Climate Change Conference Madrid 2019

We call on countries to boost their ambitions – we need to stay below 1.5°C to stay alive

COP 25 – What is it about?

© Avril / WECF

The next international climate change conference (COP25) will take place under the presidency of Chile from December 2nd to 13th in 2019. Originally, the conference was supposed to be located in Santiago de Chile but has been relocated to Madrid, Spain, after the Chilean President Piñera announced that Chile would not be hosting the event. Together with our partners from the Women and Gender Constituency we published a statement concerning the social justice conflict and the resulting relocation which can be found here.

After finalising most parts of the Paris Agreement Work Programme in Katowice in 2018 we need to start with the implementation of the Paris Agreement now:

  • Parties must urgently boost their climate ambitions (by raising their emission targets to achieve the 1,5°C average temperature goal)
  • Market and non-market mechanisms must lead to an additional decrease of emissions and to greater respect for human and indigenous peoples’ rights as much as they have to empower vulnerable groups and promote gender equality
  • The UNFCCC must strengthen its efforts on gender equality by prolonging the Gender Work Programme including the Gender Action Plan

What we are doing

LIFE will participate with a group of climate and feminist advocates at COP25 and increase pressure for immediate and gender-just climate action!

We also follow up on the international climate change agenda in the lead up to the Santiago Climate Change Conference:

  • From July 9th to 18th the High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) took place with a special focus on SDG13 ‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’
  • On September 23rd the UN Secretary-General António Guterres hosted the Climate Action Summit at the UN Headquarters in New York
  • From September 24th-25th the SDG Summit under the auspices of the General Assembly took place to review progress of all 17 SDGs
  • The Pre-COP will took place in Costa Rica with the objective of preparing and discussing and of clarifying controversies as regards COP25

Getting ready for the Climate Change Conference, June 2019 in Bonn

The next climate change conference that will take place are the 5Oth meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies for Implementation (SBI) and for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) – also known as  intersessionals Bonn / intersessional negotiations.

These meetings bring together mainly administrative staff that will negotiate about the basics of the decisions further negotiated and adopted at COP.

The main focuses will be:

  • Evaluation and future of the Work Programme on Gender and the Gender Action Plan
  • Article 6 about cooperative approaches, markets and non-market instruments
  • Presentation of the technical paper on the topic of human mobility, including migration, displacement and planned relocation as part of the Taskforce on Displacement under the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage
  • Meetings/workshops of the Paris Committee on Capacity-building and on Action for Climate Empowerment: Both focus on information and capacity-building of the public

We have organised a webinar for getting ready for SB50 on 12th June 2019. Find the slides on the right, recording will follow soon!


LIFE will be speaking at two side events

  • On Wednesday 19 June from 15.00-16.30, room Bonn the side event will be about “Integrating human rights in Article 6 mechanisms” – At COP24, parties were unable to reach an agreement on the rules for implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Article 6 calls for the development of market and non-market mechanisms to support cooperative approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation. In the discussions at COP24, there was no clear agreement with respect to human rights references in the rules for Article 6 mechanisms. This discussion will explore elements of a rights-based approach to Article 6 mechanisms including human rights safeguards, grievance redress mechanisms, and stakeholder consultations as well as lessons learned from existing mechanisms for international cooperation to address climate change. Speakers: Benjamin Schachter (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights); E. Ian Fry (Ambassador for Climate Change and Environment, Tuvalu) (TBC); Felipe de Leon (Climate change and renewable energy consultant specializing in GHG metrics and carbon pricing instruments, Costa Rica) (TBC); Erika Lennon (Center for International Environmental Law); Patricia Bohland (LIFE)
  • Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and LIFE cordially invite you to our side event “Civil Society Organizations – Advocates and Driving Force for Ambitious Climate Action in NDCs. “ The event focuses on the engagement of civil society for more ambitious NDCs. Civil society representatives from Colombia and the Ukraine will present examples and exchange experiences on how public participation and gender equality can improve NDCs. During our event, we want to discuss examples and practices of rights-based and gender sensitive national climate action and policy-making processes in the context of the development of the second round of NDCs. In order to share knowledge, identify champions as much as barriers to civil society participation and rights-based climate action we cordially invite civil society, delegates and other actors to actively participate at our side event.
  • Check the side event schedule for more events on gender equality and climate change.



© Women and Gender Constituency

On October 30th the Government of Chile announced that it would not host the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Summit “COP25” in the country, in view of the social justice conflict the country is facing. Together with our partners from the Women and Gender Constituency we published a statement addressing the political context and raising our concerns about human rights violations. With the relocation, it is important to not completely shift the focus to Madrid, but to pay close attention to the situation in Chile and to the Cumbre de los pueblos organized by the local civil society.


Read the full statement (in English and Spanish) here.

Submission on gender responsive adaptation plans

LIFE, as part of the Women and Gender Constituency, and together with WECF, GenderCC and ICCAD has written a submission on gender-responsive adaptation planning and submitted that to the UNFCCC Secretariat.

The Adaptation Committee has asked Parties and relevant organisations on how to mainstream gender considerations into adaptation planning and implementation.

The submission summarises the relevance of mainstreaming gender into adaptation in order to ensure its effectiveness including the empowerment of vulnerable groups. It draws on good practice examples from the Gender Just Climate Solutions and explains existing gaps that need to be filled. The full submission can be found under links.

Conclusion on the High Level Political Forum of the Sustainable Development Goals

For the first time this year LIFE took part in the High Level Political Forum at the UN headquarters in New York.

Outcome of the 2-week long evaluation process of the Sustainable Development Goals (hereafter: SDGs): too little progress in the implementation and too little sleep for the participants.

Since the adoption of the SDGs the international community meets on a yearly basis at the so called High Level Political Forum at the UN headquarters in order to evaluate the progress in achieving the goals. Each year focus is paid to selected goals. 

This year climate change was on the agenda and LIFE took part as an organisation with observer status for the first time.

The High Level Political Forum ended on July 18th after eight trial days and a weekend filled with civil society action. This year’s agenda comprised of: Quality of Education (SDG 4), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10), Climate Action (SDG 13), Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16) and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17). States were given the opportunity to report on their national progress in the implementation (in so called VNRs). 47 States participated this year. Germany was not amongst them.

It is hard to draw a definite conclusion as the UN SDGs comprise so many different aspects of sustainable development. Their wide-range however, is also their strength. The large majority of participants are aware of the interlinking nature of structural inequities ranging from poverty, educational opportunities, working conditions and gender justice to climate policy and peace.    

At the same time civil society actors – organised in so called ‘Major Groups and Other Stakeholders’, drew attention to the short-comings of the Agenda 2030. LIFE participated as a member of Gender CC and with the support of WEDO as part of the Women’s Major Group. The main weaknesses are: the lack of institutionalisation; poorly coordinated measures that don’t take the interdependencies of the goals into account; the shortage of funding; low awareness of the goals and their meaning; and last but not least – the voluntary character of the evaluation, monitoring and reporting by states. Only the small island state Vanuatu has permitted a peer-review of their goals through other states and drew a positive conclusion from it – this happened for the first time this year. However, civil society actors have criticised the process of reporting on the national level as they did not get to participate in it. This is contradictory to the overriding principle ‘to leave no one behind’. Some speakers of the civil society statements felt criticised and personally intimidated (- they’re allotted a two minute slot for two to three representatives, in order to pose questions to the presentations of the states).    

This gives an impression of the fundamental barriers to the achievement of the goals by 2030. In the upcoming months reforms to the workings of the High Level Political Forum will be discussed. Germany will next report on their progress in the implementation in 2021 (- for the second time).