energy. This coalition is spearheaded by the Global Maritime Forum in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Friends of Ocean Action.

· Aviation – Clean Skies for Tomorrow – 80 companies are engaged in driving a transition to sustainable aviation fuels and industry decarbonization.

· Trucking – Road Freight Zero Coalition – 40 companies are engaged in defining pathways and solutions that accelerate the viability and deployment of zero emission fleets and infrastructure for heavy-duty trucking toward a 1.5° trajectory by 2030.

· Chemicals – Low-Carbon Emitting Technologies – 20 companies are engaged in accelerating the complex transition to low-carbon emitting technologies by addressing technology, regulatory, funding, and market challenges.

· Steel – Net-Zero Steel Initiative – 12 companies are engaged in shaping the policy, market and finance environment required to underpin the transition to net-zero steel.

· Aluminium – Aluminium for Climate – a regionally diverse group of 12 organizations, including some of the largest producers globally, are engaged on technology roadmaps and stimulating demand for low-carbon aluminium.

· Cement – Clean Cement Coalition – two major companies are engaged in developing clean cement standards, stimulating demand for cleaner products, and enlarging the circle of progressive companies committing to net-zero targets.

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Development

Vaccination, Jobs, and Social Assistance are All Key to Reducing Poverty in Central Asia

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As the pace of economic recovery picks up, countries in Central Asia have an opportunity to return to pre-pandemic levels of poverty reduction – if they put in place the right policies. This was the overall message shared by World Bank economists today at a regional online event “Overcoming the Pandemic and Ending Poverty in Central Asia”.

In the early 2000s, Central Asian countries were among the world’s best performers in poverty reduction. Starting in 2009, however, the pace of progress began to slow and even stagnated in some of the countries. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted a region already struggling to generate inclusive growth and end extreme poverty. Now in the second year of the pandemic, poverty rates in Central Asia are falling again, but with high inflation and low vaccination rates, the poor and the most vulnerable continue to suffer from food insecurity, uncertainty, and limited employment opportunities, especially for women.

“Central Asia is recovering from the first shocks of the pandemic, albeit in uneven ways,” said Will Seitz, World Bank Senior Economist in Central Asia. “Migration and remittances, key drivers of poverty reduction in the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, are quickly returning to 2019 levels. Labor markets are also recovering, and work disruptions are much less common. However, the region is yet to get on a stable poverty reduction path.”

Among policy priorities to reduce poverty, the World Bank is focused on three key areas: widespread vaccination, increasing employment and wages, and strengthening social assistance programs to support the most vulnerable. To support labor market recovery, the World Bank economists outlined short-term and medium-term measures, including the need to invest in green jobs and encouraging the creation and growth of firms.

It was also stressed that employment alone will not address all drivers of poverty, and strong safety nets are essential to protect the most vulnerable. Compared with other middle-income countries, Central Asian governments typically provide smaller shares of their populations with social assistance.

“Along with ensuring fair, broad access to effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, Central Asian countries need to urgently address vaccination hesitancy, as it threatens to slow down the recovery,” said Tatiana Proskuryakova, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia. “For every million people vaccinated, global GDP recovers on average nearly $8 billion. We are expecting advanced economies with relatively high vaccination rates to demonstrate much better growth rates than developing economies with low vaccination rates.”

Among the main reasons behind vaccine hesitancy in Central Asian countries are worries about vaccine contraindication and safety. While people with pre-existing health conditions in other countries are usually prioritized for vaccination, in the Central Asia region they are more likely to be hesitant to get vaccinated. Providing the public with accurate information on the safety of vaccines and encouraging people with pre-existing health conditions to be vaccinated may help address hesitancy issues.

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Vietnam’s Development Agenda Receives Additional Boost

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Vietnam’s push to enhance competitiveness, reduce its carbon footprint, and improve lives and livelihoods has been given a boost with the approval of an AUD 5 million grant by the Australian Government.

This grant represents additional funding to the ongoing Australia – Bank Partnership in Vietnam (ABP), which focuses on a wide range of policy areas designed to support the country’s development agenda.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on Vietnam’s reform agenda and exacerbate inequalities, which are more pronounced and harder to close for ethnic minorities, for women and for other marginalized groups. Responding to this, Australia’s extended collaboration with the World Bank will continue to support Vietnam’s quick economic recovery and help achieve its development goals,” said Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam HE Robyn Mudie.

The ABP will continue its work on gender equality and the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta. In addition, it will also help address new priorities set out in the country’s recently adopted Socio-Economic Development Strategy and Socio-Economic Development Plan, including the transition to a low carbon economy, social equity and inclusion, and innovation-driven growth.

“The ABP will continue providing high-quality advisory work, enabling Vietnamese policymakers to pursue substantive reforms,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. “These reforms are needed both for recovery from the economic costs of COVID, but also to set a solid basis for the pathway to higher income status.”

The ABP was established in 2017 with an initial funding amount of AUD 25 million. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABP responded quickly and provided an additional AUD 5 million to support Vietnam to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic. The program leverages expertise from Australia and the World Bank Group to support the Government of Vietnam in strengthening its development policies and programs.

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Cotton sustains more than 100 million families worldwide

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Women workers clean cotton in Multan city in Pakistan. © FAO/Aamir Qureshi

A single metric tonne of cotton provides jobs for five people on average, often in some of the world’s most impoverished regions; that adds up around 100 million families across the globe. 

To recognize these and other contributions, the United Nations is marking World Cotton Day, this Thursday. 

Cotton is an important means of livelihood for millions of smallholders and attracts export revenues to some of the poorest countries. This makes the sector a key contributor to reaching the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

For the UN, this natural fabric “represents so much more than just a commodity”, it is “a life-changing product.” 

Important source 

Cotton is a major source of income for many rural laborers, including women. With this World Day, the UN wants to raise awareness of the critical role that cotton plays in economic development, international trade and poverty alleviation. 

The initiative also wants to highlight the importance of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. 

Resilient and multipurpose 

As a crop resistant to climatic changes, cotton can be planted in dry and arid zones. It occupies just 2.1 per cent of the world’s arable land, but it meets 27 per cent of the world’s textile needs. 

Around 80 per cent of cotton is used in the clothing industry, 15 per cent in home furnishings and the remaining 5 per cent mostly accounts for non-woven applications, such as filters and padding. 

Almost nothing from cotton is wasted. In addition to textiles and apparel, food products can be derived from it, such as edible oil and animal feed from the seed. 

Other uses have been developed recently, like using cotton-based filaments in 3D printers, because they conduct heat well, become stronger when wet, and are more scalable than materials like wood. 

The ‘Cotton Four’ 

The idea for the World Day was born in 2019, when four cotton producers in sub-Saharan Africa – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, known as the Cotton Four -proposed a celebration on October 7, to the World Trade Organization

With the UN officially recognizing the date, it became an opportunity to create awareness of the need of market access from least developed countries, to foster sustainable trade policies and to enable developing countries to benefit more from every step of the value chain. 

For years, UN agencies have worked towards this goal. 

For instance, since 2003, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization have helped the Cotton Four to improve production local processing capacity, as well as to discuss the trade reforms needed to address high trade barriers.  

Another UN agency, FAO, has long offered developing countries technical and policy support. One example is the +Cotton project, a cooperation initiative with Brazil that helps Latin American producers with innovative farming methods.

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