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Partnering to combat Climate Change and for a Successful COP26

Partnering to combat Climate Change and for a Successful COP26

UN World Environment Day Joint Statement by

Duncan Norman, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Republic of Albania

Fabrizio Bucci, Ambassador of Italy to the Republic of Albania

Fiona McCluney, United Nations Resident Coordinator to the Republic of Albania

The world is in a climate emergency and climate change is the greatest risk facing us all. The next United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), hosted by the United Kingdom in partnership with Italy in November this year in Glasgow, will bring together over 30,000 heads of state, climate experts, and campaigners to one forum to reach a critical agreement on how to tackle climate change.

The Conference will focus around four key goals: securing global net zero by 2050 and keeping 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach; protecting communities and natural habitats; mobilising finance; and working together to finalise the Paris Rulebook and turning ambition into action by ensuring collaboration between governments, businesses, social partners, civil society, academia and researchers.

Before 30 July, all countries should come forward with ambitious new nationally determined contributions, and net zero commitments. All countries should also submit Adaption Communications and join the Adaption Action Coalition so we can work together to find solutions to some of the most challenging impacts of climate change. Having worked closely to deliver the landmark Paris Agreement, we are committed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050 and to ensure its success by reducing our own emissions and by cooperating with our global partners, including Albania.

– The European Union has committed to climate neutrality in 2050 and intends to increase its climate ambitions by cutting its emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990;

– The United Kingdom has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.

In welcoming, the decision by the Government of Albania on passing the law on Climate Change and the on-going work on a more ambitious and enhanced nationally determined contributions; we recognize that Albania is a highly vulnerable country to the effects of the climate change. Even though Albania’s national emissions represent only a small share of global emissions, we recall the importance to take the necessary steps to keep a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature limit within reach, including through commitments to net zero emissions by 2050.

Reaching ‘net zero’ means increasing the ambition of the country’s plans to decarbonize, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, diversifying the energy mix, improving energy efficiency in line with the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and continuing on the energy transition path highlighted in the Country’s National Energy Strategy. It means phasing out polluting means of transport and moving to sustainable mobility, protecting and restoring forests and critical ecosystems, strengthening environmental governance, and transitioning towards sustainable agriculture. It means taking our responsibility in ensuring the green transition of industry, from being the root cause of climate change to becoming the solution. It means matching increased ambition with an equal amount of action, ensuring the country’s institutions are up to the task of promoting and enforcing deep decarbonisation.

On this day, the World Environment Day, we recall the need to adapt to protect communities and natural habitats. In this regard, in reaffirming our concern about the recent revision of boundaries of protected areas, we urge Albania to review the published study on protected areas by involving the scientific community and other stakeholders, in full compliance with the EU acquis, local and international law. Further, we strongly recommend building climate resilience, and addressing the persistent gender gaps in the response to climate change.

The Covid-19 recovery offers a once in a generation opportunity to change the way we do business and align finance with climate action. Prosperity and climate action go hand in hand. Evidence shows that unmitigated climate change could cause devastating economic consequences, while clean growth presents the most significant economic growth opportunity of the 21st century. Albania must ensure that climate change is built into Covid-19 recovery strategies in line with an economic growth that is environmentally sustainable and driven by renewable energy, green jobs and green technologies, especially in a strategic sector such as agriculture, industry, energy, transport, tourism, water and waste management.

We strongly believe that young people are key to raising climate awareness, conserving nature, accelerating renewable energy transition, and adopting environmentally friendly practices and the climate crisis really is a child rights crisis. This is the reason why we decided to focus the pre-COP meeting in Milan “Youth4Climate” on the participation of young men and women in decision-making processes.

We all need to act now. We need to walk the talk together before it is too late. This is the only way we can meet the commitments set in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The decisions we make now will directly affect our ability to safeguard the planet for ourselves and for future generations.