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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 12 Number 729 | Thursday, 6 September 2018


Bangkok Highlights

Wednesday, 5 September 2018 | Bangkok, Thailand


Languages: EN (HTML/PDF) FR (HTML/PDF) JA (HTML/PDF)
Visit our IISD/ENB Meeting Coverage from Bangkok, Thailand at: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/sb48-2/

On Wednesday, delegates at the Bangkok Climate Change Conference continued negotiations on the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP), including on issues related to:

  • transparency;
  • adaptation, including the future of the Adaptation Fund;
  • predictability of finance;
  • technology;
  • the global stocktake;
  • market and non-market approaches;
  • response measures;
  • implementation and compliance; and
  • possible additional PAWP items.

Observer organizations met with the Incoming COP 24 Presidency and with the Presiding Officers of the APA, SBI, and SBSTA. 

SBI

Scope and Modalities for the Periodic Assessment of the Technology Mechanism in Relation to Supporting the Paris Agreement: In informal consultations, delegates provided input on the periodic assessment’s modalities. Views diverged, inter alia,on whether: the periodic assessment should be preceded by a pre-implementation assessment; an independent expert group is needed; the assessment’s timing should be aligned with the global stocktake; and the global stocktake’s outcomes should be a source of information for the periodic assessment.

Parties also disagreed on whether IPCC reports should be a source of information. Some said the sources should be as wide as possible, while others observed that the IPCC reports do not contain information on the Technology Mechanism’s functioning.

Common Timeframes for NDCs: In informal consultations, parties considered a list of bullet points prepared by the Co-Facilitators. They could not agree whether it formed a starting point for negotiations. One group outlined options that it said had been excluded, including that:

  • flexibilities should be provided for developing countries for the 5, 10, and 5+5 year options; and
  • developed countries apply common timeframes and developing countries apply them at their discretion.

 Several developed and developing countries objected to the option of multiple common timeframes, noting that a single common timeframe is needed to ensure the global stocktake’s effectiveness. Parties could not agree to mandate the Co-Facilitators to revise the bullet points. Informal consultations will continue.

Agreement Article 9.5 (Developed Countries’ Biennial Ex-Ante Financial Communication):

Co-Facilitator Edmund Mortimer (Australia) clarified that paragraph numbers have been added to the informal note to facilitate discussion but it remains otherwise unaltered from SBI 48-1. Parties accepted the note as a basis for discussion. Some countries advocated deleting duplications, streamlining, and adding structure to the note. Other parties opposed deletions and said that adding structure at this stage would constrain discussion.

SBSTA

Technology Framework: In informal consultations, parties commenced a second reading of the updated draft technology framework.

Agreement could not be reached on, inter alia, whether to refer to “goals,” “aims,” or “objectives” of the Paris Agreement.

A developed country said that the framework should reflect balance across all stages in the technology cycle – including promoting deployment and dissemination of existing innovative technology – rather than focus on research and development.

Parties discussed what “structure” means in the context of the technology framework. They expressed approval of the Co-Facilitators’ understanding that this involves questions of how the technology framework guides the Technology Mechanism and how the framework can be operationalized.

Informal informal consultations convened in the evening.

Matters Related to Article 6 (Market and Non-Market Approaches): In informal consultations, Co-Facilitator Kelley Kizzier (Ireland) invited parties’ views on a set of three re-organized informal notes containing draft decisions, with issues sorted between an annex of essential items for COP 24 and an annex on further work. She noted that nothing had yet been added or dropped from the SBSTA 48-1 informal notes and hoped that such revision could now start.

Parties asked clarifying questions, but generally accepted the notes as a basis for progress. In the afternoon’s second session, Co-Facilitator Hugh Sealey (Barbados) asked parties to focus on fleshing out provisions for a supervisory body under Article 6.4 (mechanism). Some groups and parties suggested using rules of procedure from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board or the Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee as a basis, while others argued that the Kyoto Protocol bodies were inappropriate models since all Paris Agreement parties have NDCs.

SBI/SBSTA

Improved Forum on Response Measures and Work Programme: Informal consultations continued, aimed at gathering input for a revised informal note. Delegates commented on options for the work programme and modalities of the forum under the Paris Agreement.

On the work programme, several developing country groups and parties argued for augmenting the status quo – economic diversification and just transition – with items on trade issues and assessment of impacts. Some developed countries supported the status quo.

On modalities, several developing country groups and parties supported an option with a detailed list. Several developed countries argued that such detail is inappropriate, with some suggesting that the details of “how” (modalities) must wait for agreement on “what” (work programme), which is to be finalized in Katowice.

APA

Transparency Framework: Two “tensions” were highlighted in delegates’ work: the need to consider eight different sections, including subheadings, while ensuring focused discussions; and the need to ensure a party-owned text that remains streamlined and manageable. Many parties and groups supported the Co-Chairs’ tool as a basis for further discussions. Providing views specifically on the tool’s “overarching considerations and guiding principles” section, they highlighted, inter alia:

  • a need to begin with discussions on flexibility for certain developing countries;
  • a need to identify “information on loss and damage” as an objective of the framework’s modalities, procedures, and guidelines (MPGs); and
  • that the MPGs are not the place to ensure environmental integrity.

Discussions will continue in informal informals, focused on, inter alia:

  • objectives and guiding principles;
  • if there should be references to the Consultative Group of Experts;
  • which aspects of the UNFCCC’s existing measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) system should be superseded by the transparency framework’s MPGs;
  • what synthesis reports would contain, and how they would link to the global stocktake; and
  • the relationship between the timing of technical expert reviews and the facilitative multilateral consideration of progress.

Adaptation Communication: During informal consultations,  parties finished reviewing the draft decision in the Co-Chairs’ tool. On modalities for communicating, submitting, and updating the communication, several identified the need to discuss whether parties “shall,” “should,” or “may” apply the guidance.

On modalities to update, revise, and/or review the guidance, several clarified that the intention is to learn from experiences and revise or update the guidance accordingly. Two groups preferred removing the term “review,” suggesting it could lead to a complete, rather than stepwise, change of the guidance. Others viewed a review as encompassing the steps involved in a revision in a less prescriptive way. Another group suggested revisions were short-term fixes, while reviews are long-term processes. Informal consultations will continue.

Global Stocktake: During informal consultations, parties supported the Co-Chairs’ tool and shared proposals on how to advance work on a draft negotiating text. Several groups suggested ways to consider insights from the round table on interlinkages and improve coordination with other APA agenda items. Others suggested that streamlining the tool would provide needed clarity on how inputs from other APA items will feed into the stocktake. A developing country expressed concern that equity is insufficiently reflected across the tool’s various elements. A developed country, supported by others, emphasized that incorporating equity should not “over-complicate” the stocktake process. The Co-Facilitators will provide another iteration of the tool.

Committee to Facilitate Implementation and Promote Compliance: In informal consultations, delegates exchanged views on modes of initiation, process, measures and outputs, and sources of information.

Views diverged, inter alia, on whether some issues can be deferred for later decision by the committee. A developing country group suggested several guidelines to provide the committee with the discretion to develop its own rules of procedure. Other developing countries strongly opposed deferring any elements contained in the Co-Chairs’ tool, expressing concern at discarding two years of work on these elements.

Many supported referring to “dialogues” or “consultations” rather than “hearings,” arguing that the latter term is inconsistent with the non-adversarial nature of the committee.

Some advocated removing a requirement for parties to have made reasonable efforts under existing arrangements, stressing that developing countries face barriers to accessing these. Others disagreed, urging the need to avoid duplication of work.

A developing country party, opposed by several parties, suggested that assistance for participation and flexibility in timeframes should only apply to developing country parties.

Discussions continued in informal informal consultations.

Issues Related to the Adaptation Fund: In informal consultations, Co-Facilitator Pieter Terpstra (the Netherlands) presented the Co-Chairs’ tool and invited parties’ views on what elements:

  • are essential for a decision in Katowice;
  • could be postponed for further work thereafter; and
  • might be legally viable.

Groups and parties clarified their support for scenarios in several areas, including:

  • arrangements in the transition period, such as reporting requirements and funding arrangements;
  • duration of transition;
  • the composition of the Adaptation Fund Board;
  • safeguards; and
  • eligibility criteria.

Parties agreed to allow dedicated time on Thursday for group coordination, followed by bilaterals with the Co-Facilitators, to feed into a revised version of the tool.

Further Matters Except the Adaptation Fund: Discussions focused on options outlined in the Co-Chairs’ tool for two possible additional matters, on initial guidance to: the operating entities of the financial mechanism; and the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). Groups disagreed on options for each item. Some underscored that no guidance is needed because the Standing Committee on Finance already has the mandate to provide guidance to the financial mechanism, LDCF, and SCCF. Other groups stressed that guidance is necessary. Discussions will continue in informal informals.

Further Guidance in Relation to the Mitigation Section of Decision 1/CP.21 (Paris Outcome):

In informal consultations, parties debated the timing of informal informals. Responding to the Co-Chairs’ tool, all parties accepted it as a basis for further negotiations. On features, parties debated the group’s mandate. Some supported developing guidance on new and additional features as part of the mandate, while others underscored that the mandate was to develop further guidance on existing features outlined in the Paris Agreement. A few parties supported including one paragraph each in the decision on the following:  

  • existing features;
  • new or additional features; and
  • guidance or elaboration on features.

Informal informal consultations convened in the evening and will report back to the informal consultations on Thursday.

In the Corridors

Negotiations barreled ahead at full speed on Wednesday. Negotiators spent four, six, and eight hours on NDCs, compliance, and transparency, respectively, as familiar, political questions such as differentiation surfaced in what some had hoped would be purely technical exercises. On many agenda items, discussion also turned to which issues, if any, can be deferred to later climate summits, prompting one delegate to characterize this meeting as “a week of shifting goal posts.” Beyond substantive outcomes, civil society members reiterated their concerns about a recent anti-protest law passed in Poland, while rumors of heads of states’ attendance and a possible declaration prompted several delegates to worry about how such political arrangements would distract from COP 24’s “already very crowded agenda.”

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