At a virtual meeting on Monday, June 22, 2020, the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decided to postpone the UN Climate Change meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB52) until next year.
The meetings are to take place in the World Conference Centre in Bonn, Germany at a date which has yet to be decided.
The decision by the Bureau was based on the need to ensure not only full inclusion and participation, but the well-being and safety of all involved under the current travel restrictions and guidelines from local German health authorities in relation to the global health crisis around COVID-19.
The 11 members of the Bureau are nominated by each of the five United Nations regional groups and Small Island Developing States and provide advice and guidance regarding the ongoing work under the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement, the organisation of their sessions and the relevant support by the UN Climate Change secretariat.
The members of the Bureau expressed their concern and regret regarding the situation but stated that there is no alternative to the decision.
The COP Presidencies of Chile and the UK, the Subsidiary Bodies (SB) Chairs and the UN Climate Change secretariat pledged that they would do everything to drive the UN climate change process forward despite the adverse circumstances.
The UN Climate Change secretariat and the SB Chairs will soon make proposals that will be sent to the members of the Bureau to decide on the specific plan going forward towards COP26.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, several initiatives have been launched to drive momentum, showcase continuing climate action and urge greater climate ambition from all segments of society.
For example, earlier this month, a series of online events were conducted under the guidance of the Chairs of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation and with the support of the UNFCCC secretariat, the June Momentum for Climate Change.
“COVID-19 is an exceptional challenge impacting the lives of billions,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, “but it has not put an end to climate change which continues to accelerate, it continues to be an existential threat and we must therefore, continue to take collective, multilateral action at a global scale to address it. It has changed the way we work, but it has not stopped it.”
COP25 President Minister Carolina Schmidt from Chile said: “Due to the global effects that COVID-19 continues to cause and taking note of the measures put in place by the German government, the COP Bureau decided to reschedule the UN Climate Change meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies. This is a necessary measure to protect all attending participants, delegates, and observers.
Meanwhile, we will continue accelerating and foster the climate action agenda. This includes a continued dialogue with countries to present enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions during this year 2020, as well as the formulation of a clear roadmap towards COP26.”
COP26 President-Designate and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma said: “While it is disappointing that the Bonn Subsidiary Body October meetings will no longer take place as planned, we appreciate that this is for the right reasons. Despite this postponement we must not lose momentum in our work to accelerate global climate action.
“We will continue our close collaboration with the UNFCCC, COP25 Presidency Chile, the Subsidiary Body Chairs and our international partners to deliver a successful, ambitious COP in partnership with Italy in the U.K. next year.”
In May of this year, the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties, with the UK and its Italian partners, agreed that the new dates for the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference are to be between November 1 and 12, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.