Briefing Ahead of UNFCCC COP25 -
Climate Change: Time for Action

12 November 2019 | 9:30-11:30 | International Environment House II (7-9 ch. de Balexert)

 

About this meeting

A briefing ahead of the 25th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25), to be held in Madrid, Spain, from 2-13 December 2019, under the Presidency of the Government of Chile, took place at the International Environment House on Tuesday 12 November.

This event, organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network, had a particular focus on nature-based solutions, the just transition and climate migration and displacement topics to be addressed at COP25.

 

AGENDA

Welcome
Bruno POZZI, Director, Europe Office, UN Environment Programme

The Chile Presidency of the 25th Conference of the Parties to UNFCCC (COP25)
H.E. Amb. Frank TRESSLER, Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva

Introductory remarks (Live Video from UNFCCC)
Ovais SARMAD, Deputy Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change Convention

The Nature-based Solutions at COP25
Mario BOCCUCCI, Head, UN-REDD Programme Secretariat

Article 6, Payment for results and Nationally Determined Contributions (practical example)
Berta PESTI, Head of Secretariat, Central African Forest Initiative

Just transition at COP25
Camilla ROMAN, Policy Specialist, Green Jobs Programme, International Labour Organization

Climate Displacement & Migration at COP25
Dina IONESCO, Head, Migration, Environment and Climate Change Division, International Organization for Migration

Spain hosting COP25
Juan LUEIRO GARCIA, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva

Followed by Q&A

 

Documents

 

Video

The event was live on facebook.

 

Other Events on UNFCCC COPs

 

Links

 

Summary

Welcome
Bruno Pozzi, Director, Europe Office, UN Environment Programme

  • COP comes at a moment when we know that any extra warming matters, and that it is essential to limit global warming to stay below a 1.5°C increase, to prevent long-lasting changes
  • We already see the consequences of climate change (sea-levels rising, Arctic sea ice reducing, extreme weather events, …)
  • Last year in Katowice, countries reached an agreement on the implementation of the Paris agreement, but not on a number of things, including the implementation Article 6
  • UN agencies are also involved to achieve the objectives of the UN Climate Action Summit

The Chile Presidency of the 25th Conference of the Parties to UNFCCC (COP25)
H.E. Amb. Frank Tressler, Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
“I am very happy for this opportunity to introduce the priorities of Chile for COP25, as we take the presidency in Madrid. This is especially significant after the painful decision of not holding the meeting in Santiago, forced by the situation in my country. We appreciate the support of the Government of Spain for organizing the conference in Madrid, a clear example of leadership in the multilateral effort we need to step up our commitments in climate action. For Chile, mitigation and adaption to climate change is a priority, given the high vulnerability of our territory to its effects. And we understand this challenge as a collective task - a global task - which involves every country, Parties of the Convention or not, the private sector, civil society, the scientific community and academia, as we all suffer the consequences of global warming.”
“As milestones of our incoming presidency, we aim to conclude the negotiations for the implementation of Article 6, related to market-based climate change mitigation mechanism and non-market approaches, and to identify adequate sources of climate finance. These points are crucial to enhance climate ambition and to boost the transition to carbon neutrality. For some observers, the success of COP25 will be measured against the results on these subjects.”
“Chile wants to promote more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions; to boost climate action as a pivot to reach sustainable development; to enhance the use of scientific evidence in public policies; and to identify areas of cooperation.”
“We look to open new dialogues for climate action, in topics that have not been a part of the formal negotiations, such as the Oceans, Nature Based Solutions, Sustainable Cities, the Cryosphere, the role of science, circular economy, electro mobility and renewable energies. In particular, Chile wishes this to be a Blue COP to raise awareness about the relation between oceans and climate change, and the adverse consequences of process as the acidification, deoxygenation and the raise of the sea level.”
“Our call is for more ambitious commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement concrete policies to adapt to the consequences of climate change, with a wide scope of views.”
Introductory remarks (Live from UNFCCC HQ in Bonn)
Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

  • Why is this conference important?
  • Final COP before entering the defining year of 2020, when NDCs will finally be submitted
  • NDCs must be ambitious, in order to stay below the 2°C increase in temperature
  • This COP is all about ambition and climate action
  • NDCs inadequate to reach Paris Climate Accord’s goals:
    • Reduce emissions by 45% by 2030
    • Have net zero carbon emissions by 2050
    • Keep temperatures stable below 1.5°C of increase by the end of the century
  • Financing of green projects is increasing, as is investment in renewables
  • Boosting commitments via financing of sustainable economy structures
  • Very important negotiation: Article 6, covering the framework for carbon market mechanisms
  • Two other areas of negotiation: indigenous populations and gender
  • Great participation expected

The Nature-based Solutions at COP25
Mario Boccucci, Head, UN-REDD Programme Secretariat

  • Why are nature-based solutions important?
    • Nature alone will not fix the problem, as we must decarbonise, but it can help
    • Achieving Paris Climate Accord goals requires a yearly reduction of 30 gigatons of carbon emissions by 2030, then 50 gigatons between 2030 and 2050
    • Nature can contribute to 12 gigatons of reduction, 1/3
    • Nature is receiving less than 3% of climate finance
    • A sector that can contribute to 33% of the solution is receiving just 3% of the budget
    • Nature-based solutions: stopping deforestation, reforest, changing agricultural methods, restore landscape, manage the oceans, …
  • Outcomes of the UN Climate Action Summit
    • Identified 6 key priority areas to invest on à energy, industries, cities and infrastructures, adaptation, finance, nature-based solutions
    • Two countries appointed to lead on nature-based solutions: the People’s Republic of China and New Zealand
    • Unprecedented level of attention to the value of nature
    • 200 actions already taking place to enhance nature-based solutions
    • “Manifesto for Nature-based Solutions”
    • The world is recognising the necessity to invest in nature
    • Two short-term aims: increase nature in NDCs and bring finance and investment into nature
  • The way forward:
    • Long trajectory of transformation: unprecedented scaling up of initiatives for nature-based solutions
    • 2020 super year for nature
    • Collective challenge, collective engagement

Article 6, Payment for results and Nationally Determined Contributions (practical example)
Berta Pesti, Head of Secretariat, Central African Forest Initiative

  • Great interest in sorting out Article 6: market and non-market mechanisms to transfer mitigation outcomes
  • Are Article 6 mechanisms going to be included under the NDCs?
  • Results-based payments are already a reality in the reforestation sector
  • Emission reductions that have already been approved by a country and that are offset financially by the international community
    • Norway and Gabon signed a deal for long-term emission reduction in exchange for payments (10 years emissions reduction for $15 million a year)
  • Countries already planning how much they can reduce emissions in their NDCs, but have the possibility of engaging in the market mechanism

Just transition at COP25
Camilla Roman, Policy Specialist, Green Jobs Programme, International Labour Organization

  • Jobs are highly dependent on a healthy planet and on a stable climate
  • Lost productivity because of increased extreme weather events
  • Poor people are the most vulnerable to climate change
  • Climate action will have repercussions on the labour markets: job creation, substitution, elimination, redefinition
  • 24 million jobs generated compared to 6 million jobs lost
  • Need for an effective response of the labour market
  • Training people for new jobs
  • Just transition: low carbon economy + economic and social gains maximised
  • Just transition enables climate action, not just an add-on
  • Need for complementary policy responses (training, social security, …)
  • Climate Action Summit discussed just transition, with commitment by 46 countries

Climate Displacement & Migration at COP25
Dina Ionesco, Head, Migration, Environment and Climate Change Division, International Organization for Migration

  • Migration, Displacement and Planned Relocation part of the COP since COP16 in Cancún
  • Since the Paris Agreement there have been clear steps towards dealing with human mobility in an integrated manner
  • The Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage – works with different expert groups, one of which is a task force on displacement
  • Expert groups reports mapping the issue of displacement as well as legislation and policies related to environment and displacement
  • Averting, minimising and addressing the negative impacts of climate change in the context of human mobility
  • Enhancing knowledge, policy coherence and action
  • Enhancing climate actions results in less potential causes of migrations
  • UN Climate Action Summit’s objective do not deal explicitly with human mobility, but offer hooks for actions on displacement
  • Continue supporting countries which have endorsed initiatives relate to climate change and displacement
  • Many entry points from human mobility into climate change: oceans and water management, land and desertification, …
  • Many partnerships for projects: from artists to youth activists
  • Clear work track where to concentrate

Spain hosting COP25
Juan Lueiro Garcia, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva

  • Spain is committed to the policies behind COP25, that is why it proposed to host it
  • COP25 remains an event under the Presidency of Chile

Questions
Indonesia: You have sketched out several priorities of Chile’s presidency, one of them is science. Last year, the IPCC published the 1.5° report, however, during the negotiation process some countries undermined it. COP24 failed to produce strong statements to support the report. This year other reports will be published, and I fear that some countries will try to undermine them as well. As President, will Chile give more opportunities to IPCC scientists to speak and to influence the negotiation process?

Ecuador: We all are hopeful for the good outcome of COP25, however, seeing the state of global economy, we are not sure about how much we can achieve. We are going to be very much involved in the negotiation process on, for instance, Article 6, nature-based solutions, just transition.
On the issue of nature-based solutions, should the avoidance of emissions, by keeping fossil fuels under the ground, for instance, be included in the framework of nature-base solutions, so that developing countries can follow this track towards the reduction of emissions?
On Article 6, how much of the potential mobilisation of resources under market and non-market mechanisms should go towards the achievement of NDCs and how much should be directed towards actions outside of the NDCs? On my part, there should be a threshold that ensures that a large part of the NDCs are achieved, while everything above the threshold should go towards additional actions.
Finally, in Geneva we have seen that there is a strong advocacy by the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the environment as well as by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to strengthening the relationship between the environment and Human Rights in the context of environmental negotiations. We realise that there are a lot of entry points, a lot of initiatives on that subject.

UN SDG Lab: Beyond COP25, in the lead up to COP26, we can see that there is a convergence of the SDG agenda, the climate agenda, the CBD COP agenda. What would be the one or two things that will help the Geneva ecosystem of international organisations and countries to bring these agendas even closer?

FT: I am not an expert on climate change, but I remember 30 years ago, when I started knowing about this problem, the mood was “it is not going to happen, it is far away”. Now there are few disagreements with the IPCC report: science is fundamental to prove that we have a problem and people see more first-hand expressions of climate change (disasters, droughts, inundations). I don’t think there will be questioning of the science. Something very important is that this problem is not only a problem related to science, but also to the relation between the environment and humans: this engages the Human Rights perspective on environmental protection. We have to start involving the people, here, we are the elite, but people on the street do not understand what we are talking about: we have to show them the consequences of climate change on their lives and their children’s lives.

DI: Human Rights is one of the key entry points. From the migration and climate interaction dimension, there were a few phases we went through: from complete absence, to awareness raising, to anchorage and recognition phase, arriving to the agreement and action phase. There are different tracks that are converging and in the operational phase the convergence will be even more pronounced, as one action will require other complementary actions to be taken.

MB: The agenda is about avoiding emissions as well as removing carbon. There is more carbon in the forests than in the atmosphere as of now and it has to remain that way. We have to have the COP26 on our radar and the nature-based solutions agenda does more than climate mitigation, as it provides a lot of livelihoods in particular to least developed countries. Next year we must cooperate, connect, collaborate more. We want to make the next decade a decade of unprecedented delivery on the ground at a scale humanity has never seen before, and for that, it is crucial that we all work together.

Switzerland: You have a lot of ambition, but reality is different. You said that to stay below 1.5°C, we have to reduce our emissions by 30 gigatons, but we are not exactly on to the right track. How do we unlock the power of the people? If we don’t involve the people we won’t succeed in any way. How can we change the patterns of consumption of the people in the years to come?

FT: I think we need to set aside in this period our commitments and start to implement real action. We are all responsible for commitments we have already taken. Chile has committed to oceans protections and we have protected 40% of our waters. Chile has committed to have 100% electric public transportation and we are on tracks to achieve that. Concrete action is needed.

MB: Climate change is complex, since the transformation we have to make is short-term and in a large scale. The amount of actions that are local, but already in place and need just to be scaled up. The political message is going in the direction of green actions and the private sector is as well investing in green actions.

CR: Concrete actions are essential and can start from Geneva, around the new reports published. The power of the people can be unlocked by mobilisation and awareness, but when it comes to real action we should talk about accountability of governments.