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EU Underlines Commitments at COP26, Continues to Support Climate Transition in Uzbekistan

EU Underlines Commitments at COP26, Continues to Support Climate Transition in Uzbekistan
Photo: European Commission

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference took place from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. The summit, known as COP26, brought governments from nearly 200 countries together to accelerate actions towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It has also become an important forum for a wide variety of stakeholders from around the world to gather and discuss the climate crisis and solutions.

As part of its commitment to address climate change, Uzbekistan joined the Paris Agreement in April 2017 and ratified the document in the Senate in September 2018.

Uzbekistan has since increased its quantitative commitments under the Agreement and intends to reduce specific greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP by 35% by 2030 from the 2010 level, instead of the previous target of 10%. In addition, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has issued several executive orders focused on the risks posed by climate change, including two decrees which outline a transition to a “green” economy and introduction of environmental protection in Uzbek regulations, with implementation expected by 2030.

In Uzbekistan, environmental interventions are focused largely on the energy and agriculture sectors. “The main contribution to greenhouse gas emissions comes from the energy sector, at 76.3%, and agriculture, at 17.8%,according to Sherzod Khabibullaev, director of the Hydrometeorological Service Centre of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzhydromet).

The European Union is supporting Uzbekistan in meeting its climate targets and the transition to a green economy. The EU has also strongly invested in the success of COP26. With the European Green Deal, the EU is setting a positive example and has led international partners to set their own target dates for climate neutrality.

“I call on all of us to do whatever it takes now to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. And we can do it because climate change is man-made, science tells us, so we can do something about it. It is our opportunity to write history. Even more, it is our duty to act now,” said President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, in a speech given during the opening of COP26.

The EU also spends $25 billion annually to support climate interventions worldwide. Funding from the EU and other international donors is having a positive impact in Uzbekistan, supporting multiple projects. Currently, Uzhydromet, with the assistance of UNDP and financial support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), is developing an “Adaptation Plan for the Most Vulnerable Sectors of the Economy.” In addition, EU is one of the donors contributing 5,0 million EUR to the UN Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea Region in Uzbekistan.

The European Union has also launched the SWITCH-Asia Programme to promote Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and support the transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient, and circular economy in Asia. Uzbekistan is one of the four Central Asian countries with two active SWITCH-Asia Components. On November 12, 2021, the participants of the kick-off meeting discussed further steps towards integrating SCP into policy and practice, and, effectively supporting the country’s transition towards a green economy, working towards poverty reduction and climate mitigation.

“The urgent need to change from unsustainable consumption and production patterns to a green economy and sustainable development is increasingly being recognized, particularly in the period post-pandemic economic recovery. This shift requires adequate policies, implementation mechanisms with appropriate enabling capacity, awareness raising and education, together with innovation and responsibility,” said Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Uzbekistan, Ms Charlotte Adriaen.

During COP26, all parties to the Paris Agreement were tasked to submit updated 2030 pledges to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. These pledges are called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Within the main summit agenda, wealthier nations had to demonstrate solidarity and renewed commitment to meeting the climate finance goal that they set more than a decade ago.

Countries are also expected to finalize the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement (which are frequently referred to as the “Paris Rulebook”), including agreeing on common approaches to carbon markets, transparent national reporting on emissions, and common five-year time frames for submitting updated NDCs.

In the months ahead, pledges made at the COP, including enhanced NDCs, must be implemented in every country. Governments will need to work arduously to deliver on their commitments and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The EU will continue to support Uzbekistan in this effort.