Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)
Volume 12 Number 722 | Monday, 7 May 2018
Saturday, 5 May 2018 | Bonn, Germany
With the first week of negotiations coming to a close, one of the day’s key events was the joint stocktaking plenary by the SBI, SBSTA, and APA. A Gender Dialogue also convened, and the Paris Committee on Capacity-Building (PCCB) held a meeting.
The main focus in the negotiations remained on the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP), which needs to be finalized by COP 24. A range of topics were taken up during the day, including finance, adaptation, mitigation, market and non-market approaches, response measures, and the transparency framework.
Negotiating groups also met to discuss various other issues on the SBSTA and SBI agendas, including arrangements for intergovernmental meetings, agriculture, and research and systematic observation.
SBI, SBSTA, and APA Joint Stocktaking Plenary
In the evening, a joint SBI, SBSTA, and APA stocktaking plenary convened.
SBSTA Chair Watkinson reported good progress on several items. On items related to the PAWP, he said the pace was “mixed” and called for an acceleration of work. SBI Chair Dlamini urged parties to consult extensively on PAWP items to narrow down options on crunch issues, and enable progress towards draft texts. He welcomed progress on the joint SBI/SBSTA item on agriculture.
Emphasizing the need to ensure consistency and coherence across PAWP items so that parts of the “jigsaw puzzle” would fit together, APA Co-Chair Baashan reported that all informal groups have produced, or are about to produce, new iterations of text. She expressed hope that this will help crystalize options and produce navigable text, and noted instructions for informal groups to conclude work on Tuesday.
Egypt, for the G-77/CHINA, expressed concerns over a lack of balance in progress, including limited progress on finance, and unresolved challenges in accessing Global Environment Facility resources.
Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, urged the Co-Facilitators’ notes to be “significantly more advanced” in their next iteration, and said any additional negotiating session before COP 24 must focus on the PAWP. The EU underscored the importance of collaboration between the SBSTA, SBI, and APA presiding officers for understanding progress. She said any additional negotiating session should pick up on PAWP items immediately. Switzerland, for the EIG, called for continued engagement on substance through informal informals and by allocating additional time to certain items.
Maldives, for AOSIS, emphasized the need to “leave no PAWP agenda item behind,” and to change the mode of work in discussions on accounting of financial resources. Ethiopia, for the LDCs, stated his expectation that Co-Facilitators would publish new iterations of informal notes on all items by the end of SB 48, and suggested that all items be suspended, allowing work to be continued without the need to discuss the agenda at the next session.
Iran, for the LMDCs, highlighted the barriers to progress on the APA item on mitigation, and urged progress on the adaptation communication, transparency, and finance. Saudi Arabia, for the ARAB GROUP, called for rebalancing progress on agenda items, and holding joint sessions on related items. INDIA stressed that post-2020 finance goals under APA item 8 are critical, and called for progress on items related to Agreement Articles 9.5 (developed countries’ biennal ex ante financial communication) and 9.7 (modalities for the accounting of financial resources).
Chile, for AILAC, expressed her expectation that this session will identify options and provide full textual narratives on all PAWP agenda items. Gabon, for the AFRICAN GROUP, urged progress on adaptation, finance, and transparency, including through addressing linkages with other items. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for more progress on mitigation and the transparency framework, including through informal informals.
Luke Daunivalu, COP 23 Presidency, Fiji, updated delegates on arrangements for Sunday’s Talanoa Dialogue.
Transparency Framework: Parties discussed approaches to information on financial, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building support. Several groups urged close coordination with SBSTA discussions on modalities for accounting, with one group stressing that SBSTA discussions should conclude during the first week of COP 24 to allow time to finalize the transparency framework. Parties agreed that one set of guidance should apply to both developed countries and “other” parties providing support, while being mandatory for developed countries and voluntary for developing countries. Views largely converged on the use of common tabular formats for information on support needed, with some parties suggesting that the tables be based on current formats, such as BURs, and others suggesting development of a new common reporting format.
In the afternoon, parties shared views on the information necessary to track progress in implementing and achieving NDCs, again highlighting close linkages with other APA and SBSTA items. Some parties stressed that discussions should not prejudge the scope of NDCs being considered under APA agenda item 3 (mitigation). Views diverged on what information would be necessary to describe a party’s NDC, with some parties considering a web link to the NDC sufficient. Others argued for significantly more detailed information, such as coverage of sectors, baselines, and quantified value associated with the achievement of the NDC. Views also diverged on projections of GHG emissions and removals, with one party noting that projections are not relevant to many NDCs and may infringe on their nationally-determined character.
Noting the divergence of views, one group expressed concern that parties are not ready to move to textual negotiations, and that doing so before there is shared understanding could have “spill-over effects” to other elements of the transparency framework discussions.
Additional time for informal consultations during this session has been allotted to this agenda item. A joint meeting of APA agenda items 4 (adaptation communication) and 5 (transparency framework) will be organized by the APA Co-Chairs.
Further Guidance in Relation to the Mitigation Section of Decision 1/CP.21 (Adoption of the Paris Agreement): Informal consultations focused on features of NDCs. Several parties argued that key procedural and substantive features of NDCs are already outlined in the Agreement, and cautioned against their re-negotiation. Others said the informal group is mandated to elaborate further guidance on this issue.
Various parties highlighted that NDCs should: include adaptation, finance, technology transfer, and capacity building components; be informed by the outcomes of the global stocktake; cover all significant GHG emissions and gases; link to long-term low-GHG emissions strategies; take into account the concerns of parties most affected by impacts of response measures; and show flexibility towards LDCs and SIDS. They diverged on whether NDCs should be quantifiable, with one party arguing this would undermine their nationally-determined nature.
Discussions will continue informally, including on a proposed tool to navigate the 180-page informal note.
Issues Related to the Adaptation Fund (AF): Parties continued discussions on the institutional arrangements for the AF to serve the Agreement. The Secretariat provided clarification on transitional arrangements under the scenario in which the AF serves both the CMP and CMA, and the scenario in which it exclusively serves the CMA. Parties sought additional clarification on: which body could mandate the Adaptation Fund Board (AFB) to adjust the institutional arrangements of the Secretariat and the trustee; whether the CMA can revise the authority of the CMP over the Fund; the status of the Fund as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention; mandates related to the composition of the AFB; and the timing of a decision to ensure the Fund does not cease to operate. The Secretariat confirmed that the relevant CMP decisions have signaled preparation for the Fund to exclusively serve the CMA, and recommended an interim transitional period during which the AFB could adjust institutional arrangements. Parties requested the Co-Facilitators and the Secretariat to prepare a timeline with core decision points for each scenario.
Compliance: In informal consultations, parties welcomed the new draft iteration of the Co-Facilitators’ informal note as a basis for further discussions. Comments related to, inter alia: the committee members’ conflicts of interest; systemic issues; preliminary assessment procedures; mandating the Secretariat to transmit information to the committee; frequency of meetings; and electronic modes of work.
Several parties suggested that the scope of the committee’s work be addressed in a separate section of the note, while others argued that the headings of the informal note are without prejudice to further discussing scope. One developing country group suggested that the committee needs to take into account the financial needs of developing countries.
The Co-Facilitators will incorporate suggestions into the informal note.
Further Guidance in Relation to the Adaptation Communication: In informal consultations, delegates discussed proposals to improve the readability of the first iteration of the Co-Facilitators’ informal note, including how to address repetition. A group of parties highlighted the need to maintain the division in annex I between sections on common and optional elements of adaptation communications. Others supported merging these sections, noting that no guidance on adaptation communications will be mandatory.
Parties also diverged on the need for a second annex on guidance for NDCs, with some arguing this question is part of the agenda item’s mandate, while others stressed the importance of flexibility in choosing the vehicle for adaptation communications.
Discussions continued in the afternoon.
Other Matters, Except for the Adaptation Fund: In informal consultations, parties considered a new quantified collective goal on finance. All acknowledged the importance of the mandate for the CMA to set the new goal “prior to 2025.” Divergent views remained on asking the CMA to begin work on this during CMA 1. Many developing countries called for an early start to an inclusive process involving consultation and needs assessment, while several developed countries countered that it was too early, identifying the need to draw lessons from the 2020 finance goal and the ongoing process on long-term finance.
Parties also discussed taking stock of progress by the SBs on the PAWP. A party proposed, inter alia: a joint reflection note by all relevant Chairs; a joint stocktake by all relevant Facilitators; and a report from the Secretariat on the time allotted to the various PAWP-related agenda items. Several parties felt that reporting on allocated negotiating time would not be helpful.
The Co-Facilitators will produce a final iteration of their informal note.
Accounting of Financial Resources Provided and Mobilized through Public Interventions under Agreement Article 9.7: In informal consultations, parties considered the Co-Facilitators’ revised informal note, and a number of party submissions.
One developing country group elaborated on its submission, a restructuring of the informal note. The submission focused on modalities for communicating information, rather than on information already found in developed countries’ biennial communications, such as year, currency, and sector. A number of developing countries supported the proposal, and urged starting textual negotiations. Some developed countries preferred to mandate the Co-Facilitators to revise the existing note, which they argued reflects a balance of interests.
The Co-Facilitators will revise the informal note for Monday.
Agreement Article 6.4 (Mechanism): During informal consultations, parties reflected on progress across all three items under Agreement Article 6 (cooperative approaches). A proposal was made to consider revised versions of the SBSTA Chair’s texts to address mistakes, omissions, and misrepresentations, and for parties to introduce elaborations where necessary. Parties will revisit next steps.
On the supervisory body, parties discussed, inter alia: using existing models such as the committee to facilitate implementation and compliance under Agreement Article 15, and the PCCB; alternative models of representation and how to include LDCs and SIDS; rules of procedure, including using rules of the Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board and linkages with the CMA; and the arrangements for the transfer of share of proceeds.
On participation, benefits, and responsibilities of host parties, parties exchanged views on the relationship between human rights and negative social and economic impacts, and links between Agreement Articles 6.2 (international transfer of mitigation outcomes) and 6.4.
Parties will convene in an informal informal.
Arrangements for Intergovernmental Meetings: In informal consultations, parties considered draft conclusions. Views diverged on the need to discuss the frequency of meetings before 2020. Some parties called for alignment of the meetings with key political moments, while others called such discussion premature. Others proposed considering meeting locations. Parties also diverged on how to best facilitate the participation of non-party stakeholders, with a number of parties cautioning that limiting access could discriminate among stakeholders. Parties also discussed COP 24, including requests for updates from the Polish Presidency on the substantive and logistical preparations.
Modalities, Work Programme, and Functions under the Agreement of the Response Measures Forum: In informal consultations, parties considered a draft decision text prepared by the SBI and SBSTA Chairs, focusing on the “functions” section, seeking clarification but not yet negotiating on the text.
Some developed countries expressed preference for less prescriptive detail, which would allow for dynamic evolution of the work programme over time. They argued that the notions of supervision and monitoring of response measures are outside the Forum’s mandate.
Informal informal discussions continued.
Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture: During informal consultations, parties requested the Co-Facilitators to insert the agreed roadmap into the conclusions text. In the afternoon, parties welcomed the draft conclusions text provided by the Co-Facilitators as clear, operational, and self-explanatory. Parties provided editorial inputs paragraph by paragraph. Discussions focused on, inter alia: the appropriate way to refer to observer and non-party stakeholder participation in the text; clarifying the work programme’s activities at SB 53; and references to the provisions of the UNFCCC.
On Saturday morning, the Gender Dialogue took place, focusing on the integration of gender considerations into the work of the UNFCCC constituted bodies.
UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Ovais Sarmad encouraged delegates to continue working with ambition and commitment beyond the Dialogue. Fleur Newman, UNFCCC Secretariat, outlined a technical paper on entry points for integrating gender considerations into UNFCCC workstreams.
The first session, facilitated by Una May Gordon, Jamaica, focused on a best-practice example of collaboration between the Women and Gender constituency and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN).
Anne Barre, Women and Gender, introduced the constituency’s work, highlighting the expertise and experience of its member organizations. She outlined its Gender Just Climate Solutions awards and mentoring programme, including a capacity-building workshop with the CTCN.
Karina Kolbrún Larsen, CTCN, explained how the CTCN aims to integrate gender through its technical assistance, networking, monitoring and evaluation, and budgeting. She noted the challenge of working with a range of stakeholders with varying levels of gender awareness.
In further sessions, constituted bodies presented their experiences, and delegates discussed recommendations and the way forward.
In the Corridors
After the joint stocktaking plenary, many delegates left the World Conference Center looking forward not only to the traditional NGO party on Saturday evening but also to a working Sunday, with the Talanoa Dialogue set to convene. Some wondered how the storytelling format of the Dialogue would turn out; as one seasoned negotiator wryly said, “we’re mostly used to reading statements.” With the Dialogue’s final outcome still very fluid, one delegate hoped the Polynesian tradition could translate into a tangible and meaningful step towards raising ambition.
Meanwhile, many civil society representatives turned their eyes towards COP 24. Concerns over access to the process are bubbling up here in Bonn, fueled by looming transport and accommodation hurdles in Katowice. The recent passing of an anti-protest law in Poland targeting the COP 24 period has also rankled some, and many recalled the separation of the negotiation and civil society zones at COP 23. Even as they looked forward to the inclusive Talanoa Dialogue, some feared a larger trend to close off the process.