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Virtual Briefing on “preparations for COP26”

Statement delivered by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the virtual Briefing on ” Preparations for COP26″. —


Thank you very much Barbara, Secretary General, friends.

Italy is, together with its partners, working at full speed to ensure a solid, dynamic and inclusive process towards the Pre-COP in Milan in October, which will be instrumental to an ambitious COP in Glasgow in November.

I wish to provide updates on three main areas of work from the Italian side: our preparatory work for the Milan Pre-COP; our work in ensuring a meaningful multi-stakeholder engagement, with the Youth4Climate global call; our synergetic approach between the Italian Presidency of the G20 and COP26.

On the first, the Pre-COP will take place from September 30th to October 2nd, and together with our partners the UK and others we are engaged already in informal multilateral and bilateral dialogues and continuing the coordinated outreach to key actors in the process. The Pre-COP can indeed be crucial for a successful COP and in order to do so, it is essential to accelerate preparations on negotiations, also by enabling virtual negotiations as needed, as the Secretary General also underlined. As part of our preparatory actions and reach out, we are dedicating specific attention to the most vulnerable Countries like SIDS, LDCs and the African Continent.

Secondly, one of our main priorities has been to ensure an inclusive and meaningful multi-stakeholder engagement in the process. Italy decided to invest in the crucial contribution of young people and to convene the “Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition” summit from the 28 to 30 September, just before the Pre-COP. On February 1st, in partnership with the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, we launched the global open call for applications for young leaders. Our goal is to ensure, and fully support, the participation of up to 400 young people with proven track of climate leadership in their community, equitably representing all the 197 Parties to the UNFCCC and with an equal gender representation. The meeting will provide young delegates the space to put forward concrete proposals on the climate agenda including through a discussion between young delegates and the Ministers attending Pre-COP26, therefore ensuring their engagement in the decision-making process. The support of the UN and all its Member States will be crucial for the success of the event. I encourage you all to spread the word in your Countries about the call for applications.

On my third point, it is indeed a crucial year for our planet. The actions taken collectively in 2021 will very likely define the shape of our responses to climate change, to the biodiversity crisis and of our energy transition for at least the next decade. Italy will play a role within the COP26 in synergy with our current Presidency of the G20. It is a matter of fact that the G20 Countries account for about the 78% of global emissions. So, we can add that 8% to the 70 that more or less we have reached in engagement.

Italy has prioritized Climate Action as a main theme of our G20 Presidency, also strengthening our cooperation with the UK in their capacity of G7 Presidency.

The G20 represents a key opportunity to engage in an action-oriented global debate for the promotion of coordinated, collective and ambitious policies to guide climate action. With this in mind we are bringing closer Climate and Energy working areas, heading toward a joined-up Environment, Energy and Climate Ministerial Meetings, on July 22-23 in Naples, and this will serve as a key milestone in the road to Milan and Glasgow.
The Italian Presidency has started working with the G20 membership on Climate Sustainability and Energy Transition tracks on three integrated priorities:
a) advancing towards a green and sustainable recovery, seizing the opportunities offered by innovative energy technological solutions;
b) fostering the role played by sustainable and smart cities;
c) making use of the opportunities offered by the COVID-19 crisis to accelerate the alignment of global capital flows towards a green transition.

In this context, the G20 Presidency will propose a green approach for the recovery plans of G20 countries, connecting them to the review of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the long-term low-emission strategies in view of the COP26 deadlines. Our aim is to align the global recovery with global climate action.

The overall objective will be to move forward, towards a decarbonized energy system, including through the use of new sources like green hydrogen. All of the above will offer tools to tackle climate change by achieving significant emission reductions, developing new energy models for a sustainable, high added-value and job-creating economy.

So, collective ambition and determination are crucial and Italy is committed to do its best ever in close cooperation with all the partners.

Thank you.