The Alpine Convention at UNFCCC COP28

Secretary General Alenka Smerkolj represented the Alpine Convention at the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which took place in the United Arab Emirates from 30 November to 12 December 2023.

The Conference will go down in history as first COP where the need to “transition away” from fossil fuels was spelled out – although this is only a small step towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Mountain regions also have a reason to celebrate after the COP as, for the first time, the texts repeatedly stated the need for mountains to receive specific attention and it was decided to convene a dialogue on mountains and climate change at the next Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) meeting in June 2024.

The Alpine Convention was present to share insights into its work and experiences, raise awareness about mountain issues, and network with other mountain areas.

During her High-Level Segment speech, Secretary General Smerkolj highlighted the vulnerability and specificity of mountains, highlighted the Alpine Convention as a successful example of  transnational cooperation and pointed to the importance of climate change education, a priority of the Slovenian Presidency. In the same High-Level Segment, many Ministers and the European Union Commissioner for climate also delivered ambitious speeches.

The Secretary General participated in panels in two side-events on “Mountains of opportunity: how to leverage funding for climate adaptation”, organised by the Adaptation@Altitude programme of UNEP and “Elevating mountains and the cryosphere to the forefront of international processes”, organised by the Mountain Partnership. Both recordings are available on the ICCI channel.

Finally, she held bilateral meetings with other mountain networks including the Andes and the Hindu Kush Himalaya. This was a chance to update her counterparts on ongoing Alpine Convention activities and learn about the status quo in other mountain countries.

“Transnational cooperation lies at the heart of our collective response to the climate crisis. It is the driving force behind both the Alpine Convention and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is our responsibility to convey a clear message that Parties are taking urgent and decisive actions to achieve mitigation goals and reinforce adaptation efforts, emphasised Secretary General Smerkolj.

#International cooperation

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