An image of a globe depicting our planet, and the following text next to it: UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 In Partnership with Italy

22.07.2021

Milestone as Pacific Islands Leaders meet with the COP26 President-Designate

10 minute read

COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma’s Chair’s summary from the Pacific-UK High Level Climate Dialogue, where Pacific Islands Leaders were brought together ahead of the UN climate change summit in November.

COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma’s Chair’s summary

The Pacific-UK High Level Climate Dialogue brought together Pacific Islands Leaders with the COP26 President Designate in an important milestone ahead of COP26 in Glasgow this November. This event, delivered in collaboration with Wilton Park and One CROP (Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Pacific Community), built on previous engagement with the region on climate change, and provided a unique opportunity for Pacific Island Leaders and the COP President to engage in open and frank discussion ahead of COP26.

Leaders from Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Tuvalu, Niue, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Ministers from Nauru, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Samoa, youth leader Gladys Habu, the Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum, Directors General from the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the Pacific Community and the Forum Fisheries Agency attended the event.

Opening

COP26 President welcomed Leaders and representatives and expressed sympathy for the impacts of the pandemic being felt by Pacific countries. He recognised that countries across the Pacific region face extensive challenges due to climate change. Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) are amongst the world’s smallest emitters of greenhouse gasses, but face some of the most extreme impacts of a changing climate. He emphasised his commitment to working closely with PSIDS for two key reasons; to ensure COP26 delivers for the countries most vulnerable to climate change, and because the PSIDS are essential to the success of COP26, playing a pivotal role in the multilateral system and being a formidable power in negotiations. COP26 President remarked that the most important thing that COP26 can deliver for the Pacific, is to keep alive the possibility of staying within the 1.5 degree temperature limit.

The UK Presidency set out the four COP goals and highlighted the progress being made against them, including the commitment of all G7 countries to end international coal financing and to net-zero 2050 targets, alongside nationally determined contributions to get them to this goal. However, COP26 President noted this is not enough, and G20 countries need to follow suit. COP26 President urged Pacific Leaders to use their influence and moral authority to encourage G20 countries to step up with greater ambition and action, and for those Pacific countries still to do so to come forward with their own ambitious NDCs and net-zero targets.

COP26 President emphasised his focus on adaptation and climate finance. He spoke of the need to deliver on the agreed target of US$100bn per year, referring to recent progress with G7 countries but recognising the need for increased commitments more widely.

COP26 President welcomed this opportunity to hear the priorities of PSIDS Leaders for COP26 and their thoughts on where the UK and Pacific can work together in the lead up to Glasgow to make those priorities a reality.

Discussion: Pacific priorities for COP26

Leaders agreed with the COP26 President that the world needs to step up its emissions targets and its actions to keep the 1.5 temperature limit alive, noting that we have now reached levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that we have not seen for 3 million years. Leaders talked about the need for greater action sooner, commenting that flattening the curve on temperature warming by the middle of the century would be too late, that emissions must peak by 2025. Early peaking is necessary not only to protect climate vulnerable Pacific SIDS but also larger, more resilient countries who will also experience greater severity and frequency of heat domes, wildfires, floods and storms and therefore need to take action to close the mitigation gap. High emitters, especially G20, must commit to higher mitigation targets now, and COP26 must set the path for peaking emissions by 2025. Finance and access to finance are lagging behind the needs of countries.

Participants highlighted the importance of including super pollutants, such as methane, black carbon and HFCs, in reduction targets. Rapid reduction of these powerful GHGs could make a significant difference to the achievability of the 1.5° target.

Throughout the event, Leaders spoke of the heightened vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), particularly in light of the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Challenges due to the pandemic may affect PSIDS presence at Glasgow, with travel remaining difficult, but Leaders and COP26 President agreed on the importance of ensuring PSIDS representatives are fully briefed on logistical issues, including the provision of vaccines where necessary. Pacific Leaders encouraged the UK Presidency to consider Ministerial proxies and remote participation, where practical.

Many participants outlined the urgent need for access to all types of finance to decarbonise their economies and adapt to climate change as the world recovers from COVID-19. Leaders highlighted that the $100bn goal is still unmet and shared concerns regarding the insufficient focus of finance on adaptation. Leaders spoke of the need for development partners to significantly reduce loans as an instrument of climate finance, suggesting unlocking private-sector finance as an alternative, through grant-based or highly concessional de-risking funds. Leaders also emphasised the difficulty of accessing climate finance, calling for simplification of the bureaucracy surrounding funds; using a more programmatic approach; and supporting countries’ capacity to manage these processes.

The finalisation of the Paris Rulebook was also highlighted by participants. Several speakers referred to the need to set common five-year time frames, along with calls for Kyoto credits to not be brought forward as Article 6 mechanisms are agreed.

Participants highlighted the need to prioritise adaptation. For a region where GHG emissions are minimal, and climate impacts severe, significant adaptation is required for their survival. Loss and damage continues to be an important topic for PSIDS, with leaders calling for the operationalisation of the Santiago Network.

Pacific countries welcomed the COP26 Presidency’s focus on the climate-ocean nexus, making clear their desire for the ocean to be incorporated in UNFCCC processes. Countries highlighted the role the ocean plays in regulating temperatures across the globe. Speakers also noted the reliance on the ocean across the Pacific for culture, livelihoods, food security and sustainability of coastal communities. Efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change must also protect marine environments and biodiversity, and many participants echoed calls for climate finance to be available for ocean projects.

The voice of today and tomorrow

Youth Leader Gladys Habu of the Solomon Islands spoke passionately about the impacts of climate change, including the very personal story of Kale, one of several islands now completely submerged in the Solomon Islands as sea levels rise. Kale Island was the home of Gladys’ grandparents, and the personal loss felt by Gladys as Kale became submerged has motivated her to become a powerful climate advocate. Gladys Habu called on PSIDS Leaders to overcome political divisions. She called on all leaders to declare a climate emergency to prioritise the climate crisis and work together to protect her generation and those to come. Gladys highlighted three top priorities ahead of COP26:

  • Increased representation from Pacific youth in climate negotiations and events
  • For all countries to comply with their commitments to the Paris Agreement, highlighting the urgency in doing so over the next decade
  • Increasing support to developing countries to access climate finance, to manage the impacts of climate change

Next steps

All participants spoke passionately about the need to work in unity, within the region and with the UK Presidency, to encourage greater ambition from large emitters, mentioning key milestones such as the G20, the latest IPCC report, UNGA and COP itself.

The UK Presidency is holding the July Ministerial, which will be an opportunity for Ministers from Fiji, RMI and PNG to come together in-person to discuss expectations for COP26, the shape and substance of the potential outcome, and to provide guidance on outstanding negotiations issues. The Ministerial will discuss keeping 1.5 alive; scaling up adaptation; loss and damage; finalising Article 6 in the Paris Rulebook; and mobilising finance. Ministers from Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Fiji have been invited to attend.

PSIDS welcomed opportunities to work together on climate finance in the lead up to COP26 including the work of the Access to Finance Taskforce, co-chaired by Fiji.

The High Ambition Coalition was very effective in Paris, at COP21, and RMI will be mobilising this coalition ahead of COP26 to set a high bar for negotiations and work closely with the UK Presidency on ambitious outcomes.

An image of a globe depicting our planet, and the following text next to it: UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 In Partnership with Italy

28.06.2021

Vaccines FAQ – [Party, Observer and Media Representatives]

10 minute read

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced at the G7 Summit that the UK will work to provide COVID-19 vaccines to COP26 Delegates who would be unable to get them otherwise.  Working closely with the UN and other partners, we are now asking all those individuals looking to take up this vaccine offer to identify themselves through the COP registration process.

For COP26 to be a success, representatives from around the world need to be sitting around the same table in Glasgow this November. The safest way to make this happen is for as many representatives as possible to be fully vaccinated.

The UK, the UNFCCC and partners will work to provide vaccines to Party, observer and media representatives who are registered for the COP and are unable to get them otherwise. We are exploring with the UN and partners how we can work together to deliver this offer as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Participants will still be required to fully comply with and adhere to covid regulations as mandated by the host country.

What is the vaccine offer?

The UK has announced the offer of vaccination to COP 26 UNFCCC registered Party, observer and media representatives as part of a wider package of measures we will have in place to be able to host a safe COP26 with in-person participation.

It is recognized that there are different circumstances in different countries and we would strongly encourage those who wish to take up this offer to register their interest through the UNFCCC registration portal as soon as possible and no later than 23 July.

How do I get access to the vaccine offer?

Those who wish to take up this offer should register their interest through the UNFCCC registration portal as soon as possible and no later than 23 July. The registration acknowledgment letter emailed to each confirmed participant will include a link to a web page where the participant can indicate interest in being vaccinated through this offer. 

We are working with the UN to prepare the logistics, aiming to ensure the vaccines can be delivered to all interested participants in their home countries. Details of the logistics and appointments will be emailed to those participants as soon as possible.

Once I have registered for the vaccine offer, when will I hear further about my vaccination appointment?

We are working with the UN to prepare the logistics for this vaccine offer. Given their complexity, it may take a short period of time before they are confirmed and we are able to contact you with appointment options and further details. In the meantime we thank you for your patience and will endeavour to keep you updated on progress using the email address provided.

How long do I have to register my interest for the vaccine offer?

We’re asking registered participants to notify us of their interest in taking up this offer through the UNFCCC registration portal by 23 July. We strongly encourage all those who would like to take up the vaccine offer to register their interest as soon as possible.

Which vaccines will you be offering?

We’re exploring with the UN and partners to understand which WHO-approved vaccines will be supplied.

Do I get a choice of vaccine?

There will not be a choice of which WHO-approved vaccine you receive.

Do I need to have two doses before travelling to the COP?

If two doses are required for you to be fully vaccinated, then you will be given both doses before COP26. Not all WHO-approved vaccines, however, require two doses.

Will having a vaccine be a requirement for attendance?

It is strongly recommended that those who wish to attend are vaccinated, but vaccination is not mandatory.

We will ensure the approach respects diversity and inclusion but also safeguards the health and safety of all attendees and the local population.

Does the vaccination offer include observers and media?

This offer is open to Party, observer and media representatives who are registered for the COP and cannot access COVID-19 vaccines through other means.

Should representatives wait for their COP vaccination rather than take up their own in-country offer?

Registered COP participants are strongly encouraged to take up any offer of vaccination they can receive in their country.  This offer is for registered COP participants from countries where COVID-19 vaccines are less readily available.

Who is paying for it – is the offer free?

The UK government, as COP26 host, is exploring with the UN and partners how we can work together to deliver this offer.

Will you also be offering vaccines before the July Ministerial meeting in London?

No, owing to the relatively small number of delegates, we are planning to introduce measures to ensure these discussions are safe without the need for vaccination in advance. However, delegates will still be expected to take steps to ensure the safety of the local population.

Will funding be available to travel for a vaccination?

We are working with the UN to prepare the logistics for this vaccine offer, aiming to deliver it in the home country of each participant.

How will this affect youth representatives due to attend COP26?

Vaccination of those under the age of 18 is not currently recommended by the World Health Organization or the UK health authorities.

We are continuing to work hard to amplify the voices of young people in the lead-up to and at COP26. Our contingency planning will continue to look at the most appropriate options for engagement to ensure we stay committed to an inclusive COP26.

How will this affect the participation of others, for example invited speakers, special guests, etc.?

While strongly encouraged, vaccination is not mandatory for the COP and we are working hard to ensure a package of COVID-related safety measures to ensure the COP is safe for all attendees. We know that giving a platform to the voices of many stakeholders is important to an inclusive COP and will continue to work on making this possible.

What happens if I only find out I am going to the COP after 23 July? Can I still get a vaccine?

While we are aware that sometimes last-minute changes or additions to delegations are made, the logistics of a global vaccine offer are such that it is unlikely to be available to people who have not registered by the 23 July deadline. We will, of course, do our utmost to support those who were unable to meet the deadline.

Observers would like to have a separate deadline for confirming their delegation members who will not require a vaccine offered through the UK. Is this possible?

The 23 July deadline is only for those who would like to be vaccinated through the UK programme; this date cannot be changed. Confirmation of observer participants for people who do not require to be vaccinated through the UK vaccine offer will be set separately by the UN and communicated in its notification to admitted observer organizations.

Observers would like to consider replacing vaccinated colleagues with non-vaccinated ones. Is this possible?

It is strongly recommended that those who wish to attend are vaccinated, but vaccination is not mandatory.

We will ensure any approach respects diversity and inclusion but also safeguards the health and safety of all attendees and the local population.

Some participants do not feel secure being vaccinated in UN premises or UK embassies. Is there anywhere else they can go?

UN Department of Supply (UN DOS) is leading on the distribution and administration of the vaccine around the world. In most cases, the vaccinations will take place at established UN offices. Any individual logistical challenges will need to be resolved on a country-by-country basis.

Could you confirm the eligibility requirements?

This offer is for those registered COP26 participants from countries where vaccines are less readily available. Any registered participant who is unable to access a vaccine through other means is eligible to register through the UK programme.

Funding for participation cannot be confirmed by 23 July for many. Will a second round of single-jab vaccinations be offered?

The logistics of a global vaccine offer are such that it is unlikely to be available to people who have not registered by the 23 July deadline. We will, of course, do our utmost to support those who were unable to meet the deadline.

Are you capping the numbers at the COP?

As with all COPs, the total number of people who can be on site at any one time is limited by the safety regulations. As per previous practice, no caps are anticipated for national delegations, and a quota system applies to admitted observer organizations.

Would those in countries where vaccines are not available need to travel to a neighbouring country that can administer the in-country vaccination? If so, who bears the travel cost?

We are working with the UN to prepare the logistics for this vaccine offer aiming to deliver it in the home country of each participant. No vaccination-related travel funding is anticipated.

Can the vaccination be combined with the visa application (if the nearest UK embassy is in the same country)?

No. These are two separate exercises. The UK does not plan to offer vaccinations at its embassies.

If I am vaccinated and I test positive for COVID-19, will I be expected to self-isolate?

Yes. We would expect everyone who tests positive for COVID to self-isolate for 10 days irrespective of their vaccination status.

How would the UK handle the moral question of queue jumping?

Tackling the climate emergency cannot wait and requires representatives from the whole globe sitting around the same table in Glasgow this November. 

We are not seeking to run a COP26 vaccination programme. Rather, we want to make sure that registered COP26 participants from around the world who will not be able to access a vaccine before the COP will have the option to get one.

It is important that different levels of vaccine supplies around the world do not impede attendance at the COP.

The UK has announced that we are sharing 100 million vaccines with the world by the end of this year. This is in addition to the funding the UK has already given to the COVAX programme and our work to ensure the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is distributed at no cost to the world.

An image of a globe depicting our planet, and the following text next to it: UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 In Partnership with Italy

18.06.2021

UK COP26 PRESIDENCY TO UNVEIL VISIONS OF A GLOBAL NET ZERO FUTURE

6 minute read

  • Government announces new global project, bringing together academics and local citizens from across the world to envision a net zero future
  • Facilitated by a consortium including the University of Cambridge, Deloitte and AECOM, the group will develop and showcase evidence-based visions representing six diverse regions of the world
  • As holders of this year’s G7 and COP26 Presidency, today’s launch builds on the Government’s promise to lead both the UK and the nations of the world in eliminating their contribution to climate change and building back greener

A ground-breaking new international collaboration between academics, business, civil society and citizens has been unveiled today by the UK COP26 Presidency (Friday 18 June), aimed at helping all nations of the world envision what a climate-resilient, net zero future would look like for them.

The ‘Visions for a Net Zero Future’ will bring together academics, business, civil society and citizens to look at the innovations and approaches that could deliver a greener, carbon-neutral society. The project will develop six visions, each focusing on a different region around the world – the UK, Jamaica, Brazil, Kenya, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and India.

The project will look at issues like electricity generation, agriculture, waste and water management, building design, reforestation and ocean conservation.

It will also demonstrate the advantages of making the transition to net zero, including for health, economic growth, and security, and to create benefits including cleaner air, cheaper energy sources, green jobs, protected biodiversity, and safer communities.

The UK was the first major economy to enshrine a net zero target in law, legislating to end its contribution to climate change by 2050. Ambitious policy action has seen the UK achieve record clean growth in the last three decades with its economy growing by 78% and emissions decreasing by 44% – a faster reduction than any other G7 nation.

The science is clear that to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need to put the world on a path to net zero emissions by the middle of the century.

This wonderfully innovative project will help communities around the world visualise how they can help achieve this and inspire the concrete action we need to keep that crucial 1.5C goal within sight ahead of COP26.

COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma

This new flagship project brings together the best and brightest scientists with communities around the world, helping drive forward global efforts to tackle climate change by putting their voices at the heart of the green transition.

The exciting visions developed through this science and innovation project will aim to inspire people across the globe ahead of COP26, improving our understanding of what net zero means for us all and the wide-ranging benefits of achieving it.

UK Energy and Climate Change Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan

The project is both academic and regionally driven, delivered by a global consortium led by Deloitte and facilitated by the University of Cambridge, AECOM, Radley Yeldar and One Young World. The consortium includes academic representation from each of the six regions.

The project brings together a broad group of regional stakeholders including young people, indigenous and rural communities, civil society, business, industry and government. Through a series of virtual workshops, this group will explore the evidence around different solutions, share their perspectives and determine their collective vision of the region’s future.

The COP26 visions will help to encourage bold climate commitments as well as action, as we move towards a climate resilient, net-zero future. In the run up to COP26 and beyond, it’s incredibly important that we take a science-led, collaborative approach by involving the public, business and governments in conversations about how to reach our climate goals. 

This in turn provides decision-makers across the globe with the resources and support needed to accelerate climate policy.

Hannah Routh, climate change and sustainability partner at Deloitte

“This important approach to envisioning a resilient and just net-zero future recognises that each part of the planet faces different climate challenges. Cambridge Zero is pleased to support ‘Visions for a Net Zero Future’ by bringing together experts from around the world, harnessing local knowledge to provide the evidence base to inspire action and create a better future for everyone.”

Dr Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero

To tackle the climate crisis, we must all be prepared to engage, show leadership, share our net zero resilience ambitions for the good of the world; and then deliver on them. In the true collaborative spirit of COP26, the consortium that has come together to deliver the ‘Visions for a Net Zero Future’ project will bring some of the most ambitious and innovative thinking to deliver a sustainable legacy that we can all be proud to put our names to.

We are proud to support the COP26 Presidency’s key goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Colin Wood, Chief Executive, Europe, AECOM

International collaboration in a fair and equitable way is essential in achieving a net zero world. Science for solutions will be critical in ensuring this is both sustainable and resilient. This project will bring together worldwide counterparts, working closely together, to utilise the best science to identify realistic paths to a brighter future.”

Paul Monks, Chief Scientific Adviser of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Senior Champion of the project

This project is an example of the UK’s ambition to help both at home and in nations around the world to tackle climate change and build back greener, building on the UK’s track record of supporting and spurring on climate action from other countries ahead of COP26. 

The visions and research findings of the project are set to be published in September 2021, acting as world-class evidence-based insights that will support a solutions-focussed COP26 in which science, innovation and evidence are at the forefront.


Notes to editors

  • The six ‘Visions’ will be shared as part of the Science & Innovation Theme Day at COP26.
  • This project is one of the three COP26 flagship science projects, alongside work on the Climate Risk Assessment and the COP26 Health Programme.
  • To further support its vision for transitioning to a net zero economy, the UK government will publish its Heat and Buildings and Transport Decarbonisation strategies to transform homes, businesses and public transport, as well as a comprehensive Net Zero Strategy, ahead of COP26, making the most of new green growth and sustainable employment opportunities across the UK.
An image of a globe depicting our planet, and the following text next to it: UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 In Partnership with Italy

21.05.2021

Co-Chairs’ Conclusions Petersberg Climate Dialogue

10 minute read

On 6-7 May 2021, 39 ministers and high-level representatives, including the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, met virtually for informal discussions on the invitation of Federal Minister for the Environment of Germany, Svenja Schulze, and COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma MP, of the United Kingdom.

The ministerial discussions focused on preparing for successful negotiations at COP26 in Glasgow. Each session was preceded by valuable contributions from stakeholders who provided insights to prompt the discussion. Ministers discussed how substantive outcomes at COP 26 can contribute to enhancing ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance, and the importance of finalising the outstanding elements of the Paris Rulebook. The co-chairs were encouraged by the willingness ministers expressed to compromise and to work together over the next six months to find solutions to the range of negotiations issues to be addressed in Glasgow, and to ultimately ensure COP26 delivers for people and the planet.

The ministerial discussions were enriched by keynote speeches from the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, and the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel. Chancellor Merkel announced that in order to increase intergenerational justice, Germany will further enhance its emissions reduction target for 2030 by 10 percentage points to 65 percent compared to 1990 levels and aim to achieve climate neutrality by 2045. Both UNSG Guterres and PM Johnson warmly welcomed this announcement. UNSG Guterres warned that while the world has made progress on climate action over the last year, we are still heading for a disastrous temperature rise of 2.4 degrees above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, moving us to the edge of the abyss. The UNSG stressed that the success of COP 26 now rests on achieving a breakthrough on adaptation and finance; this is a matter of urgency and trust. Prime Minister Johnson stressed the importance of achieving net zero emissions and limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, and the critical need for developed countries to meet and go beyond their collective USD 100bn per year climate finance mobilisation goal. He made clear that COP26 must be a summit of deeds and not words, and that Parties must use the coming six months productively to unlock issues in advance of meeting in Glasgow.

Adaptation

Ministers highlighted the political importance and the necessity of urgent action on adaptation, recognising the costs of inaction are far higher than those associated with taking early action, particularly for those most vulnerable. They reinforced the context specific nature of adaptation challenges, the need for planning to be driven at the local and national levels, and the merits of utilising nature-based solutions and ecosystem based approaches for both adaptation and mitigation. Ministers highlighted the importance of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), Adaptation Communications and/or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as tools through which to integrate adaptation into broader development and economic planning processes, support the recognition of adaptation action, share lessons learnt, understand progress and results achieved, and ensure international support for adaptation is guided by developing
country needs.

Ministers highlighted the importance of the Global Goal on Adaptation, the need for further discussions to better understand it, to facilitate action and support towards achieving it, and to assess and demonstrate collective progress towards it. They recognised the fundamental need to scale up adaptation finance from a variety of sources guided by country priorities, and the importance of improving the predictability, accessibility, quality and effectiveness of adaptation finance. A number of ministers also raised the critical importance of taking action to avert, minimise and address loss and damage, noting the impacts of climate change already being faced. Ministers reinforced the role they had to play in championing ambitious adaptation outcomes in Glasgow, and in ensuring ambitious adaptation action is reflected in their respective Adaptation Communications, NAPs and/or NDCs ahead of COP26.

Finance

Ministers agreed that climate finance is key on the road to COP26, and vital for enabling enhanced ambition and a successful outcome of the negotiations in Glasgow. Ministers emphasised the crucial importance of meeting the USD 100bn per year by 2020 mobilisation goal developed countries committed to in 2009, and of developed countries doing more to make sure this is delivered through to 2025. Many ministers expressed concern about relatively low levels of finance for adaptation, whilst noting that an increase in adaptation finance should not be at the expense of mitigation. Some ministers also mentioned the need for finance related to loss and damage.

Ministers considered transparency on finance mobilised to date and drawing lessons learned from the USD 100bn goal to be crucial in the context of initiating deliberations on the new post-2025 collective quantified finance goal. Noting that this new goal must be agreed prior to 2025, ministers highlighted that it should be seen as a driver for the transformation to green and resilient development pathways. In the context of the new goal, the importance of the following were mentioned: the operationalisation of Article 2.1c of the Paris Agreement, for the goal to be set with the needs of developing countries in mind, the accessibility of finance, the effectiveness of finance, and the importance of a transparent and inclusive process with both high-level and technical discussions. With regards to a successful initiation of the deliberations of the new goal at COP26, ministers noted the need for sufficient space for discussions and the need for clarity on the way forward, possibly in the form of a roadmap. Some ministers also noted the importance of ministerial discussions on this issue at COP26, to provide political direction for discussions.

Article 6

Ministers were clear on the importance of resolving Article 6 at COP26 as part of a balanced negotiated package, and the role Article 6 can play in raising ambition in both adaptation and mitigation actions. In reflecting on the main issues that ministers will need to consider this year, ministers had a rich exchange on the merits of different options in three key areas: the accounting treatment of emissions reductions under the Article 6.4 mechanism; the transition between the Clean Development Mechanism and the Article 6.4 mechanism; and the generation of finance for adaptation from both Article 6.2 and 6.4. Many ministers highlighted the need for compromise on these and other issues to reach an agreement.

To make progress ahead of COP26 by bridging the remaining substantive differences in positions, ministers agreed that negotiators will need to be empowered to go beyond existing positions. They will also need to engage proactively with those with whom they do not necessarily agree to find compromise. Many ministers also suggested continued ministerial engagement ahead of COP 26, including in-person meetings. In light of this, COP President-Designate Alok Sharma MP asked Minister Fu of Singapore and Minister Koizumi of Japan to lead a series of informal discussions on Article 6 with interested ministers, to report back to him ahead of an intended in-person ministerial meeting hosted by the UK in July. Minister Fu and Minister Koizumi agreed to take these discussions forward.

Common Time Frames for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)

Most ministers agreed on the need to agree on the issue of common time frames for NDCs at COP26, and well-ahead of the next NDC cycle in 2025. Ministers highlighted a range of options for the length of common time frames and expressed different preferences according to the risks and opportunities associated with each of them. On the role that ministers can play in supporting efforts to converge and resolve common time frames for NDCs, many noted the political nature of this issue and called for further political engagement, with some specifically calling on the Presidencies to consider ministerial consultations ahead of and at COP26, and for increased engagement between Parties on this issue above the technical level. Some ministers provided a clear mandate to technical negotiators that progress needs to be made at the upcoming June session by consolidating the options for consideration.

Many ministers highlighted the benefits of a single time frame alongside many also calling for a solution that caters to national considerations. Ministers highlighted the importance of ensuring the outcome enables greater ambition by being compatible with the ‘ambition cycle’ of the Paris Agreement and the Global Stocktake, with some mentioning the need to respond to the latest science and technological advances.

Transparency

Ministers agreed that the Enhanced Transparency Framework is central to the Paris Agreement. Transparency reporting enables Parties and the public to understand how others are acting on their commitments – both on action and support – which builds confidence in the system, facilitates the exchange of experiences, and promotes progress towards shared goals. They highlighted that adopting the necessary transparency tables and outlines is a critical part of finalising the outstanding elements of the Paris Rulebook at COP26. Some ministers set transparency in the context of the wider political package in Glasgow.

Many ministers recognised that reaching agreement on a balanced package requires the necessary groundwork to be laid in advance. In that context, ministers highlighted the extensive amount of technical work still to be done ahead of Glasgow, and the need for negotiators to use all the tools available to them to expedite progress well ahead of Glasgow. Ministers welcomed ongoing initiatives led by the Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and agreed to instruct their negotiators to engage constructively with a view to compromising in working up consolidated proposals and solutions ahead of Glasgow. Many ministers noted the importance of capturing in written form progress made in informal discussions, such as those led by the SBSTA Chair. Ministers recognised the importance of capacity building, to ensure all Parties are able to fulfil common reporting obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Concluding remarks and next steps

Concluding the two-day meeting, State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth, on behalf of Minister Svenja Schulze, and COP26 President Designate Alok Sharma MP
acknowledged the frank and constructive discussions on each of the topics, and thanked ministers for their commitment to reaching a successful outcome at COP26. In her reflections on what she gathered from the discussions, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa pointed out that agreement was within reach, if all parties are ready to compromise. The COP26 President Designate reinforced the need to maintain the momentum generated during the Dialogue, whilst pushing for further convergence well ahead of COP26. In that context, he set out the importance of the June intersessional and his intention to convene ministers in-person in July, to shape the Glasgow outcome and make further progress on key issues requiring a political resolution. In addition to inviting Minister Fu and Minister Koizumi to take forward informal discussions on Article 6, the COP President Designate indicated his intention to take a similar approach on other issues indicated as requiring political attention in due course.

Building on last year’s virtual approach, various satellite events, taking place from May 3 to May 10, accompanied this year’s ministerial segment. These involved a range of government and non-state actors and over 3,700 registered participants from around 80 countries, focusing on topics such as net zero transformation, biodiversity, and adaptation action.

Visual artist, Steffi Gendera, reflected her impressions of the discussions through a collection of digital sketches.

An image of a globe depicting our planet, and the following text next to it: UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 In Partnership with Italy

14.05.2021

Call for Climate Action Announcements from Private Finance Institutions ahead of COP26

2 minute read

The COP26 Presidency, Mark Carney’s Private Finance Hub and the High Level Climate Action Champions are calling for private finance institutions to make ambitious commitments around key events in the remaining six months to COP26.

Read the call for Climate Action Announcements from Private Finance Institutions.

Photograph of the Right Honourable Alok Sharma

14.05.2021

COP26 President Designate 6 months to go speech

15 minute read

This year’s climate summit COP26 will be the world’s best chance of building a cleaner, greener future – COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma in a major speech at Whitelee Windfarm, near Glasgow.

Good morning from Whitelee wind farm.

The epicentre of UK onshore wind.

Where the turbines behind me, some twice the height of the epic Glasgow Cathedral, are powering practically every home in the city.

Where, beneath Scottish skies, every revolution of these enormous blades generates enough electricity to charge 300 mobile phones.

And it is a snapshot, friends, of the future that is within our grasp, if we act now, and we act together, to protect our precious planet.

Astronauts speak of the intense emotion they feel when looking back at Earth from space, seeing it gleaming through the darkness of the cosmos. Incredible, improbable and infinitely precious.

What Buzz Aldrin has called, a “brilliant jewel in the black velvet sky”.

This is a planet, our planet, teeming with flora, fauna and human life.

Each one of us with our own hopes and aspirations for the future.

And yet, with all our destinies intrinsically bound together, on our life giving, but fragile planet.

Why we must act

And so we have the enormous responsibility, shared by each and every one of us, to protect it from a crisis of our own making.

Human activity is damaging our Earth.

It is imperilling this brilliant jewel.

The greenhouse gases that we have been pumping into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution are altering nature’s precious balance.

Disrupting the finely tuned and fantastically complex system, that is the world’s climate.

And the effects are now closing in.

Global temperatures are rising.

Last year was the hottest on record.

The last decade, was the hottest ever recorded.

In the past thirty years the world has lost up to half its coral reefs.

Half.

We have seen wildfires in the Pennines.

And floods in West Lothian.

All as pollution chokes our children.

And if we do not act now, the science tells us these effects will become more frequent and more brutal.

That we will witness a scale of global catastrophe, the likes of which the world has not seen.

And quite rightly, future generations will hold us responsible.

So we must demonstrate the same urgency in tackling climate change, that we are showing in fighting the coronavirus.

A brighter future

If we choose to act, there is another future possible.

One with clean air. And nature restored.

Where the world is protected from the worst effects of climate change.

And where we create jobs and prosperity, without harming the planet.

It is not a choice between cleaning up our environment and growing economies.

We can do both at the same time. Indeed we have done both at the same time.

The United Kingdom is a beacon of green growth.

And the Prime Minister is leading from the front, at home and internationally.

Over the last thirty years we have grown our economy by 78 percent, whilst cutting emissions by 44 percent.

In 2012, coal accounted for 40 percent of our electricity.

That figure is now less than 2 percent.

As a whole, the UK plans to phase out coal power by 2024.

Scotland has already done so.

In less than 20 years, we have developed the largest offshore wind sector in the world.

And we will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Putting us on track to end the sale of polluting vehicles, before any other G7 nation.

Around the world, we can replace dirty power with cheaper renewables.

Choking exhausts with zero-emissions vehicles.

And polluting jobs with clean ones.

There are already over 400,000 low carbon jobs here in the United Kingdom.

With new industrial hubs, in places like Teesside, Lowestoft and Hull.

And the Prime Minister’s 10 Point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution will help the economy flourish.

Attracting billions in investment and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Across the country, we aim for the economy to support two million green jobs over the next ten years.

In fact, just today, Scottish Power has announced 180 trainee opportunities for young people across the country.

Whitelee alone supports 600 jobs.

4,000 at the peak of its construction.

This wind farm is a centre of the low-carbon economy.

A tangible demonstration of our green industrial revolution.

And a haven for plants and animals.

This is the future young people around the world are demanding.

The future shown in the submissions to our ‘Creative Earth’ art competition.

The winner of this competition, Emma Khadeh, is with us today.

So huge congratulations Emma on a really powerful image.

And it is a future, that is still within our grasp.

So long as we act now, and we act together.

To limit the rise in global temperatures.

By building back greener.

And building back better.

Overall climate action objective

We already know what we are aiming for.

In 2015, the world signed the Paris Agreement.

An international deal to tackle the climate crisis, which commits us to limit global temperature rises to well below two degrees, aiming for 1.5.

That 1.5 degree target is critical.

Indeed, every fraction of a degree makes a difference.

The science shows, that a temperature rise of two degrees, rather than 1.5, would mean hundreds of millions more people affected.

Twice as many plant, and three times as many insect species losing vast swathes of their habitat.

But since that 1.5 target was set, since the Paris Agreement was signed, the world has not done nearly enough.

All the time, the science is getting starker.

And it will continue to do so.

And now, to keep 1.5 degrees within reach, to keep 1.5 alive, we must halve global emissions by 2030.

So this is the decisive decade.

And we must act now, to launch a consistent and concerted effort to reduce emissions throughout the next ten years.

And to use the Covid-19 recovery to reimagine our economies.

Because the investments we make today, as we repair the economic damage inflicted by the pandemic, will shape this decade.

Whether we like it or not, whether through action or inaction, we are now choosing the future.

This is what makes the next United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, COP26, so critical.

If we do not take this chance to keep 1.5 degrees alive, it will slip from our grasp.

And so will our best hope of building the future we want to see.

So COP26 must be the moment that every country, and every part of society, embraces their responsibility, to protect our precious planet.

And, keep 1.5 alive.

COP26 goals

And we have a plan to get it to do so.

As COP26 President I am pressing for action around four key goals.

And we have a fantastic ally to inspire the world: our new COP26 People’s Advocate, Sir David Attenborough.

First goal

Our first goal is to put the world on a path to driving down emissions, until they reach net zero by the middle of this century.

And that’s because if we want to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, the science is clear that by 2050 we should not be producing more carbon dioxide, than we are taking out of the atmosphere.

Because it is greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that are heating our planet.

Driving up global temperatures.

So we are asking all countries to set targets to get us to net zero by the middle of the century, and to come forward with 2030 emissions reduction targets to take us there.

Targets based on the science, so that net zero is not just some vague aspiration, but a concrete plan.

The Prime Minister, I, fellow Ministers, and our whole diplomatic network, have been making this case robustly around the world.

Personally I have met Ministers in 115 governments, both physically and virtually, since I took on the role of COP President Designate.

And we have made some progress on the journey to cutting emissions.

Around 70 percent of the world economy is now covered by net zero targets, up from less than 30 percent when the UK took on the COP26 Presidency.

All G7 nations now have 2030 emissions reduction targets, aligned with net zero by 2050.

It is progress. But there is much, much more to be done.

Despite all the commitments made so far, we are still not on track to limit warming to below 2 degrees, let alone 1.5.

Developed countries have a responsibility to lead on climate action, but everyone, especially major economies, must play their part.

So we are working with our Italian friends, our COP26 partners, and holders of the G20 Presidency, to urge robust emissions reduction targets across the G20.

And we are pushing for action in vital areas like power generation, clean transport and halting deforestation.

Because if we are serious about 1.5 degrees, Glasgow must be the COP that consigns coal power to history.

The COP that signals the end of polluting vehicles.

The COP that tackles methane emissions.

And that calls time on deforestation, by making sustainable production pay.

So we are calling on countries to commit to all new cars being zero emission by 2040, or earlier.

And we have established the COP26 Zero Emissions Vehicle Transition Council.

Bringing together governments representing some of the world’s largest car markets to get the transition moving faster.

To make sure sustainable production pays, we are co-hosting the Forest Agriculture and Commodity Trade Dialogue, with Indonesia, to protect forests and help farmers make a better living.

And we are mobilising investment in forest protection and sustainable production.

And, on coal, we are working directly with governments and through international organisations. To end international coal financing.

This is a personal priority for me.

And we are urging countries to abandon coal power, seeking the G7 to lead the way.

At the same time, we are working with developing countries to support their transition to clean energy.

Including through our COP26 Energy Transition Council, which aims to make clean power the best option for all and support a just transition.

The days of coal providing the cheapest form of power are in the past.

And in the past they must remain.

Because the science is clear that to keep 1.5 degrees alive, coal must go.

And the reality is, renewables are cheaper than coal across the majority of countries.

The coal business is, as the UN Secretary General has said, going up in smoke.

It’s old technology.

So let’s make COP26 the moment we leave it in the past where it belongs, while supporting workers and communities to make the transition, by creating good green jobs to fill the gap.

Second goal

Our second goal is to protect people and nature.

The climate is already changing, and it will continue to do so, even as we reduce emissions.

In some cases with devastating impacts.

I have met communities around the world who have been driven out of their villages because of the ravages of the climate crisis.

Their stories are devastating.

Heart-breaking.

Having been born in India, a proud British citizen, and having spent time as Secretary of State for International Development, I am committed that this COP will deliver for the communities most vulnerable to climate change.

So we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to build flood defences and climate resilient infrastructure, to introduce early warning systems, and plant crops resistant to climate extremes.

To facilitate this, we have launched the Adaptation Action Coalition where countries can share and scale solutions.

We are asking every country to arrive in Glasgow having set out their adaptation priorities.

And we are determined to accelerate progress towards the Global Goal for Adaptation.

And we are pressing for action to avert, minimise and address the loss and damage caused by climate change.

That is why we are supporting the Risk Informed Early Action Partnership to drive early action.

And this partnership seeks to bring governments and other partners together, to make a billion people safer from climate disaster by 2025.

And it is why we are determined to get the Santiago Network up and running, to connect climate vulnerable countries to the assistance they need.

We must also deal with the vital issue of significantly increasing funding for these efforts.

And that moves me on to our third goal…

Third goal

…mobilising finance to tackle climate change.

Without adequate finance, the task ahead is near impossible.

And I ask Ministers from developed nations to imagine what it is like for communities on the frontline of climate change.

Struggling to deal with a crisis they did next to nothing to create.

To feel what it is like, to see developed countries invest trillions overnight to address the Covid-19 Pandemic, whilst the $100 billion a year that we have promised to support developing countries with remains uncertain.

The UK is playing its part, doubling our international climate finance to £11.6 billion over five years.

So I say to my fellow donor countries, that we must all keep our obligations, deliver on that $100billion, and support developing countries to respond to the climate crisis.

It is a matter of trust.

And this is a focus of our G7 Presidency.

We must also make finance easier to access and increase the sums available to protect people and nature. This is another priority for me.

In March, I brought together Ministers from 50 governments and multilateral institutions to address these issues. We are focussed on delivering on the commitments made at that meeting.

And we are working to increase the finance available to support climate action, such as by urging development banks to align with the Paris Agreement, set ambitious targets for climate financing and support green recoveries.

And calling on the IMF and major economies to respond to debt distress.

Including through the Special Drawing Rights process, to support sustainable recoveries.

And I very much welcome the leadership of the IMF in proposing a new $650billion Special Drawing Rights allocation.

And I urge all developed countries to join us in these efforts.

And to help mobilise that $100billion a year.

We are also working to get private finance flowing, and collaborating with donors and development banks to create investment opportunities in emerging markets.

The good news is that many investors see the green economy as an historic investment opportunity.

And global asset managers responsible for $37 trillion worth of assets, are now signed up to a 2050 net zero target.

This represents around 40 percent of the industry.

But, course, we are pushing for more.

Fourth goal

Our fourth goal is working together.

Encouraging cooperation across borders and across society to keep the 1.5 degree target in reach.

This means bringing businesses and civil society on board, behind our COP26 goals and building up international collaboration in critical sectors.

And building consensus among governments, so the negotiations in Glasgow are a success. These negotiations will be wide-ranging.

And will seek to drive action on emissions, adaptation and support.

Including by finalising those last elements of the Paris Rulebook, the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement.

We must find a solution on carbon markets.

We must resolve the issues around transparent reporting, to build confidence in the system and support all countries to meet their commitments.

And we must broker agreement around Common Timeframes, to drive ambition from governments over the coming years.

There are a series of events over the next six months, to allow us to build consensus ahead of Glasgow.

And we need every country to play its part, so that we address every issue, and reach a balanced agreement, when we meet around the negotiating table at COP26.

Physical meeting

Which we will do in less than 15 miles from here.

In under six months’ time.

I am told that on a clear day at Whitelee, you just about see the conference centre, where decisions will be made in November that shape the future of our planet.

Where, as well as achieving a negotiated outcome, I hope we will see further progress on each of our four goals, as part of an inclusive summit where all voices are heard.

And that includes the voices of developing countries, of women, of young people and Indigenous Peoples.

Historically marginalised communities are some of the most impacted by climate change, and hold some of the most effective solutions to tackling it.

For me, it is vital that developing nations are able to sit at the same table, face-to-face, with the larger countries, the big emitters.

I have always championed the need for a physical COP.

The desire for one is what I have been hearing loud and clear from governments and communities around the world.

So we are planning for a physical summit, where ensuring the safety of delegates and the local community will be paramount.

Along with our colleagues in the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, Public Health bodies and the UN, we are exploring every possible Covid security measure.

That includes testing, vaccines and other measures to keep COP26 Covid free.

In due course, we will share our plans so that delegates coming to Glasgow, and indeed the whole of the British public, have confidence in COP26 going ahead safely.

Allowing us to seize the moment.

When Margaret Thatcher raised the alarm on climate change at the United Nations in 1989, she said:

“We are not the lords, we are the Lord’s creatures, the trustees of this planet, charged today with preserving life itself…

… with all its mystery and all its wonder.

May we all be equal to that task.”

And now, more than thirty years on, we have come to the moment of truth.

This is our last hope of keeping 1.5 degrees alive.

Our best chance of building a brighter future.

A future of green jobs and cleaner air.

I have faith that world leaders will rise to the occasion, and not be found wanting in their tryst with destiny.

That, in six months time, when we are packing up and going home,

we will be able to say, that at this critical juncture, each of us took responsibility.

That we chose to act.

And that we kept 1.5 degrees alive.

In preparing for this speech I asked my daughters what message I should give to world leaders about their priorities.

Their response was simple: “please, tell them to pick the planet.”

And that’s the message I want to leave you with today.

A message from my daughters.

A message from future generations.

This is our moment.

There are no second chances.

So please, let’s pick the planet.

I have faith that working together with all of you in a collaborative manner, we will make the right choices.

We owe that to ourselves. And to future generations.

Thank you.

Photograph of the Right Honourable Alok Sharma

14.05.2021

COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma: “Pick the planet”

5 minute read

This year’s climate summit COP26 will be the world’s best chance of building a cleaner, greener future, COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma will say in a major speech outside of Glasgow today.
  • COP26 is our “best chance” of limiting rising global temperatures to 1.5C
  • Mr Sharma to stress the need to end coal power to tackle climate change
  • Speech details UK’s efforts as hosts of COP26 between now and Glasgow

This year’s major climate summit COP26 will be the world’s best chance of building a cleaner, greener future, COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma will say today (Friday 14 May).

In a major speech outside of Glasgow where, in six months’ time COP26 will have wrapped up, Mr Sharma will outline how the UK is striving to make sure these two weeks are the moment that every country and every part of society embraces their responsibility to protect our planet. 

He will be supported by government ministers who will be taking part in climate-related visits throughout Friday to show how the UK is greening all parts of society – from hospitals and prisons, to jobs and transport.

The COP26 President-Designate’s speech will explain how the UK is working towards success in Glasgow. This centres around working with all countries to make a consistent and concerted effort in four areas: Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, enabling communities and natural habitats to adapt to the impacts of climate change, mobilising climate finance, and working together to deliver action. 

COP26 will bring together climate negotiators from 196 countries, the EU, as well as businesses, organisations, experts and world leaders at the SEC in Glasgow from 1-12 November. 

Six years on from COP21, when the Paris Agreement was reached and the world agreed to limit global warming to 1.5C, this year’s summit will be where all countries commit to the action needed to keep this target alive.

This is our last hope of keeping 1.5 degrees alive. Our best chance of building a brighter future. A future of green jobs and cleaner air. I have faith that world leaders will rise to the occasion and not be found wanting in their tryst with destiny. That, in six months time, when we are packing up and going home, we will be able to say that at this critical juncture, each of us took responsibility. That we chose to act. And that we kept 1.5 degrees alive

In preparing for this speech I asked my daughters what message I should give to world leaders about their priorities. Their response was simple: “please, tell them to pick the planet.” And that’s the message I want to leave you with today. A message from my daughters. A message from future generations. This is our moment. There are no second chances. Let’s pick the planet.

The speech will have a particular focus on the importance of ending the world’s reliance on coal, and embracing the opportunities of renewable power.

On this, Mr Sharma is expected to say:

Because if we are serious about 1.5 degrees, Glasgow must be the COP that consigns coal to history… we are working directly with governments, and through international organisations. To end international coal financing. This is a personal priority.  And to urge countries to abandon coal power, with the G7 leading the way.

Whilst working with developing countries to support their transition to clean energy…  

“…The days of coal providing the cheapest form of power are in the past. And in the past they must remain… The coal business is, as the UN Secretary General has said, going up in smoke. It’s old technology. So let’s make COP26 the moment we leave it in the past where it belongs, while supporting workers and communities to make the transition. Creating good green jobs to fill the gap.

The UK is leading the way in climate action. In 2012, 40% of our electricity came from coal. That figure is now less than 2%. Which shows that change is possible. The UK was the first country to pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, we will completely phase out coal power by 2024 and will end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. 

Indeed going green and boosting prosperity are not mutually exclusive, over the last 30 years British governments have grown our economy by 78% while cutting emissions by 44%. 

Ends.


Notes to Editors:

  • Alok Sharma will be speaking at 0945 on 14/05/2021 and can be viewed here
  • COP26 is regarded widely as the most significant climate event since COP21, the 2015 United Nations climate conference which resulted in the Paris Agreement. At Paris, for the first time, the world set the goal to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels (1850-1900). 
  • COP26 is the agreed five-yearly stocktake point where countries will agree action to reach this 1.5C target.

10.05.2021

Sir David Attenborough named COP26 People’s Advocate

5 minute read

Historian and broadcaster to address world leaders and the public ahead of and at COP26 in November
  • Broadcaster and natural historian to work with the UK as host of COP26 to inspire action in the run up to the summit
  • Sir David will address world leaders and the public ahead of and at Glasgow in November
  • This appointment marks the pivotal moment of 6 months to go to COP26.

Sir David Attenborough becomes COP26 People’s Advocate for the UK’s Presidency of the UN climate change summit in Glasgow this November.

With six months to go before the UK brings world leaders together for key climate talks, the renowned natural historian and broadcaster will put forward the compelling case to global leaders, key decision makers and the public for why climate action matters, to evidence the progress underway, and to highlight the actions decision makers will need to take ahead of and at COP26.

He will address world leaders at major international events over the next six months, including the G7 Summit in Cornwall in June, to firmly put climate and the protection of nature at the top of their agenda, and he has also been invited to address world leaders and the public at the Glasgow Summit – the most important climate meeting since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Sir David Attenborough has already inspired millions of people in the UK and around the world with his passion and knowledge to act on climate change and protect the planet for future generations. There is no better person to build momentum for further change as we approach the COP26 climate summit in November. I am hugely grateful to Sir David for agreeing to be our People’s Advocate.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson

I am greatly honoured to be given the role of People’s Advocate. There could not be a more important moment that we should have international agreement. The epidemic has shown us how crucial it is to find agreement among nations if we are to solve such worldwide problems. But the problems that await us within the next 5 – 10 years are even greater. It is crucial that these meetings in Glasgow, COP26, have success, and that at last the nations will come together to solve the crippling problems that the world now faces.

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David has previously stressed the importance of COP26. Addressing the UN Security Council in February, on the invitation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he described COP26 as possibly “our last opportunity to make the necessary step-change” towards protecting the planet.

Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity and the stakes could not be higher for our planet. The next decade will be make, or break, for cutting global emissions sufficiently to avoid the worst effects of climate change. That is why I am delighted to be working with Sir David, a hero for our country and our planet, to inspire action ahead of COP26.

COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma

The appointment comes as Alok Sharma is urging governments, international organisations, businesses, and civil society to accelerate bold pledges ahead of the summit, to put the world on a path to net zero emissions by mid-century.

Ends.


Notes to Editors:

  1. This year, the UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26, in Glasgow with our partners, Italy. This will provide an opportunity for the world to come together and commit to urgent action.
  2. As hosts of COP26, the UK is leading by example during this unprecedented time. Guided by science, we are investing in a green recovery which creates sustainable jobs and addresses the urgent and linked challenges of public health, climate change, and biodiversity loss.
  3. The UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire action ahead of COP26.

An image of a globe depicting our planet, and the following text next to it: UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 In Partnership with Italy

01.04.2021

Climate & Development Ministerial Chair’s Summary

The UK COP26 Presidency convened a Climate and Development Ministerial on 31 March 2021.

10 minute read

Ministers from Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, the European Union, Fiji, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United States, United Arab Emirates, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, and heads of the Asian Development Bank, Green Climate Fund, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, African Development Bank, Adaptation Fund, Caribbean Development Bank, Global Environment Facility, Inter-American Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, The Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) India, The Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus and youth representatives from The Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association, and Footsteps Bangladesh attended the Ministerial. In such challenging times, the COP26 Presidency was heartened by participants’ show of unity to address the collective challenges caused by climate change, and fervour to seize this once in a generation chance to deliver a global green and resilient recovery from COVID-19. 

In his opening remarks the COP26 President emphasised the need for partners to come together around practical solutions. He reiterated that the steps taken today were in support of the COP26 Presidency’s stated goals of cutting emissions to keep 1.5 degrees in reach, facilitating greater action on adaptation, mobilising finance for climate action and coming together to make the COP26 negotiations a success. The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Secretary emphasised the need to consider where international systems can do more to deliver urgent climate action. Speaking directly to the donors and financial institutions in the room, he emphasised that the mobilisation of finance is essential for implementation of the Paris agreement, and that we need to tackle this head on alongside the intertwined issue of recovery from the pandemic. Ahead of this ministerial a series of independent expert workshops helped to identify a set of key issues for Ministerial Discussion. Individual contributions made during the discussions have been combined with written submissions from non-participants, and remarks at an all Member State briefing at the UN, and captured below. 

All participants welcomed the opportunity to address issues related to climate and development in the round; recognising the importance of it to tackling climate change and making progress towards a green and resilient recovery from COVID-19 ahead of COP26. Ministers and representatives from institutions and civil society discussed the following and agreed to take steps ahead of COP26 as outlined in the climate and development pathway annexed to this Chair’s Summary. The UK COP26 Presidency will reflect on progress in September 2021.

Access to finance

Ministers outlined the urgent need for access to all types of finance, to decarbonise their economies, and adapt to climate change as the world recovers from COVID-19. Participants recognised that whilst the amount of climate finance was increasing, there were barriers to accessing the finance needed to support the delivery of climate action and sustainable development.

Participants highlighted challenges including: the transparency of finance flows, high application and reporting requirements for bilateral and multilateral finance, and the importance of harmonising requirements across finance providers. The importance of increased use of direct access modalities was also raised by several participants. The participants recognised that political will was required to streamline and simplify approaches and that greater individual and collective action would be needed before COP26. Aligning climate finance behind national plans, including Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans, was proposed by many as a more effective way to finance climate action. Enhanced support for development of national plans as integrated investment tools and the importance of strengthened in-country-coordination between climate finance providers were highlighted as key components.

Following calls for a Task Force on access to finance, the UK will work with Fiji and other interested countries to initiate a new Task Force on access to finance. Interested vulnerable and developing countries, finance providers and existing initiatives will be convened with a view to presenting a concept note and work plan by the Petersberg Climate Dialogue on 6-7th May. The aim will be to agree to pilot a new approach in some pioneer countries by COP26.

Participants highlighted challenges in accessing available finance from the climate funds, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The Updated Strategic Plan for the GCF contains commitments on improving access. The June and October meetings of the GCF Board are important moments for Board members to ensure progress on the work plan for implementing these commitments. Participants also discussed the need to increase the proportion of finance that reaches the local level and that new mechanisms were needed to improve access and empower the most vulnerable countries and communities. Several participants highlighted the challenges for all climate vulnerable countries, whatever their level of income, in accessing public and private finance.

Responses to Climate Impacts

Participants stressed that increased Nationally Determined Contributions and near-term action to mitigate against climate change were essential for limiting warming below 1.5 degrees and limiting future adaptation needs. Several countries outlined their intention to bring forward their nationally determined contributions and some highlighted the importance of a just transition away from coal with support playing an important role. Other participants noted the importance of relocation with dignity where necessary, respecting nations’ sovereignty. 

Participants emphasised that the effects of climate change are already being felt, and that it is often the most vulnerable who are hit hardest. Participants raised a range of practical challenges to taking action on adaptation and loss & damage and stressed the urgent need to accelerate action to address growing extreme weather. The country specific nature of climate extremes was also noted, especially in countries particularly vulnerable to climate change, reflecting that the global response needed to respond to these differences. Participants highlighted the importance of mainstreaming climate risk and adaptation into government-wide national planning and budgeting and enabling national capacity to effectively deliver sustainable development and growth. Participants also highlighted the value of National Adaptation Plans and Adaptation Communications to this end. Climate modelling and data was also recognised as an important tool to help facilitate early action. The importance of integrating nature based solutions into national planning was underlined, with a number of participants referencing examples of best practice. The incoming COP26 Presidency encourages submission of these ahead of COP26, wherever possible. 

The importance of drawing on the knowledge held by indigenous peoples, women, rural communities, young people and local authorities was also emphasised, along with the importance of pursuing rights-based approaches. The Principles for Locally Led Adaptation were noted as an effective framework to bring local actors into decision making on climate adaptation. Participants noted the importance of investment in countries’ long-term capacity to manage and implement action, following the example of the LDCs as set out in their 2050 vision. During consultations, initiatives such as the African Adaptation Initiative and LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience were recognised as important vehicles for supporting national, regional and local ownership of projects.

Many participants acknowledged the opportunities for job creation, role of technology and innovation, and wider sustainable development in action to prepare for and respond to climate impacts. Participants called for more opportunities for building capacity across key sectors – including agriculture, infrastructure and water security –  for sharing good practice, and scalable solutions that can be replicated across different country-contexts. Platforms such as the Adaptation Action Coalition would be a good forum for taking this work forward.

Participants identified improvements in disaster risk reduction, response, and support to improve the resilience of infrastructure and critical services as crucial. They highlighted the importance of improved access to affordable disaster risk finance to protect against residual risks. Regional risk pools were highlighted as an approach that enabled strong local ownership. Participants also highlighted the need for strengthened international risk forecasting to increase preparedness to major crisis risk.  As G7 President, the United Kingdom outlined its intention to host discussions on these issues at the Foreign and Development Ministers Meeting on 3 May with a view to securing additional financial support by the G7 Leaders’ Summit on 11-13 June. 

Participants underlined the importance of finding practical solutions to tackle loss and damage. The COP26 Presidency announced its intention to host consultations, in cooperation with Chile, with parties and other stakeholders with a view to advancing operationalisation of the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage ahead of COP26. The incoming Presidency will similarly hold workshops with parties on the Global Goal on Adaptation, to build mutual understanding on how progress on the Global Goal can be understood and represented.    

Quantity, quality and composition of climate finance

Participants outlined the financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the opportunity for a global green and resilient recovery. Many participants  highlighted the scale of the climate finance needed to implement national climate action. Whilst there was a recognition that all forms of finance would play a role – public and private, domestic and international – participants stressed the urgency and importance of developed countries delivering on their commitment to jointly mobilise $100bn of climate finance a year by 2020, recognising that this is a floor and not a ceiling, and increasing this through to 2025, from a range of public and private sources. 

Participants agreed that there was a pressing need to scale up finance for adaptation and resilience, with many calling for a better balance between mitigation and adaptation finance, and some suggesting that developed countries should aim for a 50:50 ratio in their public finance. Many also noted the importance of an increase in grant financing, especially for adaptation. Participants also raised the importance of investing in nature-based solutions. A new multi-stakeholder initiative, the Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity Initiative, was launched today to strengthen high-quality voluntary carbon markets, highlighting the opportunity to increase private finance flows into a range of sectors important to national mitigation and adaptation plans, including forests and land-use.

It was highlighted that transparency and predictability of finance was imperative to a resilient recovery and sustained investment in climate action. The COP26 Presidency will take forward discussions on the future finance agenda and transparency and predictability in advance of the COP. Participants also discussed the importance of transparency for attracting private finance and the importance of long-term financing. Climate finance was highlighted as an important factor for advancing equality and social inclusion, increasing gender responsiveness, the inclusivity of persons with disabilities and delivering on the needs of those most impacted by climate change. 

Developed country Ministers stressed their commitment to increasing both the quality and quantity of finance towards the $100bn a year goal and particularly to improve the balance of adaptation to mitigation finance. A pathway for addressing these challenges was outlined, noting the Earth Day Summit, Petersberg Climate Dialogue and the G7 Leaders’ Summit as critical opportunities for further climate finance pledges. The Petersberg Dialogue was highlighted as an important moment for further action; including discussion of how fulfilment of the $100bn could support a green and resilient recovery from COVID-19.

Participants highlighted the role of international financial institutions and development banks and their boards. Some participants called for a more creative approach to development bank financing, recognising the climate and COVID-19 emergencies and taking more risk on balance sheets. Participants highlighted that work should be prioritised to assess Multilateral Development Banks capacity to provide further financing, through both additional concessional financing including a replenishment of IDA and progress on balance sheet optimisation. Others went further and called for progress on reviewing the financial architecture and deeper reforms, highlighting opportunities for restructuring the global financial architecture in support of greater financial flows. 

Participants acknowledged the need to mobilise greater flows of private finance towards adaptation, the need for new financial instruments and to secure support to grow the markets of local companies providing resilience products and services. They reiterated the important role of Development Finance Institutions, IFIs and international climate funds. The COP26 Presidency noted the DFI+ Collaborative on Accelerating Investment in Adaptation and Resilience, launched in November at the Finance in Common Summit. This brings together Development Financial Institutions and other development agencies to improve coordination between actions needed to help overcome barriers to private investment in adaptation and climate resilience. Additional members from the G7 and EDFI are being invited to join ahead of the next Finance in Common Summit and COP26.The United Kingdom confirmed it would raise the need for significant commitments from DFIs at the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers Meeting.  

Participants raised several elements related to the formal UNFCCC process, including on the long-term finance agenda and initiation of deliberations on the new collective finance goal post-2025. The COP26 Presidency reiterated that the $100bn goal is of the utmost importance to all countries, and expressed its commitment to driving progress on all UNFCCC issues. Many participants also raised the importance of aligning financial flows with the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, with some suggesting the importance of greater discussion on the implementation of Article 2.1c.

Fiscal Space and debt sustainability

Participants recognised that governments’ fiscal pressures have been exacerbated by the pandemic, impacting countries’ abilities to pursue their development priorities, including the increasingly urgent and evident issues of climate change and biodiversity loss. Some participants noted that climate impacts such as disasters or extreme weather, further constrain fiscal space. According to the IMF/World Bank debt sustainability analyses, about half of low-income developing countries are at high risk of debt distress or are in debt distress already.  Creating fiscal space, both through international initiatives and domestic efforts, was judged as critical to creating the conditions for countries to achieve a green, inclusive and resilient recovery.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the international community has come together to help alleviate the fiscal challenges of the pandemic faced by low-income countries, including those most vulnerable to climate change. The IMF, Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and G20 have agreed a series of measures to address these challenges and create fiscal space including through the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI, and the replenishment of the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust. In addition, the IMF has approved financial assistance to 85 countries so far, totalling USD 107 billion and MDBs have collectively aimed to commit approximately USD 230 billion to emerging and low-income countries as a response to the pandemic.

Participants expressed their strong support for the sustained roll out of these measures and agreed that the financial reform discussions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic should take a structural approach that fully considered climate risks and opportunities. Participants also recognised the importance of increased transparency and quality of climate finance, including effective options for access to concessional finance and innovative financial tools, which will help to avoid increasing fiscal pressures in the pursuit of climate goals. The significant potential of boosting domestic resources mobilisation was also highlighted, for example through combating illicit financial flows and technical assistance to protect the domestic tax base and the environment through implementing policy tools such as international tax standards and carbon pricing.           

The IMF highlighted that a new SDR allocation of $650 billion would provide a liquidity boost for all members. The voluntary reallocation of SDRs by countries with strong external positions to support the most vulnerable member countries would also be welcome. Participants noted that this would free up further resources for the most vulnerable countries, providing more space to pursue green, inclusive and resilient pathways as part of their recovery.

The IMF outlined that it is stepping up its engagement on climate, including in its Article IV consultations reports and Financial Sector Stability Assessments. These efforts will strengthen the assessment of climate risk and transition strategies within its macroeconomic and financial stability surveillance, and also highlight the benefits of countries’ supporting climate investment to encourage low-carbon and climate resilient growth, and fiscally sustainable economies. The World Bank, in collaboration with the IMF/UN/OECD and other stakeholders, is hosting a Climate, Debt and Nature working group. The working group will provide further details on how it would take forward discussions on these issues during the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings in October.

Italy, in their role as Presidency of the G20, attach priority to stepping up support for vulnerable countries especially Low Income Countries. To this aim it highlighted that further discussions on debt are taking place through the G20 Finance Track. Italy noted that they were working to reach a consensus in support of a further and final extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to end-2021, while also highlighting continuing collaborative work on the Common Framework, with the involvement of the private sector. Participants welcomed that these issues are being taken forward. Italy flagged the meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to be held in Venice in July as a key event for discussing climate issues.

Italy also highlighted the work of the G20 Development Working Group, which will support the implementation of Integrated National Financing Frameworks, the use of debt-related resources towards the SDGs, and scaling-up financial instruments linked to sustainability in developing countries. France highlighted that the Summit on African Economies, in May, will cover the fiscal and economic challenges facing countries.

Next steps

The UK Presidency will work with countries, institutions, civil society, and others on the issues and actions highlighted in this summary in the run up to COP26.

Some of the key milestones are set out in accompanying pathway document here.

An image of a globe depicting our planet, and the following text next to it: UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 In Partnership with Italy

24.02.2021

UK to host global summit on climate and development

COP26 President and Foreign Secretary to co-host March 31st summit on supporting countries most vulnerable to climate change.

6 minute read

  • Developing countries face multiple threats from rising temperatures, economic shocks and COVID-19
  • Climate and Development Ministerial will look mitigating the impacts of climate change, debt relief and access to finance

Countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change will be the focus of a UK summit next month, as part of the road to COP26 in Glasgow this year. 

Many developing countries are experiencing the impacts of climate change – including flooding, drought and extreme temperatures. These countries are also facing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting financial pressures. 

The Climate and Development Ministerial will bring together countries and partners to focus on how we work together on these issues and prevent them from getting worse. This includes through mitigating the impacts of climate change, debt relief and access to finance. 

The event, which will be hosted by the UK and co-chaired by the COP President, Alok Sharma and the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, will be convened virtually on the 31st March. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for COP26, will also attend. 

Developing countries have been at the frontlines of responding for decades and have a lot to teach the world about best practice.

The outcomes from this will help to shape the agenda in other key international fora through to COP26 and beyond.

“One of my top priorities as COP President is to champion global action for vulnerable countries on the frontline of climate change and the Climate and Development Ministerial is a key part of this approach.”

COP26 President Designate, Alok Sharma

“The world’s poor are disproportionately affected by these issues, but stand ready to meet this challenge. This process from the UK government is critical for bringing together experts from all regions to co-design practical solutions with developing countries to deliver a step-change on climate and development this year.”

Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, Andrew Norton
Proudly Hosted In Glasgow COP26 thumbnail

20.01.2021

COP26 volunteer programme launches ahead of global event

3 minute read

People asked to step forward and get involved as applications open.

Applications have today, Wednesday 20 January, opened for the volunteer programme for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP26.

The UK will host the international summit at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow on 1 – 12 November 2021 and Glasgow City Council is looking for a team of around 1000 volunteers to support the staging of this globally significant event.

Anyone interested in volunteering is invited to step forward and submit their application at www.ukcop26.org/volunteer. Applications are open now until Wednesday, 31 March.

These vital climate talks are expected to bring together the largest gathering of heads of state ever hosted in the UK, alongside climate experts and campaigners, to agree coordinated action to tackle the climate emergency.

A variety of volunteer roles will be available in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, including providing information on the conference and the venues, supporting delegates staying in and travelling around the city, and promoting the best of what Glasgow and Scotland has to offer.

Glasgow has firmly established itself among the best in the world at hosting world-class events and volunteers have long been at their centre. Our COP26 volunteers will provide delegates and visitors with our world-famous warm Glasgow welcome, ensuring they have the best possible experience. We are proud to be staging COP26 and I would encourage anyone interested in grasping this opportunity to step forward and be part of our volunteering team. You will be joining a collective of people who share your enthusiasm for the event, the cause and our vibrant city.

Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Susan Aitken

Time and time again we see the generosity of the great British public in making global events a triumph, and we are asking you to play a part in making COP26 a huge success. This is an exciting opportunity to volunteer in Glasgow and help us all tackle climate change.

COP26 President Alok Sharma

Being part of the volunteering programme is a cracking opportunity to represent your city. Through volunteering I’ve learned so many things and met so many people. Volunteering at COP26, in particular, will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance so for anyone thinking of applying, my advice would be: do it! Event volunteering is such a buzz, you get so much from it and it opens your mind. There’s also a community spirit among all the volunteers. You’re joining people from all walks of life and it gives you a warm feeling to know you’re part of that team.

Proud Glaswegian Karen Donaldson from Cardonald, who has volunteered at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Glasgow Doors Open Day

I’m very passionate about climate change so the COP26 volunteer programme is a fantastic opportunity for me to follow that passion and represent the city I love and call home, to an international audience. Whether you want to have new experiences, learn new skills or represent your city, I recommend you take this opportunity to be involved in a collective, collaborative effort in Glasgow and make it your own. It’s a really exciting thing to be part of and I personally hope to come away with a fantastic experience that I’ve learned from and can use in the future.

Scott Twigg of Govanhill, who is originally from Liverpool and has lived in Glasgow for five years

Ahead of taking on their roles, volunteers will receive a workshop on sustainability from the UN and be given the training and tools required to carry out their roles successfully and confidently.

As part of the recruitment launch, local volunteering ambassadors from across the city have stepped up to be the face of the campaign and encourage others to get involved.

They spoke about their experience of volunteering and its many benefits, including gaining valuable life and career experience and new skills, meeting new people, having fun and feeling part of a community.

COP26 was postponed by a year to November 2021 to allow time to deliver a successful summit while the world tackles the pandemic. Organisers’ intent remains to hold the summit in person, with Glasgow as host city, whilst putting the health and wellbeing of all involved at the centre of any future decisions on the event.

Apply now to be a COP26 volunteer at www.ukcop26.org/volunteer.

Applications close Wednesday, 31 March 2021.

Photograph of Damilola Ogunbiyi

06.01.2021

Damilola Ogunbiyi

CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN- Energy

Photograph of Claire Mack

06.01.2021

Claire Mack

Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables

Photograph of Peter Bruce

06.01.2021

Peter G. Bruce FRS, FRSE, FRSC

Wolfson Professor of Materials at the University of Oxford and Vice President of Royal Society

Photograph of Emily Shuckburgh

06.01.2021

Dr Emily Shuckburgh

Head of Cambridge Zero and a fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge