Science and equity demand urgent action on climate now say developing countries

Marrakech, 23 November 2016 (Zhenyan Zhu)

Developing country delegates called on developed countries to enhance ambition in climate action now and provide the means of implementation to developing countries, as both science and equity demanded acting with urgency, and not to put off actions to after 2020 as is the case under the Paris Agreement (PA).

This call was made at the second part of the ‘Facilitative Dialogue on Enhancing Ambition and Support’ which was held on 16 Nov, under the 22nd session of the UNFCCC’s Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Marrakech.

Delegates from developed countries who spoke at the event focused mainly on post-2020 actions related to the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of Parties under the PA, while developing countries called for enhancing efforts in the pre-2020 time frame, as both science and equity demanded urgent action now.

This part of the ‘Facilitative Dialogue’ (FD) was held to provide an opportunity for Ministers and senior officials, who had arrived for the high-level segment of the climate talks in the second week.

(The first part of the FD was held on 11 Nov. See TWN Update15,

The second part of the FD was moderated by journalist Joydeep Gupa and consisted of discussions in two sessions on policies on ‘ambition’ and on the ‘means of implementation.’

In the panel discussion on ‘ambition’, panelists were expected to answer the following questions: (1) what should Parties do with regard to mitigation ambition by 2020 and what would the factors of success be?; (2) what immediate domestic steps should countries take to raise overall ambition and how can these be facilitated?

In response to the proposed questions, Jos Delbeke, the Director-General from European Commission and Louise Métivier, the Chief Negotiator for Climate Change of Canada highlighted the importance of translating NDCs into action. (NDCs refer to climate actions under the PA from 2020 onwards). Much of the focus of their presentation was on implementing the NDCs under the PA.

Developing country delegates on the other hand, focused on the other hand on the pre-2020 commitments of developed countries.  

Ravi S. Prasad, the Joint Secretary on Climate Change of India, stressed at the outset that both science and equity demanded action now and expressed concerns that many delegates from developed countries were focusing on actions in the post 2020 time frame. He said ambition could not be put off for another four years with talk only of post-2020 actions. The FD provides a platform to strengthen and streamline pre-2020 efforts and therefore focus should be on what needs to be done now rather than talk about NDCs and post-2020 action, stressed Prasad.  

In addition to addressing the emissions gap, equal emphasis should be placed on the adaptation gap and the gap on the means of implementation, which would enable developing countries to enhance their levels of ambition, said Prasad further.

In relation to the early entry into force of the PA, he said similar urgency should be shown by countries for the entry into force of the second commitment period (2CP) of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) by April 2017, elaborated Prasad further.

He said there is also need for revisiting the ambition targets of developed countries, for their scaling-up, and removal of conditionalities for doing so under the KP. He said this was needed by the May-June intersessional climate talks in 2017. He stressed further that based on the Convention’s principles of equity and common-but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), developed countries Parties should be taking the lead in addressing climate change.

He also called for working towards climate justice in addressing poverty and the vulnerability of developing countries.

Furthermore, Prasad stressed that efforts for greater global collaboration needs to be intensified for research and development on climate related issues to enable less costly transition to low emission development and barriers continue to impede the progress of renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment in developing countries. He pointed out that high patent costs of such technologies and non-facilitative intellectual property rights (IPR) regimes are particular barriers which the Financial Mechanism of the Convention should address. He added that India was not asking for the IPR regime to be tampered or dismantled but called for support for the quick dissemination of technologies.

As for finance, Prasad said that many existing funds have co-financing constraints for which the developing countries will have to chip in their money first to get more money which is a challenge. To track finance, he said, we need to have in place a rigorous system to track the delivery of all funds promised, ensuring that it is new and additional.

In this context, the roadmap presented by the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia regarding on the USD 100 billion has methodological flaws and double-counting issues, said Prasad further. “Our estimates indicate that there is a mobilization of USD 20-25 billion only (from developed to developing countries)”, he said, adding that there is a need for new and additional funds which are over and above overseas development assistance (ODA). Prasad commented further that issues regarding scaled-up and predictable finance were also not evident in the roadmap report.

(Prasad was referring to the ‘Roadmap to the USD 100 billion’ launched by the UK and Australia before the Marrakech climate talks which was heavily criticized by developing countries during the talks).

Prasad in conclusion, highlighted that in the future, the FD needs to be structured and  held in multiple sessions and in parallel on issues of technology, finance, capacity- building support for developing country Parties and commitments in pre-2020 period. He suggested further that these discussions need to be held on a recurring basis at each COP until the commitments of countries are fulfilled.

“The discussions now and in 2017 should feed into the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue with clear outputs, roadmaps and achievements and we request the Subsidiary Bodies to assess, track and report progress made in implementing these commitments”, concluded Prasad.  

(The 2018 facilitative dialogue which is mandated under the decision from Paris is to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal referred of the PA that relates to the global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognising that peaking will take longer in developing countries and to inform the preparation of NDCs.)

In the same session, Dr. Siti Nurbaya, the Minister of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia also stressed that, with regard to mitigation ambition by 2020, Parties to the KP should have implemented their commitments including in ratifying the Doha Amendment for the 2CP. Other developed country Parties (referring to the United States who is not a party to the KP) and developing countries should implement their actions under the Bali Action Plan, she added further. 

In the session the means of implementation (MOI), speakers were asked to address the following: (1) what actions are required to further scale up support for accelerating technology development and transfer and strengthen the capacities of developing countries? (2) how can access to financial support be enhanced and simplified to support climate actions in developing countries, particularly those most vulnerable? (3) what role should the Convention and the established architecture for the MOI have to enhance the provision and mobilization of support?

The Chinese Minister Xie Zhenhua, the Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs said the FD is to help Parties achieve the objectives of the PA and the Convention and establish political mutual trust. He stressed that this was the foundation of the FD. In this context, the Minister said Parties must honour their commitments that they have pledged for the pre-2020 period. The developed country Parties should honour all of their pre-2020 commitments, including on the provision of finance, technology transfer and development and in meeting their emission reduction pledges.

Developing countries very much hope that developed countries will meet their obligations and in providing the USD 100 billion per year by 2020, said the Chinese Minister further. As for the roadmap prepared by UK and Australia with other developed countries, he pointed out that developing countries still have many doubts over the report in relation to the accounting methodologies. He also emphasised that the main channel for funding to developing countries should be through government channels.

Developing countries need to also increase their adaptation capacity to cope with extreme climate events, said Zhenhua further adding that this required large amounts of grant financing.

He also underscored the importance of increasing the capacities of developing countries so that they can meet the transparency requirements and are able to be take part in future facilitative dialogues and the global stocktake. He said that the capacity of developing countries is very underdeveloped and this needs to be addressed.

On achieving the long-term goal of limiting temperature rise, the Minister said that developing countries needed technological innovation. He said developing countries need to be able to use the technology that is available and that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) could have a window for technology transfer and cooperation.

The Minister also informed the meeting that China has set aside CNY 20 billion for the South-South Cooperation Fund on Climate Change and has disbursed about CNY 100 million to carry out some projects. He added that there will be 10 green low- carbon demonstration projects, 100 capacity-building training programmes and workshops for 1000 persons to improve their ability in management and fund raising activities. He concluded that developed countries can do much to help developing countries.

Everton Lucero, Secretary for Climate and Environment Quality of Brazil echoed the Chinese Minister’s views. He said mobilizing USD 100 billion from developed countries is the essential action and in this regard, there is need in improve the transparency framework to track the support provided by developed countries to developing countries, to track real climate finance flows.

Naoko Ishii, the CEO of Global Environmental Facility (GEF), announced the launch of the Capacity-Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) and said that the first set of projects have been approved.

(Parties agreed to establish the CBIT in Paris which aims to strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of developing countries to meet the enhanced transparency requirements under the PA, leading up to 2020 and beyond).

Ishii said that the CBIT Trust Fund has been approved by the GEF Council and the Fund is now operationalized. Sweden, Netherlands, the UK, the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia have all pledged more than USD 50 million to the CBIT. The first set of projects has been approved by the GEF for implementation in Costa Rica, Kenya and South Africa.

Edited by Meena Raman

Marrakech News Updates 24

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