Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Explanation of Position: United Nations 2nd Committee: Resolution on Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind

New York , 27/11/2019 - 23:13, UNIQUE ID: 191202_17
Statements on behalf of the EU

27 November 2019, New York – European Union Explanation of Position delivered by Helge Elisabeth Zeitler on behalf of the European Union and its Member States at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Second Committee, 26th meeting on the Resolution on Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind

Mr Chair,


I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country, Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

Mr Chair,

The EU and its 28 Member States today join consensus on the resolution "Protection of the Global Climate for Present and Future Generations of Humankind". We are glad that all Member States support this important resolution.

We are  pleased that just a few days before the opening of CoP 25 in Madrid, under the Presidency of Chile, we are able as a General Assembly to send a clear message, reaffirming the Paris Agreement, and demonstrating the commitment of all Member States to address climate change with enhanced ambition. While the resolution captures this element with regard to the required action on Nationally Determined Contributions in 2020, we would have preferred to see stronger regarding the urgency in that regard. 

The Emission Gap Report 2019, published just yesterday by the UN Environment Programme, points to rising emission levels. It once more confirmed what we also know from the findings of the IPCC which we note with concern in the resolution.  These reports leave no room for doubt: unless we significantly and urgently step up our collective efforts, we will not be able to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and to contain temperature increase to a level that does not lead to disastrous consequences for humanity and nature.

2020 will be a critical year to demonstrate our global ambition through new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions and Long Term Strategies, and we urge all Member States to aim for the highest possible mitigation ambition. The EU is committed to do this with additional binding legislation and through the implementation of its strategy towards becoming the first climate neutral major economy.

Beyond the very important language in the resolution on the need for enhanced ambition and the scientific findings guiding our work, we welcome the additional language on adaptation, an area where additional efforts are indispensable to address the current and expected adverse impacts of climate change

We also welcome new language on the links between climate action and sustainable consumption and production. As investment flows into the green economy, costs have fallen dramatically. Indeed, the emission reduction potential of a circular economy is significant and we therefore consider further moving on this pathway an integral part of any effective long term climate strategy.

Similarly, important new language has been included on the links between climate change and biodiversity loss, and we look forward to occasions to address them next year, both at the UN Biodiversity Summit with Heads of State and Government and at the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in China.

We regret that once again it has not been possible to include more ambitious language referring to the ICAO and the IMO. Both aviation and shipping are very relevant industry sectors for climate action where important work has started but where more action is needed.

Missing is also from our perspective a more comprehensive reference to just transition, an important concept acknowledged in the Preamble of the Paris Agreement that acknowledges that the transition to climate neutral economies must be accompanied with active measures to address potential social impacts.

Finally, we understand that the UN Secretariat will continue meeting certain conference expenses of the Climate-COP from its regular budget in the upcoming funding cycle. This has been established practice in the past and we understand that this practice will continue in the future.

In conclusion, we would like to thank the facilitator, the Secretariat and all colleagues for their engagement in these negotiations that helped us reach once again a consensual text. 

Thank you.

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