Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)
Volume 12 Number 719 | Thursday, 3 May 2018
Wednesday, 2 May 2018 | Bonn, Germany
Among the key events on Wednesday was the opening meeting of the Talanoa Dialogue, a global conversation about the efforts to combat climate change involving both parties and non-party stakeholders.
Another important theme was the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP), scheduled for completion at COP 24 in December. Topics discussed under the PAWP included mitigation and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the global stocktake, adaptation, and finance.
A number of negotiating groups also met to discuss various issues on the SBSTA and SBI agendas. In addition, the Suva Expert Dialogue focused on issues related to loss and damage, and a workshop on climate change and gender also took place.
Talanoa Dialogue Opening Meeting
Tomasz Chruszczow, COP 24 Presidency, Poland, highlighted the Talanoa Dialogue’s aim to bring together “the heritage of Polynesian problem solving” and the urgent need to tackle climate change. Noting that current NDCs will result in a temperature increase almost double the 1.5°C goal, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa emphasized the need to accelerate pre-2020 action and scale up ambition in the next round of NDCs.
Luke Daunivalu, COP 23 Presidency, Fiji, outlined the Talanoa Dialogue, including its three guiding questions: Where are we; Where do we want to go; and How do we get there. He encouraged participants in the Dialogue to be constructive, facilitative, and solutions-oriented. Inia Seruiratu, Minister and High-Level Climate Champion, Fiji, outlined the severe climate challenges faced by Fiji, including cyclones and heavy rainfall, stressing that this is “not how our children and grandchildren should be living.”
Egypt, for the G-77/CHINA, emphasized the need to consider the “full gamut” of action on mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation. He regretted that capacity constraints have restricted participation in the Dialogue by non-party stakeholders from developing countries.
Ethiopia, for the LDCs, called for considering the IPCC special report on 1.5°C before COP 24; and for countries to take into account Dialogue outcomes when communicating their NDCs in 2020.
Mexico, for the EIG, highlighted the importance of including non-party stakeholders in the Dialogue and looked forward to creating inclusive partnerships. Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, highlighted the importance of building a common understanding on ways to make progress, and of best available science to address climate change and its impacts.
Stressing the urgency of climate change, Maldives, for AOSIS, called for the Dialogue to focus on identifying effective strategies, solutions, and untapped opportunities to enable ambitious climate actions, including means of implementation. Gabon, for the AFRICAN GROUP, highlighted dialogues that have already taken place in the region, and identified predictable finance and technology transfer as cornerstones for achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals. Colombia, for AILAC, urged utilizing the best available science and emphasized the importance of long-term low-emission development strategies in orienting the NDCs towards the Agreement’s goals.
The EU outlined plans to organize a Talanoa event in Brussels on 13 June that will bring together more than 400 stakeholders, and called for clarity on how messages from the Dialogue’s preparatory phase will be taken into account during the political phase. TURKEY called for a facilitative and constructive Dialogue, stressing the need for NDCs’ nationally determined nature to be preserved.
Iran, for the LMDCs, emphasized the importance of demonstrating the value of the facilitative nature of the Dialogue by taking actions on the ground consistent with the Agreement’s goals. Saudi Arabia, for the ARAB GROUP, stressed the need to learn from historic mistakes so that they do not get repeated in the future. INDIA stressed the importance of bringing together diverse voices, and expected further input to the Dialogue from developing country-based institutions. SOUTH AFRICA urged: identifying new opportunities to raise ambition; closing the pre-2020 ambition gap; and securing a direct link between ambition and support.
YOUNGOs called for open and honest consultation with youth on national and subnational action. BINGOs emphasized the importance of keeping climate change high on the political agenda, and maintaining dialogues with businesses at all levels. CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK encouraged governments to convene national and regional dialogues to increase national ambition. CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW! stressed the critical importance of equity, and lamented the previous lack of success in raising ambition. FARMERS stressed the importance of removing barriers to allow different parts of the supply chain to work together to address climate change. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ORGANIZATIONS said solutions to address climate change must not distract from tackling its root causes.
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES highlighted that local and regional dialogues can help to “fix and lift” NDCs. RINGOs urged crossing disciplinary boundaries and using the Talanoa Dialogue as an opportunity to bring inclusive and reflective dialogue into practice. TUNGOs emphasized the need for appropriate social and labor market policies to support low-carbon policies, and stressed the importance of a skilled workforce in facilitating a low-carbon transition. WOMEN AND GENDER called for “frank and critical” dialogue to discuss the systems and issues that have led to the current model of unsustainable growth.
Panelists then shared stories relevant to the Dialogue’s key questions. IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea highlighted “unambiguous evidence” that climate change is already having impacts, but also noted opportunities such as the “extraordinary” rates at which costs of solar and wind energy have fallen. He highlighted that the IPCC special report on 1.5°C will address the social aspects of mitigation for the first time. Anne Olhoff, UNEP DTU Partnership, emphasized that we cannot wait until 2025 to increase the ambition of NDCs. Anirban Ghosh, Mahindra Group, reflected on Mahindra’s “sustainability journey,” including the promise of the group’s flagship company to reduce its GHG emissions intensity by 25% by 2019 and the introduction of internal carbon pricing. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, representing civil society in the panel, urged parties to present net zero ambition strategies that ban fossil fuels, provide equitable access to clean energy, and protect ecosystems to sequester carbon.
Further Guidance on the the Mitigation Section of Decision 1/CP.21 (Adoption of the Paris Agreement):In informal consultations, parties agreed to a proposed “tool” to help them navigate the 180-page informal note from APA 1-4. The tool, which will be available by Monday, will not supersede the informal note, and will retain all suggested elements while streamlining their presentation.
Discussions focused on information to facilitate clarity, transparency, and understanding of NDCs. While there was agreement on some elements, delegations diverged inter alia on scope, with some arguing that the guidance should cover only mitigation elements of NDCs, and others arguing that adaptation and means of implementation should also be covered. They also diverged on bifurcation, with some parties arguing for differentiated guidance for developing countries, and other parties calling for guidance that applies to all but takes into account different types of commitments in countries’ NDCs.
Global Stocktake: Parties continued to consider the informal note from APA 1-4. On activity A (preparatory phase), parties suggested that its timing take into consideration both the activity’s nature and its relation to activity B (technical phase), and include a clear invitation for relevant bodies to prepare input “well in advance” of activity B.
On activity B, parties suggested: technical dialogues under a joint SBSTA/SBI contact group; separate technical dialogues on each workstream under the responsibility of the SB chairs, with dedicated co-facilitators; an open forum format rather than parallel sessions, to increase transparency; and guidance from the Talanoa Dialogue.
On activity C (political phase), one group suggested a dedicated ministerial segment that would capture political commitments in the form of a declaration.
Parties also discussed: how to operationalize equity and the principle of CBDR-RC; adding specific references to the Agreement’s mandates for the stocktake; reconciling the overall timing and duration of the global stocktake with the timing of specific activities; provision of support for developing country participation; and the importance of contextualizing the stocktake within the long-term goals in Agreement Article 2.
Adaptation Communication: Informal consultations focused on one group’s proposal for a possible decision structure. Several parties expressed their appreciation for the proposal, including the proposed division of text into a decision and one or more annexes on “elements” and “guidance for NDCs.” Some expressed discomfort with the inclusion of headings. On the understanding that the proposal’s suggested headings do not prejudge any outcome and that all substantive options will be retained, delegates agreed to mandate the Co-Facilitators to migrate text from their informal note into the proposed structure for discussions on Thursday.
Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture: In informal consultations, a developed country proposed a draft roadmap containing a timeline for the joint work from SB 48 to SB 53, saying the proposal had been developed in consultation with a number of other parties. It also urged parties to “think outside the box” in relation to utilizing non-UNFCCC forums to assist with work on this item. Several parties supported the proposal for a draft roadmap, noting that it is flexible, can be updated to reflect lessons learned, and fits a lot of work into a short timeframe. One developing country group requested more time to reflect on the proposal. Parties agreed to consider the proposal before their next meeting.
REDD+ Coordination of Support: Parties considered draft conclusions. Many parties expressed support for text indicating that meetings of REDD+ focal points would be held from 2019-2021, and requesting the COP to invite the SBI to consider whether to encourage their continuation. A party objected to specifying a timeline for the meetings. Another party proposed specifying that meetings would be held until 2023, and that the mandate would be reviewed at SBI 59, noting its desire to work with a five-year timeframe. Parties will convene in an “informal informal” setting.
Matters Relating to Capacity Building: Informal consultations considered draft conclusions paragraph-by-paragraph. A developing country, opposed by a developed country, requested the text be updated to reflect that, while some progress had been made in the implementation of the capacity-building framework, gaps still exist. Parties agreed to use previously agreed language on this. Several developing countries opposed expressing appreciation for the work of the Durban Forum on Capacity-building, noting that its work is currently insufficient and should be allocated more time. Parties agreed to bridging text on this issue.
Informal consultations will continue.
Scope and Modalities for the Periodic Assessment of the Technology Mechanism: In informal consultations, parties disagreed on whether to first discuss the scope or modalities of the assessment, but eventually settled on scope. Parties agreed to a proposal by several developing countries to amend the section on scope in the Co-Facilitator’s information note, adding “level of support” as one of the sub-items to be considered in assessing adequacy of support.
Informal consultations will continue, focusing on modalities for assessment.
Improved Forum and Work Programme on Response measures: Co-Chair Andrei Marcu (Panama) asked the contact group for feedback on the two-day in-session training workshop on economic modelling tools. There was consensus on the value of the event, but UGANDA, supported by MALDIVES, GHANA, and others suggested that its technical bent might have been better directed at an audience of actual modellers, and expressed preference for a pre-sessional event instead of taking up two days of negotiating time. SINGAPORE praised the workshop as a good first step.
Co-Chair Marcu then invited initial views on the review of the improved forum, and parties discussed how this might be accomplished by COP 24 as mandated. GHANA suggested that the Secretariat prepare a synthesis of submissions and key questions for parties to answer. Discussions will continue.
Agreement Article 6.2 (Cooperative Approaches): Parties continued considering the SBSTA Chair’s informal document on the draft elements of guidance on cooperative approaches, with a focus on clarifying questions. The questions revolved largely around differences between the informal document and the third iteration of the Co-Facilitators’ informal note from SBSTA 47.
It was explained that the SBSTA Chair had restructured the third iteration note to put elements in chronological order: ex-ante party reporting and review; corresponding adjustment; and periodic and ex-post party reporting and review. Questions were also raised on: options for governance arrangements; environmental integrity; and the operation of a buffer-based registry system.
Informal consultations will continue.
SBI Gender In-session Workshop
The SBI gender in-session workshop convened throughout Wednesday.
In the afternoon, breakout-groups discussed: gender disaggregated data; gender analysis and budgeting; and governance and coordination mechanisms, with the aim of informing and facilitating gender-responsive climate policy.
In the group on governance and coordination mechanisms, delegates shared their country experiences and lessons learned on, inter alia: the extent to which government departments responsible for women and gender are involved in climate planning; the institutional location of the national climate change and gender focal point; the need for coordination mechanisms to implement the focal point’s role; gender mainstreaming across government departments; and the differential impacts of climate change on women in local and rural communities.
Some participants lamented silos between different national government departments, suggesting that a body located centrally within the government should be mandated to maintain a holistic overview of gender and environment matters. One participant drew attention to the March 2018 statement of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on gender-related dimensions of disaster risk reduction in the context of climate change, highlighting this as a useful tool for capacity building.
Suva Expert Dialogue
SBI Chair Dlamini highlighted that the Suva Expert Dialogue would start a “journey to make our communities more resilient.”
Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) Executive Committee Co-Chair Vhalinavho Khavhagali (South Africa) stressed that the Executive Committee is counting on the experience, knowledge, and sense of purpose of the participants to make the Expert Dialogue constructive.
Luke Daunivalu, COP 23 Presidency, Fiji, urged participants to focus on how the global community can respond effectively to extreme weather events, rising seas, and impacts on agriculture.
WIM Executive Committee Co-Chair Erling Kvernevik (Norway) highlighted key findings from the 2016 report on loss and damage, including that: current risk management is mostly directed towards extreme weather and rapid onset events; there are major gaps in addressing slow onset events; existing financial instruments are not available to all; impacts may exceed national capacities; and existing financial instruments might not be adequate.
Participants then divided into four roundtable discussions on the assessment, reduction, transfer, and retention of risk. The discussions will be reported back to a plenary session of the Expert Dialogue on Thursday.
In the Corridors
On the third day of negotiations, the atmosphere inside the Bonn Conference Center reflected the weather outside: sunny with clear skies and the buzz and optimism of spring.
The anticipated launch of the Talanoa Dialogue, which many hope will help to align mitigation ambition with climate science, kicked off in the morning. At midday, a special briefing on the Global Climate Action Summit taking place in California in September 2018 inspired optimism about the role non-party stakeholders can play in increasing ambition. One veteran delegate said parties have another opportunity to deepen commitments, particularly through partnerships, and hoped the IPCC’s special report on 1.5°C would add some urgency.
But there were also signs that clouds could be gathering just over the horizon. Some informal consultations on the Paris Agreement Work Programme saw parties retrenching into familiar positions, with a seasoned negotiator lamenting that the “usual suspects” are back at it again.