COP 24 Opens with Calls for Urgent Action to Finalize Implementation Guidelines
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for governments and leaders to raise their ambition, stressing that climate change is the “single most important issue we face”.

COP 24 President, Michal Kurtyka, called on all countries to finalize “a full set of implementation guidelines”.

World Bank CEO, Kristalina Georgiewa, announced that the World Bank Group will double its current five-year investments towards climate change initiatives.

Many leaders also welcomed the Talanoa Dialogue.

3 December 2018: At the opening of the Katowice Climate Change Conference, UN leaders underscored the urgency of climate action, and called for finalizing the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement on climate change. The 24th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC marks the deadline for adopting guidelines for implementation of the Paris Agreement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized four messages: science demands a significantly more ambitious response; the Paris Agreement must be operationalized; the world has a collective responsibility to invest in averting global climate chaos, to consolidate financial commitments made in Paris and to assist the most vulnerable communities and nations; and climate action offers a “compelling path to transform our world for the better.” He elaborated on each message in his opening statement, and called for governments and leaders to raise their ambition, stressing that climate change is the “single most important issue we face.”

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa highlighted record levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere and rising emissions. She stressed the need to maintain the Paris Agreement’s aims of limiting global warming to below 2°C and “pursuing efforts towards” 1.5°C. She concluded, “we simply cannot tell millions of people around the globe who are already suffering from the effects of climate change that we did not deliver.”

COP 23 President and Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, urged the world to avoid “becoming the generation that betrayed humanity.” He urged leaders to deliver “five times more ambition, five times more action.” COP 24 President, Michal Kurtyka, cautioned that “without success in Katowice there is no success of Paris” because the framework will not be operational. He underscored the importance of the Katowice outcome in moving the world forward and building up confidence, stressing that “we put the planet in danger” without a solid outcome in Katowice. He called on all countries to come together and finalize “a full set of implementation guidelines” that will serve the world and its people.

We put the planet in danger without a solid outcome in Katowice.

World Bank CEO, Kristalina Georgiewa, announced that the World Bank Group will double its current five-year investments towards climate change initiatives by allocating US$200 billion from 2020 onwards. The World Bank will provide US$100 billion, half of which will be allocated to mitigation and resilience-building initiatives. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) will provide an additional US$100 billion.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) President, Maria Espinosa, said climate change is one of the priorities for UNGA’s 73rd session and informed delegates that she has summoned a high-level meeting on 28 March 2019. She urged leaders, negotiators and all stakeholders to “act urgently and decisively,” emphasizing that it is an “absolute necessity” to finalize the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) to facilitate implementation of commitments and bring about greater ambition in all aspects of climate action.

Many leaders also welcomed the Talanoa Dialogue, a year-long conversation to assess progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Dialogue aims to find practical and local solutions for how countries can increase their ambition in the next round of nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Patricia Espinosa expressed hope that ministers will “provide a political signal for enhanced ambition” during the high-level event that will conclude the Talanoa Dialogue. Kurtyka stressed that Poland is conducting the dialogue hand in hand with Fiji, “a country with such a different perspective but with such similar concerns.”

Guterres also presented his longer-term vision for his 2019 Climate Change Summit, which aims to galvanize support for urgent climate action at the highest political levels. The Summit will focus on action in six areas: transitioning to renewable energy; funding climate action and carbon pricing; reducing emissions from industry; using nature as a solution; promoting sustainable cities and local action; and building climate change resilience. He said the Summit seeks to deliver three outcomes: raising real ambition; achieving transformative action in the real economy; and mobilizing citizen and youth. Guterres invited “all governments, businesses, sources of finance – public and private – and civil society organizations to join in the preparatory process.” [UNFCCC Press Release] [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General’s Statement] [UN Secretary-General’s Statement on Climate Summit] [COP 24 President Statement] [UNGA President Statement] [IISD RS Coverage of COP 24] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on World Bank’s Pledge]


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