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paris geneve  UNEP ON THE GROUND
COP21: Geneva prepares to follow through

UN and other bodies based in Geneva have signalled their readiness to help carry out the Paris Agreement on the ground.


At a conference titled ‘From COP21 to COP22, International Geneva’s mobilization continues,’ the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), International Organisation for Migration and others based in the Swiss city spelled out how they planned to help countries deliver on the deal.


The event was hosted by the Permanent Missions of France and Morocco on 19 January. Some 195 countries agreed to the first ever legally-binding climate deal in Paris last December and pledged to set more ambitious targets every five years. The agreement is due to enter into force in 2020.


During the conference, Ms Elisabeth Laurin, Permanent Representative of France; and Mr Mohamed Auajjar - that of Morocco - hailed the historical importance of the Paris Agreement while highlighting the role played by the previous COP held in Lima in building momentum.


“UNDP’s priorities on climate change are now to help achieve a clear roadmap on financing, improve monitoring and transparency and ensure that pledges made by countries are put into practice,” the body’s Administrator Helen Clark revealed in a panel session moderated by UNEP’s Regional Director Jan Dusik.


The Paris Agreement was meanwhile described as the WHO’s “most powerful health policy” by Dr Maria Neira, the organisation’s Director of Public Health and the Environment, confirming her readiness to help countries carry out actions that mitigate climate change.


Halting deforestation should be a priority in order to do so, stressed IUCN Director General Ms Inger Andersen. Ecosystems and seasons can already be seen to be changing due to climate change, she warned.


Ms Laura Thompson, IOM Deputy Director General, meanwhile said that her organisation’s priority would be to prevent forced migration due to climate change, to help environmental migrants and facilitate migration that is unavoidable. Climate change will involve “major” changes to employment patterns, stressed Mr Stephen Pursey, Director of Multilateral Cooperation for the International Labor Organisation. Further research on this is needed together with greater social protection and dialogue, he argued.


The Paris Agreement opens for signature on 22 April in New York. The next edition of the COP talks will take place in Marrakesh in November and will address adaptation, capacity building and technology transfer in order to help ensure the commitments made in Paris become a reality.


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