TWN Marrakesh News Update No. 20: CMA adopts agenda; consultations continue on decision to be adopted

Marrakech, 18 November 2016 (T Ajit and Meena Raman)

CMA adopts agenda; consultations continue on decision to be adopted

Marrakech, 17 Nov (T Ajit and Meena Raman) — The first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) convened late evening on 16 Nov. and adopted the agenda and the organization of work.

The meeting was adjourned an hour later after hearing statements from Parties, to allow for informal consultations to be conducted with the Moroccan Presidency of the CMA to finalise the draft decision to be adopted by Parties at the closing plenary of the CMA as well as an associated decision under the UNFCCC’s 22nd session of the Conference of Parties (COP 22) that concerns matters relating to the implementation of the Paris Agreement (PA). 

(Informal consultations continued afternoon of 17 Nov. in this regard, after Parties requested time to consult with their respective constituencies on the proposed decision by the COP 22 and CMA 1 President.)

The Marrakech climate talks under the UNFCCCC began on 7 Nov, and is scheduled to conclude on 18 Nov.

When the CMA 1 convened to adopt the provisional agenda, Parties agreed to its adoption. 

Following the adoption, Bolivia for the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) clarified its understanding of agenda item 3 of the CMA.

Speaking for the countries in the LMDC who have ratified the PA, Bolivia expressed “for the record” its “understanding that the work to be undertaken in relation to the CMA agenda item 3 including its footnote is to be in the context of Articles 2 and 3 of the PA”.

(According to sources, the LMDC wanted the footnote to also include Article 3 of the PA, which relates to what are nationally determined contributions [NDCs] but this was not agreed to by the United States [US], during informal consultations with Parties and the CMA President that were conducted behind closed doors prior to the adoption of the provisional agenda.)

(Article 3 of the PA has been a hugely contentious issue among developed and developing countries during the course of the last one week of the climate talks. Developed countries led by the US view NDCs as being mitigation focused, while developing countries led by the LMDC insist that NDCs constitute the full scope of contributions by Parties including mitigation, adaptation and the means of implementation. Sources stated that this was the reason behind the LMDC expression of its understanding during the CMA 1 plenary).

(Item 3 of the CMA agenda is on ‘Matters related to the implementation of the PA’ and has a footnote that states: “This agenda item will address the modalities, procedures and guidelines that the CMA at its first session is expected to consider and take decisions on in accordance with the mandates contained in the PA, as well as the draft decisions to be recommended by the subsidiary bodies through the Conference of the Parties to CMA 1 for its consideration and adoption in accordance with the work programme in decision 1/CP.21, including Article 4 of the PA… Article 6 …; Article 7 …; Article 8… ; Article 9…; Article 10…; Articles 11 and 12…; Article 13…and Article 14…; and Article 15…. Any other matter concerning the implementation of the PA could also be addressed by the CMA under this agenda item, as decided by the CMA…”)

Following the adoption of the agenda, Parties were invited to deliver their statements.

Congratulatory messages were expressed from almost all groups of Parties on the rapid entry into force of the PA and the convening of CMA1, as they also outlined the importance and the amount of work ahead to ensure the PA’s implementation.

Additionally, the LMDC and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) underscored the importance of closing the ambition gap in mitigation and finance in the pre-2020 timeframe (given that the NDCs take effect post 2020) as well as on the ratification of the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) to secure the second commitment period of the KP from 2013-2020 for Annex 1 Parties to undertake emission cuts and to revisit their ambition levels.

The LDCs also underscored that the CMA should be suspended in Marrakech called for its resumption in 2017 to take stock of work and adopt decisions.

According to sources, there are divergences on this issue with most countries not in favour of the CMA resuming in 2017. The COP22 Presidency has been conducting informal consultations in this regard and a decision is expected to be finalized by the closing plenary on 18 Nov, which is the last day of the Marrakech talks.

Speaking for G77 and China, Thailand encouraged all Parties to the PA to fully implement the Agreement and for all Parties to the Convention to deposit their instruments of ratification as soon as possible.  Thailand said as Parties were moving to the implementation phase, the adoption of the agenda and the work programme sent a positive message to the world. It underscored that CMA1 must ensure that no one is left behind while keeping in mind that the PA implementation applies to those who have ratified the Agreement.  

Bolivia for the LMDC spoke for those countries in the group that had ratified the PA and said the rapid entry into force of the PA and the convening of the CMA were not the structural solutions to address the causes of climate change but were important steps in the global community’s efforts since 1992 with the Convention and then in 1997 with the KP to achieve greater levels of international cooperation to combat climate change.

Bolivia said it looked forward to Parties faithfully implementing their commitments and actions under the Convention and its PA, and expected other Parties that have ratified the PA to also do so “despite recent political events” (in an apparent reference to the recent elections in the US).

It said that “the work of designing and agreeing on the implementing modalities for the PA should continue to be undertaken by the various subsidiary bodies under the COP … over the next two years until COP24 in 2018.” 

Bolivia underscored that these negotiations must reflect and not attempt to “revise the political balance contained in the PA that the scope of NDCs is comprehensive and covers mitigation, adaptation, and the provision of the means of implementation; that common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) between developed and developing countries and equity are key principles in the PA that must be reflected; and that the PA is part of the Convention regime and so must be read in the light of the Convention’s objectives, principles and provisions”.

Cautioning against a mitigation-centric approach, Bolivia said that the treatment of all the issues under various bodies related to the implementation of the PA should be consistent with the provisions of the Convention and its PA and addressed in a balanced and holistic manner within one package.

Bolivia expressed “grave concerns” at the imbalance in the treatment between pre-2020 and post-2020 climate actions.

“While the PA rapidly entered into force in less than one year, the Doha Amendment to the KP providing for the second commitment period up to 2020 for legally-binding mitigation obligations of developed country Parties continues to be unratified by most developed country Parties and has not yet entered into force. It has been four years since 2012, when the Doha Amendment was adopted…The long-delayed ratification and the potential non-entry into force of the Amendment before 2020 shows that there continues to be a major gap between rhetoric and practice in this regard,” said Bolivia.

Stressing on pre-2020 action further, Bolivia said, “The Doha Amendment should have been, and can still be, given the same fast-track treatment in relation to its ratification and entry into force as the PA. Accelerating the pre-2020 implementation, in particular increasing pre-2020 mitigation ambition and enhancing the provision of the means of implementation to developing countries is as important as post-2020 action given the urgency of the challenge.”

Saudi Arabia for the Arab Group underscored the importance of Articles 2 and 3 of the PA in the implementation work. It said that the goal of the PA is the implementation of international cooperation based on the principles of CBDR as well as the historical responsibility of developed countries for the greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to preserve the priorities of sustainable development in line with the priorities and strategies of countries. Saudi Arabia also said that the forthcoming stages in the negotiations would be delicate and complicated and it would be important not to renegotiate anything which would lead to negative impacts on the Convention and which would be detrimental for developing countries. Saudi Arabia stressed that the balance on all the issues should be preserved, including focusing on the negative impact of climate change and response measures.

Tuvalu for the LDCs said the aim for Parties is to hold temperature rise to 1.5°C, strengthen adaptation and work on loss and damage. It added that in this regard, the highest political will and commitment was needed. Tuvalu said that most of the work should be completed by 2018 and added that the CMA should be suspended at Marrakech and resume in 2017, to adopt matters ready for adoption as well as to set a clear work programme for 2018. “Reconvening in 2017 should not only be to take stock, but to also take decisions on substantive issues that do not need two years to be completed,” said Tuvalu.

Tuvalu also underscored the importance of addressing the pre-2020 ambition gap and said that Parties must not lose track of it. “We must ensure that the Doha Amendment to the KP comes into force as soon as possible. Achieving the objective of the PA depends on pre-2020 ambition. We call on all Parties to ratify the Doha Amendment as they did for the PA,” it said further. Tuvalu added that the success of the PA depends on support provided to developing countries. “We call for increase in volume, flow and access to finance, technology and capacity building,” said Tuvalu.

Maldives for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said that the rapid entry into force of the PA was a cause for celebration but not for complacency. Referring to the worsening impacts of climate change, Maldives said that the long term temperature goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C was critical for the world and that the existing NDCs set the world for a 3°C or 4°C pathway. It emphasized the critical need for the raise in mitigation ambition. 

Mali for the Africa Group expressed full support to the CMA Presidency to ensure a fruitful outcome of talks over the next few days.

The European Union said that the PA is a game changer and the rapid entry into force in less than 12 months showed that countries were serious about clean energy plans. It urged Parties to move at full speed to an actionable plan and to work to complete the rulebook of the PA by 2018 (in reference to the rules for implementation of the PA).

Australia for the Umbrella Group said that work had progressed at Marrrakech, which was reflected in the conclusions taken under by the Ad hoc Working Group on the PA. It also said that the good engagement by Parties provided the platform to deliver the mandate of CMA1 by 2018 and that it looked forward to the CMA resuming “at some point”.

The meeting of the CMA was then adjourned.

Marrakech News Updates 20

7 November - 18 November 2016, Marrakesh, Morocco
by T Ajit and Meena Raman
Marrakech, 18 November 2016