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Espinosa urges ministers to unlock Paris Agreement’s full potential

Against the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic, the 4th session of the Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA) took place on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 with a focus on aligning global recovery measures with the Paris Agreement, and improving resilience against future crises.

patricia espinosa
Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UNFCCC

The virtual meeting was jointly chaired by the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President, Frans Timmermans; Canadian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson; and China’s Minister for Ecology and Environment, Huang Runqiu. Participants included Ministers from G20 countries and other key parties in the UN climate negotiations.

At the meeting, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, called on ministers to finish the work that remains to unlock the full potential of the Paris Agreement, and to deliver on their pre-2020 climate action commitments.

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Ms. Espinosa also reminded nations of their commitment to submit more ambitious climate action plans under the Paris Agreement (Nationally Determined Commitments, or NDCs) by the end of the year, without which it will be impossible to achieve the sustainable development goals.

“The Paris Agreement is a plan to build a world that is clean, healthy, safe, just, sustainable and resilient. The 2030 Agenda is a plan to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges. And the NDCs provide an immediate opportunity for recovery plans following those frameworks to be formalised immediately,” she said.

Timmermans said: “The planet cannot wait for us to take action on climate change. We have been forced by COVID-19 to postpone COP26, but we are working with all of our international partners to share ideas and experience on restructuring and cleaning up our economies.

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“The €750 billion Recovery Package proposed by the European Commission has the green transition at its heart, including in our support for recovery in partner countries, and I was pleased to present this to my colleagues from around the world today. Without a green recovery we would come out of the COVID crisis only to find out we’ve sleepwalked into a climate crisis.”

The MoCA is a forum for coordinating action, and sends a political signal that the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic needs to go hand in hand with the transition to low-carbon and climate resilient economies in many of the world’s major economies.

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The co-chairs acknowledged that societies around the world have been affected differently by the pandemic and are at different stages in planning for the recovery.

They noted that their efforts would yield the best possible results if they work together, share experiences and coordinate their action at national level and global levels.

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