Highlights and images for 27 November 2020

The fifth day of the Climate Dialogues considered transparency, finance, the Least Developed Countries Expert Group, and Nationally Determined Contributions, among other topics.

In a closed event, parties continued the consideration of administrative, financial, and institutional matters, such as the UNFCCC budget.

Technical dialogue with parties and observers by the SBI Chair on experiences, good practices, and lessons from LEG work to inform LEG review

This session focused on emerging needs for supporting least developed countries (LDCs) with a view to informing the review of progress and terms of reference for the LDCs Expert Group (LEG). Opening the session, Marianne Karlsen, Chair of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI), highlighted that a dynamic process in designing the LEG's work is essential to ensure effective delivery of support to LDCs.

Nikki Lulham, LEG Member, Canada, presented outcomes of the stocktake on the work of the LEG and related report, including that while the LEG has effectively carried out its work so far, it will require enhanced resources in a subsequent mandate and cannot fully meet LDCs' needs by itself.

Discussions related to: possible elements of a future LEG mandate; LDCs’ needs for effectively implementing the Convention and the Paris Agreement; enabling factors to more effectively engage with and support national stakeholders in implementing climate change activities; and expected outcomes of support to LDCs.

Parties highlighted, among others: support for institutional capacity building; support for developing national policy linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals, disaster risk reduction, and adaptation; engaging with customary and Indigenous practices; involving all stakeholders from the beginning of formulating NAPs; and transparency.

Radha Wagle, Nepal

In-session workshop on long-term climate finance

In opening remarks, Julio Cordano, for the COP 25 Presidency, noted that increased climate finance is critical for enhanced ambition; and emphasized the need to achieve a balance between finance for mitigation and for adaptation.

Julio Cordano, Chile

Noting that the scale of investments required to deliver on the Paris Agreement is in the trillions, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa highlighted fulfilling the pledge by developed countries to jointly mobilize USD 100 billion of climate finance per year by 2020 as a “vital signal” that will strengthen political trust between developing and developed countries. Seeing as trillions were unleashed for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, she said there is “no justification” for not meeting this goal.

Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary

Jane Ellis, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), presented insights from analyzing climate finance provided and mobilized by developed countries in 2013-18, including:

  • Total climate finance provided and mobilised per year reached USD 78.9 billion in 2018, up by 11% from 2017;
  • Bilateral public climate finance accounted for the largest share of the 2018 total, rising by 21% from 2017;
  • Mitigation represented 70% and adaptation 21% of the 2018 total, with adaptation finance rising by 29% per year on average;
  • The share of loans in total public finance provided grew from 52% to 74%;
  • Private climate finance mobilized in 2016-18 was 93% focused on mitigation and was mostly aimed at middle-income countries; and
  • LDCs and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) accounted for 14% and 2%, respectively, of total climate finance provided in 2018.

Tracy Carty, Oxfam, emphasized that “how” the USD 100 billion goal is met is as important as “whether” it is met. With loans and other non-grant instruments accounting for an estimated 80% of reported public climate finance and 40% of all reported finance estimated as non-concessional, she said the increase in climate finance largely comes from “finance provided on harder terms.” She noted that the rise of non-grant instruments increases countries' debt and jeopardizes transformative action, especially in LDCs and SIDS. She emphasized the need for a grant-equivalence system of reporting to better reflect donors’ real financial effort.

In rounds of reflections, participation discussed, among other things: concern of the stagnation of grants; pathways for mobilizing private finance; and the dominance of a small set of accredited entities impedes country ownership.

In closing remarks, Archie Young, for the COP 26 Presidency, said the USD 100 billion goal is of “titanic importance.” Recognizing parties’ wish for increased focus on finance issues, he said the discussion would continue in a Heads of Delegation event in the second week of the Dialogues as well as in the Climate Summit on 12 December.

First meeting of the structured expert dialogue of the second periodic review

In its second day, the meeting focused on the overall effect of steps taken by parties regarding mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation.

Participants heard presentations from a number of constituted bodies, including the UNFCCC secretariat; the Katowice Committee of Experts; the Adaptation Committee; the Standing Committee on Finance; and the Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB).

Highlights of the presentations included:

  • There is a clear declining trend in emissions from developed countries in the past twenty years, but total emissions are only projected to decline by 2% between 2020 and 2030; this is because, although many countries have announced ambitious action, implementation is lacking;
  • Developing countries are increasingly moving toward wider-scope policy to slow emissions growth, but significant capacity gaps remain which do not allow emissions data to be quantified at an aggregated level;
  • While long-term adaptation planning can reduce vulnerability to climate impacts, there remain gaps in planning, including in translating climate scenarios to local contexts; accessing data in developing countries; and including Indigenous peoples and local communities in the second Periodic Review;
  • Integrating adaptation with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework is critical for long-term resilience, and coordination between different bodies must be improved in order to do so; and
  • There is an increasing trend in the availability of climate finance, especially with regard to multilateral development banks; more research is needed, however, in understanding how that financing is implemented in practice.
Paris Agreement Implementation and Compliance Committee

This session focused on lessons learned and best practices from other compliance committees as input to the Paris Agreement Implementation and Compliance Committee (PAICC). Opening the session, Christina Voigt, Co-Chair of the PAICC, said the Committee is on track to deliver its mandate to develop its rules of procedure for adoption at CMA 3.

Among other representatives, Juliette Kohler, Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee, highlighted lessons learned, including: the combination of representative and expert membership; the balance between transparency and confidentiality; consensus decision making; and the need to secure the engagement of the party concerned.

In the question and answer period, discussions focused on: the PAICC's consideration of systemic issues; how to engage with experts; managing interactions with parties; and the possibility for non-party stakeholder participation in the PAICC.

In concluding remarks, PAICC Co-Chair Haseeb Gohar stressed the need for a trust-based approach.

Preparing new/updated NDCs in 2020 – experiences and lessons learned

This session aimed to showcase the preparation and update activities for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) across different regions, and to share experiences around guidelines for information to facilitate clarity, transparency, and understanding (ICTU).

In opening remarks, Felipe Andrés Díaz Bórquez, for the COP 25 Presidency, outlined that Chile had submitted an updated NDC which worked towards being more ambitious, less uncertain, more robust, and as transparent as possible.

Participants heard from Jamaica, Mongolia, Norway, and Tonga on their countries’ experiences in updating their NDCs, and the role of ICTU guidelines in supporting this process. Points raised included the need to involve all ministries in government as well as other stakeholders from the start.

Zamba Batjargal, Mongolia

In a question-and-answer session following the panel, participants discussed the following issues: the impact of science and public consultations on enhancing NDCs; the interaction between mid- and long-term strategies for emissions reductions; collaborations with local and regional governments; and the role of nature-based solutions in NDCs.

Jamaica encouraged those parties who have not yet submitted an enhanced NDC to do so, noting that “we do not have the convenience of time.”

In closing remarks, Felicity Morrison, for the COP 26 Presidency, noted that these discussions on transparency will help build global ambition by creating a better understanding of how the Paris rulebook can be implemented.

Felicity Morrison, UK

Jane Ellis, OECD, during the In-session workshop on long-term climate finance

Tracy Carty, Oxfam International, during the In-session workshop on long-term climate finance

Wael Aboulmagd, Egypt, during the session on the Paris Agreement Implementation and Compliance Committee

Omar Alcock, Jamaica, in the session on Preparing new/updated NDCs in 2020

To receive free coverage of global environmental events delivered to your inbox, subscribe to the ENB Update newsletter.