COP19 begins in Warsaw: "A new universal climate agreement is within our reach" - Christiana Figueres

13 November 2013

LONDON: Today the international UN climate talks began in Warsaw, Poland, where governments will come together to work towards greater climate action ahead of 2015's expected climate deal.

The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) runs from November 11-22 in Warsaw. It is attended by government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations, research institutions and the media, who come together to progress an effective response to climate change.

In an opening speech in Warsaw, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, said: “We must stay focused, exert maximum effort for the full time and produce a positive result, because what happens in this stadium is not a game. There are not two sides, but the whole of humanity. There are no winners and losers, we all either win or lose in the future we make for ourselves.”

Christiana Figueres reminded the audience of the rise in extreme weather events that climate science had long predicted, such as the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last week, which was one of the most powerful typhoons to hit land. Touching on this and highlighting areas where progress could well be made at COP19, Christiana Figueres said: “We must clarify finance that enables the entire world to move towards low-carbon development. We must launch the construction of a mechanism that helps vulnerable populations to respond to the unanticipated effects of climate change. We must deliver an effective path to pre-2020 ambition, and develop further clarity for elements of the new agreement that will shape the post-2020 global climate, economic and development agendas”.

Delegates have been urged to tap into the renewed sense of urgency on climate action that is being seen from governments, businesses and societies across the world, to help progress towards an expected global climate deal in 2015 at COP21 in Paris. Christiana Figueres stated: “There is a groundswell of climate action. Not only for environmental reasons, but also for security, energy, economic and governance reasons. Political will and public support favour action now. A new universal climate agreement is within our reach. Agencies, development banks, investors and subnational governments are on board. The science from the IPCC is clear. Parties can lead the momentum for change and move together towards success in 2015.”

COP19 delegates will also focus on enacting support for developing nations in finance, adaptation and technology through the Green Climate Fund, the Technology Mechanism and the Adaptation Committee, which were agreed in Cancun in 2010.

Next week, the UNFCCC secretariat will showcase Momentum for Change lighthouse activities, which are examples of climate action that show positive results for innovative finance, women and the urban poor.

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Image by UNclimatechange

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