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UN Climate Change Conference to kick off in Madrid on 2 December

Ministry of the Environment
Publication date 2.12.2019 13.17
News item
Photo: United Nations

The Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change will meet in Madrid, Spain, on 2–13 December. This UN Climate Conference will be the last one before the term of the Paris Agreement begins in 2020. The negotiations will focus particularly on the rules for international market mechanisms.

Other topics on the agenda will include the evaluation of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and the review of the Gender Action Plan.

Negotiations on the rulebook for the Paris Agreement were completed at the Katowice Climate Conference in December 2018, with the exception of rules on market mechanisms. In practice, it is a question of how countries can make use of the climate measures they fund in partner countries in achieving their own emissions targets from 2020 onwards.

It is important for the EU that the emissions reductions achieved through the mechanisms are real, and that the same emissions reductions are not calculated for the benefit of more than one country. 
- Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

Due to the domestic political situation in Chile, the Climate Change Conference was moved from Santiago de Chile to Madrid just six weeks before the start of the meeting. Chile will still act as the Presidency of the Conference.

Finland plays a key role as holder of the Presidency of the Council of the EU

The Climate Change Conference in Madrid was preceded by the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September in New York, where many countries made more stringent emissions reduction commitments and new initiatives were launched to accelerate climate action and ambition. The Madrid Climate Change Conference marks the first stage at which the progress of these commitments will be examined. A more extensive update of the commitments is still expected over the next year, before the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow.

As holder of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland is responsible for leading the EU’s climate negotiations and coordinating the member states’ positions, and will speak at the meeting on behalf of the EU. The EU’s negotiating mandate for the Madrid Climate Conference was agreed on at the October Environment Council.

The EU’s leading role in the negotiations has become further emphasised following the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The United States submitted its formal request to withdraw from the Paris Agreement at the beginning of November. However, the United States will still participate in Madrid as a Party, as in previous years, since the withdrawal will not take effect until one year after the request for resignation was submitted.