Dear Executive Vice-President Timmermans,
As COP27 gets underway in Egypt, it is clear that keeping 1.5oC alive depends on protecting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process from the vested interests of those who historically caused the climate crisis. The World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) clearly shows how a conflicts of interest policy can work, and how necessary it is to protect decision-making. Parties representing the majority of the world’s population have called for the need to address conflicts of interest at the UNFCCC, but each time progress in this area has been blocked. COP27 is a crucial moment to ensure a breakthrough on a conflicts of interest policy – this moment cannot be wasted.
In our resolution on COP27, adopted last month, we in the Parliament expressed concern over the fact that some big polluters used their presence at COPs to undermine the objectives of the Paris Agreement. We expressed serious concern at the lack of action by the UNFCCC to finally address the issue of conflicts of interest with regard to engagement with non-Party stakeholders. We urged the Commission and Member States to take the lead in this process and protect the UNFCCC decision-making process from interests that run counter to the Paris Agreement goals. We in the Parliament expect action and a concrete outcome on conflicts of interest at this COP – the Commission must do its utmost to secure this.
We consider that the UNFCCC must:
protect the process from the same vested interests that have caused the climate crisis if it wants to deliver on keeping global temperature rise to below 1.5oC as promised in the Paris Agreement;
listen to civil society constituencies and not side-line them;
create and implement an Accountability Framework, and ensure that it is accompanied by a monitoring and enforcement mechanism;
require all participants in UNFCCC activities to publicly disclose polluting-industry affiliations before participating.
The Commission must undertake all efforts to ensure a robust conflict-of interest policy and must support the implementation of an Accountability Framework in order to protect the UNFCCC process from vested interests. Moreover, the EU must protect its own climate policymaking processes from vested interests, through introducing a conflict of interest framework at EU level. We hope to see forthcoming action from the Commission. It is abundantly clear that we do not have time to waste.
The Members of the European Parliament
(for signatures, see the original letter as pdf document here below).