Ahead of the vital COP26 climate conference next month in Glasgow, more than 250 parliamentarians from across the world met in Rome under the auspices of the Italian Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to discuss the environmental, economic, social and security repercussions of the climate crisis, as well as effective mitigation and adaption strategies.
Representing the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Pere Joan Pons (Spain) said today that approaches to climate change to date have been “either inadequate, or too slow” and that more credible and trenchant responses are urgently required.
“Ultimately, what we need is a greener, more balanced and forward-looking development strategy in response to the security expectations of current and future generations,” Pons said. “As parliamentarians, our role in shaping national legislation and mobilizing adequate resources to implement the Paris Agreement is critical to safeguard our planet’s ecosystems, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and to limit global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius.”
In his intervention, Pons noted that COP26 represents “a unique opportunity to urge our governments to be more ambitious in setting their emissions reduction targets and develop credible long-term adaptation and financing strategies.” He added that the role of parliamentarians will be even more important after COP26, when they will need to oversee that climate goals are actually met and citizens’ rights duly safeguarded in the process.
Hailing the recent ratification by Turkey of the Paris Agreement, he noted that all OSCE participating States are now on board and ready to play their role in addressing this global security challenge in accordance with the “common, but differentiated responsibility principle,” enshrined in the Treaty. “It is vital to leave no one behind in these efforts, which must be based on enhanced multilateral and inter-parliamentary co-operation,” he concluded.
Pons, who was elected Chair of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment on 6 July, met on the sidelines of the Rome meeting with the Chair of the Italian Chamber of Deputies’ Environmental Committee Alessia Rotta and with the Pre-COP26 Parliamentary Meeting Co-Rapporteur Alex Sobel (United Kingdom). Pons, Rotta and Sobel agreed that parliamentarians should actively engage to preserve the environment, reverse climate change and fight pollution at both national and international levels. They explored joint co-operation opportunities in the post COP26 framework, particularly in the context of the energy transition, social justice, green finance, and technological innovation.
Pons is accompanied at the Rome meeting by OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella, who underlined the strong climate-pollution-public health security nexus. “The OSCE PA, with its broad-based membership, is in a unique position to promote policy convergence around the need to better understand these set of interlinked environmental challenges and address them in a more holistic, collaborative and interdisciplinary way,” he noted. While stressing the added value in forging a strong science-policy interface, he emphasized that the OSCE PA is keen to play an increasingly leading role in this field, which poses some of the most urgent threats to the human civilization.
The pre-COP26 Parliamentary Meeting is being held in on 8-9 October as part of a series of pre-COP26 events hosted by Italy and the United Kingdom. The meeting will be followed by a Parliamentary Meeting on 7 November 2021 at COP26 in Glasgow which will be organized by the British Group of the IPU.
At the presence of the President of the Italian Republic Mattarella, the Rome event was opened by President of the Italian Senate Elisabetta Casellati, President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Roberto Fico, U.S. Speaker of the House of the Representatives Nancy Pelosi, IPU President Duarte Pacheco, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio, and 2021 Physics Nobel Prize laureate Giorgio Parisi. Pope Francis also welcomed the national delegations in a special audition held in the Vatican City.
Several ministers and renowned experts informed the four sessions of the meeting.