17 October 2019
Pre-COP Links UN Climate Action Summit and Santiago Climate Change Conference
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

The Pre-COP aimed to act as a bridge between the UN Climate Action Summit and COP 25, and provided an opportunity to discuss the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and unresolved issues from COP 24.

The UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary said announcements made at the UN Climate Action Summit and COP 25 outcomes will feed into enhanced NDCs in 2020.

10 October 2019: A preparatory meeting to provide impetus for the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UNFCCC, known as the “Pre-COP,” emphasized the need to ramp up ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in each country. The Pre-COP focused on the themes of sustainable cities and electric mobility, nature-based solutions and the blue economy, as well as the cross-cutting topics of gender and human rights, and climate finance. It also sought to emphasize the link between the UN climate change and biodiversity processes.

The PreCOP, which convened from 8-10 October in San José, Costa Rica, aimed to act as a bridge between the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on 23 September in New York, US, and COP 25 that will meet in will Santiago, Chile, in December. In addition, the meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the findings of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) and unresolved issues from COP 24 in Katowice, Poland, in 2018, regarding operational guidelines of the Paris Agreement on climate change, including Paris Agreement Article 6 (cooperative approaches), as well as acceleration of climate action, loss and damage, and linkages between gender and climate action.
Addressing the Pre-COP, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada said Costa Rica, which presented a plan to decarbonize its economy by 2050, is a “decarbonization laboratory,”citing his country’s experience of simultaneously growing the economy and conserving nature. The country currently sources around 99% of its power from clean, renewable energy.

Carolina Schmidt, Chilean Environment Minister and incoming COP President, outlined her expectations for COP 25. She urged countries, regions, cities and economic sectors to raise ambition to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Ovais Sarmad said recent announcements made at the UN Climate Action Summit and COP 25 outcomes will feed into revised and enhanced NDCs that countries will submit in 2020.
Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), urged LAC countries to deepen regional cooperation to address the climate crisis. She called for: moving towards a new cooperation paradigm that addresses, inter alia, the international “asymmetry between emissions and vulnerability”; actions aimed at improving energy efficiency, such as eliminating fossil fuel subsidies without hurting poor households; and LAC countries to prioritize investment in adaptation, particularly in the Caribbean and Central America.

Speaking at the event, Eduardo Mansur, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), underscored the importance of restoring degraded lands, and noted that poor farmers should be part of the climate solution through financial mechanisms, such as ‘Recarbonization of Global Soils’ (RECSOIL), which represents a “promising” offsetting option in the framework of the UNFCCC Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. He said RECSOIL aims to support and improve national and regional mitigation and carbon sequestration initiatives and will include financial incentives by establishing a methodology that enables carbon credits to be traded. This,  Mansur noted, will provide multiple benefits, such as increased yields, improved crop resilience, and recovery of carbon and ecosystem services lost through traditional farming.
During the Pre-COP, a number of launches took place, including the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance’s Regional Platform, and EUROCLIMA+ Support Program on Long Term Strategies (LTS). The Support Program was discussed during a side event on strengthening the alliance between the EU and Latin America for greater climate ambition, where a presentation was made on support for LTSs in five countries under the EUROCLIMA+ framework. EUROCLIMA+ is an EU-financed programme aimed at supporting NDC implementation in 18 Latin American countries and promoting environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient development for the most vulnerable populations. [UNFCCC Press Release on Pre-COP Opening] [UNFCCC Press Release on Pre-COP Conclusion] [Pre-COP Website] [Pre-COP Information Note and Agenda] [ECLAC Press Release] [FAO News Story] [RECSOIL Document]

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