Developing countries stress need to ensure balance in the work post-Paris

Bonn, 23 May 2016 (Hilary Chiew)

Developing countries stressed the importance of maintaining balance and coherence among the various bodies in implementing the work arising from the decisions from Paris under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

This they said is critical not only for the current Bonn session of the climate talks but also beyond.

This was expressed by the Group of 77 and China at the stocktaking event in the afternoon of 21 May, marking the end of the first week of the current talks that feature the 44th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI44) and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA44) as well as the first meeting of the Ad hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA1). The Bonn session will end on 26 May.

The stocktake event titledEnsuring coherence and assessing progress on the implementation of the work programme post-Paris’ was convened by COP21 President Madame Segolene Royal and the in-coming COP Presidency of Morocco represented by H.E. Miss Hakima El Haite.

Madame Royal said the objective of the second week is to ensure that “everybody has the same vision” and focus on the Paris Agreement work programme and the French Presidency will ensure consistency, proper balance and harmony of the Paris Agreement (PA) across the subsidiary bodies.

She said a roadmap to identify where there was progress and where there are problem areas has started.

H.E. El Haite said she was aware of the need to ensure balance in addressing the different topics to avoid any hierarchy among the various bodies (tasked to implement the mandates from Paris) to ensure equal footing for each of them. She added that she would organise informal consultations to listen to proposals of all Parties to be included in the roadmap.

The Presidencies also invited the three subsidiary and six constituted bodies of the Convention to update Parties of the progress of their respective work.

SBSTA Chair Carlos Fuller (Belize) informed that work has concluded for several agenda items, including new items (mandated from Paris) and others are advancing well. He expected work to conclude in good time.

SBI Chair Tomasz Chruszczow (Poland) said pre-2020 actions are of much focus and Parties are calling for effective tools to ensure such actions are taken forward.

APA Co-Chair Sara Baashan (Saudi Arabia) noted that many Parties emphasised coherence in the work of the new body including the need for comprehensive preparation for the entry into force of the PA and these needs were reflected in the revised agenda of the APA.

The other UNFCCC constituted bodies – Adaptation Committee, Standing Committee on Finance, Technology Executive Committee, Climate Technology Centre and Network, Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) also reported on their work related to the Paris outcomes.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the outcomes of the PA would be incorporated in the Sixth Assessment Report to meet the needs for the implementation of the Agreement and that work on the Special Report on the impacts of a 1.5 degree C temperature rise has already started.

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) announced that in line with Article 13 of the PA on the transparency framework, it is supporting the establishment of the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency and that a new trust fund will be rolled out in two weeks time.

Thailand, speaking for the G77 and China said it is essential to ensure coherence and progress among the different bodies, and expressed confidence that this stocktake can help Parties get there. The Group expressed delight that now the APA can move forward and join the SBI and SBSTA in pursuing tasks mandated by Paris.

“Even though we had to spend some time during this past week discussing about the agenda of all bodies, the conversation was essential for us in order to gain more clarity and to reach common understanding. As we are in the implementation phase, it is important to get the agenda right to define the scope of our work and to be a tool to organise our deliberations in the post-Paris era,” said Thailand.

It also added that the G77 believed that the spirit of balance and coherence, among APA, SBI and SBSTA, is critical in driving work forward and it must be maintained throughout this session and beyond.

Under the APA, it emphasized that the delicate balance achieved in the PA and the accompanying decision required balanced progress of all issues in the context of implementation.

In moving forward, Thailand said that transparency and inclusiveness in the process must be ensured and requested that constraints of small delegations should be taken into consideration when scheduling meetings to ensure their efficient and meaningful participation.

It also expected to see substantial progress in the elaboration of the terms of reference for the Paris Committee on Capacity-building in the remaining days to prepare solid groundwork for its adoption at COP22.

Malaysia speaking on behalf of the Like-minded Developing Countries (LMDC) said it was important to ensure the full and effective implementation of the mandates received from COP21 in the context of enhanced implementation of the Convention.

It said reflecting the importance of the provision of the means of implementation will be important in the work in fleshing out the implementation details for the PA.

“Much of these work will be carried out in the subsidiary bodies, so we expect that our work on these issues on the means of implementation in the subsidiary bodies will be fast and substantive so that we are clear that developing countries will get the support that they need,” it added.

The LMDC wanted to see clear actions regarding the pre-2020 mandates and expected to see the Kyoto Protocol Doha Amendment (for the second emissions reduction period) entering into force this year. Malaysia also said preparations for how Parties undertake the COP22 facilitative dialogue on pre-2020 actions should be discussed and concluded quickly.

Representing the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sought clarification on how agenda item 8 (c) of APA would complement the process.

[Agenda item 8 (c) reads: “Taking stock of progress made by the subsidiary and constituted bodies in relation to their mandated work under the Paris Agreement and section III of decision 1/CP.21, in order to promote and facilitate coordination and coherence in the implementation of the work programme, and if appropriate, take action, which may include recommendations.”]

The LDCs saw value in the development of tools to track progress made in relation to all agenda items as envisioned and believed that such tools would help to feed information on the discussion of Agenda 8 (c).

On finance matters, the DRC called for the institutions serving the Agreement, the GEF and the GCF, in their delivery of support to include a country-driven approach and expedite the process of simplification of their approval procedures as it was challenging for LDCs to access financing from the existing Funds. Readiness support, it added, should be continued, and approval and disbursement of financing through the readiness programme should be conducted in an expedited manner.

It added further that the GEF in its support of the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency must work closely with capacity-constrained countries such as LDCs so that those who are in high need of capacity are not left behind. It also called on the GCF to work towards expediting support for LDCs in the formulation of their National Adaptation Plans as this is of high priority for them.

Maldives speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) emphasised the need for the expedited entry into force of the PA. It also stressed the importance to keep in mind the linkages of the key elements such as nationally determined contributions, transparency framework, global stocktake and compliance.

Mali representing the African Group noted that the PA and its accompanying decision are comprehensive. Hence, the work of the APA, SBI, SBSTA and other constituted bodies should be coherent and treat all issues in a balanced manner.

It said the work of the APA, at this session and before COP22, should include the sharing of views and submissions from Parties and if there is a proposal for an additional format of work, all Parties should be equally represented in such arrangements.

On the SBI agenda items 5 and 6, (on the Registry under Article 4 and Registry under Article 7 of the PA) the African Group believed they are related and hence should be conducted back-to-back and facilitated by the same Co-chairs to ensure a clear mode of work and equivalent progress of work in developing the modalities and procedures for the operation and use of the public registry. (Article 4 of the PA refers to ‘mitigation’ and Article 7 to ‘adaptation’.)

“The African Group is of the view that we are working towards one NDC registry, rather than two registries,” Mali stressed.

On the 3rd Review of the Adaptation Fund, it said Parties need to address the sustainability and adequacy of financial resources for the Fund and urged developed country Parties to enhance their contributions.

It welcomed the continuation of the Technical Examination Process on mitigation and the inclusion of adaptation as opportunities for initiating and delivering concrete actions in order to close the ambition and the adaptation gap.

The African Group also urged developed country Parties to prioritise the work of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage by providing resources to ensure the implementation of the two-year workplan.

Colombia speaking for the Independent Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean emphasised the need for further work on the facilitative dialogue of 2018 (which is to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal).

Representing the Arab Group, Saudi Arabia said it is in the spirit of Paris that Parties saw progress in APA (referring to the success in the revised agenda) and looked forward to maintaining the balance achieved in Paris and in bringing a total package of all the work programmes towards the first Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the PA (CMA1) in a balanced mode.

Gabon expressed concern over the complexity and size of tasks in the short time before COP22 and cautioned that Parties took four years to prepare the Kyoto Protocol roadmap, noting that not everything is perfect; hence the need for things to be amended (referring to the revised APA agenda).

Australia speaking for the Umbrella Group said a lot of work will be technical as that is what implementation is about and expressed its commitment to take forward the comprehensive and balance agenda set by Paris.

The European Union was happy with the positive start and progress made in the subsidiary bodies, noting that the work is highly technical but essential to the functioning of the multilateral regime. It looked forward to continuation of discussion in week two to have clear understanding of further work such as technical papers, workshops and submissions.

Switzerland representing the Environmental Integrity Group said it was in favour of inter-session workshops and submissions and having technical papers to summarise the views of Parties which would help to advance quickly in our work for rapid entry into force of the PA. 

(Edited by Meena Raman)

Bonn News Updates 8

16 May - 26 May 2016, Bonn, Germany
by Hilary Chiew
Bonn, 23 May 2016