Developing countries stress implementation of pre-2020 commitments at COP 22

Bonn, 26 May 2016 (Hilary Chiew)

At the open-ended informal consultations on the expectations for the 22nd session of the UNFCCC’s Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to be held in Marrakech, Morocco, in November this year, developing countries stressed the importance of implementing the pre-2020 commitments under the Convention.

Led by Thailand, speaking for the G77 and China, developing countries called for the implementation of existing decisions taken under the Bali Action Plan (BAP) for developed countries to enhance their pre-2020 mitigation ambition and finance, as this will provide a strong basis for post-2020 actions (under the Paris Agreement).

The COP 22 in Marrakech, billed as an “implementation COP”, will hold a facilitative dialogue to assess the progress of decisions taken in Warsaw, Poland, in 2013 on enhancing the mitigation ambition as well as in enhancing the provision of financial resources by developed countries.

In a separate but related development, as developing countries stressed the importance of the COP 22 facilitative dialogue, the United States (US) wanted to downplay its importance by wanting to delete references to this mandated event in the draft conclusions of the 44th session of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 44) under the agenda item on ‘Arrangements for Intergovernmental Meetings’. This attempt by the US was prevented by developing countries who underscored its importance. (See exchange below.)

In a decision taken in Paris, (paragraph 115 of decision 1/CP.21), Parties agreed “to conduct a facilitative dialogue in conjunction with COP 22 to assess the progress in implementing decision 1/CP.19, paragraph 3 and 4, and identify relevant opportunities to enhance the provision of financial resources, including for technology development and transfer, and capacity-building support, with a view to identifying ways to enhance the ambition of mitigation efforts by all Parties, including identifying relevant opportunities to enhance the provision and mobilisation of support and enabling environments; …”

(Paragraph 3 and 4 of decision 1/CP.19 [adopted in Warsaw] concerns the full implementation of the Bali Action Plan that includes the enhancing of ambition of the pre-2020 period in terms of mitigation targets of developed country Parties and the provision of means of implementation by developed countries to developing countries.)

Informal consultations on expectations at COP 22

The informal consultations on the expectations for COP 22 was presided over by Ambassador Aziz Mekouar, representing the in-coming Presidency of Morocco during the lunch hour of the penultimate day of the inter-sessional climate talks from 16 to 26 May in Bonn.

In his opening statement, Mekouar said under the goal of focusing on enhancing ambition, promoting implementation and providing support, the Moroccan Presidency will prioritise among others “strengthening actions on mitigation and adaptation by all Parties before 2020”.

Thailand speaking for the G77 and China reiterated that pre-2020 ambition will provide a strong basis for post-2020 actions.

“We look forward to the implementation of decision 1/CP.19 paragraph 3 and 4, and identification of relevant opportunities to enhance the provision of financial resources, including for technology development and transfer, and capacity-building support,” it emphasised.

Alluding to COP22 as the ‘action COP’, Maldives representing the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said actions are needed particularly when it comes to finance issues.

Pointing out that a significant gap remains in the Adaptation Fund, it called for the mobilisation of the US$100billion annually by 2020. It also called for the setting of a specific timeline and milestones for progress.

Maldives underscored that the facilitative dialogue (pertaining to pre-2020 actions) and (the second biennial) high-level ministerial dialogue on climate finance that are mandated by the Paris decision (referring to Decision 1/CP.21) that are crucial events of COP22.

(The biennial high-level ministerial dialogue on climate finance was mandated by decision 3/CP.19 to start in 2014 and end in 2020.)

Echoing support, civil society organisations also highlighted the importance of the facilitative dialogue.

Climate Justice Now! said in the time Parties were in Bonn, hundreds have died and tens of thousands have been displaced from their land across the Indian subcontinent due to an extreme heatwave.

“In Maharashtra alone, over 400 small scale farmers have taken their own lives this year. It is against the backdrop of such suffering and loss that we urge the Moroccan Presidency to do everything it can to make the 2016 facilitative dialogue a meaningful contribution to address the ambition gap on both mitigation and finance. “We do not want, nor do we have time for more talk-shops with no outcomes. We demand developed countries who come to Marrakech to have ratified the Doha Amendment (on the second commitment period for emissions reduction under the Kyoto Protocol) and to keep their promise of delivering US$100billion (a year) by 2020,” it stressed.

SBI meeting on ‘Arrangements for Intergovernmental Meetings’

In a separate development concerning the facilitative dialogue, the United States (US) attempted to remove references to the mandated events from the draft conclusions SBI under the agenda item on ‘Arrangements for Intergovernmental Meetings’.

Parties were, among other matters, invited to consider the status of preparations and arrangements for the 22nd meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP 22) and 12th meeting of the Conference of Parties meeting as the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12). 

The US attempt took place during the deliberations on paragraph 8 of the draft conclusions at the contact group meeting on 24 May. The US agreed that mandated events were important but it was not in favour of identifying which event is important or not.

It said during the deliberations that “Last year, we did not do that … so (let’s) just leave it to the judgment of the Parties which event is important. Obviously, these are mandated events and so we should not waste time,” and suggested deleting the entire paragraph 8.

Paragraph 8 of the draft conclusions dated 24 May at 11 am read: “The SBI underlined the importance of the three mandated events to be convened at COP22: the second biennial high-level ministerial dialogue on climate finance; the high-level event on climate action; and the facilitative dialogue to assess the progress in implementing decision 1/CP.19, paragraphs 3 and 4; …”

Objecting to the US suggestion, South Africa said these are not any other high-level events and so it is important to keep the paragraph as a mark of the events’ importance, and what they represent to developing countries, and to remind countries that these events are coming up at the COP.

Australia asked if deletion would have any consequences to the agenda of the COP.

In response, SBI Chair Tomasz Chruszczow (Poland) said the SBI has no influence on the agenda of the COP but “we do, however, play the subsidiary role to assist Parties in highlighting certain issues”. It asked if the US can offer an explanation for the deletion.

In response, the US said “we do not have high-level for a lot of things” insisting that, “We do not want to get into the practice of identifying a series of mandated events. We might be disparaging others. We have limited time so it is not necessary to focus on describing which are the most important. It is (about) best use of time and best practice.”

It also suggested a technical correction, noting that the facilitative dialogue should be attributed to 1/CP.21 (adopted in Paris) and not 1/CP.19 (adopted in Warsaw).

The issue of the facilitative dialogue was introduced by China during the second contact group meeting of this agenda item on 19 May (see TWN Bonn Climate Update No. 4).

In conclusion, after wordsmithing by the Secretariat, the paragraph reads: “The SBI underlined the importance of the three mandated events to be convened at COP22: the second biennial high-level ministerial dialogue on climate finance; the high-level event on climate action; and the facilitative dialogue referred to in decision 1/CP.21, paragraph 115.”

Bonn News Updates 12

UNFCCC / SBI 44
16 May - 26 May 2016, Bonn, Germany
by Hilary Chiew
Bonn, 26 May 2016