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Minister Vizjak at the Pre-COP26 meeting for approximating positions ahead of the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow

  • Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning

Today is the final day of the three-day Pre-COP meeting hosted by Italy, as the UK's partner country in the organisation of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), with a view to approximating the positions of the parties ahead of the COP meeting in Glasgow in November. Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning Andrej Vizjak and his delegation also attended the meeting.

The three-day meeting started with the Pre-COP Youth Event, a joint meeting of ministers and young delegates from all over the world, including Slovenia. In the company of President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, President for COP26 Alok Sharma, United States special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry and European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, the ministers and young delegates discussed measures to curb global warming. Two youth representatives from Slovenia participated at the Pre-COP Youth Event.

The Pre-COP meeting in Milan was the last preparatory meeting before Glasgow. Its aim was to give the regional negotiation teams an opportunity to present their negotiation positions and review the progress made in order to achieve as much progress as possible at the COP26. The meeting was attended by nearly 50 countries evenly representing all regional groups, representatives of the UNFCCC secretariat and the chairs of the Subsidiary Bodies of the Convention. Minister Vizjak attended the meeting on behalf of Slovenia and the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The EU was also represented by Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Sweden and the European Commission.

During the three days of the meeting, the ministers reviewed the situation and discussed all open issues that are key to achieving actual progress and successfully concluding the negotiations in Glasgow. They focused on increasing the ambition to mitigate climate change and on the urgent need to increase efforts to reduce emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The need to step up climate ambitions was pointed out by scientific findings and the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in August, which served as the basis for the ministers' discussion on the first day of the meeting.

In parallel to the plenary sessions, ministers also sought solutions within smaller groups throughout the Pre-COP meeting. On the second day, the ministers discussed the formulation of the rules on international carbon markets (Article 6) and the finalisation of the Paris Agreement Rulebook, the progress made in enhancing measures for climate adaptation, addressing the damage and loss resulting from climate change and reaching a consensus on the global goal on adaptation.

The discussion concerning climate financing remains focused on increasing the ambition to mobilise additional financial resources and thus achieve the collective financial goal by 2025, which is intended for developing countries. The commitments made by some leaders in the margins of the UN General Assembly session in September give hope that some progress will be made in this area. The ministers also continued the discussion on setting a new, post-2025 financial goal. Furthermore, they discussed transparency in laying down rules for the implementation of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the setting of common time frames for all parties and their NDCs.

On the final day of the meeting, the ministers held a plenary session to discuss all the above-mentioned open issues and provide further guidelines. In his address on behalf of the EU and its member states, Minister Vizjak stressed how important it is that an agreement is reached in Glasgow, as this is the only way to succeed in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees and preventing many adverse effects of climate change. The COP26 must make clear commitments on climate mitigation, adaptation and financing.

As the country currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Slovenia is making every effort to successfully represent the views of the EU in international relations and in the negotiations with third countries before and during the COP in Glasgow. On Thursday, at the meeting of the Environment Council in Luxembourg, the ministers are expected to adopt the mandate to be carried out by the EU and its member states at the most important global meeting of the year.