Leading organisations call on UN to support UK/Italy 2020 climate summit bid

News, 19 July 2019
IIED and 12 other leading environment and development organisations are urging the UN’s Western European and Others Group – the body that decides where to hold the 2020 UN climate summit – to support the UK/Italy bid.

Flags of countries around the world adorn pylons outside a conference venue

Next year's summit marks a pivotal point in climate negotiations and global efforts to stop dangerous climate change. In 2015, developed countries reaffirmed to commit US$100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020. And targets to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels need to be met by 2020.

The contest to see who will host the series of climate meetings is between Turkey and a UK/Italy joint bid. If the joint UK/Italy bid is chosen, Italy will host preparatory meetings throughout the year and a climate youth summit, and the UK will host the main summit at the end of the year.

Below is the letter IIED submitted to the UN body detailing why the UK/Italy should host these crucial talks.


To the Western European and Others Group representatives, 

The 2020 UN climate summit is a key point in humanity’s efforts to unite and tackle the common threat of climate change. We urge you to support the joint bid from the United Kingdom and Italy to host this pivotal meeting. 

The UK is widely recognised as a leader in the fight against climate change, from its being the first country to adopt a law on climate change in 2008, to its recent landmark decision to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 in law – the first major economy to take this step. 

The broad consensus among the UK public, civil society organisations, scientific community, and much of the business sector on the urgent need to tackle climate change will bring high levels of ambition throughout the summit process and make sure governments are held to account.    

And as the home of leading experts on climate change and an international hub for green finance and investment, this wide array of expertise will bring cutting edge contributions to the wider dialogue and focus on ambitious solutions, which the summit will generate.

Our organisations are fully committed to making this summit a turning point in the global understanding of the action needed to tackle this shared emergency. We will make sure the voices of those most affected in the poorest countries are heard and that solutions that work for all are at the forefront. 

Because the UK has acknowledged the climate emergency, it is in a key position to take the lead on pushing for action to keep temperature rise below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. It is crucial this target is agreed at the summit in order to help protect the billions of women, children and men in developing countries who are struggling against the fires, floods and other extreme weather that will increasingly devastate their lives if urgent action is not taken.  

As members of the G7, the UK and Italy are influential and can use their roles as hosts to push for greater action and change. Both can ensure strong participation from around the world, particularly from organisations from the poorest countries. And the UK’s partnership with Italy provides a useful signal of intent to continue to work with the European Union on climate change post-Brexit. 

We look forward to welcoming participants from all countries to the UK next year, and to agreement on bold and transformative action that will make the world safer, fairer and more sustainable.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Norton, Director, International Institute for Environment and Development
Tanya Steele, Chief Executive, WWF-UK 
Girish Menon, Chief Executive, ActionAid UK 
Stephanie Draper, Chief Executive, Bond
Laurie Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Care International
Amanda Mukwashi, Chief Executive, Christian Aid
Shaun Spiers, Executive Director, Green Alliance
Selena Victor, Senior Director for Policy Advocacy, Mercy Corps Europe
Sara Pantuliano, Acting Executive Director, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
Tanya Barron OBE, Chief Executive, Plan International UK
Kevin Watkins, CEO, Save the Children, UK
Nigel Harris, CEO, Tearfund
Mike Penrose, Executive Director, Unicef UK

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