Opening Plenary of COP24 in the city of Katowice in Poland



Polish President Andrzej Duda addressing the COP24 delegates


COP24 President and State Secretary of Poland’s Ministry of Environment Mr. Michal Kurtyka


L to R: Ambassador Patricia Ann Paez, Chairman of the Climate Change Commission Mr. Emmanuel de Guzman, head of the Philippine delegation Environment Secretary Mr. Roy A. Cimatu and Polish officials during the opening plenary


Sec. Cimatu and Amb. Paez


Bilateral meeting with officials from the People’s Republic of China at the margin of COP24




China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment Mr. Li Guanje (4th from left) and Philippine Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu (5th from left) with other officials of both countries


Secretary Cimatu and India’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Mr. Harsh Vardhan meet at the sidelines of COP24


Bilateral meeting between the delegates of India and the Philippines at the sidelines of COP24


Secretary Cimatu and Undersecretary Jonas Leones


The Philippine delegation led by Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu participated in the 24th edition of the international climate change conference, also referred to as the 24th Conference of Parties or COP 24 which was held in the city of Katowice in Poland from 02 to 04 December 2018.

    Sec. Cimatu also held bilateral meetings with the People’s Republic of China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment Mr. Li Guanje and India’s Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Mr. Harsh Vardhan at the sidelines of COP24. Talks focused on bilateral cooperation agreements and on establishing mechanisms for undertaking collaborative projects to protect the environment.

    The members of the Philippine delegation were: Chairman of the Climate Change Commission Secretary Mr. Emmanuel de Guzman, DENR Undersecretary Mr. Jonas Leones and Philippine envoy to Poland Ms. Patricia Ann V. Paez

    In his remarks, H.E. Mr. Voreqe Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Fiji said that all countries must have five times more ambition and five times more energy to make a big difference in addressing the threat of climate change.   

    United Nations Secretary-General  Antonio Guterres said that the world is “in deep trouble in climate change” Drawing attention to the principle of equity and “common but differentiated responsibilities and capacities” he also underscored, that “we have no time for limitless negotiations.”

  The president of the UN General Assembly Mrs. Maria Fernando Espinosa Garces made two appeals to the COP24 participants. First, COP24 must result in clear and viable actions for all aspects of the climate change issue. Second, there must be a clear roadmap for these actions that must include five-fold actions to reduce emissions by 1.5 degrees centigrade.

    Poland’s Minister of Environment Mr. Henryk Kowalczyk said that Katowice - the site of COP 24 - is a “symbol of change and transition;”  and that “mankind needs the Katowice package so that we can say that the Paris agreement is alive.”

    Mr. David Attenborough - representative of the “People’s Seat” -  quoted the Charter of the United Nations which states “we the peoples of the United Nations.” He said that the Charter puts “the people at the center” and pledgers “to give every person in the world a voice on its future.” He also said that the greatest threat today is climate change and warned that “if we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” The people’s message, he stressed is this: “Time is running out. They want you, the decision makers, to act now. They are behind you, along with civil society represented here today. Supporting you in making tough decisions but also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives. To help make change happen, the UN is launching the Act Now bot. Helping people to discover simple everyday actions that they can take because they recognize that they too must play their part. “

  The president of COP 24 Mr. Michal Kurtyka (who is also Polish Secretary of State in the Ministry of Energy) urged the COP24 participants to be “thorough but stay pragmatic.” Katowice as the site of COP24 is symbolic because the city is “a story of transition that grew as a mining area, and later into an industrial area - in the Silesian region and developed the “mining culture” among its people; but this came to an end, because of technological and societal change. The Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank Mrs. Kristalina Georgieva said that the World Bank’s new target for five years is to give the US $ 200 billion as direct private sector investments. She also said that climate change should be integrated into every country’s national policies and budget and we will do it through a Rulebook in Katowice.

    The Mayor of Katowice welcomed all delegates. Following this, was the presentation by Polish President H.E. Mr. Andrzej Duda of the “Silesia Declaration of Just Transition” President Duda said that the transition to a low carbon economy is through solidarity and justice, referring to Poland’s heritage of solidarity, social transformation, and justice.

  In the evening, the Inaugural Concert of the COP24 and in celebration of the Centenary of the Republic of Poland Regaining Its Independence was held in the hall of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

    In his welcome remarks, President Duda noted that this year is the 4th time that Poland has presided over the Conference of Parties (COP) and the 3rd time it has hosted the event: the COP14 in Poznan, in 2018, and the COP19 in Warsaw in 2013.

    President Duda said that the choice of Katowice City as the site of COP24 was not s “random” choice. Lying at the “very heart of the industrial region of Upper Silesia,” the city of Katowice is “a model example of the fact that the transformation policy pursued for many years helped create conditions for the development of innovative businesses creating new jobs, without inflicting damage on the environment.”

    He said that the concert hall is one of the most successful examples of reclaiming brownfield sites for cultural purposes. The concert hall of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra was “erected on the premises of the  former bituminous coal mine “Katowice” and is now part of the so-called culture zone.”

            The concert’s program included pieces by Polish composer Ignacy Jan Panderewski - one of the Fathers of Polish independence. (END)