04 November 2021

The Geneva Environment Dialogues discussed the impacts of the COVID-19 on the global climate change agenda

The dialogues took place on Tuesday 19 May, 2020 from 9: 00 to 9:50 on Facebook live, as way of communicating in this time of COVID-19.

this session addressed the impacts of the COVID-19 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the preparation of the 26th conference and negotiations and new shedules and programmes for these conferences and negotiations.

The 26th session of the conference of the parties to the UNFCCC was scheduled to take place from 9-19 November 2020, in Glasgow, United Kingdom. On 1 April 2020, the COP bureau announced that the conference and its preparatory meetings would take place in 2021.

Four invited speakers contributed to the dialogue (Ovais SARMAD; the Deputy Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, Youssef NASSEF; the acting Director of Intergovernmental Support and Collective Progress Division of UNFCCC; H.E. Miriam SHEARMAN; Deputy Permanent Representative,Permanent Mission of the UK to the UN and other international oragnaizations; Marie Sol FULCI; the Deputy Permanent Representatives, Permanent mission of Italy to the international Organizations in Geneva)

Ovais Sarmad, the Deputy Executive Director, UNFCCC, explained that the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, revealed that the world can act and win, if it comes together. In fact COVID-19 and climate change have similarities, and both give us opportunities. As COVID-19 revealed vulnerabilities of the world and the importance of science, cooperation, knowledge sharing, transparency in tackling the pandemic, and it is the same way for the climate change.

The speakers emphasized that any delay of negotiations cannot be matched with the delays in climate change itself. However, to continue the preparation of COP26, many of the events on the road to COP26 are taking place online. Now, there is the consultation with partners for fixing the specific date of COP26 in 2021.

One of the questions raised were concerning the COP26, given that this conference is now delayed until 2021, if it will impact the timing of COP27 as well. As an answer; O. Sarmad explained thatCOP27 is under discussion with the current and incoming presidency, where they are suggesting two different options; either to hold two COPs in the same year or hold only one COP and subsequently delay the whole cycle, which is complex issue, but under discussion.

The Deputy Executive Secretary of UNFCCC noted that “we are all in this pandemic situation together, we need to keep up the momentum, we are going through a huge unprecedented event, and we must not forget the climate change crisis”

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