Climate change and development

Glacier in Norway

Climate change – Time to act

"Climate change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. "We have the tools to make our actions effective. What we still lack – even after the Paris Agreement – is the leadership and the ambition to do what is needed."

The global transformation towards climate-friendly and climate-resilient development has been launched. In 2015, the international community created a political framework for this transformation by adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. Read more

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Logo COP25

The 2019 UN climate conference in Madrid – #COP25

The 25th Climate Change Conference (COP25) was held in Madrid, Spain, from 2 to 13 December 2019.

The adoption of the Paris Agreement was the first time that nearly all countries in the world made a commitment to practical climate action. They agreed to limit the rise in global temperatures to well below two degrees and, if possible, 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels and to adapt to the consequences of climate change.

Implementation of the Paris Agreement

At COP24 in Katowice in 2018, the international community agreed on a comprehensive Rulebook to implement the Paris Agreement. The final negotiations on the Rulebook took place at COP25. In particular, agreement still had to be reached on market mechanisms that can regulate trade in carbon credits as envisaged under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

Following up on the UN climate summit in New York in September 2019, COP25 was also to be used to mobilise the Parties to resolutely implement the Agreement. In 2020, they have to present updated versions of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Thematic priorities of COP25

After Chile had announced that, due to domestic unrest, it would not be able to host COP25 as planned, Spain agreed at short notice to host the conference in Madrid. However, Chile still presided over COP25 and was upholding the focus on the role of oceans for the global climate ("Blue COP").

Other priority topics were Antarctica, biodiversity and forest conservation, adaptation to climate change, renewable energy, circular economy and electric vehicles, and gender equality.

In addition to the negotiations, the conference offered a forum for governmental and non-governmental players to provide constructive input to the negotiations and make headway on practical steps for implementation.


German activities

We are taking action:

  • We help our partners to make their NDCs more ambitious, for instance through the global NDC Partnership and bilateral climate partnerships.
  • We strengthen the role of adaptation to climate change in international negotiations.
  • We work for the creation of robust international market mechanisms to foster increased ambition, and we lobby for credible emissions trading.
  • We support the global exit from coal by tapping climate-friendly alternatives such as solar and wind energy, especially in Africa.
  • We support the conservation of tropical forests for the benefit of the global climate and of forest dwellers.
  • We support nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation and protect oceans and coastal populations through mangroves and coral reefs.
  • We put a focus on the benefits of climate risk insurance, and we strengthen cooperation between governments, insurance companies and the private sector.
  • We work to achieve better management of losses and weather disasters caused by climate change.
  • We help to meet international commitments on climate finance and we work with partners such as the multilateral development banks to make financial flows compatible with the Paris Agreement.
  • We combine development and climate action, among other things, through voluntary offsetting activities in the private sector, for instance through our Development and Climate Alliance.
  • We foster gender equality in climate action.
Climate change and development

Our areas of work

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