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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 12 Number 770 | Monday, 9 December 2019


Chile/Madrid Climate Change Conference

Saturday, 7 December 2019 | Madrid, Spain


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The Chile/Madrid Climate Change Conference concluded its first week with numerous considerations of draft texts aimed at concluding agenda items under the subsidiary bodies. Discussions included finance, technology, gender, loss and damage, and common time frames, among others.

COP 25 / CMA 2

Matters Relating to Finance: Report of, and guidance to, the Global Environment Facility (GEF): In informal consultations, Co-Facilitator Amena Yauvoli (Fiji) invited reactions to a first iteration of draft COP and CMA decision text. Parties agreed on the need to shorten and streamline the text.

Developing countries underscored: low System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR) and climate change allocations in GEF-8; accreditation of new project agencies; rising co-financing requirements; the need to support loss and damage activities, implementation of technology action plans, and preparation of biennial transparency reports; and that eligibility criteria agreed by the COP should not be “overridden” in GEF replenishment discussions.

Developed countries noted that, inter alia: the GEF also serves other conventions; the GEF Council is scheduled to consider accreditations later this month; co-financing targets are aspirational; no language on loss and damage is needed at this stage; and eligibility criteria is an issue distinct from STAR allocations.

Two developing country groups noted objections to creating “new geographical categories.” One country called for referencing the principles of country-drivenness and ownership.

Parties mandated the Co-Facilitators to produce a next iteration of draft text for Monday, 9 December.

SBI 51

Development and Transfer of Technologies: Poznan strategic programme: In informal consultations co-facilitated by Mareer Mohamed Husny (Maldives), parties heard a report back from party-led informal consultations held on Friday evening, 6 December. Regarding progress on the draft conclusions reached there, parties expressed concern that some LDCs and SIDS have not undertaken their technology needs assessments (TNAs) and are not included in Phase IV of the global TNA project. Two parties supported language encouraging the GEF to continue to provide support to developing countries. Others suggested encouraging parties to use the available resources. Responding to a question on whether the GEF can also provide support for TNA implementation, the GEF explained that LDCs and SIDS can submit such proposals to the GEF.

In the afternoon consultations co-facilitated by Elfriede-Anna More (Austria), parties reported back on lunchtime informal informal consultations. Parties agreed to a paragraph on implementing technology action plans and the use of the GEF STAR for this purpose.

They also agreed to a paragraph with messages to the GEF relating to LDCs and SIDS in Phase IV of the global TNA project and to the report of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) on the updated evaluation of the Poznan strategic programme. After initial objections to the word “stakeholders,” by one country, all parties also agreed to include a proposed alternative paragraph, which “invites other relevant stakeholders, including the regional development banks, to consider the relevant recommendations” in the evaluation report.

Parties agreed to forward the text for consideration and possible adoption by the SBI.

National Adaptation Plans (NAPs): In informal consultations co-facilitated Malcolm Ridout (UK) parties engaged in textual discussions on a draft decision text. Discussions, inter alia, pertained to a provision on noting the challenges experienced by developing countries in accessing funding from the GCF Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme for the formulation of NAPs, with some parties emphasizing that not all developing countries face the same level of challenge. Parties agreed to forward the draft conclusions and decision for adoption by the SBI.

Matters Relating to the LDCs: In informal consultations co-facilitated by Pepetua Latasi (Tuvalu), parties discussed draft conclusions. Parties agreed to amend the text to include language on challenges experienced by LDCs in accessing GCF readiness funds and made other minor amendments. One party requested further supporting documentation for the figures on financial pledges to the LDC Fund. Co-Facilitator Latasi proposed, opposed by said party, that parties agree to the draft conclusions with the understanding that the Secretariat will verify, and, if necessary, amend the figures, and add further supporting documentation. Consultations continued.

Common Time Frames: Co-facilitator Grégoire Baribeau (Canada) presented draft conclusions and an informal note. On the note, one developing party group made two additional proposals. In the first, common time frames would be divided along the mitigation; adaptation; and finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building aspects of NDCs, with separate time frames for each. In the second, developed country parties would have common time frames of five years, and developing country parties would have common time frames of either 5 or 10 years, determined by the country. Two parties presented a joint proposal outlining options which would replace two previously proposed options, involving, in the first case, common time frames of five years, and successive NDCs in the latter. Some parties strongly disagreed on inserting a bullet in the informal note annex, which suggests that some parties expressed concerns regarding 10-year timeframes.

On the draft conclusions, parties agreed that the CMA will agree to common time frames, without specifying at which session the CMA would adopt the decision. Parties could not agree on whether to refer to an informal note, and, if such a reference was made, whether it would be to the one from SBI 50 or the one considered at this session. Parties could not agree to place the reference to the informal note in brackets. Co-Facilitator Baribeau will report the lack of consensus to the SBI Chair.

Gender: Co-Facilitator Jorge Pinto Antunes (EU) presented draft text for consideration. Views diverged on whether to acknowledge that coherence with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will “ensure” or “improve” efforts to integrate gender considerations into climate action.

Parties also disagreed on a paragraph regarding just transition, with some requesting the addition of a reference to “nationally defined development priorities” in accordance with the preamble of the Paris Agreement. One party group requested further time for consultation.

Further disagreements arose around preambular language regarding human rights. Some parties insisted on retaining the preambular language and removing a paragraph suggesting that parties take action “in light of their respective national circumstances.” Informal informal consultations continued.

SBSTA 51

Research and Systematic Observation: In the morning, Co-Facilitator Elizabeth Bush (Canada) presented an iteration of draft text based on previous informal informal consultations.

Parties accepted paragraphs on systematic information, systematic information data, and gaps related thereto with minor amendments, including replacing a reference to supporting the Global Stocktake with supporting “the Convention and its Paris Agreement.” Several parties requested that individual geographic circumstances be recognized.

Parties were unable to agree on a paragraph regarding managing and openly sharing data which referred to examples presented at Earth Information Day 2019. One developing country party recommended deletion of such a reference, pointing to the existence of other references to the Earth Information Day in the text. Several parties argued against deletion, noting that the reference in this paragraph had a different context. Views also diverged on the meaning of “comprehensible” data products.

In the afternoon, parties accepted, with minor amendments, paragraphs concerning: supporting full and open data sharing; the Global Climate Observing System implementation plan; securing funding for global climate observation needs; and the next Earth Information Day.

On the IPCC Special Reports, parties agreed to “note” the release of both reports as well as the IPCC-SBSTA special events, and that the SBSTA would express its “appreciation and gratitude” to the IPCC and the scientific community for preparing the reports.

Parties agreed to “note with concern” the state of the global climate system “as covered at the Earth Information Day 2019.”

Views strongly diverged on a proposal from one party to request that the SBSTA Chair prepare, with assistance from the Secretariat, “a summary report on knowledge gaps in systematic observation,” with many parties noting their opposition and the Secretariat clarifying that it had no such capacity. After lengthy deliberations, parties agreed to reopen an adopted paragraph on the summary report for Earth Information Day to recommend that the SBSTA Chair present a summary report on Earth Information Day 2019 “including reported knowledge gaps on systematic observation.” The Co-Facilitators will forward recommendations to the SBI for consideration.

Methodological Issues Under the Convention: Common metrics to calculate the carbon dioxide equivalence of GHGs: Clifford Mahlung (Jamaica) co-facilitated informal consultations and introduced draft text. One developing country group reported that it could not reach internal consensus. Several parties expressed their disappointment as Co-Facilitator Mahlung recommended reconsidering the matter at either SBSTA 52 or 55. Parties failed to reach consensus. The Co-Facilitators will consult the SBSTA chair.

SBSTA/SBI

Development and Transfer of Technologies: Joint annual report of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN): In informal consultations, Co-Facilitator Stella Gama (Malawi) invited parties to report back on an informal informal consultation from Friday evening, 6 December, which had addressed pending issues in paragraphs of the draft COP text. A party reported that work had focused on four paragraphs: challenge of securing sustainable financial resources for the CTCN; collaboration of the CTCN with stakeholders; interaction among national focal points to the CTCN, Green Climate Fund (GCF), and GEF; and a proposed new paragraph on financial support to the CTCN.

Parties agreed to the paragraph on the challenge of securing resources, and briefly discussed wording relating to private sector stakeholders. One developing country group opposed encouraging parties to enhance interaction between the focal points, suggesting this would amount to “parties doing the work of the CTCN.”

On the paragraph on supporting the CTCN, disagreement centered on a text proposal on inviting “parties in a position to do so” to support the CTCN. Two developing country groups called for referring to technology transfer-related obligations under the Convention. Some developed countries and a developing country identified a distinction between language from COP decision 2/CP.17 on operationalizing the Technology Mechanism, on “parties in a position to do so,” and obligations under the Convention.

In the afternoon informal consultations, co-facilitated by Steven Turnbull (Australia), one group reported back on lunch time informal informals, noting good discussions on remaining paragraphs in the draft COP and CMA decisions.

 Parties engaged in lengthy discussions regarding a small number of paragraphs in both decisions. After much consultation, they agreed to delete paragraphs in the COP decision text relating to: interaction among national focal points; and inviting parties “in a position to do so” to support the CTCN. In a paragraph requesting the CTCN to enhance its resource mobilization and further diversify sources, parties agreed to delete references to related decisions from COP 17 and 18; and, since no agreement was reached on a verb such as “ensure” or “enable,” to end the paragraph with “to effectively implement its programme of work.”

In the CMA decision text, they agreed to delete a paragraph on providing adequate resources for the CTCN. In a paragraph on the TEC and CTCN enhancing technology development and transfer through the Technology Mechanism, parties disagreed on language, with many developing countries urging for language on “enhanced support,” opposed by many developed countries. Bridging proposals included “withh enhanced efforts, including support from diversified sources” and “with strengthened efforts to undertake the activities of the Technology Framework.” Discussions extended into the late evening.

Report of the Adaptation Committee: In informal consultations, co-facilitated by Annela Anger-Kraavi (Estonia), parties continued exchanging views on the Co-Facilitators’ draft text. No progress was made regarding whether, or how, to refer to the Adaption Committee’s recommendations. Parties also restated their diverging preferences over “welcoming” or “taking note of” the Committee’s report and over “appreciating” or “noting with concern” progress made by the Committee. Informal informal consultations continued.

In the afternoon consultations, parties exchanged views on draft procedural conclusions containing provisions on noting with appreciation the Adaptation Committee report and on continuing the consideration of this item at SB 52. Some developing country groups opposed noting the report “with appreciation,” and called for inviting submissions from parties by March 2020 and for the Secretariat to compile these into a synthesis report. Several developed countries opposed inviting submissions, highlighting that views had been expressed at this meeting, and pointing to the Secretariat’s budgetary constraints. As no agreement was found, rule 16 of the draft rules of procedure will apply.

Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture: In informal consultations co-facilitated by Milagros Sandoval (Peru), many developing country groups and developed countries welcomed the draft conclusions as a step forward and several characterized the document as “a delicate balance.” One party expressed disappointment that the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land could not be welcomed.

One developing country called for two additions to the text: an invitation to the Adaptation Committee, the LDC Expert Group, and other bodies to support the development of new tools; and for means of implementation in support of the actions outlined in the conclusions. Despite a huddle among developing countries, the issue remained unresolved. Co-Facilitator Sandoval observed “overwhelming support” for the draft conclusions as presented, informed parties that the subsidiary bodies’ Chairs would consult with heads of delegation, and adjourned the meeting.

WIM: Informal consultations co-facilitated by Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago), took place throughout the day, with informal informal consultations occurring between sessions. In the morning, parties heard a detailed textual proposal by developing countries relating to: finance; establishing an expert group on enhanced action and support, by the end of 2020; and establishing a “Santiago Network” supporting the implementation of action to avert, minimize, and address loss and damage. The proposal entailed, inter alia: a call for new and additional finance for loss and damage; having the COP and CMA request the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism under the Convention to expand their focus areas to cover loss and damage related issues; and encouraging the Standing Committee on Finance to collaborate with the WIM Executive Committee (ExCom) when preparing guidance to the operating entities on the inclusion of funding for loss and damage-related issues. It also addressed focus areas for the proposed expert group, such as: exploring modalities for supporting risk transfer facilities and expanding national/regional solidarity funds; and developing the operating modalities for the proposed “Santiago Network” by the end of 2021. Several developed countries welcomed the proposal as a basis for discussions and, calling for more effective use of existing resources, acknowledged the need for enhanced action and support.

In the afternoon, parties exchanged views and sought clarifications on the developing country group’s proposal. Developing countries noted that the objective for the proposed network is to become the WIM’s “implementation arm” assisting developing countries in accessing resources and expertise to avert, minimize, and address loss and damage on the ground. Several developed countries suggested it would be more effective to strengthen existing ExCom bodies by giving detailed guidance. Some developed countries expressed openness towards language on scaling up finance, noting it should entail references to channeling funding from a variety of sources and to supporting effective resource use.

The Co-Facilitators invited submissions for the draft decision. Informal informals continued into the evening.

Response Measures: In the contact group, co-chaired by Keith Anderson (Switzerland) and Una May Gordon (Jamaica), delegates began reviewing updated draft conclusions with annexed Co-Chairs’ proposal for the workplan of the forum and its Katowice Committee of Experts on the Impact of the Implementation of Response Measures (KCI).

Detailed discussions began on activities and modalities of the workplan. Views diverged, among others, on: highlighting equity and people in vulnerable situations in the context of assessing the impacts of response measures and transitional strategies; sharing experiences and best practices of national reporting on efforts to analyze impacts of response measures; and including long-term low GHG emission development strategies as part of national strategies, plans, policies, and programs to be developed and implemented in a way that maximizes the positive and minimizes the negative impacts of response measures.

Views further diverged on an activity that would facilitate the development and exchange of regional and/or national focused case studies on economic diversification, transformation and just transition of the workforce, and creation of decent work and quality jobs. Saudi Arabia, for the G-77/CHINA, stressed this as important and, opposed by the US and AUSTRALIA, called for keeping a focus on, among others, divestment policies, stranded assets, low-emission and climate-resilient development.

The G-77/CHINA opposed including an activity on the exchange and sharing of experiences and best practices on the assessment of the various co-benefits of mitigation policies and actions informed by the best available science. The EU, with MEXICO, and, opposed by the US, highlighted this as a priority activity for the workplan. Informal consultations continued in the evening.

Scope of the Next Periodic Review of the Long-Term Global Goal under the Convention and of Overall Progress towards Achieving It: After lengthy informal informal deliberations, Leon Charles (Jamaica) co-facilitated informal discussions and proposed a revised iteration of draft text.

Parties’ views diverged strongly on whether to include references to the “adequacy and effectiveness” of efforts to achieve the long-term global goal within the scope of the periodic review. One party recommended that the outcome of the second periodic review not result in an alteration or redefinition of the long-term global goal. Discussions continued into the evening.

In the Corridors

Saturday saw delegates rushing to wrap up items before SBSTA and SBI reconvene for their closing plenaries on Monday. With no new iteration of Article 6 text disseminated until the evening, negotiators concentrated on the means of implementation for the Agreement, which some described as a “vital issue with unpredictable outcomes.” Focus shifted to finance for climate action on the ground, both to address loss and damage and to support technology transfer. These subjects were no less polemical: a proposal to establish the “Santiago Network on Addressing Loss and Damage” stoked debates about how best to “break from the UNFCCC bubble” to foster the collaboration of experts from both within and beyond the Convention.

Afternoon consultations found delegates shuffling from large plenary settings to ever-smaller rooms, occasionally barging into other negotiation streams in full swing. “You can tell it’s getting down to the wire,” one senior negotiator hazarded, “when we’re literally tripping over each other to talk.” Many hunkered down for the long night ahead. Others, whose issues were sent to the SB Chairs for guidance, wondered what Monday would bring.

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