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Taskforce on Net Zero Policy announces Board of Trustees, Taskforce Expert Group members

The Taskforce on Net Zero Policy, an initiative with the aim of furthering the work of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities, on Thursday, June 13, 2024, announced the constituents of its Board of Trustees and its Taskforce Expert Group (TEG).

Helena Vines Fiestas
Helena Vines Fiestas, UN HLEG member, Chair of the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance and Commissioner of the Spanish Financial Markets Authority

In a recent speech, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, acknowledged the vital role that non-state actors have to play in realising the global shift to net zero and the importance of the HLEG recommendations as a framework to facilitate this activity.

The Taskforce also confirmed that it plans to produce a landmark report, to be published at COP29 and presented to the Secretary General, which will take stock of current trends and themes on net zero policy in relation to the HLEG recommendations.

The Taskforce, announced during COP28 in Dubai, has a remit to gather and produce insights which help align the credibility and accountability of 1.5°C-aligned net zero emissions commitments by non-state actors with effective coherent policies and regulatory certainty.

Climate change is well understood to pose material, existential risks to businesses, investors and societies around the world. With rates of warming continuing to accelerate and efforts to align with a 1.5°C future thus far unsuccessful, the need for action from policymakers and non-state actors alike has never been more urgent.

The Taskforce’s Board of Trustees is formed of senior representatives from organisations at the confluence of climate and policy issues. The Board serves to set the strategy and priorities of Taskforce, as well as serving as a pool of expert opinion to test the outputs of the group.

Helena Vines Fiestas (UN HLEG member, Chair of the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance and Commissioner of the Spanish Financial Markets Authority) and Andrea Meza Murillo (Deputy Executive Secretary to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)) will serve as co-Chairs of the initiative.

The constituents of the Board of Trustees are as follows:

  • Catherine McKenna, CEO, Climate and Nature Solutions & Chair, UN-Secretary General´s High Level Expert Group on Net Zero Pledges of non-state actors (UN HLEG)
  • Eric Usher, Head, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)
  • Klaas Knot, Chair, Financial Stability Board (FSB)
  • Jingdong Hua, ISSB Vice Chair, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
  • Jo Tyndall, Director of Environment, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Mohamed Nasheed, Secretary General, The Vulnerable 20 (V20) Group
  • Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary General, UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • Sabine Mauderer, Chair, Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).

The Taskforce Expert Group is formed from technical experts drawn from fields relevant to the HLEG recommendations, including climate change mitigation and climate adaptation, corporate regulation, financial regulation, environmental and real economy sector policies, just transition policies, and financial markets (and others as needed).

Specifically, TEG members are expected to help shape the work of the Taskforce by providing guidance, research and analysis which will inform the Taskforce’s outputs.

TEG members have been selected to represent a diverse range of viewpoints drawn a spectrum of regional economic contexts, in keeping with the Taskforce’s objective to consider how EMDE markets can be best served by cohesive and just transition to net zero.

The input of the Board of Trustees and Taskforce Expert Group will form the basis of the Taskforce’s stocktake report, due for publication at COP29 in Azerbaijan. The report will identify and map policies in G20 countries against the HLEG criteria. It will also identify areas of good practice, challenges faced and actionable insights, including for vulnerable countries and emerging economies.

Commenting on the announcement, Taskforce co-Chair, Helena Vines Fiestas, said: “It’s my pleasure to formally welcome our Board of Trustees and Taskforce Expert Group members. The support for the work of the Taskforce so far demonstrates a clear desire for further global convergence on the net zero policy measures relevant to non-state actors, reflecting the urgent need for greater action through efficient policies aligned with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. With the support of our Trustees and TEG members, we have an incredibly high-quality pool of knowledge to draw on to inform the insights we will present at COP29.”

Taskforce co-Chair, Andrea Meza Murillo, said: “The work of the Taskforce will be instrumental to facilitate effective non-state entities’ action and net-zero policy coherence. The transition to inclusive net zero economies and societies requires comprehensive approaches, consideration of different sectors, and robust policy and legal frameworks to avoid greenwashing, and to achieve climate-nature-land-development goals. I’m delighted to contribute to the Taskforce and to work with the Board of Trustees and the Taskforce Expert Group members on this endeavour.”

Taskforce Ambassador, Laurence Tubiana, said: “Policies that support the urgent implementation of net zero are needed to deliver the Paris goals, especially in G20 countries. I am very pleased to support the important work of the Taskforce on Net Zero Policy, who will carry on the recommendations of the UN High Level Expert Group on Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities. I look forward to reading their recommendations at COP29.”

Catherine McKenna, CEO, Climate and Nature Solutions and Chair of High-Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Commitments of Non-State Entities, said: “In our Integrity Matters report to the UN Secretary General, we called for the establishment of a new Task Force to help support the move from voluntary initiatives to regulated requirements for net zero. This is key to tackling greenwashing, ensuring a level playing field, and accelerating the transition to net zero. So, I’m delighted to work alongside my fellow Trustees through this Task Force to help build a prosperous and inclusive net zero future.”

Klaas Knot, Chair of the Financial Stability Board, said: “Addressing climate change is important for financial stability. So, I welcome the creation of the Taskforce on Net Zero Policy, and the opportunity to provide input on the connections with financial stability policy work as a member of the Board of Trustees.”

ISSB Vice-Chair, Jingdong Hua, said: “Jurisdictions making up over 55% of global GDP have taken steps to introduce the International Sustainability Standards Board’s (ISSB) Standards.  This means capital markets will soon have access to better information about climate – information that is comparable, reliable and decision-useful. Our focus is on capacity building initiatives to support this momentum and I look forward to contributing the Task Force on Net Zero Policy, including its focus on working with emerging markets and developing economies as we advance disclosure practices.”

Eric Usher, Head of the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), said: “Non-state actor action on net zero is a vital component of the global transition. Not only that, but the shift to net zero represents a hugely significant growth opportunity, with the potential to benefit the global economy to the tune of trillions of dollars. The impetus to mitigate the risks and realise the benefits of the transition has never been more pressing or tangible. I am pleased to contribute to the Taskforce’s efforts as a Board of Trustee member to further the HLEG recommendation on accelerated policy action, with a view to ultimately contributing to the evolution of an enabling policy environment which will benefit economies and societies the world over.”

The following members are appointed to the TEG as a formal representative of their organisation/employer: Marcelo Mena – Global Methane Hub, Mark Watts/Alice Cavanagh – C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Prof Nick Robins/Dr Simon Dikau – LSE Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, Noelia Garcia Nebra – International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), Prof Tom Hale/Prof Thom Wetzer – Oxford Net Zero Regulation and Policy Hub, and Dr Vaibhav Chaturvedi – Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).

The remaining TEG members are appointed in an individual capacity and not as formal representatives of their organisations/employers: Jane McDonald, Malango Mughogho, Bill Hare, Fiona Stewart, Carolina Aguirre Echeverri, Uli Agustina, Douglas Kativu, Dr Svitlana Krakovska, Catherine Leining, Yukari Takamura, Dr Olufunso Somorin, Dr Olumide Abimbola, Camille Ammoun, and Wang Xin.

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