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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 12 Number 706 | Thursday, 9 November 2017

Fiji / Bonn Highlights

Wednesday, 8 November 2017 | Bonn, Germany

Visit our IISD/ENB Meeting Coverage from Bonn, Germany at: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop23/enb/

The Fiji / Bonn Climate Change Conference continued on Wednesday. In the morning, the Presidency convened an open dialogue among NGO Constituency representatives and parties, and a technical workshop on ways to increase the efficiency and transparency of the budget process met. Informal consultations under APA, SBSTA, and SBI convened throughout the day.


FURTHER GUIDANCE IN RELATION TO THE MITIGATION SECTION OF DECISION 1/CP.21: Informal consultations on this item were co-facilitated by Sin Liang Cheah (Singapore) and Gertraud Wollansky (Austria). In the morning, delegates noted with appreciation the in-session roundtable held on Monday, 6 November, and co-facilitators’ non-paper (APA.2017.5.InformalNote), based on party submissions. Many countries agreed that differing capacities need to be reflected in the guidance, with some developing countries suggesting general information supplemented by developing and developed country-specific guidance. Some developed countries agreed on the need for a differentiated approach but rejected “bifurcation.” Some stressed the need to find a balance between guidance that could be so detailed that it would act as a “shaming mechanism,” and so general as to be unhelpful in fulfilling the Agreement’s obligations. Several stressed the need for capacity building.

Some advocated working on structure first, while others suggested discussing substance, with structure falling into place thereafter. A number of countries indicated willingness to make progress in smaller negotiation settings, but one cautioned that the challenge was to capture such progress for the larger group.

In the afternoon, parties discussed a way forward, including documents on which to base discussions and order of issues to be addressed.

Some supported a proposal to first discuss the format of the outcome, followed by substantive headings in the non-paper, with the understanding that the discussions would not prejudge the structure or approach. One developing country group presented proposals for headings. Parties disagreed on whether to have a single set of draft guidelines, or two to reflect diverging views on operationalizing differentiation.

Noting half of the time allocated for this item had been used and that a large share of time had been spent on discussing the presentation of the elements, Co-Facilitator Sin Liang Cheah presented a one-page document, projected on the screen, noting parties could “take it, leave it, or use it as something to discuss amongst themselves.” He proposed parties provide inputs to the paper, which contained headings on: caveats; general approach; procedural aspects; and preliminary material for developing substantive elements. Parties were unable to agree on a way forward. Informal consultations will continue.

ADAPTATION COMMUNICATION: Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Julio Cordano (Chile) and Beth Lavender (Canada). Co-Facilitator Cordano outlined progress made in the APA roundtable. Parties started discussing the “skeleton” of a possible draft text, with one developing country proposing the following headings and sub-headings: preamble; guiding principles; purpose; elements, with sub-headings on opt-in or opt-out elements; vehicles, with sub-headings on timing and frequency issues; linkages; support, with sub-headings on support for preparation and submission of adaptation communication, implementation of the needs, priorities, plans, and strategies in the communications; and modalities of support; and other matters. Views diverged among developed and developing countries on whether negotiations should proceed based on this proposal or address only areas of convergence. Parties agreed to the co-facilitators’ suggestion for parties to submit proposed headings and sub-headings by the evening, and stated that if parties did not do so they would also consider previous submissions and views expressed in the informal consultations. Consultations will continue.

MODALITIES, PROCEDURES, AND GUIDELINES (MPGs) FOR THE TRANSPARENCY FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION AND SUPPORT: Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Xiang Gao (China) and Andrew Rakestraw (US). Some parties expressed dissatisfaction with the co-facilitators’ informal note as a basis for discussion, but ultimately there was consensus on producing a revised note based on parties’ input. Parties disagreed on the basis for differentiating commitments in the MPGs. Some developing countries argued for differentiation based on Convention categories. Some developed countries, while agreeing on the mandated need for flexibility, rejected a “bifurcated” approach other than as directed in Decision 1.CP/21 paragraphs 13.9 and 13.10 (information on support provided, and needed and received). Parties offered many comments on the draft, and the Co-Facilitators informed they would deliver the next iteration by Monday, 13 November. Informal consultations will continue.

GLOBAL STOCKTAKE (GST): Informal consultations convened, co-facilitated by Outi Honkatukia (Finland) and Richard Muyungi (Tanzania). The Co-Facilitators informed parties that the revised “building blocks” document for this agenda item, containing a table with headings and sub-headings, was designed to guide discussion, but intentionally avoided details to not prejudge the GST’s operational model. Many parties expressed opposition to the “building blocks” schemata, underscoring that it: did not sufficiently incorporate party submissions; took options off the table; and prejudged the outcome of the GST. Several developing countries called for a designated informal consultation session on equity and how it would relate to the GST, with several parties urging for a cross-cutting building block.

Parties offered preliminary views on governance arrangements, with discussions focused on, inter alia: its overarching character; the need to define the timing and duration of the technical process; where to locate the mechanism, specifically whether the subsidiary bodies or CMA would be the appropriate governance body; and the possibility of structuring inputs around guiding questions. Informal consultations will continue.

COMMITTEE TO FACILITATE IMPLEMENTATION AND PROMOTE COMPLIANCE: Peter Horne (Australia) and Janine Felson (Belize) co-facilitated informal consultations focused on the linkages with the transparency framework and systemic issues. On linkages, one group suggested that exploring the link is premature and another stated that there is no link with the transparency framework. One country viewed the transparency framework as the key institution for compliance. Several countries noted the information that could be provided by the technical expert review (TER) in the transparency framework, with some noting the potential duplication between the committee’s and the TER’s facilitative functions. Some countries observed links to triggers, with one group noting the TER could serve as the basis to initiate the committee’s work and others suggesting a party could refer itself based on its experience with the TER.

On systemic issues, many stated that such an analysis should be done on an aggregate level, without seeking to identify individual parties. One group underscored the potential for duplication with other institutions. One group said the focus should be on common or recurring issues, while others suggested looking at core reasons that parties have difficulty complying. Informal consultations will continue.


COMMON TIME FRAMES FOR NDCS IN PARIS AGREEMENT ARTICLE 4.10: Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Marianne Karlsen (Norway) and George Wamukoya (Kenya) who outlined potential provisions in the Paris Agreement and Decision 1/CP.21 (Paris outcome) related to common time frames, and invited parties to share their expectations for the session and views on common time frames.

All agreed that there should be common time frames, with many suggesting the next communication should be in 2025 with a post-2030 endpoint. Many stressed the need to consider the GST.

Many stressed that the paragraphs on the time frames in Decision 1/CP.21 that refer to parties’ INDCs are not part of the scope of discussions under this item, and that common time frames should apply to post-2030 NDCs only.

Most parties agreed on the usefulness of a discussion on the “pros and cons” of five- and ten-year time frames, and possibly other options, with some noting that implementation periods should not lock in low ambition but should also respect different national circumstances and processes. Some parties expressed support for a five-year time frame.

Many parties supported developing procedural conclusions for this session, with many calling for submissions and some supporting reaching agreement in 2018. Informal consultations will continue.

COORDINATION OF SUPPORT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MITIGATION ACTIONS IN THE FOREST SECTOR BY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: Informal consultations convened, co-facilitated by Keith Anderson (Switzerland) and Ayman Cherkaoui (Morocco). Parties disagreed on if voluntary focal point meetings have fulfilled their purpose in providing sufficient coordinated support for REDD+ implementation, or if meetings should continue to guide additional coordination. A number of developing country parties called for alternative governance arrangements, such as a formal authoritative body for REDD+. Several developed countries stated that REDD+ does not need a new individual governance body under the Convention, as COP should perform this function. Parties also diverged on how to coordinate implementation and address gaps and limitations in finance. Informal consultations will continue.

MATTERS RELATING TO CAPACITY BUILDING: Capacity Building under the Convention and Protocol: In the morning informal consultations, co-facilitated by Jeniffer Hanna Collado (Dominican Republic) and Makoto Kato (Japan), parties provided inputs to the annual monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the framework for capacity building in developing countries.

Countries called for attention to, inter alia: building long-term capacity, including institutional capacity; ensuring that capacity building is country- and needs-driven; addressing gaps in capacity; ensuring civil society involvement through legislation; coordinating donor activities; creating a process to capture information on activities annually to support the review; strengthening the PCCB; and examining how the PCCB fits in the capacity building framework.

Parties also exchanged views on the usefulness of common performance indicators for monitoring both activities and support provided, and their effectiveness.

Parties agreed that the co-facilitators would prepare elements for a draft text, to be discussed in the afternoon informal consultations.

Annual Technical Progress Report of the PCCB: Paul Watkinson (France) facilitated the informal consultations. Parties exchanged views on draft elements for draft conclusions or decision, prepared by the co-facilitators, based on parties’ inputs. Watkinson noted the work of the PCCB had been well received and that all but one of the 11 proposed text elements could be part of a draft COP decision, which many supported.

Many developed countries raised questions regarding paragraphs on financial support and resources, enquiring if these should not be addressed under the budget discussions. Developing countries noted that the recommendations come from the PCCB report, and said the text is “stating that something should be done” rather than “asking for more.”

Parties mandated Co-Facilitator Watkinson to prepare an updated text for the next session of the informal consultations on Thursday, 9 November.

NAPS: Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Pepetua Latasi (Tuvalu) and Malcolm Ridout (UK). Many developing countries highlighted the need to simplify access modalities for the GCF Readiness Programme for NAPs funding. They stressed that their concerns were related to technical aspects of accessing funding and not levels of finance. Several developed countries stated that this was not the “forum” to discuss GCF access issues. Co-Facilitator Ridout noted that, given the divergence, the Co-Facilitators would not produce a decision text at this time, and parties could use the next session to discuss areas of convergence on what they might forward to the CMP. Informal consultations will continue on Friday, 10 November.

GENDER: Informal consultations convened, co-facilitated by Winfred Lichuma (Kenya) and Geert Fremout (Belgium). Parties discussed the text of the draft decision, including: financing for implementation of the gender action plan; Secretariat capacity to undertake activities related to the plan; and proposals for workshop topics on participation by indigenous and local communities’ women, gender disaggregated data, and loss and damage. Informal consultations will continue on the draft decisions text and elements of the gender action plan.


MATTERS RELATING TO AGREEMENT ARTICLE 6: Paris Agreement Article 6.4 (Mechanism): In informal consultations, Co-Facilitators Hugh Sealy (Maldives) and Kelley Kizzier (EU) invited parties’ additional inputs to the Article 6 co-chairs’ informal note issued on Tuesday, 6 November, starting with the headings, and followed by elements and sub-elements.

On headings, parties suggested adding, inter alia: purpose; governance; reference to “benefits” of parties hosting mitigation activities; parties “transferring in” emission reductions; adaptation ambition; addressing negative social and economic impacts; and periodic review of the guidance, including related triggers. Many proposed moving principles to a preamble.

On additional or optional elements and sub-elements, parties provided many inputs, in particular on proposed headings on: principles; definitions; supervisory body; participation of parties; eligible mitigation activities; mitigation activity cycle; and avoiding use by more than one party of emissions reductions resulting from mitigation activities.

Observing that parties had completed the first round of comments on the informal note, Co-Facilitator Sealy said a new iteration of the note would be made available by Thursday, 9 November. Informal consultations will continue.

RESEARCH AND SYSTEMIC OBSERVATION: Informal consultations, co-facilitated by Fred Kossam (Malawi) and Stefan Roesner (Germany), started considering draft conclusions. Parties discussed whether specific GHG and climate data from the WMO GHG Bulletin and State of the Global Climate Statement should be included in the draft conclusions, and, if so, how. One developing country stated that highlighting these numbers showcases the urgency of the need to address the state of the climate. Several parties argued that referencing the WMO report is sufficient with some arguing that referencing numbers would make the conclusions too technical. Informal consultations will continue.

LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES PLATFORM: Informal consultations convened, co-facilitated by Kunihiko Shimada (Japan) and Spencer Thomas (Grenada). Parties discussed the draft decision, focusing on where the platform will “sit” in the UNFCCC. A developing country argued that the Paris Agreement mandates that the platform should be within the UNFCCC. Several developed countries argued that the platform is not intended to be a negotiating body, but could still be linked to the UNFCCC. One developed country proposed a “step-wise” approach in which a dialogue is convened and the outcomes are reviewed. Informal consultations will continue.


REPORT OF THE ADAPTATION COMMITTEE AND OF THE LEG: Joint informal consultations were co-facilitated by Mamadou Honadia (Burkina Faso), Malcolm Ridout (UK), Richard Merzian (Australia) and Hamza Tber (Morocco).

The recommendations from the Adaptation Committee and the LEG for addressing their mandated issues from the Paris outcome were presented (FCCC/SB/2017/2/Add.1 FCCC/SBI/2017/14/Add.1), with Beth Lavender, ExCom member, noting they had been unable to complete work on the mandate to develop methodologies on reviewing the adequacy of adaptation and support. Several developing countries proposed that the Paris mandates for the Adaptation Committee and the LEG be moved to the subsidiary bodies as a standalone agenda item in their next sessions. One developed party asked what would then be discussed at this session. Co-Facilitator Merzian said that an informal note will be released, which will try to capture the discussions on taking the two mandates forward. Informal consultations will continue.

WIM: Informal consultations convened, co-facilitated by Beth Lavender (Canada) and Alf Wills (South Africa). The Co-Facilitators presented possible elements for a draft decision including: the report of the ExCom; work plan of the ExCom; ways to enhance progress of the WIM; ways to prepare for the 2019 review of the WIM; and resources. Parties disagreed on when the preparatory work for the 2019 review should commence, and whether instead there should be a standing agenda item on the WIM or whether it should be incorporated into high-level engagements such as workshops and dialogues at future sessions of subsidiary bodies or the COP. There were also disagreements regarding resources, whether to use the ExCom report language or provide further specific guidance. Co-Facilitator Wills suggested there was convergence on using the language of the ExCom recommendation as a substantive input into the draft decisions but highlighted that there are areas of divergence around the ExCom’s workplan, and using the rolling nature of the workplan as the method or process for strengthening the WIM and ExCom. The group will meet next in informal informals.


The third day of the Fiji / Bonn climate conference dispelled any notion that even technical, working COPs are calm. One delegate likened the day to a swan – seemingly serene, but, under the surface, frantically active to keep moving. Thus, a calm surface belied a bustle of constructive discussions on many issues, including NDC timeframes. Bilateral consultations and coordinations added to the commotion as delegates digested the informal notes starting to emerge under APA agenda items, many of which are expected to help guide future textual discussions. Bubbling to the surface was an old idea: differentiation, or bifurcation. Mentioned in informal consultations on several APA items, from transparency to mitigation and compliance, delegates were left wondering how, this time, to handle such a traditionally polarizing issue, in the context of the Paris Agreement and the Convention. Many seemed pleased that these “first, wobbly steps,” in the words of a delegate, could concretize ideas into text, especially as all informal notes presented today, save mitigation, were, eventually, deemed acceptable starting points.


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