Swiss President Parmelin, Federal Councillor Sommaruga and Federal Councillor Maurer at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26

President Guy Parmelin, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga and Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer will represent Switzerland at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), which will take place in Glasgow (UK) from 31 October 31 to November 12, 2021. The aim of the conference is to adopt robust rules for implementing the Paris Agreement. The attendees will also discuss how countries can step up their efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions so that global climate warming can be limited to a maximum increase of 1.5 degrees. The financing of climate protection projects in developing countries for the period after 2025 is a further topic on the agenda.

At COP26, the last remaining rules for implementing the Paris Climate Agreement adopted in 2015 are to be decided. Robust measures will be sought, since the current reduction targets are not sufficient to limit global warming to an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius, as required by the Agreement. One of the central discussion points is how countries can be credited for emissions reductions achieved through climate protection projects abroad. Furthermore, the parties aim to agree a new joint financing target for supporting climate protection measures in developing countries for the post-2025 period.

Together with around 100 heads of state and government, President Parmelin will be present at the World Leaders Summit, which will launch COP26 on Monday 1 November. Later on during the conference, Mr Parmelin will attend a high-level meeting on the ‘critical decade’, which refers to the time pressure in the fight against climate change. He will also attend an event hosted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Finally, a visit is planned to the Cryosphere Pavilion, which is co-financed by Switzerland; here the effects of climate change on the totality of the earth’s ice will be discussed.

Federal Councillor Sommaruga will participate in the negotiations at ministerial level and in the decision-making process at the conference, together with environment ministers from other countries. She and her negotiating delegation will advocate the creation of uniform and effective rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

They will argue that it should not be possible to credit emissions reductions made in climate protection projects abroad twice ‒ i.e. to both the donor and the recipient country,   since this would undermine efforts to protect the climate. Switzerland is also committed to efficient and equitable financing of climate protection projects in developing countries. It expects all parties to the Paris Agreement to support countries particularly affected by climate change according to their means. The business community should also do its part. Finally, all countries should contribute to restricting global warming to 1.5 degrees with their long-term climate strategies and net-zero targets for 2050.

On November 3, the main issue of discussion at COP26 will be sustainable finance. Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer and State Secretary Daniela Stoffel will attend meetings on this subject held by the host country, the United Kingdom. There they will underline the importance of high-quality data, which enables financial markets to take due account of environmental aspects. Greater transparency also allows investors to make decisions more efficiently, promotes innovation in the financial sector and helps to avoid greenwashing. The Swiss delegation will point out that the external costs of environmental and climate damage caused by economic activity must be internalised in the real economy. Climate-friendly financial investments are playing an increasing role throughout the world, and the Federal Council considers sustainability to be an opportunity for the Swiss financial centre.

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