Need for comparable and balanced progress on all issues – say developing countries

Bonn, 7 May 2018 (Meena Raman)

Developing countries, led by the Group of 77 and China called for comparable and balanced progress in the negotiations on all elements of the package of decisions, to be adopted at the year-end climate talks under the UNFCCC.

Egypt, speaking for the G77 and China said that it was “disconcerted by the lack of progress on certain agenda items, while other items are seemingly moving forward at a faster pace,” and that this was “not simply a matter of allocating time equally, but perhaps (is) a political matter that must be attended to.”

These views were expressed at the end of the first week of the intersessional climate talks under the UNFCCC at a joint-stocktake meeting 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) which was convened in Bonn, Germany, on 5 May. The talks began on April 30 and are set to end on10 May.

Developing countries also gave an assessment of how they saw a lack of progress on issues of priority for them, stressing that matters relating to finance and adaptation were lagging behind.

The G77 and China called for “a holistic package approach” and said that “our agreement that no issue should be left behind should be manifested in the level of progress we make on various tracks and across the rooms. It clarified that it was “seeking, comparable progress to assure everyone that their priorities are not being ignored nor marginalized. We believe that this is in the full interest of the process and more conducive to making real progress.”

It stressed that it is essential to see progress on the entire Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) and that the work should be carried out in accordance with the principles of the Convention, its Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement (PA), in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC). “The coherence and harmony of the various decisions under these bodies must be maintained. To this end, we believe that the process should be iterative and merge similar views, without pre-judging the final outcome and with equal treatment being granted to the views of all Parties,” it added further.

The G77 said further that “as our work progresses in this and future sessions, we truly hope that attitudes will change and that the negotiations process will not be held up by procedural obstacles,” adding that at this session in Bonn, “we have seen quite a few”. It also said that “it is crucial that this process remains transparent and Party- driven” and that the “the reality, and the perception of co-facilitators (responsible for facilitating the various informal consultations on issues and capturing the discussions in informal notes) as completely impartial in the performance of their duties must be preserved and ensured.”

The Group also expressed concerns “that the discussions on the implementation of the finance arrangements to implement the PA are still focusing on further elaborations and adding details to the informal notes, despite a number of conference room papers (CRPs) submitted by the G77 and China and also by G77 members,” adding that it is important “to shift to negotiating mode as soon as possible, ideally if we can leave Bonn with draft negotiating text so we can start negotiations in earnest at our next session.”

On the issue of parallel tracks discussing climate change, namely the International   Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the Group recognised “the importance and value of efforts to address emission reduction efforts throughout the UN system” but said that such efforts “complement and support our work here rather than conflict with or distort it” and that they remain faithful to and consistent with the Convention, its Kyoto Protocol, and PA.”

Iran speaking on behalf of the Like-minded Developing Countries (LMDC) gave its assessment of the on-going talks. On the issue of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) it said “progress is being stalled by developed countries who continue to insist on moving away from the full and comprehensive scope of NDCs as agreed in Paris, and saying that NDCs are only about mitigation,” adding that “this is contrary to the PA, especially Article 3, which defines the full scope for NDCs (which includes mitigation, adaptation and the means of implementation.” The LMDC was also “deeply concerned about continued attempts to do away with CBDR (principle) as the fundamental basis for shaping NDCs. We cannot agree to these attempts at rewriting and renegotiating the Convention and the PA.”

On the issue of the ‘adaptation communication’, it noted progress as there is a comprehensive informal note which has been built by Parties with all options on the table. gIt said that since there is no more place to discuss about NDC-specific guidance on adaptation, it wanted the APA under the agenda on ‘adaptation communication’ to discuss this further, adding that this communication as part of the NDC is an option, and more than 100 countries have included adaptation in their NDCs.

On the transparency framework, Iran said that the process required a shift to enable Parties to engage substantively in negotiations on the structure of the modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPGs), so that there can be clear identification of which MPGs apply to developed countries and which applied to developing countries as a reflection of the flexibility accorded to them under the PA.

On the matter of the global stocktake (GST) (to assess the collective progress on the long-term goals, the LMDC said that the inclusion of equity as the context in which the GST will take place is non-optional. “Equity must therefore be reflected in operational detail in the modalities for GST.”

As regards the facilitation and compliance mechanism, Iran said that there is need to have a clear scope section in order to be sure that the compliance mechanism will be effective in facilitating and enhancing the implementation of the PA on the basis of CBDR, the respective commitments of Parties.

On the issue of finance, the LMDC echoed the concerns of the G77 and said that developing countries have presented written inputs in the form of CRPs for Parties to have a constructive engagement but there has been no willingness by developed countries to consider them, with the view that they could not be the basis for negotiations. The LMDC lamented that this is now how CRPs of Parties should be treated.

Maldives for the Alliance of Small Island States said that negotiations needed to be stepped up and called for a balanced and comprehensive outcome on all agenda items. It said that the ‘orphan’ issues in the PA needed to be addressed, referring to issues that were not being addressed by any of the bodies. It also stressed on the need for a Party- driven process and wanted to see co-facilitators produce streamlined texts with the views of all Parties reflected. It also stressed that the issue of loss and damage must be included in the outcome of the talks in Poland.

Ethiopia for the Least Developed Countries said that the process was not moving quickly enough in relation to NDCs and on the means of implementation including finance. It wanted the production of “textual narratives” with new iteration of the informal notes which captures the PAWP in a balanced manner. It wanted the presiding officers of the bodies to be mandated to prepare the texts for the next session and for work to be suspended at the end of the Bonn session and for work to be picked up at the additional session to be held in Bangkok (in September this year.)

Saudi Arabia for the Arab Group said that the success in Poland starts in Bonn and that the negotiating text has to have equilibrium both in the level of the substance and status. It wanted more time allocated to the issues of adaptation and response measures. It could not accept a different treatment of issues on the grounds that they have different levels of maturity.

Chile for the Independent Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC) said that the there is need for clear options with full textual narratives to be the basis of future negotiations.

Gabon for the African Group said that progress is needed for the issues that were lagging behind to have a comprehensive outcome in Poland. In relation to the issue of adaptation, it said that there was need to clarify the support needs of developing countries and for the operationalisation of Article 7 of the PA in this regard. On the finance issues, it said that it was critical to have understanding and clarity on the ex-ante communication on public finance resources available, as well as the launch of a process for a new quantified collective goal on finance.

India also highlighted that the finance issues have lagged behind other matters. In relation to the ICAO and the IMO, it was concerned that issues being discussed in these bodies are not in line with the PA with no provision of finance for developing countries and there is need for space under the UNFCCC to lay down the necessary modalities for the work in those bodies.

Australia, for the Umbrella Group said that there was need “to act faster with greater focus” and that no issue of the PAWP should be left behind. It said that revised informal notes by co-facilitators were needed which should form the basis for further negotiations.

The European Union said that streamlined versions of the informal notes are key for bringing Parties towards a draft decision text, and believed that further iterations of text must be in the hands of co-facilitators. Faster progress on one issue should not block movement on other issues, it added. It also said that a joint reflections note from the Chairs of the various bodies was useful.

Switzerland for the Environmental Integrity Group was concerned about the slow progress of work and called for discussions to be held in “informal- informal” setting to advance further progress.


Bonn News Updates 7

UNFCCC / APA 1-5, SBSTA 48, SBI 48
30 April - 10 May 2018, Bonn, Germany
by Meena Raman
Bonn, 7 May 2018