Alok Sharma kicks off IEMA Connect 2022

19th October 2022

Alok Sharma addresses IEMA Connect 2022

COP26 president Alok Sharma today called on sustainability professionals to help “keep the 1.5° goal alive" at IEMA Connect 2022 – a week-long conference featuring a diverse line-up of expert speakers from across the world.

Starting today and concluding next Wednesday 26 October, the members-only online conference includes discussions on the technical and strategic practicalities of a low-carbon planet ahead of COP27 in November.

Attendees join hard-hitting keynotes and panel discussions on net zero, climate change, embedding green skills and more, expanding their global network of contacts and CPD.

Sharma kicked off proceedings by highlighting the various extreme weather events witnessed across the world this year, and described the lead up to COP27 as a “critical moment to redouble our efforts” tackling the climate crisis.

He continued: “Skilled climate, environment and sustainability professionals like those across the IEMA membership, many of whom are at the vanguard of the green skills revolution, will have a central role to play in keeping 1.5° alive.

“You can transform your own companies, reduce your own emissions and commit to innovative and sustainable solutions. You can drive change through your supply chains, particularly supporting SMEs, and you can advocate for change of sectors, markets and geographies that are lagging behind.

“Friends, the case for action is immense. The cost of inaction would be catastrophic. The choice is clear. Let's all redouble our efforts and recommit to making the right choice for the planet and for future generations in everything you and your businesses do.”

Sarah Mukherjee MBE talks about IEMA at COP27

IEMA CEO, Sarah Mukherjee MBE, echoed that sentiment, and explained how she will represent IEMA in Sharm El Sheikh alongside Director of Policy and External Affairs, Martin Baxter, and an international team of members.

“We will be making the case for a radical increase in green skills and knowledge across all sectors globally, enabling the redirection of the economy and society away from 'business as usual' and instead towards the transformative change that is required to tackle extreme climate change and build resilience.

She continued: “With more than 19,000 members and partners, our capabilities for leading edge knowledge sharing means we are well placed to support on both the detail and delivering the high-level measures agreed at COP.”

Mukherjee also highlighted a range of exciting IEMA projects in the pipeline, including the launch of an ‘IEMA careers hub’, new guidance on sustainability at C-suite level for healthcare providers, and newly-drafted information in preparation for IEMA's attendance at COP.

She then went on to moderate a thought-provoking panel discussion on the global environment and sustainability challenges that governments, businesses and civil society face, and the action that is require to tackle them.

This included presentations from Sergey Kononov, manager at the UNFCCC’s Department for Programmes Coordination, Will Lockhart, Defra’s Deputy Director for International Environment Negotiations, and Henry David Bayoh, Head of Climate Change at the National Tourist Board in Sierra Leone.

Giving a glimpse of what to expect in Sharm El Sheikh next month, Kononov said that we are likely to see an “implementation COP” following the finalisation of the Paris Rulebook last year, as well as focus on climate adaptation and mitigation parity, and doubling of climate adaptation finance.

Lockhart went on to discuss the ‘post-2020 global biodiversity framework’ that will feature at the COP15 summit in Montreal in December, while Bayoh spoke about the “existential” nature of climate change in Africa, and priorities for the continent at COP27.

Panel discussion on global environmental and sustainability challenges

IEMA members can look forward to a diverse range of events over the next week at IEMA Connect 2022, including sessions on sustainability, biodiversity, climate change, impact assessment, net zero, the circular economy, business, industry, green careers and skills and CPD.

Click here to register:

Read or watch Sharma's full address to IEMA Connect 2022 here:


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