IIED and the 2021 ‘super year’

2021 is a crucial year for dealing with the climate emergency, unprecedented biodiversity loss, rising inequalities and the COVID-19 pandemic. This page sets out how IIED will work with partners throughout the year at key opportunities to highlight and address these interconnected crises. 

The world is dealing with multiple crises – the climate crisis, unprecedented biodiversity loss, rising inequalities and the COVID-19 pandemic.  

These challenges disproportionately impact vulnerable countries, groups and individuals by exacerbating pre-existing dynamics of marginalisation and exclusion. 

Strong and urgent action is needed to address these interconnected crises, including to leverage pandemic recovery packages, to drive cohesive climate, nature and development outcomes.

Why is 2021 so important? 

2021 presents major opportunities to increase the focus on addressing climate, nature and development priorities together. Also known as the ‘super year’, 2021 will see a number of major meetings including negotiation conferences for both the climate change and biodiversity conventions amid a range of major international and regional events.   

Building on our research, and working closely with partners, IIED is committed to continuing to drive cohesive action on climate, nature and development to build a fairer and more sustainable world. 

To achieve this, we will be hosting events, undertaking research, publishing reports and engaging closely with partners throughout the year, including government, business, non-government organisations and civil society. This page outlines some of the key events and milestones throughout 2021 which we will strategically align to.

Read our blog series raising awareness and action on the interlinkages between climate, nature and people throughout 2021's key global milestones.

And listen to our Make Change Happen podcast discussing biocultural heritage and the benefits of recognising and applying Indigenous knowledge to biodiversity conservation.

Key events  

Major events are taking place in 2021, many of which have been postponed from 2020. 

IIED will be following these events closely, including events and negotiations related to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Environment Assembly, the G7 Summit, the United Nations General Assembly and many more conferences and workshops.  

Some of the key events IIED will be hosting, co-hosting or directly engaged in are outlined below.  

Gobeshona Global Conference 1

Date: 18-24 January 2021
This online conference organised by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) brought together a distinguished and multidisciplinary group of scholars, policymakers, researchers and practitioners on the theme of locally led adaptation. 

Climate Adaptation Summit 

Date: 18-24 January 2021 
This online summit launched a comprehensive adaptation action agenda that sets out clear commitments to deliver concrete new endeavours and partnerships to make our world more resilient to the effects of climate change. 

IIED was among 40 governments, leading global institutions and local and international NGOs that endorsed eight principles for locally led adaptation to help ensure local communities are empowered to lead sustainable and effective adaptation at the local level. 

LDC 2020 reflection event 

Date: 28 January 2021
Hosted by IIED, this IIED Debates online event heard perspectives and reflections on 2020 and priorities for 2021 with climate leaders from the least developed countries (LDCs). 

Climate adaptation and resilience vision: what will success look like at COP26? 

Date: 11 February 2021
Speakers from government, business and civil society made their pitch for what strong adaptation ambition at COP26 needs to look like, what they are doing about it, and how to judge what success looks like for us all, in this ICCCAD and IIED-organised online event.

15th International Conference on Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change  

Date: 14-18 June 2021 
This annual conference took place online and enabled practitioners, governments and donors to share the latest development best practice and understand grassroots perspectives on adaptation. It was organised by ICCCAD, BRAC, Practical Action, GRP, CARE and IIED.

London Climate Action Week

Date: 26 June – 4 July 2021
This online annual event brought together a world-leading array of climate professionals and communities. IIED hosted events within the programme to influence and shape global climate action. 

IUCN World Conservation Congress 


Date: 3-10 September 2021 

The IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together the global nature conservation community, including top international experts in conservation science, policy and practice. IIED will be engaged throughout the congress and will be supporting and running events and showcasing research. 

Nature and Development Days at CBD COP15 


Date: TBC 2021 

A two-day event at COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity dedicated to the emerging approach of linking nature, climate and development in policy and practice. 

Paving the way from CBD to the UNFCCC event

Date: TBC October 2021 

This IIED event will bring together high-level experts to reflect on the outcomes of the CBD COP15, what it means for the upcoming UNFCCC COP26, and what key messages should be taken to COP26 from COP15 to reinforce the need for collaborative action on nature, climate change and development.


Glasgow, Scotland/online 

Date: 1-12 November 2021 

The delayed 26th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be one of the pivotal events of 2021, with a focus on countries increasing the ambition of their commitments to tackle the climate emergency.  

Development and Climate (D&C) Days at COP26 

Glasgow, Scotland/online 

Date: 6-7 November 2021  

This event in the middle weekend of COP26 will bring together thinking from various sectors – food and agriculture, finance, cities, infrastructure, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction – that are seeking coherence and cross-cutting collaboration to ensure climate resilience for all. 

COP summary event 


Date: December 2021

This IIED event will bring together experts involved in the UNFCCC COP26 process and the CBD COP15 process to reflect on progress during 2021 and discuss what needs to happen next.

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