16 June 2020
Momentum for Climate Change Discusses NDCs, Sustainable Recovery
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash
story highlights

Among other sessions, the committee to facilitate implementation and promote compliance under the Paris Agreement held its first meeting, and lead reviewers of biennial reports and national communications met to share experiences.

Speakers highlighted the importance of action in 2020, including for countries to submit their enhanced NDCs by the end of the year.

The UNFCCC convened a series of virtual events in early June 2020 to maintain momentum for climate action. The events allowed for an exchange of information while also demonstrating progress that is underway, even in the midst of the COVID-19 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). The events took place during the time period that the annual meetings of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies would have convened as the Bonn Climate Change Conference, but they did not involve formal negotiations. 

Over eight days from 1-10 June 2020, 17 open events and six additional events requiring registration, including meetings of the constituted bodies, took place. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary from the events indicates that several focused on the work of the constituted bodies, which are the bodies that focus on implementing various aspects of the Convention and the Paris Agreement on climate change. 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.

During an opening session on the theme, ‘UN and the UNFCCC Vision for 2020 in the Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Opportunities for Sustainable Recovery,’ Selwin Hart, Assistant Secretary-General for the Climate Action Team, reported that the UN Secretary-General’s six climate-related actions to shape the recovery 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. President-designate of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UNFCCC, Alok Sharma (UK), highlighted energy, transparency, nature-based solutions, adaptation, and finance as key COP 26 themes. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa emphasized that 2020 is still a critical year for countries to fulfill their commitments under the Paris Agreement, including by submitting enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs) by the end of the year.  

During a closing segment, youth non-governmental organization (YOUNGO) representatives delivered messages highlighting the need for sustainable, low-emissions climate change conferences, calling for access to food, energy, education, jobs, and medicine for the most vulnerable, and supporting grassroots communities to decentralize decision making.

SBI Chair Marianne Karlsen (Norway) noted that there had been more than 12,000 views of the 17 open events over the eight-day June Momentum event, and of the 136 panelists, 48% were female. With SBSTA Chair Tosi Mpanu Mpanu (Democratic Republic of the Congo), she noted that several of the activities would advance the agenda, including on Action for Climate Empowerment and the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. They also noted events that emphasized the need for sustainable recovery, including by using NDCs as frameworks. They closed the event, 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.” [UNFCCC June Momentum for Climate Change website]

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