South America conferences centre on climate action for cities and through social protection

South America conferences centre on climate action for cities and through social protection
1 July 2024

By the Climate Centre

The Climate Centre represented the Red Cross Red Crescent at two important conferences in South America last month, centred on climate action for cities and through social protection programming.

Organized by Climate Centre partners Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and hosted by the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, the ICLEI World Congress brought together over 1,500 urban leaders from nearly 100 countries from 18 to 21 June to address “local climate and resilience action, multi-level governance, and the unique role of the Amazon region in global sustainability,” an ICLEI statement said.

“The event marked significant strides in sustainable urban development and set the stage for COP 30 in Belem, Brazil.”

ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin said afterwards: “As a result of the congress, ICLEI is set to initiate more than 300 programmes, projects, and initiatives over the next three years, with a total investment of US$ 100 million to bolster its members’ sustainability efforts.”

At COP 28 the IFRC formalized a cooperation agreement ICLEI, signed by Under Secretary General Xavier Castellanos and Van Begin and concretizing “an already strong relationship”.

‘High ambition’

The congress was the main event of the Sao Paulo urban summit – a week of activities highlighting the fundamental role of cities as Brazil assumes the presidency of the G20.

Fifteen key announcements stemming from the meeting included new road maps for renewable energy, further support for COP 28’s “coalition for high ambition multi-level partnerships for climate action” or CHAMP, an initiative for climate bonds to boost sustainable development, and new “climate compliance” partnerships.


The Inter-American Development Bank, meanwhile, hosted its regional policy dialogue from 17 to 19 June in Lima, focusing on building adaptive social protection in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Climate Centre’s social protection lead, Sayanti Sengupta, writes from the Peruvian capital.

It highlighted the need for more resilient social protection systems capable of responding to climate change, economic shock, and other crises. More than 20 countries were represented by officials, UN stakeholders, donors and universities.

An interactive game developed by the Climate Centre helped participants gain deeper insights into steps essential for adapting social protection to both immediate climate shocks and long-term impacts, as well as improving collaboration among government ministries and introducing new programmes.

Online dashboard

Set in ten municipalities of the imaginary country of Bricenia, teams of ministers were given roles to play and emergency budgets to manage and tasked with selecting social protection programmes to best support the most vulnerable people.

Using an online dashboard developed by a Climate Centre partner, the ministers reviewed their own decision-making and determined which programmes were most suited to cover the largest number of vulnerable people, while also being genuinely resilient and effective in the face of climate challenges.

Recommendations afterwards included the need to implement social protection in advance of shocks rather than reacting after crises; improve the gathering of data on vulnerability; ensure interoperability of systems; expand the use of digital wallets and bank cards; provide financial education and training; and integrate monetary, food, and community components into social protection.

The formal agenda of the IDB dialogue included the operation of social registries; funding systems contingent on unpredictable events; ways technology can help to identify households and deliver assistance; and an examination of the rules and institutional structures have worked best in the world.

Ministers at the Inter-American Development Bank’s regional policy dialogue in Lima last month role-play the programming of social protection for vulnerable communities in a game developed by the Climate Centre. (Photo: IDB)