UN to showcase initiatives against climate change

Communities, cities, businesses and governments that are taking the lead in tackling climate change can apply to have their game-changing initiatives recognized by the UN Climate Change secretariat.

The secretariat officially opened the call for applications for its 2014 Lighthouse Activities Monday as part of wider efforts to mobilise action and ambition as national governments work towards a new universal climate agreement in 2015.

"This year, we are looking to do things a little differently," said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"We will still shine a light on small, entrepreneurial solutions that are changing communities, as well as large initiatives that are transforming cities, businesses and governments," she added.

She said the secretariat would also look to highlight initiatives with a bigger impact than ever before.

"Effectively addressing climate change requires action from all levels of society and from every sector, with efforts that are both small and large," Figueres said.

The 2014 Lighthouse Activities will be selected by an 18-member, international advisory panel as part of the secretariat's Momentum for Change initiative. Launched in 2011, Momentum for Change shines a light on the groundswell of activities under way across the globe to address climate change.

This provides a positive context for international climate negotiations, showing that action on climate change is not only possible but that it is already happening - in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same.

Winning activities will be announced in November 2014 and officially recognised and celebrated during a series of special events in December at the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru.

The high visibility of the annual UN climate change negotiations creates a prominent platform on which the Lighthouse Activities are showcased and publicised, resulting in spin-off benefits that help the activities expand even further.

For example, the 2013 Lighthouse Activity winner Bernice Dapaah, whose organization builds bamboo bicycles in Ghana, was recently named a 2014 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Demand for her bamboo bicycles has spiked so dramatically she can barely keep up with orders pouring in from across the globe.

"Seeing these activities scale up and replicate is the really exciting part," said Ms. Figueres.

"It shows that climate action is increasing and picking up momentum as it goes."

Applications for the 2014 Lighthouse Activities are being accepted until May 23, 2014 atwww.momentum4change.org.

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