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Creating networks to realise COP26 goals

Tom Cargill, Chief Executive
Tom Cargill, Chief Executive

Having long loved Wilton Park, I am really proud to begin my role as CEO in this our 75th anniversary as the UK agency forging global networks of influence to tackle common challenges.

Wilton Park makes a major contribution to advance progress across international development, diplomacy, security and trade issues. Few challenges are as urgent as climate change so, as the UK prepares to host the UN Climate Change Conference – aka COP26 – in Glasgow, I want to highlight our work around a summit which US Climate Envoy John Kerry this week described as “the last, best opportunity we have”.

If you’d like to hear more, please sign up here to receive further information on our work, potentially including invitations to future Wilton Park events

– Tom Cargill, Chief Executive

The road to COP26

On behalf of the UK Government, we are delivering online events across the full range of COP26 campaigns  and partnerships, and across Wilton Park’s four core themes of Diplomacy, Trade, Security, and Development.   Wilton Park has been convening crucial international dialogues on climate action for over 20 years. The strong relationships we’ve forged over those years have put us in a unique position to form a bridge between the UK presidency of the UN climate process, and stakeholders from partner governments, civil society, youth, academia, the private sector and beyond. This ensures a broad spectrum of voices are heard in realising the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

“Wilton Park is a critical interlocutor in the drive to raise collective climate ambition on the road to COP26 and beyond. It plays an important role in catalysing and convening conversations on climate change, on both established issues as well as topics – such as transboundary climate risk – at the vanguard of climate risk management and adaptation governance.”

– Katy Harris, Senior Expert, Stockholm Environment Institute 


In support of an inclusive and ambitious COP26, we convened the Placencia Ambition Forum on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS, the Thimphu Ambition Summit on behalf of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group, and will be hosting the Climate and Development Ministerial on behalf of the FCDO later this month.    

To support and protect the world’s most vulnerable people and ecosystems from the impacts of climate change, we continue our work in support of the Resilient 40 group of youth leaders building climate resilience in Africa, as well as supporting the development of the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership’s (REAP) Framework for Action.  

We also played a leading role in the establishment of the Adaptation Without Borders Initiative, and plan to continue the collaboration by bringing this crucial work to the attention of negotiators and policymakers at COP26 and beyond.   In April we will be launching a major new COP26 initiative on capacity building in support of ambition under the Paris Agreement, playing a leading role as project convenors and secretariat – watch this space for opportunities to get involved!  


In support of climate friendly global COVID recovery, we are convening a series of dialogues with E3G, an independent European climate change think tank and the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) to explore diplomatic pathways for a post-COVID shift in economic paradigms. We’re applying this approach to specific local contexts via a series of bilateral initiatives, including a collaboration with the Colombian Government to explore how UK-Colombian partnership in support of a sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19 and a collaboration with Nordic partners on post-COVID recovery. We’re also facilitating an ambitious dialogue series alongside the Holy See, bringing together senior faith leaders and leading climate scientists. 


To pre-empt and respond to security and defence-related climate risks, we have partnered with the adelphi Institute to convene Climate Security in 3D, a series of dialogues tackling climate security across the spheres of diplomacy, development and defence. The series explores how the defence and security community can complement diplomatic and development approaches to climate security.

Military boots on dry lake bed climate change


In support of an accelerated transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, we host and facilitate the meetings of the Energy Transition Council, a major COP26 initiative offering support to transform the power sector in key countries.    We’re also convening the global meetings of the COP26 Zero Emission Vehicles Council, and hosted a major summit on behalf of the UK- and Canadian-led Powering Past Coal Alliance.

We’re supporting diplomatic initiatives exploring alternatives to coal finance, such as energy investments under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.  

To support the crucial work on nature-based solutions, and to link climate action with action on biodiversity loss, we hosted One Earth One Future, a day-long event convened by the UK in conjunction with the Government of Italy, the UK’s partners as convenors of COP26.  

In February, we hosted the launch of the COP26 campaign on ‘Forests, Agriculture & Commodity Trade’ (FACT), working to build sustainable supply chains and reduce deforestation, as well as a two-day dialogue to explore ways to rebuild ecosystems in Nigeria.  

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