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UNECE at COP22: supporting countries in taking climate action to achieve sustainable development

The Paris Agreement entered into force just three days before the United Nations Climate Change Conference — also known as COP22 — kicked-off on 7 November in Marrakech, Morocco. “Our work here in Marrakech must reflect our new reality. No politician or citizen, no business manager or investor can doubt that the transformation to a low-emission, resilient society and economy is the singular determination of the community of nations,” said Patricia Espinosa, Secretary General of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in her opening statement.

The Marrakesh Conference is striving to be a “COP for action”. To be consistent with the long-term goals of the Paris agreement, all actors are being urged to work together, not only to achieve the national targets of the national climate action plans (Nationally Determined Contributions), but also to go further. United Nations officials and civil society are calling on delegates to be guided by this sense of urgency in delivering ambitious action. “We must identify what concrete policy options and what tools we will have to mobilize in the short term”, said Dr. Hakima El Haite, Delegate Minister in Charge of Environment, Climate Champion, Morocco and Ambassador Laurence Tubiana, Climate Champion, France, in a joint statement.

Working in several areas relevant to climate change mitigation and adaptation, UNECE is taking part in COP22 to showcase the diverse toolkit it provides to support countries in their efforts to transition to an inclusive low-carbon economy and take climate action in areas related to air pollution, water and sustainable energy, and to engage the public and the civil society in decision-making on climate change.

UNECE is contributing to a number of discussions at COP22, including jointly with the other United Nations Regional Commissions. Last week Deputy Executive Secretary Andrey Vasilyev presented UNECE work to promote integrated, basin-wide approaches to climate change adaptation strategies for water management, and activities to follow up on the implementation the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aim at mobilizing action in four areas: strengthening of capacity and knowledge; adapting basin management planning; governance; and financing. He signed the Marrakech declaration of global alliances on water and climate. 

This week, Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach and other UNECE actors will highlight the interlinkages between air quality, climate and health benefits, and the important role the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution plays in achieving co-benefits for the region, but also globally, in the areas of climate and health. They will also discuss the economic impacts of climate change and share economic policies and instruments applied in the region to boost the transition to an inclusive green economy, including how to advance regional cooperation on and the uptake of renewable energy.

UNECE is also showcasing its work at the thematic booths that have brought together several agencies around key issues at the ONE UN Exhibit, and has its e-library on display on the United Nations Climate Change Learn platform for COP22. This will allow delegates to explore how diverse United Nations entities are delivering “as one” in supporting Member States to achieve their commitments under the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.