TWN Marrakesh News Update No. 4: UNFCCC subsidiary bodies launch work

The 22nd session of the Conference of Parties (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 12th session of the COP serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12) kicked off on 7 November, just 3 days after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement (PA). The 45th session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 45) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opened on 7 Nov and launched its work immediately.

9 November 2016

UNFCCC subsidiary bodies launch work

Marrakech, 8 Nov (Hilary Chiew) – The 45th session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 45) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opened on 7 Nov and launched its work immediately.

[SB I45 is held alongside the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP22) and the 12th session of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP12). The first COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) will also open here in Marrakech on 15 Nov.]

Developing countries re-emphasized the urgent need to enhance pre-2020 actions and support, which will lay a solid foundation for the post-2020 implementation of the Paris Agreement. The Group of 77 and China (G77-China) also reiterated that the work of the SBI must proceed in a comprehensive, coherent, balanced and Party-driven manner.

The Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS) expressed dismay that 13 Annex I Parties reported greenhouse gas emission levels in 2014 that exceeded their 1990 levels – some by as much as 25%, 45% or more.

The African Group highlighted the budgetary implications of the Adaptation Committee activities and called upon Parties to increase their financial contributions to ensure that adaptation work under the Convention and its Paris Agreement (PA) advances in a balanced manner with the mitigation-related provisions.

Developed countries expressed disappointment with the low numbers of non-Annex I Parties that have submitted their biennial update report (BUR).

Parties adopted the agenda and launched work under contact groups and informal consultations with the first meeting on some agenda items held in the afternoon. SBI Chair Tomasz Chruszczow (Poland) presided over the session.

Speaking for the G77-China, Thailand said interactive discussions among Parties are crucial for building trust and moving the process forward in the Multilateral Assessment Working Group session. It welcomed the second round of the Facilitative Sharing of Views under the International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) and stressed that this process should be facilitative and lead to identifying the capacity-building needs of developing countries in order to facilitate reporting of information in subsequent BURs.

Thailand said while the Group took note of the progress made by the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) and the report of the Adaptation Committee (AC) in all its work areas, it reiterated that developing countries require enhanced support as they advanced in the process to formulate and implement National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). It noted with concern that the current financial availability for the AC and the LEG is inadequate for supporting the implementation of NAPs-related activities.

“The Group consider that NAPs are an important tool in order to implement Article 7.9 of the Paris Agreement, including planning processes and implementation of adaptation actions according to our increasing challenges. For that reason, we expect that (the) NAPs conversation involves how to improve the linkage between NAPs and means of implementation, particularly financial resources for planning and implementing adaptation actions, priorities and needs,” said Thailand.

(Article 7.9 addresses adaptation planning processes and the implementation of actions, including the development or enhancement of relevant plans, policies and/or contributions.)

Regarding the work of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with impacts of climate change (WIM), the Group took note of its key achievements in the implementation of the initial two-year work plan and looked forward to a constructive discussion on the draft five-year rolling work plan and its adoption at COP 22.

On technology, the Group believed that the SBI should be more engaged in the issue of technology development and transfer so that the Technology Mechanism could enhance actions on these issues in order to support the implementation of the Convention. It is extremely important for the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) as well as the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) to work under the guidance of the COP through the subsidiary bodies and the Technology Framework.

 “We look forward to the tangible transfer of technologies to developing countries to address climate change,” it stressed.

On response measures, the Group reaffirmed the importance of giving full consideration to identify necessary actions to meet the specific needs and concerns of developing country Parties arising from the impact of the implementation of response measures and to avoid the negative economic and social consequences of response measures on developing countries. The Group took note of the report from the workshop, welcomed the technical paper on a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality job and looked forward to engage in the in-forum discussion on priority areas, including constituting an ad hoc technical expert and to advance work on developing the modalities, work program and function of the forum. It also looked forward to a meaningful outcome of the High-level event on sustainable economic transition and economic diversification.

“We would like to see concrete results in capacity building package at the COP 22, including the adoption of Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB), the nomination of its member and annual focus areas for the PCCB in 2017. The Group is of the view that we should have clarity on the relationship between the PCCB and Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) (of the Global Environment Facility)  in order to ensure that there is no duplication of work,” according to the Group.

It also looked forward to a successful preparation of the terms of reference for the review of the functions of the Standing Committee on Finance so that the review of the work delivered by the Committee according to its functions and guidance provided by the COP as well as new areas of work as mandated by decision 1/CP.21 can be initiated at this session.

On gender and climate change, the Group acknowledged the progress made by Parties in implementing the Lima Work Programme on Gender and the support provided by the Secretariat. Notwithstanding the need to enhance our effort in advancing gender balance, gender responsiveness and inclusivity in all relevant activities under the Convention, the Group submitted key elements and principles to further the work on gender and climate change. Hence, it looked forward to a decision to build the momentum created in Lima and supported by the Paris Agreement.

G77-China reaffirmed the importance of Article 6 of the Convention (on Education, Training and Awareness) and all its elements in order to achieve the ultimate goal of the Convention. “In this regard, we welcome the completion of the work on the intermediate review of the Doha Work Programme on Article 6 of the Convention to be considered and adopted in COP 22. The outcome of the review will enhance the effectiveness of the implementation of ‘Actions for Climate Empowerment’  activities, as well as promoting changes in lifestyles, attitudes and behaviour needed for climate action and towards successful implementation of the PA.“

Ecuador representing the Like-minded Developing Countries (LMDC) said that “the SBI’s work should be focused on ensuring that any outcomes developed with respect to the issues covered by its agenda must be achieved to support developing countries to be better equipped to undertake their climate change actions in light of their national circumstances and in the context of their national sustainable development objectives.”

There must also be balanced consideration in the SBI’s work under its agenda between mitigation and adaptation, particularly in the development of modalities and procedures for the operation of public registries on mitigation and on adaptation measures, it concluded.

Speaking for the AOSIS, Maldives noted with dismay that 13 Annex I Parties reported GHG emission levels in 2014 that exceeded their 1990 levels – some by as much as 25%, 40% or more.

“These emissions must be brought down urgently, in light of the strengthened temperature limitation agreed by all Parties under decision 10/CP.21.  All Parties have agreed to pursue a 1.5 degree C limitation in global surface average temperature increase under the Convention and under the Paris Agreement, and this requires global emissions to urgently peak and then decline to net zero by mid-century,” it urged.

With respect to the development of the public registry under Article 4.12 (of the Paris Agreement), it was pleased to see that the Secretariat’s interim nationally determined contributions (NDC) registry is searchable, and looked forward to further improvements in the search function. “We look forward under our own mandate to the elaboration of modalities and procedures for the operation and use of the public registry, recognising that what the public is most interested in will most likely be easily accessible information on Parties’ NDCs, including covered sectors, gases, sources, timeframes, baselines, targets, policies and measures.”

On the review of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), appeals and the international transactions log, AOSIS felt that these issues must now be seen in the context of the PA as a whole, in which all Parties will have NDCs.

“The review of the CDM modalities and procedures has been ongoing for quite some time.  However, we have still not succeeded in addressing fundamental concerns, including crediting period length and the avoidance of double counting.  Further issues would need to be considered in the new Article 6 context of the PA, such as governance, ongoing additionality and the need for corresponding adjustments,” it added.

AOSIS said the establishment of the PCCB last year in Paris marked an important milestone in addressing capacity building in developing countries and it expected that members of the Committee will be elected here in Marrakech and that they will have their first meeting at the session of the Subsidiary Bodies that will be convened during the first half of next year. Additionally, identifying thematic areas for the PCCB to make progress on will be important to achieving its goal, it added.

It also looked forward to the elaboration of the terms of reference for the review of the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) which should address its effectiveness and efficiency in fulfilling its mandate with a view to determining how the committee would best serve the PA. The review could look at composition, as well as working modalities in this regard, it opined. The CBIT was another important outcome of Paris and AOSIS looked forward to it becoming fully operational as soon as possible.

It also welcomed the completion of the work on the intermediate review of the Doha Work Programme on Article 6 of the Convention to be considered and adopted at COP 22. The outcome of the review will enhance the effectiveness of the implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions, in order to achieve the ultimate goal of the Convention. 

“We look forward to the facilitative sharing of views and the information presented by Parties. We applaud those Parties that have made progress reducing their emissions and encourage all Parties to submit the BURs,” it urged.

On the review of the WIM, it stressed that it is a high priority for AOSIS as it is concerned that the terms of reference of the review, including its expected outcomes, have yet to be agreed.

“During the informal consultations that you and the outgoing Presidency kindly organised in Bonn in May, AOSIS advocated the need for a robust review of the WIM. In light of the early entry into force of the PA, and the authority that the CMA will have to enhance and strengthen the WIM, the review of the WIM in Marrakech provides an opportunity, not only to consider work on loss and damage to date, but also to provide a forum where the future of the WIM can begin to be formulated, providing the necessary guidance to the CMA that will enable it to effectively undertake its responsibilities,” said Maldives.

“At the very least, AOSIS expects that the terms of reference to guide the review should be agreed upon in here in Marrakech, but is also willing to extend the review of the WIM into 2017 should it become apparent that more time is required to achieve a meaningful outcome,” it added.

Mali representing the African Group said the Cancun measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) system should be fully operationalized through international consultation and analysis, and the International Assessment and Review (IAR) processes.

“The African Group is of the view that recent experience has shown that these steps are being well conducted and gaps in the modalities identified. We believe that these processes provide a good basis for the transparency framework to build on, as such we need to make sure that the outcomes of theses mandated events are captured adequately to inform the broader transparency process,” it said.

On the public registry, the Group believed there are clear linkages and called for discussions on modalities and procedures for the operationalisation of the public registry under the PA in one contact group to create clear linkages.

On the report of the Adaptation Committee, the African Group noted that the mandate to review the effectiveness and performance of the Adaptation Committee is scheduled for this session.

“We believe that this review should be guided by the Parties, based on specific terms of references that include scope, modalities, and procedures of the review which we aim to develop here. Further, the Group notes with great concern the estimated budgetary implications of the activities to be undertaken by the secretariat.

“The Adaptation Committee was mandated by us, the Parties, to undertake work on the implementation of the adaptation provisions of the PA. As such, we urge Parties, as a matter of urgency, to increase their financial contributions to ensure that the adaptation work under the Convention and its PA advances in a balanced manner with the mitigation-related provisions,” it stressed.

On the Report of the ExCom of the WIM, the Group considered the initiation of the review process to be important for this COP and in that respect, it saw the opportunity to develop the terms of reference to guide the review process in Marrakech and to initiate other relevant processes that will ensure a thorough and in-depth review is done.

The African Group welcomed the joint report of the TEC and the CTCN, stressing the need and call for additional support to these bodies to enable them to undertake their mandated activities. The Group is ready to engage with Parties on the elaboration of the framework under the Paris Agreement, including updating the technology needs assessments (TNAs), enhancing implementation of their results, assessing available technologies, and enhancing financial and technical support for the implementation of the TNAs. It believed the elaboration of the technology framework will not only be limited to initial activities, and Parties will be forwarding key elements to the upcoming SBI session.

It also welcomed the draft conclusion on the terms of reference of the PCCB at SBI 44 to be considered and adopted here at COP 22. To enable the PCCB to undertake its work, the provision of adequate resources for the committee remains a high priority. Prioritizing the annual focus of the PCCB is very important, taking into consideration that addressing the needs and gaps earlier will assist Parties in the implementation of the PA.

Further, at this session it hoped to continue work in a positive spirit to finalize a decision on the third review of the Capacity Building Framework under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.

On the terms of reference for the review of the functions of the SCF, the Group believed the review is important to further enhance the functions and effectiveness of the SCF, particularly those areas where work has not much advanced in the past, such as on its function around resource mobilization. As such it hoped to adopt the terms of reference here in Marrakesh to start the review.

It welcomed the decision on gender and climate change and looked forward to the formulation of a Gender and Climate Change Action that incorporates relevant elements, as appropriate, in the planning and implementation of climate programmes and projects. The Group further recognised the need for further work on the issue of gender and climate change, including through securing enough resources to implement the Gender and Climate Change Action.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) representing the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) said the LDC Expert Group has been instrumental in supporting the LDCs and it believed that its rich experience in providing assistance on National Adaptation Programme of Actions (NAPA), NAP and other adaptation-related activities should be further enhanced.

“The decision made in Marrakech (COP 7 in 2001) … pertaining to the formulation and implementation of NAPAs is in an important junction now. Even though all the LDCs have already submitted their NAPAs, many are waiting for it full implementation.

A total of 32 NAPA implementation project proposals submitted by the LDCs that had been technically cleared by the GEF secretariat, and are awaiting the availability of resources from the LDCF. We look forward for adequate attention on this matter,” it emphasised.

Of further concern, said the LDCs is the due consideration of recommendations provided by the LEG on its reports, particularly the list of issues on gaps and needs related to adaptation for the LDCs that would arise from the implementation of the PA and other outcomes of COP 21 related to adaptation planning and implementation. These are important list of activities to be considered in future work of the LEG.

“We note the concern highlighted in the report of the Adaptation Committee regarding serious shortfall in resources available to the Adaptation Committee, and the need for supplementary financial resources. This will certainly have implications to the activities to be undertaken by the secretariat, including those additional activities pursuant to decision 1/CP.21 and this issue merits serious consideration. Further, the Adaptation Committee in its report has provided list of recommendations with respect to simplifying the procedures for accessing financial support for adaptation related activities through the GCF, including support related to NAP. We look forward to have a progress on this matter,” it added.

On the issue of loss and damage associated with adverse effects of climate change, the Group  welcomed the progress made by the ExCom of the WIM, in implementing the two-year work programme and delivering to the mandates from 1/CP.21.

“This is one of the high-priority agenda for our group and we look forward for constructive engagement from all partners to make substantive progress here at COP 22 with regards to the five-year rolling work plan and review of the WIM,” it added.

The Group said capacity building plays an important role to enable its countries to implement effectively the provisions of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and now the Paris Agreement. The PCCB established in Paris needs to be operationalized at COP 22 through adoption of its terms of reference to oversees a comprehensive work program for capacity building in developing countries for the period 2016-2020.

Further, the LDC group is of the view that outcomes of the third comprehensive review of the capacity building framework should inform the work programme of the PCCB, focusing on enhancing the capacity and ability of developing country Parties, in particular countries with the least capacity, such as the LDCs.

On gender, the two-year Lima Work Program comes to an end at COP 22. The LDC Group recognizes the impact the work program has had in raising awareness and understanding of the gender and climate change nexus. Based on lessons from the work program, further work needs to be done building upon current achievements in enhancing women participation and gender responsive climate actions.

“Accordingly, we look forward for having appropriate decision here at this COP for the continuation of the Lima Work Program on Gender. Our Group further believes that the development of an action plan that identifies and prioritizes measurable and achievable objectives with monitoring targets and adequate resource allocation will strengthen the new work program on gender,” it urged.

With regards to development and transfer of technology, the LDC Group also welcomed the ongoing discussion and progress made in potential linkages between the technology mechanism and the financial mechanism. It looked forward to concrete outcome of this discussion so as to support the technology need of developing countries. It is of the view that strengthening linkages between the TNA process and the NDCs and NAP processes would enhance their effectiveness and responsiveness towards implementation in developing countries. Likewise, technology action plans, developed as part of the TNA process, should be viewed as a platform for NDC and NAP implementation.

Nicaragua representing the Central American Integration System (SICA) said it believed it is important to strengthen synergy, cooperation, collaboration, and coordination between the Adaptation Committee, the ExCom of the WIM, the CTCN, the Nairobi Work Program, and financial mechanisms linked to the Convention (such as the Green Climate Fund, the Kyoto Protocol Adaptation Fund, and the Global Environmental Facility), along with other external financial institutions.

“In the context of the current challenges and commitments included in development agendas such as the Rio Convention, the 2030 Agenda, and the Sendai Framework for Action, our countries face the challenges of implementing an integrated agenda in our national development plans. We require methodological proposals that facilitate the creation of a coherent framework for transparency to enable monitoring, reporting, and documentation of the climate actions in our countries. This transparency framework will require technical cooperation and broad financing to meet appropriate technical requirements and standards,” it stressed.

Speaking for the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC), Guatemala said the PCCB faced a paramount task ahead and for AILAC, a key deliverable of this meeting concerns the adoption of the terms of reference of this Committee. It would be also useful that the PCCB prioritizes its work in 2017 bearing in mind the need to develop capacities in developing countries to create, articulate and strengthen national and sub-national institutional arrangements to enhance the timely implementation of the PA.

AILAC is of the view that there should be a single public registry to address both mandates from Article 4.12 and Article 7.12 of the PA. “However, this public registry should have two sections that are strictly separated: a window for information provided under Article 4.12, and a window for information provided under Article 7.12.  The Registry must be user-friendly by providing easy access to information and a dynamic tool that could evolve over time responding to the progression in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”

The European Union (EU) said the PA builds on the current climate regime but at the same time is tasked to advance it; therefore, balanced progress is needed in all groups (of the UNFCCC constituted bodies).

It said the EU is supporting a wide array of initiatives in capacity building which is a precondition for the effective implementation of the PA. It looked forward to the full operationalisation of the PCCB in Marrakech as well as the conclusion of the third review of the implementation of the capacity building framework.

It stressed that reporting and review is one of the backbones of the climate regime and is also crucial for the credibility of Parties’ efforts.

“Given the positive experiences with the facilitative sharing of views, the EU is disappointed that two years after the deadline only 34 Parties submitted a first biennial update report despite of the financial resources that were made available for this purpose. We commend those 12 Parties that have done so in 2016.

“The EU continues to ask for the consideration of the item on information contained in national communications from Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention. We ask the SBI chair to continue the informal consultations with Parties in order to solve this issue,” it added.

The EU welcomed further substantial work on the development of modalities and procedures on the NDC registry, noting that at the same time Parties need to maintain coherence and consistency with the development of NDC guidance under the APA with regards to the registry on adaptation communications. The specific modalities and procedures of an adaptation communication registry will be determined by the nature of the Adaptation Communications which will be discussed under APA.

On WIM, it said the mechanism has successfully started its important work in 2015 and it encouraged the ExCom to agree on deliverables for the five year rolling workplan as soon as possible which included the efforts of the mandates given in Paris to establish a clearing house for risk transfer and a task force on displacement where noticeable progress was made in already in Bonn.

On climate finance, the EU welcomed the work done by the SCF in moving our understanding on climate finance forward especially through the 2016 Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows.

It said as Parties have clear decisions on voluntary use of cooperative approaches, including future use of market mechanism as defined under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, “we are well placed to conclude our discussions on market mechanisms under SBI”.

On technology, it said the periodic assessment of the Technology Mechanism – taking into account the review of the CTCN and the modalities for the Global Stocktake – provides us with the opportunity to enhance the important work of both arms of the Technology Mechanism.

Finally the EU sees great importance in the continued implementation of measures to enhance climate empowerment, as well as enhancing the gender equality and full participation of women within the UNFCCC and integrating a gender responsive approach in climate action and plans.

Australia speaking for the Umbrella Group said it encouraged all Parties to participate fully and looked forward to exchange of lessons learnt at the Multilateral Assessment and the Facilitative Sharing of Views sessions.

It noted the significant number of developing country Parties that have yet to submit their BURs, stressing that the process is for them to build capacity and take advantage of the transparency system.

It welcomed the work of the ExCom on WIM and looked forward to adopt the terms of reference for the review the WIM in Marrakech.

Republic of Korea representing the Environment Integrity Group (EIG) said it agreed that the experiences gained through the regular submission of reports and biennial verification process are very useful and essential when developing common modalities, procedures and guidelines for the enhanced transparency framework under the Paris Agreement. It also lamented that only 34 Parties have submitted their BUR.

On the public registry, it said it should be simple, easy, pragmatic and user-friendly in order to assist Parties in communicating, uploading and browsing documents related to NDCs and allow to aggregate NDCs collectively for global stocktake.

It said the completion of a sound review of the WIM at COP 22 would be desirable and the momentum on adaptation gained at COP 21 should be kept alive.

The EIG suggested the strengthening of national institutions for greenhouse gas inventories as a main theme for the PCCB in 2017. The group also believed that operating entities of the Financial Mechanism like the Green Climate Fund and GEF should be invited to the meeting since capacity-building activities are closely associated with finance.

On whether the Adaptation Fund may also serve the Paris Agreement, it wanted the question to be discussed by the SBI and would therefore propose a specific agenda item in the SBI.

Marrakech News Updates 4

7 November - 18 November 2016, Marrakesh, Morocco
9 November 2016