A decision was taken today by the COP Bureau to postpone the UN Climate Change meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB52) until October 4-12, 2020, at the World Conference Centre in Bonn, Germany. Pre-sessional meetings will take place from September 28 to October 3, 2020.
The decision by the Bureau took into consideration the guidelines from local German health authorities in relation to the global health crisis around COVID-19. It aims to ensure not only full inclusion and participation, but the well-being and safety of all involved. This review was also necessary as the COP Bureau is mandated to inform Parties and Observers at least two months before scheduling or location changes take place.
“I sincerely thank the City of Bonn and especially Bonn Mayor, Mr. Ashok-Alexander Sridharan, for his continuous support and for his support to find an alternative date and venue for these important discussions,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa.
The Executive Secretary emphasized that climate action will continue throughout 2020 and that both the current COP Presidency of Chile, as well as the incoming COP Presidency of the United Kingdom, have committed to work in the coming months with both Party and non-Party stakeholders to continue engaging on matters of priority to the process.
“The plan to postpone the SBs meeting should ensure inclusive participation and that no issues are left behind. In preparation of the sessions in October, we will ask Parties to continue working on the updated/enhanced NDCs,” said COP25 President Minister Carolina Schmidt from Chile.
The UNFCCC Secretariat will continue to support the implications of this change. Staff are fully operational, working remotely, and the first technical meetings of the year have successfully taken place virtually. The Secretariat also stands ready to support any virtual events or those mandated by the COP prior to the SB sessions if deemed necessary.
Executive Secretary Espinosa reiterated that while these circumstances are exceptional, it also provides an opportunity for nations, as they recover from the crisis, to include measures designed to build more sustainable, resilient cities and communities while boosting climate ambition.
“While COVID-19 is unlike any other challenge we’ve seen in modern times, I am confident that the world—by acting in solidarity—will get through these difficult days,” said Espinosa. “Soon, economies will restart. With that restart, a window of hope and opportunity opens”.
“This is an opportunity for nations to green their recovery packages, an opportunity to include the most vulnerable in those plans, and an opportunity to shape the 21st century economy in ways that are clean, green, health, just, safe and more resilient. In the meantime, we continue to urge nations to significantly boost climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement.”
Espinosa noted that officials will continue to monitor the situation around COVID-19 and provide any further updates if and when they arise.
Photo: World Conference Center Bonn