Developing countries call for greater balance in negotiations

Bonn, 18 May 2018 (Prerna Bomzan)

Kathmandu: Developing countries called for greater balance in the outcomes of negotiations on the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) in the future, given the “uneven” progress on all elements at the recently concluded climate talks, held in Bonn, Germany, from April 30 to 10 May.

The three bodies under the UNFCCC viz. the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) concluded their work on 10 May, and will resume their work on the PAWP in Bangkok in September this year.

Egypt speaking on behalf of the G77 and China stated the outcomes of the negotiations at the Bonn session “have been uneven,” and that “it is therefore of utmost importance, that we strive for greater balance in future work, which we believe can be achieved through closer coordination amongst work between the APA, SBI and SBSTA”.

It further expressed hope that “the increasing resort to procedural means to hold back work do not represent a recurring trend,” in a clear reference to the stance of developed countries. It expressed the wish “to maintain the level of trust needed to push the process forward,” adding that “it is vital that the process remain transparent and Party-driven, and that no issue is left behind”.

Egypt also underscored the importance of “pre-2020 issues” and said that “enhanced post-2020 ambition and action are inextricably linked to enhanced pre-2020 ambition and actions. We therefore wish to remind that there is an urgent need to enhance pre-2020 action, as well as provision of support in terms of finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building”. (The pre-2020 issues refer to the existing commitments of Parties under the UNFCCC, while the Paris Agreement [PA] deals with post-2020 commitments.)

On the APA agenda items, it welcomed the preparation of a “joint reflections note” by the Co-chairs by 1 August this year, and stressed that the process reflect “the unanimous view calling for all options to remain on the table, and that no option will be removed unless explicitly called for by the Party concerned.” (The G77 was referring to the divergent positions of Parties reflected in the various options in the informal notes and tool produced by the co-facilitators of the respective agenda items.)    

On finance, the G77 looked forward to making progress in Bangkok with a view to “negotiate an outcome” in Katowice, Poland (end of this year) on Articles 9.5, 9.7, 13 and other matters under agenda item 8 of the APA. “Together, these elements will be a critical part of the overall Katowice package,” said Egypt, adding that “enhanced financial support from developed countries will allow for effective implementation and enhanced ambition of developing countries.”

It added further that “multilaterally agreed modalities are needed to track the delivery of support, including the US$100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020 and additional and scaled up finance that is secure, predictable and sustainable,” which it said “is crucial for developing countries in the post-2020 context.”

On adaptation communications, Egypt said that the Bangkok session should “advance” work and on the transparency framework for action and support, it called for the allocation of “more time” to ensure “all aspects” can be discussed in a “comprehensive and balanced manner”. On the global stocktake, it welcomed the reflection of “equity” (in the informal notes) and expected the modalities to reflect the “provisions of the PA and to be workable, implementation-oriented, simple and sustainable, and effective.”

On the ‘Consultative Group of Experts [CGE] on national communications from non-Annex I Parties, the G77 reiterated its disappointment that “some Parties appear to be unwilling to continue the CGE's work after 2020.” On response measures (relating to the adverse impacts of measures taken to address climate change), the Group emphasized the importance of advancing the work on the modalities, functions and work programs and in establishing a “permanent body” under the Conference of Parties to the PA (CMA.)

As regards issues related to technology transfer, it stressed that the technology framework could provide the much-needed guidance to the work of the Technology Mechanism (TM), especially in providing support for actions on technology development and transfer to developing countries to implement the Convention and the PA, adding that “operationalizing the technology framework is crucial, while ensuring that it continues to evolve.”

On the issue of parallel tracks discussing climate change, referring to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the G77 emphasized that the work of the two organizations should be complementary to the UNFCCC work, and that it should not be “in conflict with or to distort it,” adding that “it is vital that such efforts remain faithful to and consistent with the Convention, its Kyoto Protocol, and PA, while conforming to their key principles.”

The G77 also said that “the final stretch of operationalizing the PA will be a challenging one” as “there are varying and often divergent views on many of the Agreement’s provisions.” “This is normal” it said, adding that “we can assure you that we have and will continue to come to the table with an open mind and all willingness to reach accommodations. If this is the prevailing sentiment and attitude, we have every reason to hope that whatever obstacles we may meet on the road to Katowice will be overcome,” Egypt said in conclusion.

Iran for the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) provided some reflections on the outcomes under the three bodies. On the guidance on nationally determined contributions (NDCs), it reiterated that the “scope of the NDCs should be in accordance with Article 3 of the PA,” and therefore, the guidance for NDCs should encompass all the components of the NDCs, reflecting differentiation between developed and developing countries.” It appreciated the “delicate balance” reflected in the “navigation tool” which includes the “identification of all Parties’ options, particularly their options on the issues of differentiation and scope.” The LMDC said further that “all of these options must be reflected in the tools to be developed by the Co-chairs”.

On adaptation communications, it stressed that “all the elements under this agenda item must be maintained in their substance and meaning in order not to lose information, adding that it was “extremely important to have NDC-specific guidance regarding the communication of adaptation actions and/or economic diversification resulting in mitigation co-benefits”. As regards the transparency framework, it said that “a key aspect” that remains was “how to ensure that the structure of the modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPGs) of the transparency framework fully respect the provisions of the PA and the paragraphs in decision 1/CP.21 (from Paris) that recognize the need to provide for a differentiated approach between the transparency MPGs for developed countries and those applicable to developing countries, particularly through the provision of flexibility to developing countries”.

On the global stocktake, the LMDC looked forward to modalities that will be “workable, simple, effective, durable and flexible, and moves us forward towards enhanced implementation of the Convention and strengthened international cooperation through the PA”.

The LMDC also underscored the issue of the setting up of a process for the “new long-term finance goal” as being extremely important and the need for a “participatory and transparent process”. On Article 9.5 as regards forward-looking information on finance by developed countries, it stressed that the modalities for reporting must put in place “a process that summarizes such information, identifies possible common elements among them and works toward improving comparability of efforts and data “. As regards the Adaptation Fund serving the PA, it said that “the Fund should not have any transitional period during which it would not be operational simply because of the decisions on arrangements that are still needed”.

On technology transfer, the LMDC said that the technology framework must be operationalized. As regards the public registry of NDCs and adaptation, it looked forward to a “joint consultation” to advance work under the SBI and on Article 6 (on cooperative efforts), it stressed that the Article “should accommodate all NDCs and cooperative efforts as long as they involve real emission reductions or avoidance.”

Gabon for the African Group looked forward to the proposed tool by the APA Co-chairs on the basis of “options presented by Parties and Groups” and reiterated the “APA mandate being to deliver operational guidance on all issues, with guidance being specific and clear.” It expressed concern about the “varying” levels of details across the agenda items, particularly with the lack of progress on adaptation communications and the transparency framework for action and support. It expressed concerns with the lack of progress of work on reporting on adaptation, finance and supported provided by Article 13 as well as on “post 2020 arrangements on finance, and more specifically, procedures for the communication of indicative support envisaged in Article 9.5 of the PA is lagging behind”.

It also expressed deep frustration and disappointment for not reaching a concrete conclusion to extend the mandate of the CGE on national communications and also highlighted that “five Annex 1 countries” that account for substantial amount of greenhouse gas emissions have not submitted their reports and said that “Annex I Parties should lead by example in demonstrating discipline in adhering to the climate change multilateral treaty requirements.”

On the changes made by the Secretariat to the official title of the Conference (from UNFCCC to UN Climate Change), the African Group stressed that “it is only through Parties that such change could be decided.”

Saudi Arabia for the Arab Group stressed the need to ensure a “balanced and fair work methodology” with “no disparity” in terms of progress in the drafting of negotiating texts. It reiterated that the final outcome at the COP 24 becomes “one package” and reaches “one resolution” to ensure the “inclusiveness” of procedures in line with PA. It emphasized the “comprehensive” nature of the NDCs, particularly, the adaptation contributions, saying that it will “not accept” an outcome that was not balanced “with mitigation and adaptation enjoying the same levels of details.” It further underscored the need to complete the work of pre-2020 period, for Parties to ratify and implement the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol as well as implementation of financial commitments prior to 2020 by developed countries because “it will lay the foundation for the work of post-2020”. “Finance, technology transfer and capacity building” is a “precondition” for the NDCs, it added.

Ethiopia for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) acknowledged the progress made in Bonn and hoped that the next session in Bangkok will enable Parties to go into “real negotiating mode” with a “greater sense of urgency towards the December deadline”.  

Maldives for the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) urged all countries that have not yet done so, to ratify the Doha Amendment and noted, “with great anxiety, that the emissions gap continues to widen post Paris”. It reiterated the critical importance of fully considering the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5 degrees C in a dedicated space before the meeting of the 24th session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 24). It underscored that “adequate finance remains fundamental” and that the discussions on the Adaptation Fund serving the PA could be finished in Bangkok to “allow for a decision” at COP24. “Finally, even as climate impacts worsen, our discussion on loss and damage has lost momentum,” said Maldives and called “on Parties to make up for lost time, particularly when it comes to identifying necessary funding, in line with the principles of the Convention, and get us back on track ahead of the 2019 review of the Warsaw International Mechanism”.

Cuba for the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA) said that the progress made was “insufficient and unequal” with the “financial issues not receiving the merit” as well as is the case of the “new long-term goal for 2025” with no agreement reached to even start negotiations. It stressed that the adjustments required for the Adaptation Fund to serve the PA must not involve changes in the functioning of the institution, its bureau and its modalities because “it is precisely the way that it operates that distinguishes itself from other financial institutions and makes it so valuable to the developing countries”. It emphasized that success in Katowice depends on achieving a result “adequate and acceptable to all” in the various areas of negotiations, not only limited to the PAWP but also all relevant issues under the SBs and the COP itself. It further said that there is a need to change the working modality so that Parties work “directly on a text and thus, in a balanced way address all aspects of the PAWP and other topics”.

Argentina speaking for Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay (ABU) reiterated their commitment to achieving a “balanced” conclusion in the PAWP, covering “all aspects “of mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation. It said that this included also progress on cross-cutting topics, particularly, the transparency framework.   

South Africa for Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) urged all presiding officers of the three bodies to coordinate closely so that a “comparable level of progress and preparedness” is achieved in all areas of the PAWP. As regards Bangkok session, it said that time should be used “optimally” to ensure an “agreed basis” for negotiations in Katowice, stressing that the issues of finance, adaptation and transparency (of support) need “more” time. It emphasized that progress is essential towards developing a “comprehensive, Party-driven, negotiating text” in a “balanced” manner. It reiterated the importance of accelerating “pre-2020 commitments” and increasing “pre-2020 ambition” including the ratification of the Doha Amendment.

Chile for the Independent Alliance of the Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC) said that the “complexity” of negotiations, range of topics and linkages between them require “careful treatment,” which is a challenge in particular for smaller delegations. It hoped for “enough time” on deliberations for particularly complex issues such as the transparency framework. It stressed on the need to work towards “greater ambition” and it looked forward to a “rapid coherent progress” to discuss the “substance” and transcend into “full negotiation mode”.

Australia on behalf of the Umbrella Group (UG) welcomed the “constructive engagement on mitigation,” with the ‘navigation tool’ produced by the co-facilitators helping to further understand views and discussions at Bangkok. On the transparency framework for action and support, it said that a “deeper mutual understanding” was achieved on a number of core elements but the “need for adequate time” in Bangkok was emphasized, to advance work on this matter.

On finance, it welcomed progress made in improving climate finance reporting arrangements under Article 9.7 and said that “a robust accounting system providing an enhanced picture of global finance flow is an important part of the PA which should also capture multilateral flows and private finance mobilized.” On Article 9.5, it said that the UG looked forward to further discussions within the mandate to improve the predictability of climate finance flows from all Parties for recipient countries.” It added that the Group is also “committed to preserving the essence of the Adaptation Fund and ensuring it continues to deliver on its strengths in the context of the PA”.

It concluded that works needs to be advanced “building on the textual narratives with a view to moving closer to a negotiation text” and that while all elements of the mandated PAWP are important, “we must take a practical approach and create enough space to properly deliver on each mandate.” “There are items that are clearly more technical, complicated and cross-cutting that need to be given sufficient time to make sure we get it right. It will be important to retain sufficient flexibility to respond to the specific and emerging needs of every agenda item,” it added.

The European Union said that the political phase informed by the 1.5-degree C IPCCC Special Report should “inject momentum into our domestic deliberations and actions.” It added that “concluding our work by Katowice is critical for delivering our domestic efforts and for the credibility of the UNFCCC process,” adding that this “will enable and encourage action and demonstrate the global commitment to ambition.” It said that it was open to explore “innovative and integrated working methods” as well as ready to “consider all solutions” to urgently accelerate work.

Switzerland for the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG) said that the “progress has hardly met the expectations” of those who face the difficulties of climate change impacts on a daily basis. It stressed on “using time in an efficient manner” in Bangkok and highlighted the need for a “result-oriented approach” to find a “landing zone.” It added that “focus on substance and enhancing common understanding of possible technical solutions will be key to deliver on the PAWP later this year in Katowice, in a robust manner” and this will allow Parties to “solve many seemingly political deadlocks.”

Bonn News Updates 17

UNFCCC / APA 1-5, SBSTA 48, SBI 48
30 April - 10 May 2018, Bonn, Germany
by Prerna Bomzan
Bonn, 18 May 2018