Report of main proceedings for 9 November 2021
Glasgow Climate Change Conference
The Glasgow Climate Change Conference continued to be dominated by finance discussions. Informal informals, minister-led discussions, and Presidency-led discussions convened throughout the day.
Resumed High-level Segment
In opening remarks, COP 26 President Alok Sharma (UK) called for turning high-level rhetoric into action, urging a “change in gear” in the negotiations to reach an ambitious outcome.
Ali Salajegheh, Vice-President, Iran, lamented the impossibility of meeting climate commitments if his country is unable to receive any international assistance.
Isatou Touray, Vice-President, the Gambia, highlighted the need for urgent action, saying her country is doing more than its fair share and other countries should honor their past pledges.
Alexey Overchuk, Deputy Prime Minister, Russian Federation, noted Russia’s goal to achieve net zero by 2060, and said that Russia will remain a reliable energy supplier.
Aziz Abduqaxxorovich Abdukhakimov, Deputy Prime Minister, Uzbekistan, highlighted a commitment to plant 200 million trees, and invited parties to take part in the 2022 High-Level International Forum on Green Energy.
Statements continued throughout the afternoon.
Matters Relating to Finance: Long-term finance (LTF): Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Georg Børsting (Norway), who invited views on an iteration of draft text.
A developing country group called for “expressing disappointment with the lack of” rather than “noting” developed countries’ continued efforts towards reaching the USD 100 billion annual goal.
On adaptation, delegates debated: scaling up adaptation finance, with developed countries objecting to doubling it; and references to public finance and enabling environments for mobilizing private finance.
Delegates also debated references to the lack of an agreed definition of climate finance. Developing countries called for it to be agreed by COP 28 to align with the new collective quantified goal. Developed countries underscored that such elements should be addressed in the discussions on the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF). One developed country cautioned that any agreed definition would have implications for reporting on support and what counts as climate action. Another developed country said an agreed definition would need to accommodate the expanding scope of adaptation. Informal consultations continued.
Development and Transfer of Technologies: Review of the constitution of the Advisory Board of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN): In informal consultations co-facilitated by Mareer Husny (Maldives), CTCN representatives answered parties’ questions on the costs for Advisory Board members to attend meetings, and the effectiveness of the Advisory Board.
A non-Annex I country suggested increasing the number of Advisory Board members from 16 to 18, and ensuring equitable representation from each UNFCCC geographic regional group. A group stressed the need for a Least Developed Country (LDC) representative on the Board.
One developed country agreed with the need to enhance the representation of some developing countries, but preferred not to increase the number of Board members. He proposed, supported by others, to include representatives of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, Youth NGOs, and Women and Gender. Another developed country underscored the need for: balance among Annex I countries, non-Annex I countries, and NGOs; balance among regions; and ensuring the organization’s efficiency.
The Co-Facilitators will prepare a draft text and informal informal consultations will continue.
Second review of the CTCN: In informal consultations, Co-Facilitator Madeleine Diouf Sarr (Senegal) invited parties to provide comments on a draft decision.
Countries debated whether, or how, to recognize the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in the draft decision. Several developing countries and groups preferred replacing “UNIDO” with “members of the UNEP consortium,” underscoring that the arrangement between UNEP and UNIDO was not decided by the COP. Several developed countries noted UNIDO’s financial contributions and supported keeping the reference in the text.
A UNIDO representative then reported on its collaboration with UNEP.
Parties agreed to park this disagreement and continue to work on the rest of the draft decision in informal informal consultations.
Reporting from Non-Annex I Parties: Consultative Group of Experts (CGE): In informal consultations, Co-Facilitator Gertraud Wollansky (Austria) invited comments on an annex to a draft decision, on the revised terms of reference for the CGE. Wollansky asked parties to refrain from engaging on text relating to composition of the CGE, where views have remained divergent, and instead focus on areas where they can find agreement. Parties provided comments paragraph-by-paragraph, exchanging views on whether to, inter alia: include specific reference to Africa alongside LDCs and SIDS, or alternatively, use a more general reference to “most vulnerable countries” as needing special consideration; and remove a general provision that the CGE shall implement any other mandates the CMA may provide it.
The Co-Facilitators will report on progress, and turn over remaining issues, to the Presidency.
Matters Relating to Finance: New collective quantified goal on climate finance: In informal consultations, Co-Facilitators Outi Honkatukia (Finland) and Zaheer Fakir (South Africa, facilitating via video) introduced the third iteration of draft text, inviting views on areas of convergence and how to narrow down remaining options. Parties welcomed the text as a basis for further discussion.
Broad convergence was heard on: underscoring that the new finance goal must reflect and contribute to the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal; and the unsuitability of high-level champions for the deliberations.
On institutional structure, disagreement remained on whether there should be an ad hoc committee, an ad hoc working group, or workshops. A developing country group questioned where negotiating space would exist under the workshop option, with some developed countries suggesting a CMA agenda item. Other developing countries expressed their preferences between an ad hoc committee or working group, but noted flexibility. Some developed countries, while preferring workshops, expressed flexibility to discuss an ad hoc working group.
On substantive elements, several developed countries stressed the need not to prejudge the final decision. Some developing country groups said the goal should include quality, quantity, and access features as well as transparency arrangements. Others urged including the USD 1.3 trillion figure, and a 50% balance between mitigation and adaptation.
On timing, many developing countries favored 2023 while many developed countries preferred 2024, with one developed country expressing flexibility.
Other comments related to: the list of guiding questions; the extent of stakeholder involvement, with some developed countries saying stakeholders should be involved in deliberations on elements, but not structure or determination of the goal; and elements in the annex, which specifies the terms of reference for an ad hoc working group or ad hoc committee, that should be included in the decision text.
Informal consultations continued.
Compilation and synthesis of, and summary report on the in-session workshop on, biennial communications of information related to Article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement (ex ante finance transparency): Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Carlos Fuller (Belize), who invited views on draft text.
Delegates debated calls for developed country reporting on “all types of information” specified in the annex to decision 12/CMA.1 (types of information to be provided), with developed countries underscoring that some information is to be reported “as available” or “as applicable.”
A developing country group called for deleting references to reporting by other parties providing resources, noting such reporting is voluntary.
Discussions also related to capturing insights from the first biennial communications, with developing countries underscoring the need for developed countries to consider insights on areas for improvement in preparing their next reports. The Co-Facilitators will prepare a new iteration of draft text.
Adaptation Committee Report and Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA): SBI Chair Marianne Karlsen (Norway) facilitated consultations, introducing a note on the work programme on the GGA. The note contained a preamble and outlined options on organization and timelines, scope, and modalities.
On the preamble, some developing country groups suggested an explicit reference to Article 2 (temperature goal) of the Paris Agreement and to methodological, conceptual, and political challenges in the Adaptation Committee’s work. Some developed countries asked for the Committee’s suggested solutions to be included.
On organization, three options were presented on whether the work programme would be carried out: by the Subsidiary Bodies (SBs); under the authority of CMA Presidencies; or by the Adaptation Committee. Several parties and groups preferred the first option, noting both the annual rotation of Presidencies and the Committee’s heavy workload. One developing country preferred the second option, saying that the work needs high-level guidance. Several agreed the Committee could play a supportive, technical role. Several developed countries preferred the third option, opposed by a developing country group.
On timelines, several developing country groups preferred “establishing and launching” a two-year work programme at CMA 3, with work starting in 2022, and annual reporting beginning at CMA 4 (2022).
On scope, parties suggested textual changes, including whether to refer to: the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities; a “conceptual understanding” of the GGA; avoiding any “additional burden” or “additional reporting burden” for developing countries; sub-national levels; and the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Karlsen will report to the Presidency and the ministers appointed to lead adaptation discussions.
Matters relating to the SCF: In informal consultations, Co-Facilitators Richard Muyungi (Tanzania) and Gard Lindseth (Norway, facilitating via video) sought parties’ comments on the draft COP and CMA decisions. Muyungi introduced the draft COP decision containing sections on the fourth biennial assessment and overview of climate finance flows, the first report on determination of the needs of developing country parties related to implementing the Convention and the Paris Agreement (NDR), and the report of the SCF.
A developed country said many elements of their written submissions were missing from the text. Muyungi explained that they tried to produce a balanced text based on all parties’ views.
On the biennial assessment, much of the discussion focused on whether the decision needs to underline the lack of an agreed definition of climate finance and request the SCF to continue this work. Many developing countries stressed the importance of having a clear definition, noting that COP 25 mandated the SCF to work on operational definitions of climate finance.
Several developed countries disagreed, with one country questioning the value of an agreed definition given the bottom-up approach of the Paris Agreement.
Some developing countries suggested referencing Article 2 (objectives) in addition to Article 2.1 (c) (making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low-GHG emissions and climate-resilient development) when urging parties to ensure the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
On NDRs, developed countries objected to changing the periodicity of the NDR from four to two years.
On the SCF report, a developing country underscored pandemic-related challenges, among others, and, supported by several others, objected to “regretting” that the SCF was unable to comply with its mandate in producing draft guidance to the Financial Mechanism’s operating entities.
The Co-Facilitators will provide a new iteration of the draft text and informal informals will continue.
In the Corridors
In the second week, COPs are always on a “knife edge,” a seasoned delegate explained, adding that this one is no exception. At the last meeting in Madrid, countries were “very, very close” to agreement on Article 6, but it fell apart at the last minute. Trying again in Glasgow, he – and many – hope that the Paris Rulebook will be finished at last.
It seems some elements are coming together. Ministers now have two options for common time frames, down from nine. Article 6 technical discussions are done, and parties are now sharing concerns on the crunch issues with the facilitating ministers from Singapore and Norway. It can be a delicate transition from technical to political levels, especially if not all issues are handed over together. Decisions often come in packages, and it helps to see all the pieces at once. The next days require steady footing, and, the veteran explained, “depends a lot on how the process is handled.”
There are sleeper issues that could tip the balance on that knife edge. The governance of the Warsaw International Mechanism is exactly one of those issues. It seems positions are as entrenched as ever, despite the US’ re-entry into the Paris Agreement. At stake is whether the governing body of the Paris Agreement alone, or with that of the Convention, ultimately govern loss and damage issues. Positions vary, including some favoring to “mirror” the decisions under one body in the other, which would “clearly,” according to the seasoned delegated, “be a no go.”
And of course, the pandemic looms. After several negotiators, including the G-77/China finance coordinator tested positive for COVID-19, others had to self-isolate. These are key negotiators for the outcome of the talks. Their health may be key to a healthy outcome in Glasgow.