In accordance with France, Italy will host a preparatory meeting ahead of COP21: it will be held in Milan next October.
The announcement was given this morning by Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, addressing a huge event that took place in Rome: the States-General on Climate Change.
This brought together the Italian Ministers (Environment, Infrastructure & Transports, University & Research), delegates from other ministries (Agriculture, Economic Development, Culture, Foreign Affairs) as well as representatives from environmental NGOs, business and industries and others.
French Minister Ségolène Royal and Cardinal Turkson also attended, speaking about the French commitment for COP21 and Pope Francis’ Encyclical, respectively.
The conference, which is likely to have some connections with the Universal Exposition (EXPO2015) – will be another step in the pathway towards Paris COP21, in addition to the next two ADP sessions (31 August – 4 September, 19-23 October) and the New York Summit in September.
Although Renzi’s words gave reassurances on the high-level nature of the meeting, however, we still don’t know much about the agenda and its concrete relevance.
In any case, this announcement represents another sign of Italy’s intention to play a stronger role in the climate debate in the next six months. In fact, Renzi made at least two more strong statements during his speech: first, he confirmed his personal participation to COP21. Second, he affirmed that “coal is the enemy”, although we must acknowledge the need of a transition phase which will be mainly built on natural gas.
The journey ahead for Italy is still long: the country will have to prove its capability to integrate local measures and to be able to speak as a unique voice, overcoming the traditional divergences between the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry for Economic Development that too often made it hard to identify a national strategy on key-issues like energy.
There are six months left to Paris: Italy can’t miss a day.