Remarks To Close COP26 - Statement By UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa
Thank you to everyone who attended, participated in, organized or followed COP26 online.
Thank you for your passionate dedication to the issue of climate change. Negotiations are never easy and while we seek an outcome that is acceptable to all, few return home completely satisfied. But this is the nature of consensus and inclusive multilateralism.
Thank you to the UK Presidency for hosting COP26. I would especially like to thank Minister Sharma for his leadership and partnership during these months of hard work and especially during these last two weeks.
I also thank all who are part of the UK Presidency team, from
mobilization and operations to those working shifts throughout the night to keep the agenda moving forward. It has been a unique COP, given everything we’ve gone through, and you have all risen to the challenge.
And thank you to the people of Glasgow for their warmth and graciousness and for opening the doors to this beautiful city -- the focus of the world’s attention these last two weeks.
One hears many things at a COP. Here is what I heard most: “the people here are so nice.” It truly warmed our hearts.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone at UN Climate Change for their incredible dedication, passion and support for COP26. This has been a very unique COP. Regardless of the multiple challenges every one of you have faced, you have shown your exceptional professionalism and dedication.
Two weeks ago, I said in my opening remarks that success at COP26 was possible.
I said it would be defined not by one or two “big” announcements, but whether we achieved a balanced package of decisions and actions.
We started our work with a clear recognition that we are facing a climate crisis and, at the same time, that there are critical gaps in terms of mitigation, adaptation and finance.
I believe that the recognition of the relevance and the urgency of the task ahead has allowed many of you to support the consensus, even if it did not completely address all your concerns. I thank you.
We will be leaving Glasgow with clarity on the work we need to undertake to reach the 1.5-degree goal.
Parties have made progress in several key areas. I want to highlight four accomplishments that represent significant progress in the world’s efforts against climate change.
At this COP, adaptation has been central in all our conversations, and the texts adopted recognize this relevance.
We now also have a work program to define the global goal on adaptation. This will allow us to identify the collective needs and solutions for the climate impacts already happening now in all regions of the world.
And the Santiago Network, which provides technical support for countries to address and manage loss and damage, has now been enhanced, strengthening global efforts towards resilience.
Regarding finance, an issue extensively discussed here at COP26, all Parties agree that much more support needs to be provided to developing counties.
In particular, Parties have also recognized that the most vulnerable cannot be ignored, that much more finance for adaptation is needed and it has to be predictable.
We welcome the call to at least double finance for adaptation. We know the needs are still very much beyond what is currently available, and Parties must continue to focus on this issue.
We are disappointed the $100 billion pledge remains outstanding and I call upon all donors to make it a reality as by next year.
And we all know that this is not only about the $100 billion. Initiating the process for the definition of the new global goal on finance as soon as possible is therefore critical.
We came into COP26 knowing we had a significant emissions gap. To address it, Parties have collectively agreed to look for ways to increase actions with the overall objective of closing that gap.
There can be no doubting the urgency of this task. This is a question of the long-term survival of humanity on this planet.
COP26 also sees the finalization of guidelines for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. This is a significant accomplishment.
After six years of intense negotiations, we have reached a compromise on the pending issue of Article Six.
Operationalizing Article Six will allow Parties to scale up their cooperation, mobilize additional finance and private sector engagement and ensure that the rules are the same for everyone.
We also finalized the negotiations on the Enhanced Transparency Framework. This will allow all Parties to continue building trust.
At COP26, Parties built a bridge between good intentions and measurable actions to lower emissions, increase resilience and provide much needed finance.
A bridge leading to the historic transformation we must make to achieve rapid reductions this decade and ultimately towards the 1.5C goal.
A bridge between the admirable promises made six years ago in Paris to the concrete measures that the scientific evidence calls for and societies around the world demand.
This was clear outside the formal process as well.
We heard pledges to protect forests, oceans, land and nature.
We heard more pledges for adaptation, more action in the health care sector.
We’ve heard promises for greater inclusion of Indigenous, regional and local communities.
We heard from the activists who marched in peace and plead for you to listen to their cries for climate leadership.
We heard from women, from youth, from cities, from regions, from businesses large and small, from academics, scientists and countless others.
Experience in this process also shows that promises -- especially financial ones -- are easily made, but difficult to deliver.
For every announcement made, we look forward to both firm plans and the fine print.
The road to climate action does not end in Glasgow.
Despite your accomplishments, we are still far off the trajectory of stabilizing global temperature rise at 1.5-degrees. It’s imperative we see more climate action this decade to achieve it.
The emissions gap remains a serious threat, as do the gaps in finance and adaptation. NDCs must be significantly boosted.
As the Secretary General said: every country, city, company and financial institution must credibly and verifiably reduce their emissions and decarbonize their portfolios starting now.
We must continue to work together to achieve it.
Thousands of non-governmental observers have come to this conference. All have a voice.
These participants were, are and will continue to be more than a source of inspiration, they are a source of solutions.
I call upon Parties to make a greater commitment to include Observers in our process moving forward.
I have already made a commitment to them to review what happened here in Glasgow to ensure greater inclusivity moving forward. That work begins immediately.
Some of the oldest and most magnificent bridges in the world can be found here in Scotland.
It is therefore fitting that the bridge to historic transformation we must achieve has been built here in Glasgow.
But bridges are meant to be crossed and cross we must. The waters of the climate emergency are rising rapidly.
We must continue to fight for that hope.
And while hope will light our way forward, we will remain vigilant that promises pledged are promises kept, that the billions looking to you have their hopes reflected in your decisions.
I once again thank all of you for making COP26 a success and for working so hard. Let us enjoy what we have accomplished but let us also prepare for the next chapter of our journey together.