Nature and Biodiversity

MAPA voices: Climate Week messages from Most Affected People and Areas

Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA) communities need a voice in the climate debate

Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA) communities need a voice in the climate debate Image: Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

Ginelle Greene-Dewasmes
Community Specialist, Global Shapers Community, World Economic Forum Geneva
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Nature and Biodiversity?
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Climate and Nature

Listen to the article

  • The 2023 Climate Week highlighted the crucial stances of Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA) for global climate action.
  • For climate action to be inclusive of MAPAs, emphasis included messages around finance and adaptation, youth advocacy for climate justice, the pivotal role of carbon markets and lessons for global policymakers.
  • A resonating note was a remaining need and pledges made for collective responsibility to address climate change and to enhance support for vulnerable communities.

Since 2009, Climate Week has taken place in New York City, alongside the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). A multitude of global leaders and other stakeholders, such as civil society and youth, converge to engage on the most pressing topics of climate change and action. This year, running from September 17 to 24, some of the most prominent Climate Week voices emerged from the Most Affected People and Areas, otherwise known as MAPA.

MAPA represents the communities and regions facing the immediate and harshest impacts of climate change. These include the perceived Global South, youth and marginalized groups, such as women, Indigenous communities, racial minorities, LGBTQ+ people, the elderly and low-income households. For climate action commitments and policies to be inclusive, it is critical that MAPA voices are visible and considered. As we head closer to COP28 some of the key messages emerging from Most Affected People and Areas from Climate Week included action on finance and adaptation, climate justice, carbon markets and lessons for global policymakers.


What’s the World Economic Forum doing about climate change?

Decisive action on finance and adaptation at COP28

Small island developing states are some of the communities and regions most impacted by climate change. During the UNGA, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the COP28 Presidency chartered a course for decisive priority outcomes for small islands at COP28.

"We need much greater mitigation ambition from the international community and we must have the Loss and Damage fund operationalised," said Her Excellency Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa, Prime Minister of Samoa, as she charts a course for island countries for COP28.

Youth on climate justice and equity

The concept of climate justice addresses at its core disparities in the burden of responsibility and capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change. On 29 March 2023, the UNGA requested the world’s highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to give an advisory opinion on “the obligations of States in respect of climate change.” Through a call to action, on 26 September 2023, it was the voice of youth that emphasized to the UN Human Rights Council that this request is one about putting human rights at the centre of climate change action and responses.

"We call on all UN member states to participate in making submissions to the ICJ… strong legal clarity from the court can truly advance ambition, action and accountability," said Vishal Prasad, Campaign Director, Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change (PISFCC) at the UN Climate Ambitions Summit.

Have you read?

Carbon markets play a pivotal role

Carbon markets can be a powerful tool to help advance carbon justice by putting a price on carbon, allowing for carbon trading and stimulating new market opportunities for companies. For instance, carbon pricing and credits are gaining serious consideration in developing countries, including India, Kenya, Guyana, Indonesia and Brazil. However, it's evident that we are falling short in terms of progress.

"To effectively combat climate change, we must delve deeper into understanding and taking action on crucial aspects, such as the future of carbon avoidance, emerging market infrastructure and the regulatory and policy landscape surrounding carbon. Time is of the essence," explained Shargiil Bashir, Group Chief Sustainability Officer, First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Key messages for global policymakers

In the lead up to Climate week, the WTO Public Forum 2023 was aptly named It is time for action. A desire summed up by Edwin Laurent, Founder of the iDERA think tank who said: "Unfortunately, policymaking and negotiations do not always reflect sufficient appreciation of the existential threat to our planet posed by Climate Change. This though should be a consensus issue, not treated as a tool for securing short-term domestic political advantage or for damaging opponents. Rather than approaching the talks as a collaborative endeavour, negotiators too often resort to the competition and bargaining that traditionally characterise international negotiations over such issues as trade or finance."

"Leading up to COP28 and beyond, a priority area continues to be the meaningful participation of all stakeholders, particularly those from communities who are most vulnerable and impacted by the consequences of climate change. While a 'just and equitable transition' is an oft-quoted tagline, there is still more effort needed – not only to ensure fair and inclusive representation of the most affected peoples and areas – but that these stakeholders have the right tools and resources to meaningfully participate in these high-level forums," said Marie Sereneo, Head Delegate to the 2023 WTO Public Forum, Young Diplomats of Canada

"Within this landscape, MAPA’s influence in the global debate over climate change is severely limited, despite their living with its disastrous consequences. iDERA will work with youth groups, NGOs and others in the Caribbean, the Pacific and elsewhere to help make their voices heard and get attention paid to their concerns that are not receiving the attention they deserve," added Laurent.

"Because they are already living through its impact, those who are most affected understand the harm that is being done and which will only get worse. They not only make the least contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, but their influence in the global debate is severely limited," said Gale Rigobert, former Minister for Sustainable Development of Saint Lucia.

"The messages from Climate Week 2023 were unequivocal. We are not on track to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The window of opportunity to put us on track is closing rapidly. There are two opportunities at COP 28 to save the world. The global stocktake (GST) and the mitigation work programme should encourage the large emitters to undertake ambitious mitigation action. Belize will work through CARICOM and AOSIS to garner support from the LDC, AILAC and African Groups towards these objectives," stated Carlos Fuller, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Belize to the United Nations

Her Excellency Dina Ercilia Boluarte Zegarra, President of Peru's, address to the United Nations General Debate, 78th Session summed up the thoughts of the Most Affected People and Areas community. "The moment is now! We progress together or we all condemn ourselves."

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Ban these companies from advertising, says UN chief, and other nature and climate stories you need to read this week

Michael Purton

June 13, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum