At the launch of the climate talks on April 30 in Bonn, Germany, under the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement (PA), developing countries under the G77 and China called for “balanced and comparable progress” of negotiations on all elements of the PA Work Programme (PAWP).
Parties have been tasked to complete work on the modalities, procedures and guidelines for the implementation of the PA (which is the PAWP) by the end of this year and for decisions to be adopted at the 24th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP24) and the Conference of Parties meeting as Parties to the PA (CMA).
The G77 and China also lamented at recent developments at the Global Environment Facility (GEF) that showed a reduction in finance for climate change.
Ambassador Wael Aboulmagd of Egypt, speaking for the Group said that at the GEF’s 7th replenishment meeting which concluded recently with a total of US$ 4.1 billion pledged, “only $3.3 billion is actually new funding” and noted that “climate change will see a 47% decrease in developing country allocations and an aggregate 37% decrease compared to GEF 6.”
“This and other equally concerning trends with regard to the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) do not reflect the progression of ambition as articulated in COP decisions and the PA,” expressed Ambassador Aboulmagd further.
Groups of Parties delivered their statements at the opening of the two-week intersession climate talks at a joint plenary of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA).
Speaking for the G77 and China, Ambassador Aboulmagd expressed that “the PA is a landmark agreement. If effectively implemented it will have far reaching implications, foremost among them, the abandoning of a development model which prevailed for more than a century and a half, with devastating consequences, and replacing it with a more sustainable one.”
He said that developing countries “attach the utmost importance to the key principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of national circumstances, and will seek to ensure that these principles are preserved and reflected in the outcome of the PAWP”.
The G77 and China spokesman also stressed that “as we navigate this process it is crucial not to overlook, postpone or otherwise sideline any of the agenda items, rather we should adopt a holistic, coherent, comprehensive and balanced approach which addresses the full gamut of topics including mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity-building and loss and damage.”
In this regard, the Group expected “reasonably balanced and comparable progress to be made on all agenda items throughout this and future sessions” and underlined “that the output for this session should reflect all Parties’ views and concerns in a neutral and balanced manner, through clear options to be developed in the informal notes”.
He then set out the Group’s expectations on the various agenda items being addressed under the APA.
On nationally determined contributions (NDCs), the G77 stressed the importance of maintaining the nationally determined nature of NDCs and also confirmed that “NDCs include mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation components as per Article 3 of the PA.”
The Group also stressed that adaptation efforts under the PA “should be given sufficient attention reflecting the adaptation-mitigation parity.” On adaptation communications, the G77 said that the communications “will continue to play a crucial role in enhancing adaptation action to achieve the global goal on adaptation and help developing countries deal with the significant additional burden borne from dealing with the repercussions of anthropogenic GHG emissions”.
On the transparency framework, the G77 looked forward “to making progress on developing the modalities, procedures, and guidelines for the enhanced transparency framework for action and support, in a balanced fashion recognizing the importance of both transparency of action, which has achieved significant progress, and transparency of support, which continues to lag behind,” and added that “the transparency framework should reflect the realities of national circumstances and limited capacities of developing country parties compared to those of developed countries, which have been in the process of developing their national measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems for more than 15 years. “Consequently, sufficient time and support should be afforded to developing countries to increase their capacities to implement the enhanced transparency framework over time,” said the Group.
On the matter of the global stocktake (GST), the Group stressed that “the GST must be conducted in light of the equity and the best available science and should include mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation within the scope of the modalities, sources of inputs and planned outcomes.” It also emphasized that the “GST process not lead to any type of mandatory approach to increase ambition”.
In relation to the issue of facilitation and compliance of the PA, the G77 and China believes that while all elements and provisions of the PA shall be covered by the work of the committee (on facilitation and compliance), the scope may differ in respect to the function of facilitating implementation and promoting compliance.
On further matters related to the implementation of the PA, the Group stressed that “financial support is of fundamental importance to developing countries. However, there is nothing concrete on the table on financial support from our developed country partners in the post 2020 period. This highlights the urgent need to scale up financial resources for developing countries. The current goal (of USD 100 billion per year by 2020) is not enough”.
It expressed concerns over the lack of progress on all finance issues and the reluctance of developed countries to advance on these issues. It said that at COP23, the Group “advocated for a standalone SBI item on the identification of the information to be provided by developed country Parties in accordance with Article 9.5. Developing country Parties consider this information essential for enhancing predictability and effectiveness of climate finance,”
On the issue of modalities for biennially communicating finance information in accordance with Article 9.5, the G77 said that “taking into consideration the conference room paper tabled by the African Group at COP 23, these modalities could serve transparency of support, inform the GST, as well as for the process to determine a new collective finance goal post-2020”.
It attached great importance to concluding our work on the Adaptation Fund serving the PA in 2018 and “expected sufficient time be allocated for negotiations to conclude this matter”.
The G77 also expressed concerns over the application of “unilateral coercive economic measures that affect the capacities of developing countries to finance their efforts in mitigation and adaption to climate change.” In this context, the Group said that “it is of utmost importance for all necessary measures to be undertaken to depoliticize the flow of international financial resources such as through the GEF mechanism”.
On matters under the SBSTA agenda, the G77 said that “the work under SBSTA has a direct impact for both the post-2020 implementation and the enhancement of the pre-2020 action, and in that regard, we would like to re-emphasize the urgent need to enhance pre-2020 action and support in terms of finance, technology, and capacity building as a solid foundation for post-2020 implementation”.
In addressing the main items on the SBI agenda, in relation to the ‘status of submissions and review of seventh National Communications and third biennial reports from Annex 1 Parties’, the G77 noted with concern that in the third Biennial Report (BR3), “several developed country Parties have not fully complied with reporting guidelines for finance provided. Some developed country Parties have not even submitted their BR3, due on 1 January 2018. Without clarity and transparency, no comparability can be made”.
It also stressed the importance of assuring that new and additional, scaled up and predictable financial incentives are made available to developing county parties to support the implementation of forest mitigation and adaptation activities.
In the area of climate finance, “in particular as it relates to defining and ensuring certainty, predictability and sustainability remains seriously lacking,” said the Group.
The European Union (EU) underscored the importance of the 2018 deadline for the work of the PA and said it was keen on making progress. It said that one of its objectives for the session was to move towards draft decision texts on all the elements of the PAWP. It also said that the modalities, procedures and guidelines should be fit for purpose and build on the collective experiences of Parties, and should be non-punitive. It also said that it looked forward to the Talanoa Dialogue to ensure that the delivery of the first set of NDCs was on track.
Australia on behalf of the Umbrella Group said that 2018 was “an important political moment since Paris” and that “we must now bring the PA to life” with the work programme providing the foundation and mechanism. It added that balance did not mean providing equal time to all the issues and that the time allocation should be guided by the complexity of an issue at hand. It gave the example of the transparency framework being a complex issue and called for “more time” to be given to enable this to put in place a transparency framework. On differentiation, it stressed that differentiation was reflected in the nationally determined nature of the PA.
Other groupings of Parties who delivered statements included the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), the African Group, the Arab Group, the Alliance of Small Island States (SIDS), the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA Group), the Independent Alliance of the Latin America and Caribbean (AILAC), Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay (BAU); Brazil, South Africa, India, China (BASIC), the Coalition for Rainforest Nations and the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG).
Edited by Meena Raman