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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 12 Number 704 | Tuesday, 7 November 2017


Fiji / Bonn Highlights

Monday, 6 November 2017 | Bonn, Germany


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The Fiji / Bonn Climate Change Conference opened. In the morning, the opening plenaries of COP 23, CMP 13 and CMA 1-2 convened individually, followed by a joint plenary. In the afternoon, the SBI and SBSTA plenaries met in parallel and in a joint plenary. APA in-session roundtables on compliance and on further guidance relating to the mitigation section of Decision 1/CP.21 (the Paris outcome), and SBSTA and SBI contact groups and informal consultations convened in the afternoon.

OPENING CEREMONY

Salaheddine Mezouar, President of COP 22, CMP 12 and CMA 1, opened COP 23. He recalled the victims of natural disasters over the past year, saying that such events underlined the costs of inaction. A traditional Fijian ceremony, the Qaloqalovi, followed.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa identified as goals for COP 23: taking essential steps to ensure that the Paris Agreement structure is completed, its impacts are strengthened and its goals achieved; and moving forward to fulfil pre-2020 commitments.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas reported record-breaking global temperatures, carbon dioxide concentrations and sea temperatures, as well as increasing ocean acidification, and more intense hurricane, monsoon and drought seasons.

Hoesung Lee, Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reported that the special report “Global Warming of 1.5°C,” will be approved in time for the 2018 facilitative dialogue.

Barbara Hendricks, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany, stated that every dollar invested today will pay off in cleaner air, better health and new economic opportunities. She announced that Germany will contribute an additional €50 million to the Adaptation Fund in 2017.

Welcoming delegates to Germany’s “United Nations City,” Ashok-Alexander Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn, stressed that local and regional action will drive global climate action.

COP PLENARY

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Election of Officers: Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Fiji, was elected President of COP 23, CMP 13 and CMA 1-2 by acclamation. He stressed that ambition, innovation, ingenuity and “sheer hard work” could keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C, and highlighted the importance of the coming Talanoa Dialogue.

Rules of Procedure: Parties agreed to apply the draft rules of procedure (FCCC/CP/1996/2), with the exception of draft rule 42 on voting. The President informed that Fiji would hold informal consultations.

Adoption of the Agenda: COP 23 President Bainimarama noted two proposals for additions to the provisional agenda (FCCC/CP/2017/1/Add.1/Rev.1 and Add.2): from Iran, for the Like-minded Group of Developing Countries (LMDCs) on the acceleration of implementation of pre-2020 commitments and actions, and increasing pre-2020 ambition; and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, supported by Mozambique, on a gateway to encourage, monitor, report, verify and account for ambition of non-party organizations. He reported that consultations on including these items had not found consensus and proposed adopting the provisional agenda without them while continuing consultations. He also noted ongoing consultations on the proposal from Turkey on access to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). The COP then adopted the agenda as proposed.

TURKEY noted it expects a COP decision in Bonn on its request.

The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO and Iran, for the LMDCs, opposed adoption of the agenda without the proposed additional items. The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO stressed that the proposals had been made within the existing rules. The LMDCs noted that the need for progress on pre-2020 ambition is widely agreed and, as such, is not a new item. CHINA, supporting INDIA and the LMDCs, called for equal treatment of the two workstreams launched in 2012 and lamented the fact that the Doha Amendment had yet to enter into force.

Noting the importance of pre-2020 ambition and readiness to engage in discussions, Switzerland, for the ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY GROUP (EIG), supported by GEORGIA, supported the President’s proposed treatment of the two proposed items.

The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO stated it expects the consultations on the proposed agenda sub-item on non-party stakeholders to lead to a COP decision.

Election of Officers Other than the President: Parties agreed that COP 23 Vice-President Helmut Hojesky, Austria, will continue consultations until the nominations have been finalized.

Admission of Observer Organizations: The COP admitted the organizations contained in document FCCC/CP/2017/2 as observers.

Organization of Work: Parties agreed to refer several items to the SBSTA and SBI.

CMP PLENARY

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Parties adopted the agenda (FCCC/KP/CMP/2017/1) and agreed to refer the sub-items on matters relating to Kyoto Protocol Article 2.3 (response measures) to the SBSTA and to refer several items to the SBI.

Election of officers: CMP President Bainimarama said consultations would continue.

Status of Ratification of the Doha Amendment: The Secretariat reported that, as of the 6 November, 2017, 84 parties had submitted instruments of acceptance. President Bainimarama introduced a note on the action taken by Annex I parties in reporting information to establish their assigned amounts for the second commitment period and other related information required by the reporting guidelines (FCCC/CMP/2017/INF.1). He stated that informal consultations will convene.

President Bainimarama suspended the session.

CMA PLENARY

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Parties adopted the agenda (FCCC/PA/CMA/2017/1) and agreed to the organization of work. President Bainimarama said consultations would continue on the election of replacement officers and reported on the status of ratification of the Paris Agreement by stating that 169 parties have currently ratified. He suspended the session.

JOINT COP/CMP/CMA PLENARY

The joint plenary met to hear opening statements.

Ecuador, for the G-77/CHINA, outlined that COP 23 needs to achieve progress on, inter alia: the design of the 2018 facilitative dialogue; work on loss and damage; financial support for the WIM; an outcome on the Adaptation Fund serving the Paris Agreement; and clarifying eligibility criteria for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and GCF.

The EU outlined as priorities: draft decisions or textual elements on all areas of the Paris Agreement work programme; clarity on how the Talanoa Dialogue will be conducted; and contributions by all to the momentum of the Global Climate Action Agenda.

Switzerland, for the EIG, supported by GEORGIA, called for COP 23 to work on developing implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement, clarifying the Talanoa Dialogue design and advancing the Global Climate Action Agenda.

Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, said that a central component of COP 23 must be a strong and effective enhanced transparency framework.

Maldives, for the ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES (AOSIS), stressed that COP 23 must advance progress on loss and damage, including establishing a five-year work programme, long-term support for the WIM as a standing agenda item and accelerating finance flows to small island developing states (SIDS).

Calling for a “COP of action,” Ethiopia, for the LDCs, expressed concern that financing appears be to be tapering, especially for the LDCs Fund (LDCF) and the Adaptation Fund.

Mali, for the AFRICAN GROUP, stressed the importance of finance for implementation of Convention commitments, and for achieving progress on the Paris Agreement.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, for THE COALITION FOR RAINFOREST NATIONS (CfRN), underscored the need for coordinated public and private finance for REDD+ implementation.

Iran, for the LMDCs, called for this meeting to be an “implementation COP” that addresses commitments on finance, technology transfer, capacity building, and loss and damage.

Peru, for the INDEPENDENT ASSOCIATION OF LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (AILAC), called for progress on, inter alia: designing the 2018 facilitative dialogue; adopting a gender action plan; and supporting work on emerging issues such as oceans, health and indigenous peoples.

The Dominican Republic, on behalf of the BOLIVARIAN ALLIANCE FOR THE PEOPLES OF OUR AMERICA (ALBA), said the Paris Agreement’s message of “life and hope” has been postponed as vulnerable countries receive few financial, technological or capacity building benefits. He underscored that international efforts to combat climate change have been insufficient and regretted the exit of an Annex I party from the agreement.

Brazil, for BRAZIL, SOUTH AFRICA, INDIA AND CHINA (BASIC), expressed concern about developed countries unilaterally creating new criteria for funding under the GCF, stressing that this practice has no legal basis.

The US recalled his country’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but stressed intent to continue engagement, including in laying the foundations for guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement.

COP President Bainimarama suspended the plenary session.

SBSTA PLENARY

SBSTA Chair Carlos Fuller opened the session.

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: The SBSTA adopted the agenda (FCCC/SBSTA/2017/5) and agreed to the organization of the work of the session.

Election of Officers: Chair Fuller informed that consultations are ongoing.

REPORTS ON OTHER ACTIVITIES: The SBSTA took note of reports on other activities (FCCC/SBSTA/2017/INF.4, INF.7 and INF.8).

SBSTA Chair Fuller opened the floor for reports related to various items on the SBSTA agenda.

The CTCN reported it had completed nearly 30 requests for technical assistance, and is currently acting on 111 others.

The TEC highlighted work completed in 2017, including on South-South and triangular cooperation on adaptation, with a focus on the water and agricultural sectors.

The IPCC provided highlights from work on its sixth assessment cycle, including the delivery of eight outputs.

The WMO informed that the WMO and UN Environment are working toward an integrated global GHG information system to help track parties’ progress on implementation.

The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) updated on space-based climate monitoring work, stressing that high-quality GHG information will be useful for the global stocktake.

The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) reported that the WMO and GCOS are working on seven climate indicators, and lamented gaps in the coverage of the global network of climatological centers due to insufficient resources.

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) noted its work on advanced modelling and the regional downscaling of climate data.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO noted the many threats that climate change poses to ocean health.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reported on progress on: aircraft technology; operational improvements; sustainable aviation fuel options; and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) reported that members approved a roadmap for the development of a comprehensive strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships.

METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES UNDER THE CONVENTION: Bunker Fuels: The EU called for ensuring environmental integrity and avoiding double counting under CORSIA, and said action under the IMO should not be delayed until 2023. The MARSHALL ISLANDS urged countries to ensure that the IMO strategy is consistent with staying below 1.5°C.

JAPAN stated that emissions from bunker fuels should continue to be addressed by ICAO and IMO. SAUDI ARABIA called for ICAO and IMO to consider the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC. SBSTA Chair Fuller will undertake consultations.

The following items and sub-items will be considered in informal consultations:

  • Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation (NWP);
  • Report of the Adaptation Committee (jointly with SBI);
  • WIM Executive Committee Report (jointly with SBI);
  • Development and transfer of technologies: Technology Framework under Paris Agreement Article 10.4; and joint annual report of the TEC and CTCN (jointly with SBI);
  • Agriculture;
  • Research and systematic observation;
  • Methodological issues under the Convention: common metrics; and
  • Local communities and indigenous peoples’ platform;

The following items will be considered in contact groups:

  • Response measures: improved forum and work programme; and modalities, work programme and functions under the Paris Agreement of the forum on the impact of the implementation of response measures (jointly with SBI);
  • Modalities for the accounting of financial resources provided and mobilized through public interventions in accordance with Article 9.7 of the Paris Agreement; and
  • Matters related to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (cooperative approaches).
  • Chair Fuller suspended the plenary.

SBSTA CONTACT GROUPS

ARTICLE 6 OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT: Kelley Kizzier (EU) and Hugh Sealy (Maldives) co-chaired. Noting a relative lack of progress, Kizzier proposed that the Co-Chairs prepare non-papers outlining potential elements, sub-elements and further elements for each sub-item, which parties agreed. Many praised the value of the Article 6 pre-sessional roundtables. All but one party supported allowing observers in the contact group and informal sessions. Consultations will continue.

SBI PLENARY

SBI Chair Tomasz Chruszczow, Poland, opened the meeting.

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Parties adopted the agenda (FCCC/SBI/2017/8 and Add.1) with the sub-item on information contained in national communications (NCs) from non-Annex I parties held in abeyance. The SBI adopted the organization of work and agreed to proceed on mandated events.

Election of Officers: Chair Chruszczow reported that consultations will convene.

REPORTING FROM AND REVIEW OF ANNEX I PARTIES: The SBI took note of the status of submission and review of second biennial reports from Annex I parties (FCCC/SBI/2017/INF.1) and the report on national GHG inventory data from Annex I parties for the period 1990-2015 (FCCC/SBI/2017/18). On the compilation and synthesis of second biennial reports from Annex I parties, informal consultations will convene.

COMMON TIME FRAMES FOR NDCS REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 4.10 OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT: SBI Chair Chruszczow stated that informal consultations would be held with a view to adopting conclusions, if possible. China, for the LMDCs, stressed that COP 22 agreed that the SBI would consult, but was not mandated to adopt conclusions, expressing concern over prejudicing negotiation outcomes. BRAZIL expressed hope for constructive negotiations that could yield an outcome.

Chair Chruszczow said that the informal consultations would follow the COP 22 mandate.

MODALITIES AND PROCEDURES FOR THE OPERATION AND USE OF A PUBLIC REGISTRY REFERRED TO IN AGREEMENT ARTICLE 7.12: China, for LMDCs, noted that the item is related to the registry on adaptation, and proposed the items be considered in joint informal consultations. Informal consultations will convene.

MODALITIES AND PROCEDURES FOR THE OPERATION AND USE OF A PUBLIC REGISTRY REFERRED TO IN AGREEMENT ARTICLE 4.12: China, for LMDCs, requested clarification on whether parties agreed on considering the two items in a joint informal consultation. Chair Chruszczow noted that parties agreed at SBI 44 that these items should be distinct on the agenda. The Republic of Korea, for the EIG, said the functions and characteristics are different. Informal consultations will convene.

MATTERS RELATING TO THE LDCs: The LDC Expert Group (LEG), presented on the LEG’s activities, including: engagement with the GEF Secretariat and expansion of technical guidance on National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). This item will be taken up in informal consultations.

REPORT OF THE GEF: The GEF reported, inter alia,that the GEF will continue to provide resources to non-Annex I parties for NCs and Biennial Update Reports (BURs). Informal consultations will convene.

REPORT OF THE ADAPTATION COMMITTEE: The Adaptation Committee noted work with the LEG to provide technical support and guidance to parties on adaptation action. This item will be taken up in informal consultations, jointly with matters relating to the LDCs.

WIM EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORT: The WIM Executive Committee reported on progress, including in operationalizing two Paris mandates: developing a clearing house for risk transfer; and advancing work on a task force on displacement.

Noting that “the Executive Committee is not the WIM,” BAHAMAS called for progress on the mechanism. AOSIS proposed including, in a COP decision on this item, a mandate to the SBI and SBSTA to consider loss and damage intersessionally. BAHAMAS and Sudan, for the AFRICAN GROUP, lamented the budgetary constraints affecting the Executive Committee.

Informal consultations held jointly with SBSTA will convene.

MATTERS RELATING TO CAPACITY BUILDING: The Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) presented the annual technical progress report of the PCCB, noting significant progress. SBI agreed to conduct back-to-back informal consultations on capacity building under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.

ADMINISTRATIVE, FINANCIAL AND INSTITUTIONAL MATTERS: Budget Performance for the Biennium 2016-2017: UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Ovais Sarmad presented the report, highlighting key performance areas and noting a 90% overall payment rate under the Convention.

Audit Report and Financial Statements for 2016: The SBI took note of the audit report and financial statements for 2016 (FCCC/SBI/2017/INF.15 and Add.1), and discussions will be taken up in a contact group, jointly with the other sub-items under this agenda item.

Programme Budget for the Biennium 2018-2019: Sarmad presented the revised work programme for the biennium 2018-2019 (FCCC/SBI/2017/INF.13, FCCC/SBI/2017/4/Add.1 and FCCC/SBI/2017/INF.8) which he stated is a first step in developing a more transparent and clear budget process.

Other Budgetary and Financial Matters: The Chair outlined plans for a technical workshop, to be held on the margins of SBI 47, with the aim of discussing possible ways to increase the efficiency and transparency of the budget process.

The following items and sub-items were forwarded to contact groups or informal consultations without discussion:

  • Work of the Consultative Group of Experts (CGE) on NCs from Non-Annex I parties;
  • Summary reports on the technical analysis of BURs of non-Annex I parties;
  • Ways to enhance the implementation of training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information so as to enhance actions under the Paris Agreement;
  • Gender and climate change;
  • Coordination of support for the implementation of activities in relation to mitigation actions in the forest sector by developing countries;
  • Development and transfer of technologies: joint TEC/CTCN annual report (jointly with SBSTA) and Poznan Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer;
  • Matters relating to climate finance;
  • National adaptation plans (NAPs); and
  • Impact of the implementation of response measures (jointly with SBSTA).

JOINT SBSTA/SBI PLENARY

SBI Chair Chruszczow and SBSTA Chair Fuller opened the meeting.

Ecuador, for the G-77/CHINA, emphasized, inter alia: the urgent need for pre-2020 action; adaptation as a priority for developing countries; and enhanced participation of indigenous peoples in the UNFCCC process.

The EU stressed, inter alia: the need to adopt a gender action plan and launch the local communities and indigenous peoples platform; transparency discussions under the SBs; and the need to start work on common NDC timeframes, and on enhancing the implementation of training and public awareness, participation and access to information under the Paris Agreement.

Mali, for the AFRICAN GROUP, called for ensuring coherence and balance in the Paris Agreement work programme. He called for reaching understanding on the public registry, elaborating modalities on transparency of support, and providing flexibility to the Secretariat in using voluntary funds.

Ethiopia, for the LDCs: called for a standing item for loss and damage; lamented insufficiency of resources in the LDC Fund; and called for ensuring the sustainability of the Adaptation Fund’s operations.

Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, questioned the inclusion on the agenda of the biannual budget for 2018-2019, given SBI 46 agreed to a draft decision.

Maldives, for AOSIS, said recent climate disasters in SIDS are evidence of their special circumstances, and that the UNEP Gap Report shows it is not too late to get “us back on track to limit warming to 1.5°C.”

Korea, for the EIG, supported by GEORGIA, stated that market and non-market approaches should be guided by principles of transparency, environmental integrity and avoiding double counting while considering the diversity of NDCs.

Peru, for AILAC, underscored the adoption of a gender plan as an important COP 23 deliverable.

Iran, for the LMDCs, emphasized that accelerating pre-2020 implementation is fundamental to establishing mutual trust and a solid foundation for post-2020 ambition.

Underlining that climate change is a historic consequence of capitalism in industrialized countries, Bolivia, for ALBA, said it is urgent to implement the WIM.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, for CfRN, called for forestry to be part of cooperative approaches under Paris Agreement Article 6.

Panama, for the CENTRAL AMERICAN INTEGRATION SYSTEM (SICA), called for ensuring resources for implementing the WIM, and for transparency and environmental integrity of the Article 6 mechanisms.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES said they can bring unique and essential perspectives on mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and capacity building.

WOMEN AND GENDER stressed that gender equality is a cross-cutting issue that needs comprehensive targets and explicit financial commitments.

YOUTH NGOs (YOUNGOs) called for the work programme on agriculture to open venues for youth participation.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY NGOs (BINGOs) asked for the co-facilitators on response measures to actively seek business participation in the contact group.

CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK (CAN) called for COP 23 to enable the WIM to fulfil its mandate toward the most vulnerable, by ensuring adequate resources.

CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW! (CJN!) underscored that climate finance must serve public, not private, interests.

FARMERS identified elements to deliver improvements in agriculture, including finance and technology transfer.

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES (LGMAs) highlighted how local and regional governments are contributing to raising ambition of NDCs.

RESEARCH AND INDEPENDENT NGOs (RINGOs) looked forward to defining gaps between current and desired capacities, and devising ways to close those gaps.

TRADE UNION NGOs (TUNGOs) regretted that an important pre-sessional workshop on response measures was organized without observers.

IN THE CORRIDORS

Arriving at the World Conference Center Bonn, delegates were greeted by a transformed venue and numerous reminders that COP 23 is, indeed, a Pacific COP. President Frank Bainimarama’s metaphor that “we are all in the same canoe” felt real to delegates packed into small plenary rooms throughout the day.

But the sentiment ran much deeper. In the plenaries, speakers repeatedly recalled 2017’s stream of natural disasters, and underlined the urgency for parties to paddle together for more ambitious action. A traditional Fijian canoe stands in the venue to reinforce that message. Perhaps prompted by this message, all bodies got to a busy and relatively smooth start, aside from the testy discussions on two new COP agenda item proposals.

Outside the five plenaries, delegates praised the value of the pre-sessional APA roundtables, some calling the discussions “the best we’ve had yet.” While some were disappointed at the lack of textual outputs from the roundtables, others noted their memories are long enough to lead to progress in the days ahead.

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