Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary-General,
Secretary of State Sharma, dearest Karen,
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am truly glad to take part into today’s briefing in the context of the partnership between the United Kingdom and Italy for a successful COP26.
As he did on previous occasions, putting his leadership at the service of the fight against climate change, the Secretary General has described in clear terms the scenario we face: a surge in the response of the international community is a must.
Honorable Sharma, just outlined, very effectively, the main objectives that will inform the preparation of the COP26, jointly presented a few weeks ago in London by Prime Minister Johnson and Prime Minister Conte. In a nutshell, we need to raise the ambition on all fronts:
– on mitigation, by promoting a substantial elevation of the Nationally Determined Contributions, as the Secretary-General said, and by setting clear timelines for the achievement of climate neutrality; let me recall in this respect that the European Commission just published the first draft of the “Climate Law”, aimed at the concrete implementation of the “European Green Deal”, which foresees the achievement of EU climate neutrality by 2050; Italy is fully aligned with the “European Green Deal” and will work within the EU to promote increasingly ambitious domestic targets for 2030;
– on adaption and resilience, by increasing the capacity of States, especially the most vulnerable, to face the already disrupting – and in certain cases, devastating – consequences of climate change;
– on finance, by ensuring that the financial target already set be fully achieved and by promoting a decisive shift in the mindset of public and private decision-makers towards financial strategies and investments that are consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
In pursuing these goals, it will be important to leverage on the results of the UN Climate Action Summit of last September. Following-up on those commitments to accelerate transition towards low carbon and resilient economies will be instrumental also for the success of COP26.
In terms of approach, as already said by President Sharma, we will need to be as inclusive as possible. Winning the battle against climate change will ultimately require the mobilization of all actors, including local authorities, civil society and the private sector, and the establishment of partnership in all directions, including with international organizations and multilateral development banks.
It will also be important to “connect the dots” with the other major UN processes of 2020 related to environmental issues, such as the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, the Summit on Biodiversity in New York, the COP15 in Kunming, the PGA High Level Dialogue on Desertification in New York.
Let me now elaborate more specifically on Italy’s contribution in the context of our partnership with the UK. In addition to co-hosting the Pre-COP, which will pave the way for the final negotiations in Glasgow, we will devote particular attention to the engagement of the youth, building on the positive experience of the Youth Climate Summit of last September. The Pre-COP will be preceded by a dedicated youth event, denominated “Youth4Climate2020”. The two meetings are scheduled in Milan, in a back-to-back modality, from the 28th of September to the 2nd of October.
Allow me send a very warm thought to Milan, to the Italian regions that are most affected by the Corona virus emergency and to my beautiful Country for the difficult times it is living And I am really proud of the whole of Italy response to this unprecedented challenge and I am really close to the other Countries that are affected.
Coming back to the Youth4Climate event, approximately 400 young representatives from around the world – to be selected in cooperation with the Office of the SG Special Envoy on Youth – will be invited to elaborate proposals to be provided at the final segment of the Youth event.
Italy is also determined to give specific attention to some of the most vulnerable countries of the planet with dedicated initiatives and actions. In this spirit, we will host on October 20-21 in Rome a high-level ministerial event focused on environmental and climate challenges in Africa.
Independently from our role for the COP26, let me also recall Italy’s strong support for the especially vulnerable Small Islands Development States in the framework of a longstanding partnership.
At COP25 in Madrid, the Secretary-General had the chance to speak in videoconference with Luca Parmitano, the Italian astronaut Commander of the International Space Station. Answering a question of the SG about what he was seeing from space, he said: “From here I see how beautiful our Earth is, but I also see its fragility. It is time to pull our heads out of the sand”. Let me conclude by saying, all together, let’s just do it!
Below opening remarks by The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres