Parties share COP 23 expectations

Bonn, 15 May 2017 (Jade Chiang)

Three issues emerged as key expectations of Parties to the outcome of the year-end climate talks under the UNFCCC to be hosted by Fiji in Bonn later this year.

These are progress on pre-2020 commitments, progress on the work programme to implement the Paris Agreement (PA) and clarity in the design of the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue (2018 FD).

(The 2018 FD refers to agreement reached in Paris for the convening of a facilitative dialogue “to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal” of the PA and “to inform the preparation of nationally determined contributions [NDCs.]”)

The views on these matters were conveyed to the in-coming Fijian Presidency of the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the UNFCCC at the open-ended informal consultations to solicit views of Parties’ on their expectations on May 13.

(COP23 will be held between 6 and 17 November, in Bonn, Germany.)

Convening the informal consultation over lunch break, Fijian Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan said her government intends to work diligently in an open and transparent manner, noting that at the end of COP23, the world will be assured that the “we are on the right track and advancing as fast as possible towards implementation of the PA and the further implementation of other mandates and activities under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol (KP).”

She informed that Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama will be in Bonn in the second week of the climate talks and will outline the expectations and vision for COP23 on the last day of the talks on 18 May.  She also said a pre-COP session is being planned on 17 and 18 October in Fiji.

Ecuador (which is representing the G77 and China at the talks) said that there was no statement of the G77-China but it will provide some reflections based on messages delivered by the various groups within G77-China, and added that it was essential to keep the momentum and that priority is for a technical work oriented COP to complete the work programme of the PA.

It also stressed the importance of openness, balance, a transparent and party-driven process and assurance that there would be no reinterpretation of the PA or the Convention.

It said COP23 provides the opportunity for developed countries to revisit their commitment to undertake pre-2020 actions. The deliverables could be the concrete progress or signal with regards to the ratification of the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) to enable the entry into force of the second commitment period (for emissions reductions by developed countries under the KP) and the operationalisation of the US$100bil per year from 2020 and other resources for developing countries.

Iran speaking for the Like-minded Developing Countries (LMDC) echoed that the implementation of pre-2020 commitments are of high importance to safeguard the future of the climate and stressed the importance of have providing enough time for the related matters. It also hoped that issues under the PA which were regarded as ‘homeless’ in Marrakech last year (with no bodies tasked to undertake the work) are found ‘homes’ to carry on the work assigned. As regards the FD, it said that it was important to ensure the linkage between policies, actions and means of implementation.

Representing the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Maldives saw the development of ‘the terms of reference’ of the 2018 FD as a major deliverable of COP23 and that that it was not as a one-off event but should be conducted throughout next year, noting that the group will share the detailed proposals with the in-coming Presidency. It looked forward to enhanced actions that would provide for adequate resources where finance, technology development and transfer and capacity building are essentials.

Guatemala speaking for the Alliance of Independence of Latin America and Caribbean (AILAC) called for outcome that will be truthful to the PA. It was of the view that 2017 should be dedicated to technical deliberations with textual proposals for discussion now and in November and by early 2018 with draft texts for negotiation throughout next year.

The FD it added, will be instrumental to maintain the political momentum of the PA of its long-term goal and the need to be informed by what science indicates as necessary for climate actions and ambition for next 15 years. The design of the dialogue as an overall feature together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on 1.5°C, the work of the climate champions and work of non-state actors, are critical for this purpose.

(Parties in Paris had invited the IPCC “to provide a special report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related greenhouse gas emission pathways.”)

(Parties had also agreed to the appointment of two ‘high-level champions’ on behalf of the COP Presidency to “facilitate through strengthened high-level engagement in the period 2016-2020 to the successful execution of existing efforts and the scaling-up and introduction of new or strengthened voluntary efforts, initiatives and coalitions.” In 2016, Dr. Hakima El Haite, the Moroccan Minister of Environment and Ambassador Laurence Tubiana of France were appointed as ‘climate champions’.)

Uruguay representing Argentina, Brazil and itself said it is essential to deliver on all mandates and stressed substantive work at COP23 and engagement in texts to advance the work.

Australia speaking for the Umbrella Group would like to see negotiations moving from conceptual discussions to technical work and texts across all bodies on the work programme on the implementation of the PA, stressing on balance of work so that nothing is left behind but recognised that there should be flexibility “as somethings are moving faster while others are more complicated.” On the FD, it appreciated the consultation by the in-coming Presidency thus far and is keen to work on the design of the framework as a deliverable by end of the year.

Representing the Environmental Integrity Group, Switzerland said COP23 is a very important milestone and emphasised the development of the programme of work and progress on the “rules book of the implementation of the PA”. It also called on the in-coming Presidency to continue consultations on the nature, process and outcome of the FD.

The European Union (EU) believed that a clear proposal for the FD is the key deliverable of COP23 and looked forward to further consultations with the in-coming Presidency. It said advancing the work programme of the PA is of priority for this year while another key priority is the engagement of non-stake actors where progress has advanced in the last few years.

Bonn News Updates 11

8 May - 18 May 2017, Bonn, Germany
by Jade Chiang
Bonn, 15 May 2017