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The race for our planet

Race for our Planet photo

The UK and Italy are working in close partnership to deliver COP26. With a particular focus on real-world action, the UN climate summit will focus on making the goals of the Paris Agreement a reality. It is widely recognised that non-state actors – businesses, cities, regions, investors, universities and NGOs – play a fundamental role in driving forward concrete initiatives to tackle climate change across the world.  

Reaching net zero by 2050 is the number one aim of COP26. Only through reaching this goal can countries stay within the Paris target of limiting temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees. At the same time, the climate emergency is already underway, with temperatures soaring, storms raging and crops failing. It is critical to foster greater action for keeping countries, communities and people safe from the impacts of climate change.  

The UN-led Race to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns offer a platform for non-state actors to rally together, moving the global economy to net zero and protecting the most vulnerable from climate impacts:  

  • The Race to Zero mobilises a coalition of leading net zero initiatives, which now collectively cover nearly 25% global CO2 emissions and over 50% GDP. Led by the High-Level Climate Champions for Climate Action – Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz – the campaign mobilises actors outside of national governments to join the Climate Ambition Alliance, which was launched at the UNSG’s Climate Action Summit 2019.  
  • The Race to Resilience – the sibling campaign of the Race to Zero – aims to build the resilience of 4 billion people by 2030, catalysing a step-change in global climate resilience. Through a partnership of initiatives, the campaign will focus on helping frontline communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as extreme heat, drought, flooding and sea-level rise.  

Running in parallel to Italy’s pre-COP in Milan (1-3 October), “Race for Our Planet” is an accelerator event designed to showcase membership to the Races and explore what this means in practice. In this framework, we aim to also promote the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, which creates routes into the Race to Zero for all parts of the financial sector and ensures net zero credibility.  

Spotlighting commitments, sharing solutions and identifying key goals will be at the heart of this conversation, which will look to the Adaptation Day on 8 November and Resilience Hub at COP26 as well as beyond the COP at how non-state actors can continue to play a role in years to come. This is closely linked to a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery from the coronavirus pandemic – a recovery which prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth for the future.  


  1. To increase international participation in the Race to Zero and Race to Resilience. 
  1. To encourage real-world, concrete action for reaching net zero and building resilience. 
  1. To demonstrate the commitment of society to a decarbonised economy, building momentum ahead of COP26 where governments must strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement. 

In association with the British Embassy, Rome, the Ministry of Environment, Rome, Italy4Climate and the Carbon Trust.

Wilton Park reference number: WP1944V

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