The 11th edition of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue (PCD XI) focused on ways to enable a clean, climate-friendly, resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The two-day dialogue was the first major climate ministerial meeting of 2020.
The Dialogue took place from 27-28 April 2020, in a virtual format, enabling broader participation.
Over 30 climate ministers and high-level representatives spoke via video to discuss measures that could pave the way for a green recovery from the economic crisis posed by COVID-19, with additional video meetings taking place between other stakeholders and non-state actors, between UNFCCC lead negotiators, and among representatives from the finance sector.
Many acknowledged that COVID-19 and the impacts of climate change are exacerbating each other.
The Dialogue also focused on: how countries can move forward with ambitious climate action despite the postponement of UNFCCC COP 26 until 2021; and designing stimulus programs that will facilitate a more committed climate policy in future.
The Dialogue was co-hosted by Svenja Schulze, German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and Alok Sharma, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and incoming UNFCCC COP President.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reinforced the importance of multilateralism while the world is facing COVID-19. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa stressed that while COVID-19 has not postponed the climate emergency, recovery from the pandemic has the potential to put the world on a more sustainable and inclusive path.
Sharma stressed the need for an ambitious roadmap for COP 26. He urged paying particular attention to the power and transport sectors, which are priorities for the UK Presidency. He cited the challenge of accelerating progress towards a zero-emission and climate-resilient global economy, while creating jobs and supporting communities through the transition.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the same leadership required to fight COVID-19 is also needed to address the climate crisis. He proposed climate-related actions to shape the recovery, including the need to: deliver new jobs through a clean green and just transition; invest in sustainability; and work together as an international community.
Other speakers included: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Brookings Institution; Nicholas Stern, Chair, Grantham Research Institute; Christiana Figueres, Convener of Mission 2020; Achim Steiner, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator; and Kristalina Georgieva, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director.
During the ministerial discussion, many acknowledged that economic recovery programs will be necessary as a mid- and long-term response to the crisis, and that the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts of climate change are exacerbating each other.
They emphasized the need for: aligning economic recovery plans with the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); multilateralism, international cooperation, and support for developing countries to ensure a successful recovery; enhanced NDCs without delay, despite the postponement of COP 26 until 2021; and further exchange among ministers, including possibly another virtual meeting in late summer.