Informal Ministerial Roundtable on Climate Change Calls for Building on Durban

EU8 May 2012: An Informal Ministerial Roundtable on Climate Change brought together representatives from 30 countries, including from least developed countries (LDCs) and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), to build on the achievements of the Durban Climate Change Conference. The meeting, which was hosted by the EU, also provided an opportunity for Ministers to discuss the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

The Informal Ministerial Roundtable convened by Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, and Martin Lidegaard, Danish Climate and Energy Minister, took place from 7-8 May 2012. Other attendees included countries from central Asia and Latin America, EU member States, as well as Australia and Norway. Representatives from Qatar, the host of the upcoming 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will take place in Doha at the end of 2012, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres also attended. Commissioner Hedegaard called on countries to keep up the momentum created in Durban on climate change and to make progress at Rio+20.

Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development, discussed climate change and access to energy as a priority for EU development policy. He highlighted cooperation between the EU and Pacific Islands through the Joint Plan of Action on Climate Change, which focuses on: disaster risk reduction (DRR); renewable energy and energy efficiency; and community resilience to climate change. He also noted EU engagement in the UN Secretary-General's Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative and underscored climate change, green economy and sustainability as the guiding forces behind EU's Agenda for Change development policy.

Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, highlighted five priority areas for the EU at Rio+20: oceans; energy; land degradation; water; and resource efficiency, including waste. He called for translating the principle of green economy into blue economy for marine and coastal contexts through partnerships such as the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) and the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI). José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, concluded the Roundtable by underlining that the EU will deliver on its Durban commitments, and expressed its expectation for others to deliver on the other parts of the Durban package.

The Informal Ministerial Roundtable also provided an opportunity for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO-IOC) to underscore key ocean issues being discussed in the Rio+20 negotiations including: marine biodiversity conservation; ocean acidification; marine pollution; and transitioning to a blue-green economy. [Janez Potočnik's Speech] [Andris Piebalgs' Speech] [Office of the EU Commissioner on Climate Action Press Release] [Office of the President of the European Commission Press Release] [UNESCO-IOC Press Release]