APA: Parties exchange views on taking stock of implementation of Paris Agreement

Bonn, 1 June 2016 (Indrajit Bose)

New Delhi, 31 May — Parties to the UNFCCC’s Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) exchanged views on how to conduct the ‘global stocktake’ to assess the implementation of the Paris Agreement at the recently held session of climate talks in Bonn from 16-26 May.

[Under Article 14 of the Paris Agreement (PA), Parties agreed to periodically take stock of the implementation of the Agreement “to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of this Agreement and its long-term goals (referred to as the “global stocktake”). It shall do so in a comprehensive and facilitative manner, considering mitigation, adaptation and the means of implementation and support, and in the light of equity and the best available science.”]

The APA is tasked to identify the sources of input for the global stocktake by decision 1/CP.21 (paragraph 99) and to also develop the modalities for the stocktake (paragraph 101). The informal consultation on 24 May was co-chaired by Sarah Baashan (Saudi Arabia) and Jo Tyndall (New Zealand).

The Co-chairs posed three questions to guide the discussions. These included what inputs were needed for the global stocktake (GST); how the GST would be conducted; and what the relationship was, if at all, between the GST and the facilitative dialogue to be conducted in 2018. (Parties had also agreed in Paris that there ill be a facilitative dialogue in 2018 to take stock of their efforts in relation to reaching the long-term goal.)

Kuwait spoke for G77 and China and said that the GST was a crucial part of the PA and would serve an important function in tracking progress towards achieving the purpose of the PA and its long-term goals. “In Paris, we agreed that the GST shall be comprehensive and facilitative, covering mitigation, adaptation and the means of implementation and support, in the light of equity and best available science. In this context, paragraph 99 of decision 1/CP.21 identifies some of the sources of inputs for the GST, which must be comprehensive,” said Kuwait.

(Paragraph 99 reads:

Requests the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement to identify the sources of input for the global stocktake referred to in Article 14 of the Agreement and to report to the Conference of the Parties, with a view to the Conference of the Parties making a recommendation to the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement for consideration and adoption at its first session, including, but not limited to:

(a) Information on:

(i) The overall effect of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) communicated by Parties;

(ii) The state of adaptation efforts, support, experiences and priorities from the communications referred to in Article 7, paragraphs 10 and 11, of the Agreement, and reports referred to in Article 13 (on transparency), paragraph 8, of the Agreement;

(iii) The mobilization and provision of support;

(b) The latest reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);

(c) Reports of the subsidiary bodies; … )

Kuwait also said that the sources of inputs must include the overall effect of the NDCs (nationally determined contributions) communicated by Parties; the state of adaptation efforts, support, experiences and priorities from the communications referred to in Article 7(10) and 7(11) (that relate to adaptation) of the PA and reports referred to in Article 13(7) (that relates to transparency of action); and the mobilization and provision of support; and means of implementation.

“Additionally, our GST discussions should examine how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) can inform out work,” said Kuwait.

Jordan spoke for the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) and said that the sources of input for the GST have been largely identified in paragraph 99 of decision 1/CP.21. “The information to be obtained under paragraph 99(a) can be sourced from inputs provided by Parties through the reports and NDCs that they are expected to provide under Article 13 (transparency) of the PA. These would include, inter alia, the national communications, biennial reports, biennial update reports, greenhouse gas inventories, and other reports or submissions from Parties under the Convention. The sources of inputs under paragraph 99(b) and (c) are self-evident. Parties could also be requested to make submissions to provide such additional information as they may deem appropriate in relation to their NDCs and the implementation thereof for purposes of the GST,” said Jordan.

Jordan also added that the inputs should reflect the comprehensive scope of the GST “considering mitigation, adaptation, and the means of implementation and support, and in the light of equity and the best available science.”

Jordan said that Article 14(4) provides that the GST should be done in a comprehensive and facilitative manner. “Existing experience under the Convention with respect to the assessment and review of the adequacy of Parties’ actions to implement the Convention could be drawn upon, including the IAR (International Assessment and Review) and ICA (International Consultation and Analysis) processes,” said Jordan.

It also provided some initial ideas on the modalities for the GST.

On the relationship between the facilitative dialogue and the GST, Jordan said, the purpose of the 2018 facilitative dialogue is to assess how much collective progress has been made by the Parties in achieving global peaking and in rapidly reducing emissions in relation to “achieving a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century, on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.”

“This means that the assessment during the 2018 facilitative dialogue should also look at how equity, sustainable development, and poverty eradication efforts are being reflected and taken into account in Parties’ collective efforts to peak and rapidly reduce emissions globally,” said Jordan.

In essence, the 2018 facilitative dialogue is an ex-post assessment of the extent to which Parties’ collective efforts to achieve global peaking and emissions reductions and to implement the CBDR (common but differentiated responsibilities) provisions of the Convention, from the time the Convention entered into force up to 2018 are achieving the long-term temperature goal, said Jordan.

“The results of this ex-post assessment would then inform, but not prescribe nor limit, what Parties would communicate in the first NDCs to be submitted by 2020. These first NDCs would essentially be the INDCs (Intended NDCs) submitted in 2015 although Parties are free to voluntarily adjust their INDCs at any time before or even after the communication of these INDCs as their first NDCs by 2020,” said Jordan.

The nature of the GST under Article 14(1) is that of being a mid-term review or assessment of the state of the implementation of the PA and to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of this Agreement and its long-term goals made by the Parties, presumably through the implementation of their NDCs that were submitted by 2020, Jordan further said.

It added, “At the same time, the GST in 2023 would also assess the state of play of adaptation actions … the provision of climate finance by developed countries and the provision of technology transfer … The GST would be informed by information coming from the transparency framework…”

“Both the 2018 facilitative dialogue and the 2023 GST are essentially comprehensive (not just about mitigation) ex-post assessments of the progress achieved by the Parties in responding to and addressing climate change through the implementation of the Convention and the PA. Neither of these mandates provide for ex-ante assessments of the adequacy of NDCs,” it stressed.

Speaking for the African Group, Botswana said that information from the IPCC should be considered and information on mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation should be captured. It said that the GST process should be simple, open, transparent and inclusive, adding that the scope of the GST is broader than the 2018 facilitative dialogue since the dialogue confines itself to Article 4 of the PA.

Solomon Islands spoke for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and said the inputs for the GST include information on overall effect of NDCs; adaptation communications and reports; information on mobilization and provision of support; latest IPCC reports; and reports by subsidiary bodies. It said outputs of the technical expert review and multilateral consultations that would be held under Article 13 and relevant sections of 1/CP.21 as inputs to the GST must also be looked at. “In addition, we can look at reports coming from the constituted bodies,” it said

On mitigation, Solomon Islands said Parties “could look at NDCs, greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories, National Communications, Biennial Reports and Biennial Update reports.”

“On adaptation, the same could be done from the Adaptation Committee, the LDC Experts Group, National Adaptation Plans and National Communications. On finance, information could be drawn from the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility. On technology, we could do the same from technology needs assessments, and the TEC (Technology Executive Committee) and CTCN (Climate Technology Centre and Network). On capacity building, the Paris Committee on Capacity Building could provide inputs,” it said.

It also said that the experience and design of the 2013-2015 review, which involved a joint working group of the Subsidiary Bodies and several “structured expert dialogues” could be a useful basis in shaping the GST.

Solomon Islands said that the 2018 facilitative dialogue and the GST aim to assess pre- and post-2020 implementation period of the PA. “While the 2018 facilitative dialogue aims at considering our current INDCs and provides opportunity and encouragement to Parties that wish so, to enhance the ambition of their INDCs, the GST will allow ex-ante consideration of our collective efforts and to inform Parties of what is required before they communicate their NDC for the second and subsequent cycles”.

“We understand that the provisions related to the facilitative expert dialogue contain no explicit mention of resubmission of NDCs. But it declares that the purpose is to ‘inform the preparation of the NDCs’. This clearly implies revision and resubmission in conjunction with the 2018 facilitative dialogue,” it said further.

Saudi Arabia for the Arab Group said the GST would allow Parties to monitor progress going forward. It stressed that the GST is meant to update the actions of Parties in a nationally determined manner and called for comprehensive inputs, including mobilization of support. It said that the GST should be a facilitative mechanism and should entail aggregation of inputs and be transparent. It said it did not see the structured expert dialogue (SED) as a good source of input, as it was narrow and reflected the views of individuals rather than peer-reviewed science.

Speaking for the Independent Alliance of Latin American and the Caribbean (AILAC), Colombia said inputs from the IPCC and the transparency framework must provide guidance to track progress on the long-term goal. On mitigation, the input could be provided through a synthesis report, and adaptation information could be provided from adaptation communications. On means of implementation, inputs will relate its adequacy of the means in relation to the long-term goal. It also said the mandate for the GST needs to be pre-decided for each of the items and the GST should be given a year and seek inputs from non-state actors.

India said that the scope of the GST emanates from Articles 2 and 3 of the PA. The purpose is to enhance the implementation of the Convention. Efforts should be to ensure modalities operationalize equity and CBDR. GST should be comprehensive, it said.

On sources of the inputs, India said it is important to analyse what sources provided inputs. “Paragraph 99 is open-ended and has an indicative listing, where we notice that adaptation needs of Parties do not figure in there. The sources must capture the state of adaptation needs,” emphasized India.

It also said that new bodies and institutions established under the PA must be an integral part of the sources of inputs to contribute to the GST process. It stressed that the GST must assess Parties’ NDCs on mitigation, adaptation as well as means of implementation in a comprehensive and differentiated manner, adding that Parties could be requested to make submissions as they may deem fit in relation to their conditional and unconditional NDCs.

India also said that the purpose of the facilitative dialogue in 2018 was to assess how much collective progress has been made to achieve global peaking and rapidly reducing emissions on the basis of equity and CBDR. The assessment of 2018 should look at how equity, CBDR and sustainable development efforts are reflected to reduce emissions, and added that it links to the purpose of the PA in its Article 2, and stressed that the facilitative dialogue should look at how equity and CBDR are reflected in it.

China said the inputs should reflect the comprehensive scope of the GST “considering mitigation, adaptation, and the means of implementation and support, and in the light of equity and the best available science.” It added that the information in the list should be open-ended and Parties should be allowed to make submissions to provide additional information “as they may deem appropriate in relation to their NDCs and the implementation thereof for purposes of the GST”.

It also said that the GST should be conducted in a Party-driven, transparent and holistic manner. “A lot of options exists, like workshop or dialogues, compilation of submissions, technical paper or synthesis report, and establishment of a technical group. We are ready to discuss further on the potential options we may have,” said China.

On the relationship between the global stocktake and the facilitative dialogue to be conducted in 2018, China said the 2018 facilitative dialogue could not be treated as a rehearsal for the GST. “The purpose of the 2018 facilitative dialogue is to assess how much collective progress has been made by the Parties in achieving global peaking and in rapidly reducing emissions in relation to ‘achieving a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century, on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty’.

However, the GST has a much broader and comprehensive scope and will access the progress towards Article 2 of the PA, covering all the elements and all relevant long-term goals, said China. It added though that there could be some experiences emerging out of the facilitative dialogue that could be helpful for the GST, especially how equity, sustainable development and poverty eradication efforts are being reflected and taken into account in Parties’ collective efforts globally.

Brazil also said that the list in paragraph 99 was not an exhaustive list and that it only provided the basis for inputs. It said the GST would have a technical phase and a political phase and that the technical sessions could start several months in advance to feed into the political guidance. It said that the GST must be finalized at least two years ahead of finalizing the NDCs.

South Africa said the purpose of the GST is to take stock of the collective progress in a comprehensive manner and equity and the best available science should guide the process. GST will have to be informed by processes from subsidiary bodies and other constituted bodies, which include, inter alia, the state of adaptation efforts of countries. The transparency framework should inform the GST, it said, adding that the GST could draw on lessons from the 2013-15 review and stressing that the facilitative dialogue was not a precursor to the GST and that there was no link between the two.

Grenada said that the GST should be comprehensive. It said while it would not like to provide an exhaustive listing of sources, it would like to see information from different sources such as Parties, IPCC, from the wider scientific community, from regional groups and agencies and from the subsidiary bodies. It also said that the GST should be conducted with clear outputs released in 2023 and a high-level event should convene then. It is also important that the GST finishes first in 2023 and then Parties have a year to reflect on their INDCs. Grenada also said that there should be a separation of assessment of information for political considerations.

The European Union (EU) said Parties’ inputs in mitigation need to ensure that discussions will deliver political momentum for Parties to update their NDCs successively to achieve the goals in Articles 2 and 4(1) of the PA.

For adaptation, the terms of reference are spelt out in Article 7(14), the EU said.  “Inputs would need to support the efforts of Parties and to recognize those efforts. We would need to collectively strengthen those efforts, whether those are leading to reducing vulnerability or not. The nature of global goal (on adaptation) as set out in Article 7.1 can be guided for instance by the results of the transparency framework. On means of implementation, a tailored approach should reflect the nature of commitments that would lead us to look at information on finance and technology. Inputs from the biennial assessments by the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) can help here,” it said.

The EU also said that there would be a technical aspect to the GST as well as a political aspect. “Here, the outcomes will be different.  The SED under the 2013-15 review might provide guidance on how to take forward the technical aspect.”

New Zealand said that Parties would have to see how the technical phase fed into the political phase and how the SED informed the three areas of the GST. On inputs, the discussions could be in separate groups and address each area appropriately, it said, adding that for mitigation, there could be a synthesis report on the aggregate effort of countries. “We could look at aggregated inventories for countries to see what we have done and for that we need a common transparency framework. We are looking forward to hearing more on these and the IPCC is well placed to provide its inputs. On support, the inputs could be from the SCF’s biennial assessment reports to consider the broader climate finance flows,” said New Zealand.

Canada said one of the main outcomes of Parties is to catalyse action from non-state actors and that inputs should not be limited to the UNFCCC. On the format of the GST, it said that the format of SED was a good way forward and that it should be inclusive to interact and contribute to technical discussions. It also saw some links with the facilitative dialogue in 2018 but Parties needed to first complete work on the modalities and procedures of the GST. There is scope for the 2018 dialogue for enhancing domestic effort, said Canada.

Australia viewed the GST as a key means to drive ambition every five years. It said the key inputs would include science emerging from the IPCC; a synthesis report of the Secretariat; inputs from the SCF would be key for finance flows; country reports and the transparency framework. It added that the GST could draw on lessons learned from the 2013-15 review and after the technical phase, there was value in conducting a high-level phase.

Bonn News Updates 16

UNFCCC / APA 1
16 May - 26 May 2016, Bonn, Germany
by Indrajit Bose
Bonn, 1 June 2016