Alok Sharma – 2020 Speech at Opening of the UN Climate Change Dialogues

The speech made by Alok Sharma, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on 23 November 2020.

It’s a pleasure to open the UNFCCC Climate Change Dialogues today, alongside my fellow Presiding Officers, Carolina, Marianne and Tosi. As well of course as the UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, and the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa.

I thank them for their work in organising this event.

2020 has been a hugely challenging year for everyone.

And when I spoke at the June Momentum, I said climate action could not be postponed.

And as incoming COP President, I’m fully committed to working with my fellow Presiding Officers, parties, and stakeholders to keep driving ambition and action on climate change.

This remains the case today.

The urgency of the climate crisis demands nothing less.

That is why all of us on this panel have arranged a series of events to maintain momentum.

To advance the multilateral process.

And to drive real-world change.

Earlier this month, our High-Level Champions Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz held the Race to Zero Dialogues.

To build support for decarbonisation amongst cities, amongst regions, amongst businesses.

And today, we are opening the Climate Change Dialogues.

We want to make progress on vital negotiating issues.

On 12 December, we have the Climate Ambition Summit 2020.

This is co-hosted by the UK COP26 Presidency, the UN and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy.

And this Summit will provide a platform for leaders to come forward with announcements under the three pillars of the Paris Agreement: mitigation; adaptation; and support.

Specifically, we are calling for:

New, more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions;

Long-Term Strategies setting out a pathway to net zero emissions;

Climate finance commitments to support the most vulnerable;

And crucially, ambitious adaptation plans and underlying policies.

Ahead of COP26, we as Presiding Officers will host more discussions to build on the progress made at these Dialogues.

So that we are in the best possible position to unleash the full potential of the Paris Agreement when we meet in Glasgow next year.

As you know, we are committed to working with all of you to agree a comprehensive, negotiated outcome that leaves no issue behind.

And we absolutely recognise – as we have always done – that if we are to succeed, parties must lead the process.

And non-state actors must be involved. Particularly those whose voices are often marginalised.

That is why we have consulted with all negotiating groups ahead of these Dialogues.

It is why they have been designed them to suit multiple time zones.

And why observers are heavily involved.

Proceedings will be broadcast around the world.

And their format balances concerns about negotiating virtually with the need to keep these conversations going, which is of course so vital.

These Dialogues can help to put us in the best position to negotiate in Bonn, and the of course in Glasgow.

We will use the Dialogues to fulfil vital mandates.

To improve our understanding of each party’s position and the issues that need to be resolved.

And to help us to identify what can be done during next year to help secure a comprehensive agreement at COP26.

The UK has worked closely with Chile, the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies, and the Secretariat to design the events for the next fortnight.

The Presidencies are convening events on finance, adaptation, loss and damage, NDC preparation and gender, alongside the Open Dialogue and the Pre-2020 Roundtable.

And we will continue to work together, with all parties and stakeholders, over the next twelve months.

So that next year, when the world comes together and meets in Glasgow, we can fulfil the full potential of the Paris Agreement.