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nilza sena 2Chair of the OSCE PA's economic and environmental committee Nilza SenaCOPENHAGEN, 20 November 2017 – Welcoming the outcomes of the United Nations climate change conference (COP23), which wrapped up Saturday in Bonn, the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s economic and environmental committee today called for a more robust commitment by all OSCE countries to make progress on addressing climate change.

Chair Nilza Sena (Portugal) said that the pledges made by countries in Bonn – including the launching of the ‘Talanoa Dialogue’ for strengthening national climate action plans – are an encouraging sign that the international community is continuing to move forward in addressing the threat posed by human-induced climate change. Sena welcomed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s remarks at the conference stressing greater focus on five action areas: emissions, adaptation, finance, partnerships and leadership.

Sena noted that the outcomes from Bonn are especially important in showing continued international commitment to climate progress in light of the decision announced by United States President Donald Trump last June to pull the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord.

“Despite the disappointing decision by President Trump earlier this year to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, it is reassuring that so many world leaders – and also leaders on the state and local levels in the U.S. – are committed to continuing the pursuit of carbon reduction strategies,” Sena said. “I welcome the outcomes of the COP23 and I strongly urge all OSCE participating States to continue moving forward in addressing climate change, which must be seen as not only an environmental challenge but a security threat as well.”

She applauded the COP23 initiative of more than 20 countries – including the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Finland, and Austria – who joined the “Powering Past Coal” alliance, promising to phase out traditional coal power plants and cease all investment in coal domestically or abroad. Two U.S. states – Washington and Oregon – also joined the accord, Sena noted.

She also said that it was encouraging to see participation at the COP23 by a coalition of more than 2,500 mayors, governors and others from across the United States who on 11 November released the “America’s Pledge” report, outlining the scope of non-federal climate action in the U.S. following the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

“Considering the dire situation we face in terms of rising sea levels, intensified heat waves, droughts, forest fires, and stronger storms, it is clear that we need an all-hands-on-deck approach that utilizes innovation and creative thinking to move towards a more sustainable, low-carbon economy,” Sena said.

At the OSCE PA Annual Session last July, parliamentarians adopted the Minsk Declaration, which “urges all OSCE participating States to recognize the urgency of the climate crisis and its related challenges” and calls on all OSCE countries “to ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change [and] to fulfill their obligations under the agreement.”

Nilza Sena was elected Chair of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment at the 2016 Annual Session in Tbilisi and was reelected in Minsk.