COP26 President closing remarks at Petersberg Climate Dialogue

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COP26 President Alok Sharma gave his closing remarks to the Petersberg Climate Dialogue by video on Tuesday 28 April 2020.

The UK, as incoming Presidency for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), co-hosted the two day virtual conference with Germany.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said:

Thank you all for a very good session. We’ve had around thirty contributions and speakers today, and particular thanks to Chancellor Merkel and to Secretary General Guterres for their very welcome remarks.

I’d also like to thank Andrew for facilitating the discussion earlier and Minister Schulze thank you for a very good facilitation indeed. It’s shown that we can all come together in a virtual way.

I think we’ve all recognised that we do face an immense scale of the challenge. As we’ve heard from Carolina Schmidt who talked about the fact that the climate crisis has not taken time off, but on the other hand we’ve also acknowledged the fact that there is still time to define the future.

But of course the window is closing. We know, Patricia Esponosa has said to us, there is a whole list of issues to deal with on the road to COP26, but again as Ambassador Lois pointed out, we need to have an ambitious road map to COP26, that is absolutely vital.

Sergio Costa made the very important point about the importance of youth, and the work we will be doing with our friends and colleagues in Italy in terms of pre-COP and particularly the youth events that they are going to be leading ahead of COP26.

As you know we have defined a number of key themes for COP26, which include transition to clean energy, clean transport, nature based solutions, adaptation and resilience and of course bringing it all together, finance.

I think what is very heartening, was to see the contributions today have very much echoed these particular themes. We’ve heard colleagues talk about the need for a green deal, a green transition, the need to invest in innovation, to shift the investment to green technologies, and all of that is going to be absolutely vital.

We heard from colleagues about raising ambition on renewable energy, and that is of course very important. And particularly, so many colleagues made comments on the importance of nature based solutions, ensuring that solutions that we have in terms of fixing climate change must integrate nature based solutions.

And also making sure that whatever we do, we have nature based adaptation and biodiversity protection at the heart of our work in tackling climate change.

And of course, adaptation and resilience which was again brought up by many colleagues. And the final point on finance, which was made about the call to disperse climate finance from developed countries to those in the developing world who need our support.

I think from my perspective and Minister Schulze perspective, it’s very good that we’ve had all colleagues acknowledging that the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals, are a very strong framework to guide our recovery.

The Secretary General made a point where he talked about that we are in a difficult place in terms of the global economy right now, but it is always, as he said, darkest before the dawn.

Of course, we do believe that COP26 can be that moment and lead up to COP26 can be those footsteps when the world comes together to ramp up momentum towards a climate resilient zero carbon economy.

I can tell you that as incoming COP Presidency, our promise from the UK together with Italy, is that our teams will work night and day to raise the ambition on climate change.

This does mean more ambition to reduce emissions, more ambition to build resilience, and more ambition to cooperate with each other, as we have done and shown today.

And, of course, as we recover this transition must be fair and inclusive, which many of you have made the point on, and we must make sure that no-one is left behind.

I do believe we owe that to ourselves and of course to future generations. So thank you so much for participating today, and we look forward to continuing this dialogue in other forums.

The eleventh annual Petersberg Climate Dialogue is the first major climate ministerial meeting of the year, bringing together ministers from 35 countries within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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