Update on VONNE Climate Project

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. In the future we will all be judged personally by how we responded at this time, when the impact of doing nothing has become crystal clear. The duty lies on us all – in the voluntary, public or private sectors, and in our own lives, to create a meaningful response.

As you may well be aware, VONNE has been working with a range of organisations both within and beyond the VCSE sector over the last six months to develop our work and thinking around our role in responding to, and addressing, climate change.

Today we are publishing our progress report and project timeline, six months after the VONNE Board agreed to engage with the climate crisis. It sets out how we and our partners across civil society have risen to that challenge.

The VONNE Climate Project has been initiated with two distinct but overlapping elements:

  • First, to research whether there could be a willingness across the public and private sectors to join with civil society across the region to create a strategic regional coalition to address the triple challenges of climate crisis, ecology breakdown and the need for a just transition to a new low carbon economy. If so, to develop a statement of shared ambition to be launched in November 2020 at the time of the 26th UN Conference of the Parties (COP26) (under the UK’s Presidency in Glasgow).
  • Secondly, to create a programme of action by civil society within and between communities to maximise the impacts our own sector can make within the coalition over the coming decade to address the ‘triple challenge’.

Our region had a unique role in developing the engineering technologies – in deep mining, the railways and the generation and distribution of electrical power from coal fired power stations – that ‘released the genie of coal in the world’. Today we argue that this unique heritage in the causes of the current crisis gives us a duty to set the highest possible bar for our response to it, and an opportunity for our voice to be heard nationally and internationally.

The public and private sectors have proved willing to work with us. So now we are looking to consolidate and formalise the coalition, and accelerate our work to develop our civil society programme.

We are in discussions with the National Lottery Community Fund Climate Action Fund about VONNE developing a proposal to create and support a wider ranging and coordinated programme of climate action within and between communities across the region. In the new year we will be carrying out more engagement with the sector and the communities of the North East to discover more about what is already happening and what communities would like to achieve together. 

We launched this next stage of engagement and development at our conference in November and we learnt a great deal from attendees about their ambition and aspirations to be involved in climate action work and the support and learning they require in order to do so. We will combine all this information with the work we've carried out over the last six months through numerous events and engagements with the sector, to create an application which will be submitted to the Climate Action Fund in March 2020. 

We hope that you enjoy reading the progress report and the outline timetable for our work so far, as well as our plans going forward. We'd be delighted if you have any comments or thoughts to share; please email carol.botten@vonne.org.uk.

In the new year we'll be back in touch with details of a survey so we can gather information from organisations in the sector on the work they're already doing or developing, relating to addressing the climate crisis, ecological breakdown and managing the just transition. We will also announce further plans for a number of events and engagement activities right across the region, which we hope many of you will get involved in.