Petersberg Climate Dialogue Builds Momentum for COP 24, Calls for Improving NDCs by 2020
BMU/Thomas Koehler
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Ministers at the ninth Petersberg Climate Dialogue discussed the impacts of delaying ambitious action, ensuring a just transition, the Paris Agreement Work Programme, climate finance and the Talanoa Dialogue.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa attended the meeting which was jointly hosted by Germany and Poland, as well as ministers and representatives from 35 countries, alongside the Chairs and Co-Chairs of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies.

The Co-Chairs’ conclusions document highlights, among other issues, ministers’ commitment to successfully complete the Paris Agreement Work Programme in 2018, and to continue engaging in constructive exchanges in the political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue planned for COP 24.

19 June 2018: For the ninth year running, ministers met at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue for an informal exchange of views on issues relating to international climate diplomacy. In preparation for the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC, ministers discussed enhancing climate action, strengthening international cooperation and shaping a just transition.

Taking place from 18-19 June 2018, the Petersberg Climate Dialogue saw 35 ministers travel to Berlin, Germany, upon invitation of Svenja Schulze, Germany’s Federal Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Henryk Kowalczyk, Poland’s Minister of Environment, and the incoming COP 24 President Michal Kurtyka. The Dialogue gathered ministers, country representatives and other high-level attendees, including UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and the Co-Chairs of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (SBs), taking place immediately prior to the second Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA) which convened in Brussels, Belgium, from 20-21 June 2018.

The meeting produced a Co-Chairs’ conclusions document, providing a summary of the discussions that took place over the two days. The document outlines the key outcomes from the five sessions on: the impacts of delaying ambitious action; ensuring a just transition; completion of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP); climate finance; and the Talanoa Dialogue.

On the impacts of delaying ambitious action and ensuring a just transition, most ministers stated that their countries were on track to meet or even overachieve near-term targets, with several stressing the importance of pre-2020 action and underlining the “need for continued and strengthened international cooperation on climate action, especially by providing support to developing countries.” Ministers stressed the importance of consultative processes engaging stakeholders at the national and sub-national levels to develop shared long-term visions for a just transition. They highlighted that engaging unions, workers and employers can enable an accelerated just transition, and reported that many workers and employers have identified alignment with the Paris Agreement and engaging in climate action as a way of ensuring their businesses are competitive.

On the developed countries’ commitment to mobilize US$100 billion per year by 2020, ministers highlighted the record increase in climate financing from MDBs in 2017.

On the PAWP and climate finance, ministers underscored their commitment to successfully complete the PAWP in 2018, noting they would be instructing negotiators to “step up efforts to build consensus on technical issues, narrow down options and prepare the ground for political agreements at COP 24.” Ministers stressed the need for a balanced package to be adopted at COP 24, covering the “essential elements to make the Paris Agreement operational,” and underscored the need to design guidance that can address the nationally-determined nature of efforts to implement the Paris Agreement and secure its “transformative nature,” while also strengthening the multilateral framework.

Identified as an essential component of the PAWP, issues on climate finance will be central to the negotiations at COP 24, the conclusions note. The conclusions also highlight, inter alia, the importance of enhanced predictability and transparency of climate finance, including on ex-ante information on climate finance, and recognize the need to scale up climate finance and deliver on previous pledges. The outcome document reports that many ministers spoke on progress towards the joint commitment from developed countries to mobilize US$100 billion per year by 2020, pointing to the record increase in climate financing from multilateral development banks (MDBs) in 2017, among others. [SDG Hub Climate Mitigation Finance Update 14 June 2018]

On the Talanoa Dialogue, ministers expressed their intention to continue engaging in constructive exchanges in the political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue planned for COP 24, requesting a format to allow an open exchange in an interactive setting that will lead to a strong political signal. Ministers highlighted the need to improve nationally determined contributions (NDCs) by 2020 and to increase international cooperation, noting that the 2019 climate change summit planned by UN Secretary General António Guterres is an “important stepping stone on the way to the communication or update of NDCs by 2020.”

Among others, the conclusions report that several ministers stressed the importance of pre-2020 action and support, with a number calling for the political phase of the Dialogue to focus on the third Talanoa question (How do we get there?). Several ministers underscored the “helpful contributions that non-party stakeholders can make to the talks,” and highlighted the importance of scientific understanding reflected, inter alia, in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SR15). [Petersberg Dialogue Co-Chairs’ Conclusions] [Petersberg Climate Dialogue IX Webpage]


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