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UN climate talks begin with call to accelerate action

07 November 2017, 18:11 CET
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UN climate talks begin with call to accelerate action


(BONN) - The 2017 UN climate change conference got under way Monday, aiming for speedier, more ambitious global action on climate change and put the world on a safer, more prosperous development path.

The 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23), which takes place from 6 – 17 November under the presidency of Fiji, brings together ministers and government officials, as well as a wide range of representatives from civil society and business.

The conference comes against a backdrop of extreme weather events that have devastated the lives of millions of people in places like Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean. It comes as a report from the World Meteorological Organization, released Monday, shows that 2017 will be one of the three hottest years on record, with many high-impact events including catastrophic hurricanes and floods, debilitating heatwaves and drought.

Close to 20 country leaders are expected to attend, including President Emmanuel Macron of France and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The EU will be represented by Climate Action Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and Estonian Environment Minister Siim Kiisler, for the ERU presidency.

"COP23 in Bonn will show to the world the two faces of climate change," said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa: "firstly positive, resolute, inspiring momentum by so many governments and a growing array of cities and states to business, civil society leaders and UN agencies aligning to the Paris Agreement’s aims and goals.

“Secondly, the reality check. The thermometer of risk is rising; the pulse of the planet is racing; people are hurting; the window of opportunity is closing and we must go Further and Faster Together to lift ambition and action to the next defining level,"she said.

Confirmed speakers include Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Arnold Schwarzenegger, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, California Governor Jerry Brown, UN Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg, Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and Solar Impulse Explorer Bertrand Piccard.

Various transformative initiatives are anticipated including one from the UN on health and small islands; a platform to support engagement with Indigenous Peoples; a wide-ranging Gender Action Plan and the ramping up of a global risk transfer project that aims to deliver affordable insurance cover to an extra 400 million poor and vulnerable people.

During the conference, the EU will host more than 100 side events at the EU Pavilion in Bonn. These events, organised by a variety of countries and organisations from Europe and the rest of the world, will address a broad range of climate-related issues from the energy transition to the role of forests and oceans, climate finance, research and innovation and assessing climate risks. Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol meet once a year at high level to discuss how to take international climate action forward and adopt decisions to implement commitments made. This year, Parties will discuss important elements of the historic Paris Agreement and putting its plans into action by 2020.

UN climate conference (COP23)

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