For two days, the Petersberg Climate Dialogue was held virtually with Germany and the United Kingdom as hosts.
The meeting brought together more than 30 ministers who reflected on how the world can recover once the COVID-19 pandemic has been overcome in a climate-resilient way.
The 11th meeting was chaired by the German Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze, and by the designated COP26 President, Alok Sharma.
The first intervention was from the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who reinforced the importance of multilateralism at this time when the world is facing COVID-19: “The Coronavirus painfully shows us that international cooperation is crucial. (…) It is clear that the more we work together, the more we will avoid human suffering and economic distortions, or at least we will be able to contain them,” he said.
For his part, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres said: “They say it is darker just before dawn. These are dark days, but they are not days without hope. We have a short and rare opportunity to change our world for the better.”
The Minister of Environment of Chile and President of COP25, Carolina Schmidt, was the first Secretary of State to intervene.
“The calls from the international climate community have been clear in recent weeks: despite the health crisis, climate action must continue at all levels,” he said.
At the beginning of April, Chile presented the update of its NDC. In this regard, Schmidt called on countries to present more ambitious NDCs and long-term climate strategies this year 2020, under the Paris Agreement.
“These commitments should not be seen as an unnecessary distraction from the health crisis. In fact, they may be part of the solution: NDCs and long-term strategies may be the blueprint for designing recovery strategies that are aligned with high emission reductions,” she said.
Minister Carolina Schmidt explained that the NDC in Chile is committed “to an absolute carbon budget for the period 2020-2030 and a series of other measures, specially spanning adaptation and integration: covering commitments in oceans, forests, circular economy, and nature-based solutions. What I specially want to highlight is the inclusion of a social pillar for the first time in a NDC. This pillar serves as anchor for all our climate commitments, connecting them to the 2030 SDG – and committing the development of a “Just Transition Strategy” focusing in the protection of the most vulnerable people and their territories.
Our new enhanced NDC not only promotes a more ambitious climate action but also it fosters a socioeconomic and a more inclusive development. which is especially crucial as we recover from Covid-19 and its economic impacts.”
Before concluding the high-level session of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the designated president of COP26 assured that “the climate crisis has not taken time off and we still have time to define the future, although the window is closing. We need an ambitious roadmap for COP26,” and he recalled that the axes of his Presidency are transition to clean energy, clean transport, nature-based solutions, adaptation and resilience, and finance.