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The Foreign Affairs Council of 26 February stressed the importance of maintaining global commitment to the landmark Paris Agreement and the urgency of completing the work programme for its implementation, due to be finalised at the next UN climate conference (COP24) in December in Katowice, Poland.
Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said: "With 2018 a crucial year for accelerating our work to turn the Paris Agreement into action, the EU is stepping up its efforts to reach out to countries and stakeholders all around the world. We are determined to continue playing a leading role in delivering on the promises of the Paris Agreement – and we want everybody on board."
In its conclusions, the Council highlighted the links between climate change and security, recognising that climate change acts as a threat multiplier with direct and indirect implications for international security and stability.
In this context, the EU supports the continued work in the framework of the G7 and the UN system, encouraging in particular the UN Security Council to increase its focus on the climate and security nexus and make it a recurrent item in its deliberations.
The EU's commitment to climate and security issues will also be addressed at a high-level event to be held in Brussels in June at the initiative of Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission.
With 2018 the year of the 'Talanoa Dialogue' – a facilitative process to help review progress towards the global goals of the Paris Agreement ahead of COP24 – the Council emphasised the need to continue to strengthen political outreach and public diplomacy on climate issues, up to the highest official levels and involving the full range of regional and sub-regional actors.
It underlined the importance of continued action and leadership by G20 economies that collectively account for some 80% of global emissions, as well as the need to strengthen existing and seek new alliances with countries in all regions.
The Talanoa Dialogue will be the central theme for EU climate diplomacy in 2018. Key events include two EU Climate Diplomacy Weeks, the first taking place in June around the Ministerial on Climate Action to be convened in Brussels jointly by the EU, Canada and China, and the second in September during the UN General Assembly week.
In its conclusions, the Council also called for a joined-up approach between climate policies and policies in areas such as trade and investment, as well as enhanced efforts to tackle emissions from international shipping and aviation through the ongoing work by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).