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Momentum for Climate Change Briefing Note

Friday, 12 June 2020


June Momentum for Climate Change

1-10 June 2020 | Online


Languages:EN (HTML/PDF) FR (HTML/PDF)
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Governments adopted the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015 and, doing so, agreed to take measures to limit global warming to 1.5 to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The first round of national climate commitments, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), submitted by governments in 2015 fell short of what is necessary to prevent the worst climate impacts. However, foreseeing this, countries included five-year milestones/cycles in the Agreement’s design, intended to take stock of progress and encourage more ambitious contributions. Thus, the Chile Madrid Time for Action adopted in 2019 stresses the urgency of enhanced ambition to ensure the highest possible efforts by all parties. Given this, all governments are now called on to submit new or revised, more ambitious NDCs by the end of 2020.

Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement were planning to meet in Bonn in June 2020 to continue work and support greater ambition. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bonn Climate Change conference was postponed from June to October 2020. While a face-to-face meeting was not possible, the UNFCCC decided to hold a series of virtual events to keep climate action and momentum alive, and to discuss ongoing and emerging issues, such as a sustainable recovery from the pandemic. They also decided that formal negotiations or decision-making would not take place at these events given their virtual format.

Over the course of eight days, 17 open events and six additional events requiring registration, including meetings of the constituted bodies, took place. Several events related to the work of the constituted bodies, which are the bodies that focus on implementing various aspects of the Convention and the Paris Agreement. These technical bodies provided updates on their work and future plans. Formal meetings also took place, with the committee to facilitate implementation and promote compliance under the Paris Agreement holding its first meeting and lead reviewers of Biennial Reports and National Communications met to share experiences. Other events discussed ongoing and emerging issues, such as a sustainable recovery from the pandemic.

The June Momentum for Climate Change was conducted under the guidance of the Chairs of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). These online events offered an opportunity for parties and other stakeholders to continue exchanging views and sharing information in order to maintain momentum and showcase how climate action is progressing under the special circumstances the world is currently facing.

Despite the challenges of finding suitable times to meet with participants living in numerous time zones with varying degrees of internet connectivity, there were very few visible problems during the meeting. In some cases, there was poor video quality and some audio issues, but this was to be expected. Engagement with the online audience of the open events was relatively limited. However, at least one event addressed questions submitted in advance, some accepted questions submitted through the online platform during the event, and two had live interactive discussions with audience members. By the closing session on 10 June, there had been 12,000 views of the various sessions.

This briefing note summarizes selected events during the eight-day June Momentum for Climate Change.

Opening Session

On Monday, 1 June, SBSTA Chair Tosi Mpanu Mpanu (Democratic Republic of the Congo) underscored the need for climate action. He highlighted the need to advance agreement on issues due for adoption at the next Conference of the Parties (COP), postponed until November 2021.

SBI Chair Marianne Karlsen (Norway) said now is the time to ensure the COVID-19 recovery moves the world toward the Paris Agreement’s goals.

UN and the UNFCCC vision for 2020 in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities for sustainable recovery: Melinda Crane, Deutsche Welle, moderated the panel discussion. During the conversation, all panelists called for a green and inclusive recovery from the pandemic.

Selwin Hart, Assistant Secretary-General for the Climate Action Team, outlined the UN Secretary-General’s six climate-related actions to shape the recovery. He said these range from investing in green jobs and tying bailouts to the Paris Agreement’s goals, to ending fossil fuel subsidies, accounting for climate risks, and ensuring no one is left behind as we recover better, together. He called for an “ecosystem of support” to help developing countries undertake a green recovery.

COP 25 President Carolina Schmidt (Chile) highlighted Chile’s new NDC, particularly its inclusion of a just transition strategy. Julio Cordano, COP 25 Presidency, emphasized NDCs and long-term strategies are a framework for recovery efforts.

COP 26 President-designate Alok Sharma (UK) called for parties to submit ambitious NDCs and commit to further emissions cuts by 2030. He highlighted energy, transparency, nature-based solutions, adaptation, and finance as key COP 26 themes.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa emphasized 2020 is still a critical year for countries to fulfill their commitments under the Paris Agreement, including by submitting enhanced NDCs by year’s end.

In response to questions, panelists highlighted public support to build back better, as well as growing support from investors, business leaders, and several countries.

Climate action and ambition 2020 in light of recent meetings such as the Placencia and Petersberg dialogues, as well as recent publications by scientific entities: Musonda Mumba, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), moderated the panel discussion.

Lois Young (Belize), Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said the Placencia Forum signaled that the Paris Agreement’s ambition cycle must begin without delay and without retreat. She highlighted three milestones for 2020: submitting new or updated NDCs, providing USD 100 billion per year, and progressing on COP 26 outcomes, such as common timeframes and Article 6 (market and non-market mechanisms).

Karsten Sach (Germany) reported the three messages of the Petersberg Dialogue: economic recovery plans need to align with the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; green recoveries need to happen worldwide; and enhanced NDCs and long-term strategies should not be postponed.

Niklas Hoehne, New Climate Institute, characterized the Coronavirus-related reduction in emissions as a postponement. He noted that governments could spend 10-30% of their GDP on the recovery effort, and 2.5% of GDP would pay for the green technologies to meaningfully address the climate crisis.

In response to questions, panelists stressed the need to support municipalities and developing countries. They also highlighted ending fossil fuel subsidies, improving energy efficiency, and building resilience.

Closing Segment: SBSTA Chair Mpanu Mpanu recalled that many speakers noted commitment to climate action and to drive a green, inclusive recovery. He underscored the important role of indigenous peoples as sources of climate solutions.

SBI Chair Karlsen reminded participants that these virtual events have no formal standing and will not prejudge future discussions. She stressed the subsidiary and constituted bodies will support and guide parties during this unprecedented time.

Enhancing Support to the LDCs: Insights from a Recent Stocktaking Meeting of the Work of the LEG

The Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) Chair Hana Hamadalla Mohamed (Sudan) moderated the event, which utilized real-time polling software to collect audience inputs for the LEG’s work, including on: COVID-19-related challenges affecting delivery of support; ensuring adaptation support continues; and strategies for minimizing delays in national-level activities.

Citing multiple shocks affecting the least developed countries (LDCs) and insufficient climate responses globally, LDC Group Chair Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi (Bhutan) called for whole-of-society approaches that reach the local level and help build in-country institutional capabilities. He highlighted the LDC 2050 Vision, which aims to achieve climate-resilient development pathways by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050, and lamented that LDCs are currently receiving 0.6% of the USD 97 billion needed to finance climate plans.

Opportunities and challenges in enhancing delivery of support to the LDCs: Nikki Lulham, LEG Member (Canada), presented highlights from a LEG stocktaking meeting held in Antananarivo, Madagascar, from 10-12 February 2020, noting increasing availability of technical support.

Pa Ousman Jarju, Green Climate Fund (GCF) Secretariat, and Chizuru Aoki, Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat, presented on support to LDCs for the formulation and implementation of national adaptation plans (NAPs). Jarju noted the GCF can send experts to LDCs to support NAP development, and highlighted support available for turning project ideas into concept notes and funding proposals. He reported on the approval of 32 LDC adaptation planning proposals.

Aoki, via a recorded presentation, reported on the approval of 34 projects during the first two years of the GEF-7 Replenishment, and noted that LDCs are highly vulnerable to COVID-19 and require targeted efforts.

Emerging gaps and needs related to implementing the Convention and the Paris Agreement in the LDCs, including those emerging from the COVID19 outbreak: Adao Soares Barbosa (Timor-Leste) detailed how lockdowns, border closures, and social distancing requirements have affected Timor-Leste’s NAP preparations, noting plans to hold virtual discussions to finalize its initial NAP submission.

Mokoena France (Lesotho) cited challenges caused by home-based work to progress on the country’s NAP, including lack of internet access and necessary tools, and suggested fast-tracking support to enable implementation of the NAP in early 2021. He also identified the need for support to access virtual meeting tools to enable transition into a virtual working mode.

Modalities for delivering support to the LDCs: Kenel Delusca, LEG Vice-Chair (Haiti), shared updates on the LEG’s technical support work, including the multi-stakeholder collaboration-based Open NAPs initiative and workshops to develop project proposals and access funding. He reported that some LDCs are on track to publish their NAPs in 2020.

Manuel José Salidas, COP 25 Presidency, commended the LEG’s role in supporting the formulation of NAPs, National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), and the LDC Work Programme.

Archie Young, incoming COP 26 Presidency, said the pandemic has thrown a stark light on the importance of building resilience, and stressed international solidarity to support the LDCs and implement the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. He noted the UK’s support to the LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR) launched at COP 25, and underscored that ambition goes beyond reducing emissions and includes scaling up means of implementation, protecting natural ecosystems, building adaptation, and minimizing loss and damage.

Audience questions focused on, inter alia, ensuring that GCF funding builds capacity at the local level, support to LDCs coping with COVID-19, and short-term support for continued work on NAPs. Panelists suggested adopting Nepal’s example of developing local adaptation plans, alongside NAPs, and integrating local-level initiatives into the NAP process.

In closing, LEG Chair Mohamed noted LDCs’ increased support needs due to COVID-19, calling for new ways of thinking and scaling up available financial and technical support, and maximizing synergies implicit in the COVID-19 recovery.

Technical Examination Process on Adaptation Launch 2020

Opening the launch event for the 2020 Technical Examination Process on Adaptation (TEP-A), SBSTA Chair Mpanu Mpanu and SBI Chair Karlsen said the TEP-A will offer a space for continuing conversations on adaptation over the coming months, and will focus on “education and public training, public participation, and youth to enhance adaptation action.”

Adaptation Committee Co-Chairs Cecilia da Silva Bernardo (Angola) and Alessandra Sgobbi (Italy) explained the process is intended to engage multiple stakeholders and the 2020 topic is a response to the unprecedented global wave of youth and public mobilization for climate action and recognition of their role in contributing to adaptation. They announced this virtual process will comprise multiple modalities, including panel discussions, workshops, policy briefs, and a case competition.

Youth representatives Yugratna Srivastava, Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, Ana Clara Cassanti, Global Center on Adaptation, and Lyndsay Walsh, Youth non-governmental organization (YOUNGO) Adaptation Working Group, stressed the climate crisis is a matter of intergenerational justice, with those contributing the least suffering the most, and called for fostering the resilience of the most vulnerable in line with a “just, green recovery post-COVID-19,” and engaging youth to meet the needs of future generations.

9th Durban Forum on Capacity-building

SBI Chair Karlsen opened the meeting, held under the theme “capacity-building to support the enhanced transparency framework – ensuring coherence and coordination of actions and support.” She stressed enhanced ambition and action require both capacity building and transparency. She explained this year’s Forum was aligned with the Paris Committee on Capacity-building’s (PCCB) focus area and the outcomes will inform the PCCB at its fourth meeting on 22-25 June 2020.

Arif Goheer (Pakistan), Chair, Consultative Group of Experts (CGE), called for enhancing developing countries’ capacities in line with additional reporting requirements through adequate support. Edith Ofwona Adera, International Development Research Centre, and Roberta Ianna (Italy), PCCB Member, co-facilitated the event.

Special address: Transparency in the new climate regime: Jigme and Xuehong Wang, UNFCCC Secretariat, presented on measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) arrangements for developing countries under the Convention and the Paris Agreement’s enhanced transparency framework (ETF), noting that countries need more robust institutional frameworks and enhanced capacity. Wang said 57 developing countries have submitted biennial update reports (BURs).

Alyssa Ng, CGE, presented on the CGE’s strategic priorities for 2020-2026 and the results of a survey on related emerging needs.

Panel discussion: On assessing and improving the effectiveness of capacity-building support and action, Clifford Mahlung, (Small Island Developing States (SIDS) negotiation group), stressed the importance of building long-term local capacity. On best practices learned from MRV, Sandra Motshwanedi (South Africa), identified starting work and having institutional arrangements and systems in place early.

Juliet Meredith (UK) cited the Durban Forum, the PCCB Forum, and the PCCB’s Capacity-building Hub as suitable fora to promote and improve coherence and coordination of capacity-building activities in support of the ETF. Damiano Borgogno, UN Development Programme (UNDP), shared how South-South cooperation can allow sharing experiences, incentivize countries to emulate each other, and be cost-efficient.

Fabian Klemme, Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement (PATPA-GIZ), drew attention to building statistical capacity and institutional arrangements to assess and improve effectiveness of capacity-building support and action. Klemme highlighted challenges in BUR submissions, noting that approximately 100 countries have not yet submitted their first BURs, which are “best first practice for the ETF.” He added PATPA is developing a Biennial Transparency Report (BTR) process guide.

Responding to questions, panelists discussed: the need for higher-resolution climate models for SIDS; that developing countries should initiate the BTR process as soon as possible; the need for demand-led, in-country work and for long-term partnerships to build local capacities; and using key performance indicators to ensure support is transformational.

Breakout group discussions and closing: Participants engaged in facilitated breakout sessions. In a report-back from the discussions  on needs and gaps in building capacity following the adoption of the Katowice outcome, Borgogno underscored the need for projection and modeling tools, noting several are available but identifying the most appropriate one can be challenging.

On lessons learned from MRV capacity building for the ETF, Henning Wuester, Initiative for Climate Action Transparency, noted reporting improves each time a report is submitted, institutional arrangements are critical, and preparations for the ETF should be underway. 

On assessing and improving effectiveness of capacity-building action, Chisa Umemiya, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, identified a lack of common assessment methodologies and a need to generate a common understanding on the way forward.

On coherence and coordination of capacity-building action for the ETF, Yamide Dagnet, World Resources Institute, suggested ensuring continuous communication and having a single national focal point for all different initiatives.

Closing: In conclusion, Ofwona Adera identified the need for building transparency systems for the long term, coordination at different levels and over time, providing financial support to ensure implementation, and monitoring of action. Daniele Violetti, UNFCCC Secretariat, said the Durban Forum’s role is strengthened through its thematic alignment with the PCCB.

Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture Information Event

SBI Chair Karlsen opened the event, aimed at providing updates on work under the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA), noting that four out of six workshops mandated had been organized and the outcomes will be reported to COP 26.

Party reflections: Party representatives reflected on lessons learned from work under the Koronivia road map and the KJWA.

Fahmuddin Agus (Indonesia, for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Negotiators Group on Agriculture) shared how his group has coordinated positions under the KJWA and is exploring applying for GCF readiness funding.

Herwig Ranner (EU) highlighted as lessons: various types of support available through UNFCCC and UN bodies; no “one-size-fits-all” solutions for resilience and sustainability; the need for further research; and the importance of stakeholder engagement.

Ayman Amin (Egypt, for the Group of 77 and China) reminded that work on agriculture under the UNFCCC started in 2012 and called for moving to implementation, possibly through a permanent body, such as a group of experts or standing committee, and for sustainable means of implementation for developing countries.

Claire Cvitanovich (US) commended the KJWA’s technical exchanges and queried about translating this into productive implementation. She noted the US aims to increase agricultural productivity by 40% by 2050 while halving environmental impact. 

Walter Oyhantcabal (Uruguay) explained his country’s NDC integrates agriculture, which generates 75% of national emissions, and said Koronivia has informed national policies. He called for identifying further ways to mobilize resources for local-level implementation.

FAO and GCF perspectives: Julia Wolf, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), and Janie Rioux, GCF, shared lessons from Koronivia and available support. Wolf said the workshops helped identify needs, gaps, and constraints and increase trust. She said the FAO facilitated exchanges, provided technical assistance, and promoted knowledge sharing.

Rioux said the GCF took note of the importance of co-benefits, including mitigation, adaptation, food security, and biodiversity, for cost-effective financing. She explained the GCF has three support “windows”: project and programmes funding, project preparation support, and readiness support.

Questions and answers and closing: SBSTA Chair Mpanu Mpanu moderated. On updating the Koronivia road map, he explained parties can propose future topics. Amin suggested a focus on food supply chains.

Ranner stressed the importance of coordination in-country and among international bodies to ensure mainstreaming of agriculture and climate change. Oyhantcabal proposed developing a Koronivia knowledge hub.

Julio Cordano (Chile, COP 25 Presidency) highlighted how Koronivia acted as a catalyst for regional collaboration. Maggie Charnley (UK, incoming COP 26 Presidency) said the UK will build on its Just Rural Transition vision launched in 2019.

UNFCCC Technology Mechanism Update

Stephen Minas, Vice-Chair, Technology Executive Committee (TEC), moderated. Daniele Violetti, UNFCCC Secretariat, highlighted the role of climate technology in assisting countries to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, while increasing climate ambition.

Updates from the Technology Mechanism: Mareer Husny, TEC Chair, said the Committee is on track to deliver on its workplan. He highlighted publications on good practices of technology needs assessment implementation, the uptake of existing technology, and coastal zones.

Orly Jacob, Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) Advisory Board Chair, highlighted the Board’s work providing technical assistance for initiatives and technology choices for a green recovery. Among these efforts she noted national circular economy roadmaps, transformative technologies, adaptation technologies, and nature-based solutions.

Rose Mwebaza, Director, CTCN, announced that the Network will establish regional offices in Africa, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific. She reported decreased demand for the Network’s assistance during the COVID-19 emergency.

Panel discussion: During a discussion on the role of technology in building back better, Mary Stewart, Energetics, said that the private sector is struggling to operate in an uncertain environment. She noted this is an opportunity for governments to set clear outcomes for policies and future funding, be they targets for NDCs or for sectors.

Anand Tsog (Mongolia) said climate-smart technologies are efficient, while also delivering co-benefits such as improved health. She observed that such technologies could be attractive given current restraints on public budgets.

Henrique Schneider, Swiss Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises, stressed the role of endogenous technologies, saying most small and medium enterprises are already innovating. He rejected the idea that local technologies may not be scalable, arguing they can facilitate learning to replicate solutions.

Roland Roesch, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), shared IRENA’s project facilitation tools and platforms. He welcomed countries’ plans to invest in renewable energy as a COVID-19 recovery policy, and said many developed countries are interested in funding developing countries’ renewable energy-based NDCs.

In the discussion, panelists responded to questions on the role of technology incubators and on “low-hanging fruit technologies” in COVID-19 recovery, with Stewart noting these are country-specific.

Where Do We Stand with NDCs: Enhancing Action on Climate Change in 2020

Shyla Raghav, Conservation International, moderated the event, aimed to share experiences with new and updated NDCs. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa stressed the importance of submitting new or updated NDCs in 2020 and suggested combining climate change actions with COVID-19 recovery.

Carolina Schmidt, Minister of Environment, Chile, and COP 25 President, encouraged parties to present enhanced NDCs in 2020 and said the “Race to Zero” campaign launched last week demonstrates commitment by non-party stakeholders.

Panel: Support for the preparation of updated/new NDCs in 2020: Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, NDC Partnership, reported that 41 partners are providing USD 40 million to support 65 countries with enhancing the quality and ambition of their NDCs, mainstreaming NDCs into national plans, and preparing investment plans.

Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director, GCF, outlined the Fund’s current priorities: ensuring continuation of the USD 5.6 billion portfolio; leveraging the Readiness Programme to enable development of green, resilient economic measures; facilitating access to the Project Preparation Facility; and delivering on the existing project pipeline.

Cassie Flynn, UN Development Programme, said the Programme’s “Climate Promise” has supported 111 countries in NDC enhancement, noting that NDCs are increasingly seen as building blocks for green recovery.

In the discussion, panelists explained how international support can drive more ambitious NDCs, including through: generating quantitative data on the economic benefits of climate action; demonstrating synergies with economic resilience; and using innovative financing.

Panel: Preparation of updated/new NDCs in 2020: Three parties that submitted updated or revised NDCs in 2020 shared lessons. Carolina Urmeneta (Chile) reported that Chile’s NDC contains an absolute carbon budget for 2020-2030 and a just transition strategy. She highlighted dialogue and inputs from state and non-state actors, engaging the Ministry of Finance in a cost-effectiveness analysis, and political commitment.

Henrik Hallgrim Eriksen (Norway) said Norway raised its mitigation target to 50-55% from 1990 levels by 2030 and followed the guidance from Katowice. He called for taking the Paris Agreement “ambition cycle” and science seriously and noted that expectations of cooperation with the EU and Iceland informed preparations.

Juliet Kabera (Rwanda) said her country’s NDC revision, which contains a 38% emissions reduction by 2030 compared to business-as-usual, was enabled by political will. She emphasized embedding NDCs in national strategies, clear targets on adaptation and resilience, and continued sectoral dialogue.

Carlos Fuller, for AOSIS, reported that, despite COVID-19, AOSIS members will submit ambitious NDCs in 2020. He identified the need for further support for developing and implementing NDCs.

Visnja Grgasović and Jacob Werksman (EU) said the EU has submitted its long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategy and will update the EU’s NDC in 2020, proposing an NDC with an emissions target 50-55% below 1990 levels by 2030 and a strong social pillar.

In the discussion, panelists shared plans to mobilize domestic finance for NDC implementation, including green bonds, green funds, leveraging private financing, and mainstreaming climate change into all development projects.

Closing: John Murton (UK), COP 26 Climate Envoy, said the UK will be an “unapologetic cheerleader” for ambition, noting the UK has doubled its international climate finance commitment. He encouraged countries that have submitted “unambitious NDCs” in recent months to resubmit more ambitious NDCs before COP 26.

Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform Facilitative Working Group Stakeholder Dialogue

Roberto Mukaro Borrero, Taíno, opened the event with a traditional song. The Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP) Facilitative Working Group (FWG) Co-Chair Pasang Dolma Sherpa moderated the event, which delivered updates on activities conducted under the LCIPP workplan and heard suggestions.

SBSTA Chair Mpanu Mpanu said COVID-19 has accelerated the need to transform our interactions with nature and increased the LCIPP’s relevance. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa stressed there is a need to address climate change holistically and said the LCIPP ensures the inclusion of local and indigenous voices, which is now more important than ever.

FWG update on the implementation of the LCIPP workplan: Dolma Sherpa reported that the implementation of the workplan is progressing despite COVID-19. FWG members reported on progress on various activities.

Andrea Carmen identified challenges in organizing regional meetings with traditional knowledge holders, which often need to take place face-to-face, and reported on a proposal to delay implementation by one year.

Dalee Sambo Dorough said preparations for a training workshop on individual and collective human rights of indigenous peoples are underway.

On a mapping of good practices on participation in climate change-related bodies, Elias Abourizk said submissions (due in September 2020) will inform the development of a technical paper.

On a mapping of UNFCCC policies relevant for indigenous peoples and local communities, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim shared plans to generate an exhaustive inventory based on, inter alia, a digital survey and a call for submissions.

Rodion Sulyandziga explained plans to deliver a synthesis document and an online tool on funding opportunities within the UN system on the LCIPP web platform.

Discussion: Event participants then shared information and suggestions with the FWG, including on: relevant work under the Convention on Biological Diversity, including a draft decision on the future participation of indigenous peoples; and ensuring accessibility to documentation.

Participants also highlighted: recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights; mobilizing indigenous communities to protect ecosystems; community-based natural resource management systems; and an emphasis on eliminating racism and discrimination.

They lamented the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed an increase in extractive industry activities and deforestation in some countries, and that indigenous communities are impacted by various crises.

Dolma Sherpa thanked participants and called for maintaining momentum to enable the LCIPP to make positive contributions and implement its workplan.

Closing Event

SBI Chair Karlsen, SBSTA Chair Mpanu Mpanu, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa reflected on the organization of the June Momentum events and lessons learned, and delivered updates on the way forward. YOUNGO representatives also delivered messages.

Youth video messages: Noting the link between human and planetary health, Silke Bölts, for European youth, called for ensuring sustainable, low-emissions climate conferences through less carbon-intensive travel and catering to “ensure we walk the talk.”

Karim Elbana, for African youth, urged developing empathy for the most vulnerable, noting “thousands could die” from COVID-19 before the next climate change conference due to insufficient access to water and sanitation. He called for facilitating access to food, energy, education, jobs, and medicine for the most vulnerable.

Pramisha Thapaliya, for Asian youth, said COVID-19 exposed societies’ vulnerabilities. She suggested that UNFCCC conferences start serving plant-based food as a first step to demonstrate commitment to transitioning to sustainable agricultural practices and food systems.

Michelle Hernandez, for North American youth, stressed that the climate crisis has the potential to devastate the global community more than the pandemic, lamenting the failure of many leaders to listen to scientists. She underscored the climate crisis is also a human rights and environmental justice issue, and called for inclusion of vulnerable communities’ voices.

Beatriz Pagy, for Latin American youth, called for: integrating the “climate narrative” into all agendas, including national budgets; transferring subsidies from high-emitting sectors to restorative initiatives; and supporting grassroots communities to decentralize decision-making.

Closing dialogue and remarks: Reflecting on the June Momentum events and the youth interventions, Mpanu Mpanu stressed the need to keep the views and wishes of youth in mind when enhancing climate ambition and action, and reminded that “we cannot quarantine climate change.” Karlsen observed that green, sustainable, and better recovery was a golden thread across the many events, and noted agreement with the YOUNGO representatives that 2020 remains an important year for the climate. She noted the events had demonstrated that the UNFCCC process is not dormant during the pandemic and is responding to the urgency of grater climate ambition and action. Espinosa thanked the youth for demonstrating their willingness to be part of the solution.

Karlsen then shared data about participation, noting: more than 12,000 views of the 17 open events; six additional events requiring registration, including meetings of the constituted bodies; and 136 panelists of which 48% were female. Despite “smooth” technical organization overall, she said connectivity and time zones still presented some challenges.

Karlsen and Mpanu Mpanu assessed the June Momentum against set expectations. On demonstrating progress on climate action, they noted activities that will advance the agenda, including on Action for Climate Empowerment and the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. On responding to the need for greater climate ambition and action, they noted events that emphasized the need for sustainable recovery, including using NDCs as frameworks.

On advancing technical work and providing an information exchange platform, they noted valuable discussions, including on transparency under the Durban Forum on Capacity-building, and during meetings of constituted bodies, including the first meeting of the Paris Agreement implementation and compliance committee. On fostering engagement, they noted the virtual format reached a broad audience, stressing the essential role of stakeholders in climate ambition and action.

On lessons learned, they identified the need for more spaces for interaction and engagement, and more time for overall preparations.

Espinosa suggested that the June Momentum discussions are a clear statement by those who participated that, “while the crisis may have changed the way we work together, it has not stopped that work.” She expressed hope that the discussions helped countries ahead of the subsidiary bodies’ meetings in October 2020.

Noting that “the best of 2020 is still ahead of us and we need to flatten the curve of climate change in a sustainable manner,” Mpanu Mpanu and Karlsen thanked all participants and stakeholders. They closed the meeting, expressing determination to ensure successful meetings of the subsidiary bodies in a transparent, inclusive, and efficient manner.

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