Ministerial meeting on climate action: chairs’ summary 2020

July 7, 2020

Ministers and representatives from 34 governments, from all regions participated in the 4th Ministerial meeting on Climate Action (MoCA) convened by the European Union, Canada and China, and hosted virtually by the EU.

Ministers acknowledged that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis are placing an unprecedented burden on our citizens and our societies, affecting peoples’ lives and livelihoods, and that many challenges remain as regions are at different stages on the path towards recovery. In this context, Ministers reiterated the importance of multilateralism and solidarity, noting that concerted global effort are needed to ensure that no region or country is left behind.

Mindful that climate change remains a global threat that requires urgent and ambitious global efforts, Ministers recognised the unprecedented opportunity to reboot their economies in a manner that builds more sustainable, inclusive and resilient societies, in line with the UNSDG’s, the UNFCCC, and  the Paris Agreement. In addition to protecting their citizens against external shocks such as COVID-19, all governments have a critical role to play in upholding multilateralism, driving climate action and addressing the negative impacts of climate change. Ministers sent a clear political signal that now is the time to ensure that the recovery from COVID-19 goes hand in hand with the transition to low-carbon and climate resilient economies.

Ministers shared specific examples of how their governments are aligning economic recovery plans with their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Long-Term Strategies. Many shared examples of how their plans will prioritise job creation and inclusive growth, including through long-term investments in electric mobility, nature-based solutions, infrastructure and clean technologies that reduce emissions and drive the transition to a sustainable and low-carbon economy. Many noted the importance of increasing renewable energies and phasing out emissions from coal-fired electricity as being a critical component to the global low-carbon transition.  Others anticipated the positive impacts on the lives of citizens and on ecosystems resulting from synergies between building resilience and responding to COVID-19 when addressing biodiversity, waste and water management as part of their recovery efforts.

Ministers supported a recovery that allows us to build back better through low carbon and climate resilient investments. They also emphasized the importance of engaging non-state actors, including public and private stakeholders to ensure that no potential contribution is overlooked and no one is left behind.

Developing countries, in particular the poorest and most vulnerable, are facing some of the harshest impacts of climate change, which combined with the public health and economic crises triggered by the pandemic, may lead to even more severe consequences. Ministers called for global solidarity and highlighted the importance of finance, technology transfer and capacity building to ensure that the recovery agenda allows for a just transition towards low-carbon and climate resilient societies, and addresses poverty and inequality.

Bilateral and international cooperation, both through existing and new initiatives will continue to help actors learn from each other, mobilize resources, and maximise the collective benefits from following a green recovery. Many stressed the importance of support by developed countries, and a continuous dialogue between recipient countries, international financial institutions, development financial institutions and other stakeholders.

Delivering on a green and sustainable recovery requires determination and a long-term vision that is  inclusive, responds to the urgency highlighted by science and addresses the challenges of climate action, economic growth and social development in a mutually supportive manner. This determination and this vision need to be reflected in efforts to implement current commitments, the communication or update of NDCs, and in the formulation of Long-Term Strategies by 2020, in line with the Paris Agreement.  Support to developing countries remains an important part of enabling ambitious global action.

Acknowledging the value of the frank exchange that the MOCA provides, Ministers looked forward to continued dialogue under this forum to help shape and strengthen our collective commitments to climate action.

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