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UN Climate Change Conference to kick off in Madrid on Monday 2 December – Finland leading the EU in negotiations

Press release 2019-11-25 at 16:22

The Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change will meet in Madrid, Spain, on 2–13 December. This UN Climate Conference will be the last one before the term of the Paris Agreement begins in 2020. The negotiations will focus particularly on the rules for international market mechanisms. Other topics on the agenda will include the evaluation of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and the review of the Gender Action Plan.


Negotiations on the rulebook for the Paris Agreement were completed at the Katowice Climate Conference in December 2018, with the exception of rules on market mechanisms. In practice, it is a question of how countries can make use of the climate measures they fund in partner countries in achieving their own emissions targets from 2020 onwards.

“It is important for the EU that the emissions reductions achieved through the mechanisms are real, and that the same emissions reductions are not calculated for the benefit of more than one country,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.

“It is very important that the negotiations were able to continue without interruption”

Due to the domestic political situation in Chile, the Climate Change Conference was moved from Santiago de Chile to Madrid just six weeks before the start of the meeting. Chile will still act as the Presidency of the Conference.

“Thanks to a genuine effort of multilateral cooperation, we were able to organise the meeting according to the original schedule and in its original scope. Climate action cannot wait, and there is now even stronger public support for it. It is very important that the negotiations were able to continue without interruption,” says Minister Mikkonen.

The Climate Change Conference in Madrid was preceded by the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September in New York, where many countries made more stringent emissions reduction commitments and new initiatives were launched to accelerate climate action and ambition. The Madrid Climate Change Conference marks the first stage at which the progress of these commitments will be examined. A more extensive update of the commitments is still expected over the next year, before the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow.

Finland plays a key role as holder of EU Council Presidency

As holder of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland is responsible for leading the EU’s climate negotiations and coordinating the Member States’’ positions, and will speak at the meeting on behalf of the EU. The EU’s negotiating mandate for the Madrid Climate Conference was agreed on at the October Environment Council under Finland’s leadership.

Finland’s principal negotiator Outi Honkatukia has also been appointed as one of the main negotiators for the EU. On behalf of the EU, she will negotiate on issues such as funding for climate action, capacity building and technology.

The EU’s leading role in the negotiations has become further emphasised following the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The United States submitted its formal request to withdraw from the Paris Agreement at the beginning of November. However, the United States will still participate in Madrid as a Party , as in previous years, since the withdrawal will not take effect until one year after the request for resignation was submitted.

In addition to the UN Climate Conference Madrid will play host to several side events, which are expected to attract nearly 30,000 people to the city for the duration of the meeting. In the first week of December, separate events will be organised in connection with the special reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change over the course of the autumn. The Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action will present its action plan to the Climate Change Conference on Monday 9 December. Finland’s Minister of Finance Mika Lintilä is one of the chairs of the Coalition. Local governments, the private sector and non-govenrmental organisations are also represented at the UN Climate Conference.


Riikka Yliluoma, Special Adviser to Minister Mikkonen, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 50 414 1682, riikka.yliluoma@ym.fi (in Madrid 8–14 December)

Outi Honkatukia, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 50 341 1758, outi.honkatukia@ym.fi (in Madrid 29 November–14 December)

Marjo Nummelin, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 295 250 227, marjo.nummelin@ym.fi (in Madrid 29 November–14 December)

Riikka Lamminmäki, Head of Communications, Ministry of the Environment, firstname.lastname@ym.fi, tel. +358 50 5762604, firstname.lastname@ym.fi (requests for interviews with Minister Mikkonen and negotiators during the Climate Conference, in Madrid 8–14 December)