Andrejs Pildegovičs
Photo: Laura Celmiņa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Honourable Minister of Climate and Energy of Latvia, Mr. Kaspars Melnis
Honourable State Secretary of the MFA of Latvia, Mr. Andris Pelšs
Honourable Mr. Jim Skea, Chair of the IPCC 
Honourable Mr. Abdallah Mokssit, Secretary of the IPCC,
Distinguished Ambassadors, Professors, experts,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a true pleasure to welcome you all to the capital city of Riga!

It is an honour for Latvia to host for the first time the IPCC expert meeting, bringing together the representatives of more than 65 nations. It is one of the largest international events under the UN auspices that Latvia has ever hosted since the restoration of independence in 1991. I have had the privilege of attending the IPCC meetings in Nairobi last year and am extremely pleased by this opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality by providing a venue in the Baltic region for the IPCC topical discussion on climate change and the cities. I enjoyed greatly our jogging together across the Riga City centre last night and would like to extend my profound gratitude to Minister Kaspars Melnis, the entire Ministry of Climate of Latvia, Dr. Zinta Zommers, Ambassador Kārlis Eihenbaums and everyone who has contributed to the ultimate success of this event. 

As the Special Envoy of the Latvian Government for the Multilateral Affairs, I would like to reiterate Latvia`s strong commitment to national and multilateral efforts to address climate change. We fully share the sense of urgency and stand ready to contribute to our national and collective efforts on a regional, European, and global scale. Our joint commitment has been reinforced at the recent COP28. In Dubai, Latvia was one of the first European countries to allocate funds to the climate account of the central emergency response fund. It also manifests through Latvia`s candidacy for the elected seat of the UN Security Council in 2026-2027. For the first time, Latvia will take part in the UNSC election in June 2025 from the Eastern European Group. Our guiding principles in this endeavour are: “Together for Peace and Resilience”. This motto, this pledge very much aligns with the aims of our meeting today as well.

In this regard, allow me to highlight a few points:

  • As a donor country for more than 15 years, Latvia has contributed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Latvia considers responsible action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as the key to preventing conflicts and sustaining peace. Latvia takes an active role in preparation of the UN Summit of the Future in New York this September.
  • Latvia believes that the UNSC must debate and should address the nexus between climate and security. Climate change undeniably represents an existential threat to the very survival of a number of UN member states.
  • Reflecting our dedication to address climate change and to support the application by Vanuatu, last month  Latvia submitted a written statement to the ICJ regarding the advisory opinion on “Obligations of States in respect of Climate Change.” Latvia has contributed earlier to the legal deliberations of ITLOS on State Parties' obligations under UNCLOS to protect the marine environment from deleterious effects of climate change and is closely following the work of the ILC on issues related to the sea-level rise.
  • Latvia will continue to contribute its expertise in sustainable solutions for natural resources management, access to clean water, and combating marine pollution.
  • Latvia is aware of the distinct set of challenges and vulnerabilities that many of the participating nations, and smaller nations in particular, face due to their climatic and geographic environments. Latvia stands ready to contribute to the Small Island Developing States High-Level Conference in Antigua and Barbuda this May, as well as to the Conference of the Land-Locked Least-Developed countries in Rwanda in June of this year.
  • Solidarity is the key, there is no alternative to it. Therefore, Latvia has provided humanitarian support to the victims of recent natural disasters in Tonga, Morocco, Libya, Slovenia, and Armenia.
  • Latvia has championed the need to address the threats of disinformation, misinformation, including on issues related to climate change denial and denial of science. 
  • Latvia strongly believes in the importance of working together with UN member states, regional organisations, civil society, industry and youth to build resilience, forge lasting peace and security, and achieve sustainable development.

If elected, please count on Latvia`s continued solidarity, engagement, and result-oriented action.

I wish you rich discussions, productive sessions, and an enjoyable stay in Latvia. I hope that you will have a chance to explore further the beautiful capital of Latvia, as well as the dunes and pines of the Baltic Sea coast! Please, come back. Those who have met twice will definitely meet again and again. Thank you!

16.04.2024. Klimata pārmaiņu starpvaldību padomes (IPCC) speciālā ziņojuma par klimata pārmaiņām un pilsētām ietvarziņojuma sanāksmes atklāšana