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COP23 European Union implementing Paris agreement with COP23

Panellists:
Elina Bardram
Top negotiator for the European UnionMeelis Münt
Deputy Secretary General
Ministry of the Environment
Estonia

The head of the EU delegation to the climate meeting, Meelis Munt, said Fiji must be acknowledged for taking up what he said was the “challenging role” of putting together such an event.

Munt, who is the deputy secretary general of the environment for Estonia, told the media at the opening of COP23 that they realised the Bonn, Germany event was “nothing compared to what is usually taking place in these negotiations”.

“It is indeed a very challenging role being the first small island developing state to hold the COP presidency and we wish every success to the Fijian presidency,” he said.Crediting Fiji with first hand knowledge of the impact of climate change, the Estonian leader said recent extreme weather events were reminders of the potential consequences of climate change.

Munt said while this COP may not make the same headlines as Paris (COP21) and Marrakech (COP22), it was vital in the context of ensuring the Paris Agreement is put into practice.

The EU said it would extend the several decades of co-operation it had with the Pacific and with Fiji by following “Fiji’s unique perspectives and leadership”.

“But our work over the next two weeks will be vital to putting the Paris Agreement into practice across the globe,” Munt said.

“So for COP23, the EU priorities — which we will highlight — really have to make clear progress in operating the work programme for implementing the agreement and also to get clarity in the preparations for the facilitative dialogue to be held next year.”

Munt said there were many kinds of climate actions and initiatives taken around the world with various stakeholders including cities, regions, businesses which the world could learn from.

“Therefore the EU has been and will be a strong supporter of the climate action agenda and we consider it as an important platform for multi stakeholder action and we will continue to engage actively in this forum,” he said.

Praising the Talanoa concept that Fiji has proposed as a design for next years facilitative dialogue, Munt said the design was essential.

“This rich programme of events demonstrates the power of multi stakeholder action for keeping up the political momentum and making the low carbon transition happen on the ground. And of course we do it with the Talanoa spirit, working together, telling stories, learning from each other — this is essential for the European union.

EU head negotiator, Elina Bardram, said that there was a clear determination within the bloc to use COP23 to flesh out the technical guidelines of implementation of the Paris goals, and to allow for more “transparency and accountability”, Bardram stated. Continuing, she said that the EU would work to ensure that not only are its carbon reduction pledges sufficient, but that they are being met by Member States.

She also said that there wasn’t a disagreement between developing and developed nations about the importance of early action in general but that “we should be mindful where to discuss the issue” so as not to compromise the technical work on the Paris rulebook.

Bardram said that while the EU is on course to meet its 2020 carbon-cutting targets and ratification of the amendment is “imminent” they cannot agree to a timeline due to domestic legislature procedures.

She also emphasise the need to move from the Kyoto Protocol, which binds only industrialised nations, to the Paris Agreement, a universal deal for all countries to take action.

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