Today, China’s Minister for Ecology and Environment, Huang Runqiu, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, and the Canadian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, co-convened the 5th session of the Ministerial on Climate Action. The annual meeting, hosted by China this year, was held virtually for the second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting was the first ministerial meeting of the year on international climate action, in the lead-up to the COP26 in November. Discussions focused on how to enhance global ambition, while fostering global cooperation and solidarity, and understanding country-specific challenges and opportunities which arise in implementing low-carbon, resilient and sustainable recoveries from the COVID-19 crisis. Participants included Ministers from G20 countries and other key parties in the UN climate negotiations.
Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “This year is a crucial year for climate action. The COP26 will prove whether we live up to the challenge of a generation or not. The pandemic has taught us that we are fragile as human beings, but also that we are resilient and have the ability to find solutions. Young people in many places have diligently followed all restrictions. We must now repay that solidarity by taking decisive climate action.”
Countries around the world must commit to net zero emissions by mid-century and undertake significant emission cuts by 2030. Momentum continues throughout 2021 as major economies and others continue preparing their own contributions and formally submitting them to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
This past year has shown us starkly that the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change do not affect all of human society equally. Many of the countries that are facing the most extreme impacts of climate change are simultaneously experiencing reduced financial capacity to rebuild their economies along sustainable pathways. The international community must coordinate actions and support countries to reach their climate targets if we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement with solidarity and cooperation.
The Ministerial on Climate Action was an important milestone for coordinating action towards a successful COP26, and sending a clear political signal of the participants’ firm commitment to advance global climate governance and accelerate the green recovery in the post-COVID era. The co-conveners acknowledged that a long-term and global vision is required to effectively deliver ambitious climate action.
In 2017, the EU, Canada and China convened a Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action (MoCA), to demonstrate their continuous support to the Paris Agreement. The yearly Ministerial Meetings on Climate Action have focused on the implementation of the Paris Agreement through the promotion of ambitious climate action as well as the successful adoption of the technical rules under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Climate change is a global challenge that requires a decisive and confident response from all major economies. MOCA creates the space and the opportunity to build and strengthen the relationship between key players for international climate action.