Developing countries frustrated in discussions over finance issue

Bonn, 3 May 2018 (TWN)

Bonn, 3 May 2018 (TWN) – Developing countries were visibly frustrated at the lack of willingness by developed countries to begin discussions over a proposal forwarded by the African Group on the identification of information to be provided under Article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement (PA), at the climate talks being held in Bonn, Germany.

Discussions on the matter took place on 2nd May in informal consultations under an agenda item of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) on ‘the identification of the information to be provided by Parties in accordance with Article 9.5’.

 (Article 9.5 of the PA essentially provides that developed countries “shall biennially communicate indicative quantitative and qualitative information” related to the provision and mobilisation of financial resources “including as available, projected levels of public financial resources” to be provided to developing countries.)

South Africa for the African Group had tabled a conference room paper (CRP) on the issue. During the informal consultations, it requested the co-facilitators to project the CRP on the screen for Parties to look at so that it could go through it.

However, the co-facilitator facilitating the session, Peter Horne (Australia), said that that would mean that Parties were “deviating” from the agreed mode of work for the session and that he would have to hear the views of the other Parties first to see if there were any objections.  According to Horne, the agreed mode of work was that the co-facilitators would pose some questions to Parties to delve deeper into the substance of the issue which were around possible additional elements or information that were not captured in their informal note; identifying duplications or overlaps; and on structuring the informal note better to express the elements or information contained in it.

South Africa responded that the CRP speaks to all the three questions posed by the co-facilitators and that they were not deviating from the agreed mode of work. (The CRP presents a draft decision detailing the current, qualitative and quantitative information to be provided by Parties under Article 9.5). It repeated its request that the CRP should be projected on the screen.

The African Group request was supported by other developing countries including the G77 and China and the Like-minded Developing Countries.

Developed countries on the other hand, were opposed to the request and this included the United States, the European Union, Australia and Switzerland, who wanted South Africa to present the group’s proposal orally. 

Gabon expressed surprise with the process being followed and it said that it is the right of a group to submit a CRP and for the co-facilitators to project it on screen. “Parties are allowed to provide text and then you can compile, but the way you are portraying is that you are taking the lead and telling Parties what to do. Besides, Parties can change the mode of work if Parties decide to do so. The last time we met, it was still a Party-driven process but now it seems this has become a co-facilitator driven process,” said Gabon in exasperation.

A long discussion ensued, with Horne maintaining his stance that he had heard calls from the floor (by developed countries) to hear the content of the proposal orally.

In spite of repeated requests by developing countries to project the CRP on screen and clarifications sought on why the CRP could not be projected, the session came to a close without the CRP being projected on screen.

Towards the end of the session, the developing country co-facilitator of the consultations, Seyni Nafo (Mali), was visibly outraged and urged Parties to not waste time and to engage in substantive discussions with whatever proposals were on the table, whether they were in a CRP form or in any other form. “We wasted 50 minutes. This is a technical conversation. There will be plenty of time for politics. We need your technical inputs, so give us your technical inputs so that we progress. If you have technical inputs, we will take them, if you do not have technical inputs, we will not take them,” expressed Nafo in frustration.

Informal consultations on this matter will continue May 3.

Informal consultations on the Technology Framework

Informal consultations under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) on the ‘technology framework’ under Article 10.4 of the PA began on Monday, April 30.

 (Article 10.4 of the PA provides that “a technology framework is hereby established to provide overarching guidance to the work of the Technology Mechanism (TM) in promoting and facilitating enhanced action on technology development and transfer in order to support the implementation of this Agreement…”)

Parties discussed the initial draft of the technology framework prepared by the Chair of the SBSTA, focusing on the key themes on innovation and implementation.

Developing countries said that the initial draft of the framework was a good starting point but they “could not see how a framework can be operationalised’ based on its current form.

The China for the G77 and China, wanted a section on the functions of the framework which will envisage the overarching guidance to the TM. It also said that “the assessment of technologies that are ready for transfer” reflected in paragraph 67 of the decision from Paris (decision 1/CP21) was missing.

India noted that the emphasis on technology transfer should be from North to South and not just South-South.

The European Union said that Parties had agreed that the technology framework should be a strategic overarching guidance and that it should not be too detailed but as “a strategic document that is lean.” It said that the current draft was too long.

The United States said there should be no assumptions that finance is to be provided at every stage of the technology cycle and it was not necessary to be balanced between technologies for mitigation and adaptation.

Informal consultations are still continuing on the technology framework.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)

At the informal consultations under the Ad hoc Working Group of the PA (APA) on nationally determined contributions (NDAs), Parties had a good exchange of views on 2 May, on the information guidance needed for the clarity, transparency and understanding of NDCs as required under Article 4.8 of the PA.

Parties had divergent views on whether the information to be provided for under paragraph 27 of decision 1/CP.21 were mandatory.

(Paragraph 27 provides that “….the information to be provided by Parties communicating their NDCs…may include, as appropriate, inter alia, quantifiable information on the reference point (including as appropriate, a base year), time frames and/or periods for implementation, scope and coverage, planning processes, assumptions and methodological approaches including those for estimating and accounting for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and as appropriate, removals, and how the Party considers its NDC is fair and ambitious….”

Some developed country Parties and small island countries are of the view that the information referred to in paragraph 27 are mandatory, while other countries such as the LMDC and Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay (ABU) say that this is not that case, and that it was up to the Parties to nationally determine what information is necessary for the clarity, transparency and understanding of their NDCs. 

Informal discussions are expected to continue in this regard.

Suva expert dialogue

The two-day Suva expert dialogue on ‘Loss and Damage’, mandated by COP 23, kicked off on 2 May. The first day saw the conduct of two parallel discussions on (i) risk assessment and risk transfer and (ii) risk reduction and risk attention.  Both, Parties and non-Party stakeholders participated and presented their views in the discussions. 

Paragraph 9 of decision 5/CP.23 requested the Secretariat, under the guidance of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (WIM) and the SBI Chair, to organize “an expert dialogue to explore a wide range of information, inputs and views on ways for facilitating the mobilization and securing of expertise, and enhancement of support, including finance, technology and capacity-building, for averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow onset events, with a view to informing the preparation of the technical paper referred to in paragraph 2(f) of decision 4/CP.22”.

The technical paper will serve as an input to the review of the WIM scheduled to take place at COP 25 in 2019. The technical paper will elaborate (i) sources of financial support, as provided through the Financial Mechanism, for addressing loss and damage as described in relevant decisions, as well as modalities for accessing such support; and (ii)finance available for addressing loss and damage as described in relevant decisions, outside the Financial Mechanism, as well as the modalities for accessing it.

Bonn News Updates 5

UNFCCC / APA 1-5, SBSTA 48, SBI 48
30 April - 10 May 2018, Bonn, Germany
by TWN
Bonn, 3 May 2018