Welcome remarks from the IPCC Chair at the Sixtieth Session of the IPCC

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Distinguished Delegates, ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues,

Welcome to the 60th Session of the IPCC!

I wish a very warm welcome to government delegations, representatives of observer organisations and IPCC Bureau Members.

As the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the IPCC – I am particularly delighted to welcome our distinguished speakers addressing today’s opening ceremony – Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation Celeste Saulo – congratulations to Celeste on her new role  –  Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme Inger Andersen, the Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Simon Stiel and Türkiye’s Deputy Minister of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Fatma Varank.

I want to thank our hosts, the government of Turkey and the city of Istanbul, for their warm welcome and generous support in facilitating this first IPCC plenary session of the new cycle.

I would also like to thank members of the IPCC Bureau for the work they have invested in the preparation of the session, providing strategic guidance on a range of scientific topics and enabling the Panel to decide on a scientifically rich and workable program of work for the seventh assessment cycle, as well as the IPCC Secretariat for preparing the agenda and undertaking all the invisible but essential tasks that make such meetings a success.

Our meeting this week in Istanbul may be a business session, but it is uniquely important. It will plot the course of the entire IPCC seventh assessment cycle. By the end of our meeting, we aim to have clarity about our programme of work, and we will have decisions about the focus of our upcoming reports and the rough timetable for their delivery in the coming five to seven years.

Some tasks were already known to us and are under way. The Panel already decided that in the seventh cycle, we would deliver a special report on climate change and cities as well as a methodology report on short-lived climate forcers. 

In this light, I believe we can acknowledge IPCC’s impact and achievements. Our past reports have made a direct and well-recognised contribution to enhancing global climate awareness and supporting climate action.

They provided critical inputs for the annual Conferences of the Parties – the COPs – of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and have informed and cast light on the global ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. Reports on Climate Change and Land, and Oceans and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, have highlighted the connections between climate change and other global challenges, and have informed other UN Conventions.

Most recently, just a month ago, we participated in the 28th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai. There, as the IPCC Chair, I saw at first hand how reports from the IPCC’s most recent assessment cycle fed directly into the Global Stocktake, the first assessment under the 2015 Paris Agreement of the progress countries have made in addressing climate.

Today, more than ever before, it is evident that climate change science has played a pivotal part in determining the outcome of negotiations between the 198 Parties to the Framework Convention.

I am confident that all IPCC member governments will recognise the collective benefit from supporting the declared priority for this assessment cycle to strengthen further IPCC’s relevance for all policymakers and our engagement with other UN assessment processes.

As the new Chair, in the coming days, I will further elaborate on the vision for IPCC during the remainder of this decade, which is so critical for climate action.

We will use the best available science to deliver focused, policy-relevant reports and provide timely and actionable information to policymakers. And to achieve these goals, we will spare no effort to ensure a truly inclusive, diverse and representative IPCC.

This cycle rests on the shoulders of previous cycles. The IPCC has provided robust assessments across many aspects of climate change and climate action, distilling comprehensive insights from the most recent scientific research. We are building on both the achievements of the previous cycle and the important lessons we have learned. We will start addressing these this week.

Previous reports have highlighted the impacts of climate change on regions, ecosystems, and sectors. These impacts can be addressed only through urgent action. The increased focus on regional assessments builds the foundations for more tailored adaptation strategies. We have highlighted the opportunity for immediate and ambitious mitigation measures to curb emissions.

We have also elaborated on the links, synergies and trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation, as well as with the sustainable development goals. We have examined the social dimensions of climate change, including equity, justice, and the differential impacts on vulnerable communities and populations.

In this new cycle, which is about to start in earnest, we can bring to our member governments the most robust and latest scientific knowledge that can support climate action and lessen its impact on the health and well-being of our planet. Climate change is the most pressing, genuinely global threat. For some delegations in this room it is an existential matter. There is not a moment to spare. Options to address climate change available to us today will not be there tomorrow.

As the Chair of the IPCC, I encourage the Panel to be bold and strategic in shaping the IPCC’s work during this pivotal cycle. I also invite everyone to conduct this session in the most respectful, collaborative and constructive spirit.

Thank you for your attention and I look forward to a productive meeting conducted in a spirit of collegiality.

Thanks you.