UNEA-3's Opening plenary UNEA-3's Opening plenary Over 4,000 stakeholders today (December 4) converged on the green terrains of the UN office in Nairobi, Kenya to witness the opening ceremony of the 3rd United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3).
This year’s edition of the assembly, which is the highest –level decision-making body on the environment, aspires to consider new policies, innovations and financing capable of steering the world “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet.”
The UNEA-3 brings together governments, entrepreneurs, and activists who will share ideas and commit to taking positive action against the menace of pollution. UNEA-3 aims to deliver a number of tangible commitments to end the pollution of air, land, waterways, and oceans, and to safely manage chemicals and waste, including a negotiated long-term programme of action against pollution that is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The High-Level Segment of UNEA-3, which will take place from 5-6 December, is also expected to endorse a political declaration on pollution, aimed at outlining policy measures for, inter alia: addressing pollution to protect human health while protecting the developmental aspirations of current and future generations.
The ministerial segment will debut the interactive ‘Leadership Dialogues,’ aimed at providing participants with an opportunity for high-level engagement and discussion on how to achieve a pollution-free planet. Other UNEA-3 outcomes will include voluntary commitments by governments, private sector entities and civil society organizations to address pollution, and the ‘#BeatPollution Pledge,’ a collection of individual commitments to clean up the planet.
Discussions at UNEA-3 will draw on a background report by the UNEP Executive Director, titled ‘Towards a Pollution-Free Planet.’ The Report explores the latest evidence, as well as responses and gaps in addressing pollution challenges, and outlines opportunities that the 2030 Agenda presents to accelerate action on tackling pollution.
Welcoming delegates to the assembly, Prof. Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, declared that the assembly’s focus on beating pollution is very timely as pollution increases with every effort to provide services to our citizens.
“It is time, the world addressed this challenge without delay and agree on a common goal as a pollution-free planet cannot be achieved without working together,” she said. The environment is our responsibility; it is the source of our well-being. The fate of our world depends on the quality of the care we give it,” Prof Wakhungu added.
“Our collective goal must be to embrace ways to reduce pollution drastically,” said Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the President of the 2017 assembly. “Only through stronger collective action, beginning in Nairobi this week, can we start cleaning up the planet globally and save countless lives.”
New report on the environment
According to a new UN Environment report, everyone on earth is affected by pollution. The report entitled “Executive Director’s Report: Towards a Pollution-Free Planet” is the meeting’s basis for defining the problems and laying out new action areas.
The report’s recommendations – political leadership and partnerships at all levels, action on the worst pollution, lifestyle changes, low-carbon tech investments, and advocacy – are based on analysis of pollution in all its forms, including air, land, freshwater, marine, chemical and waste pollution.
Overall, environmental degradation causes nearly one in four of all deaths worldwide, or 12.6 million people a year, and the widespread destruction of key ecosystems. Over a dozen resolutions are on the table at the assembly, including new approaches to tackle air pollution, which is the single biggest environmental killer, claiming 6.5 million lives each year.
Over 80% of cities operate below UN health standards on air quality. The report reveals that exposure to lead in paint, which causes brain damage to 600,000 children annually, and water and soil pollution are also key focus areas.
Also, over 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is released into the environment without treatment, poisoning the fields where we grow our food and the lakes and rivers that provide drinking water to 300 million people. According to the recently published report by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, welfare losses due to pollution are estimated at over US$4.6 trillion each year, equivalent to 6.2 percent of global economic output.
“Given the grim statistics on how we are poisoning ourselves and our planet, bold decisions from the UN Environment Assembly are critical,” said head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim. “That is as true for threats like pollution as it is for climate change and the many other environmental threats we face.”
Corroborating the report, Ibrahim Jibril, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Environment in his statement at the plenary averred that “pollution affects the air, soil, rivers, seas, and health of Nigerians in an adverse way even though the actual cost has not been determined. Trans-boundary pollution, according to Jibril, “accounts for 28% of disease burdens in Africa.” The UNEA-3 will run from 4-6 December.
United Nations Environment in conjunction with UN Women, the African Union and the Pan African Parliament has today (December 2nd) launched the African Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework at the United Nations Complex in Nairobi.
The launch was followed by a panel discussion on innovative solutions to empower African women in the energy sector.
The session, which was chaired by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, saw participants discuss the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in the clean energy sector.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr Joanes Atela from the African Center for Technology Studies said over 70 per cent of Africans don’t have access to clean and sustainable energy, adding that this energy poverty is driven by economic poverty.
“There is a close relationship between access to energy and social-economic development,” he said.
Dr Atela noted that women are at the center of energy needs in Africa, adding that women’s needs are much more critical in national and regional development.
Speaking at the same time, a representative from Strauss Energy Limited in Kenya noted that there are many policies developed on clean energy but the implementation takes time to be effected, this she said was punitive for investors in the clean energy space.
Her sentiments were echoed by Aminata, a clean energy entrepreneur from Sierra Leone, who said that one of the issues facing women entrepreneurs in her country is that policies are not harmonized between government and other agencies, which is discouraging them from venturing into clean energy.
She noted that women entrepreneurs are charged an exorbitant fee, which is also charged on other companies including mining companies, which have more funds.
The women entrepreneurs who attended the meeting noted that access to finance has proved to be one of the greatest challenges facing them, adding that it would help if development banks provided financing to women operating in the clean energy space.
They lamented that there are no incentives to ensure commercial banks support women entrepreneurs, adding red tape coupled with high interest rates has become an obstacle to women entrepreneurs.
However, speaking at the same function, Jennifer, a representative from Rafiki Micro-finance noted that the institution finances groups (chamas) made up of 90 per cent women membership under their Chama Product, adding that they don’t require collateral.
“We give women facilities that don’t require collateral to ensure the traditional custodianship of property does not affect them,” she noted.
A representative from Safaricom also gave a testimonial of the value that mobile-based loans have offered small women traders, adding that there is an opportunity in the space to enable more women entrepreneurs to get access to funding.
The meeting noted that it was important for women to be involved in the entire energy value chain, noting that for a large part, women have been consumers and distributors of energy, not generators.
The Africa Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework (AWEEF) will be used as a platform to address the challenges and obstacles facing women entrepreneurs and to implement innovative solutions that will encourage the participation of women in the entire energy value chain.
The programme contributes towards the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, SDG 13 (take urgent action to combat climate change), SDG 7 (ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all) and SDG 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).
Martha Mbithi has lived at Jenini Village in Mwingi for over 40 years.
The 52-year-old mother of 12 has seen the impacts of climate change in her village, which have grossly affected her farming activities and livelihood for her family.
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance conducted a field visit recently to assess how Ms Mbithi and other members of her village are coping with the effects of changing weather patterns following various trainings that have been carried out to educate them on how to cope.
Speaking to our team, Ms Mbithi explained in detail how the flora of the area has changed over the years, noting that some plants have completely disappeared and that farmers have abandoned the farming of certain crops due to harsh weather conditions and failed crops.
After attending a training organized by PACJA, Ms Mbithi has adopted better farming practices such as terraces, crop diversification, and early planting to adapt to the changing climate.
She noted that although this is her first farming season after PACJA’s intervention, she’s observing gradual changes on her farm.
Some of the changes she noted included, reduced surface erosion, increased water retention, increase on-farm organic matters. With the changes that have occurred, she believes that she will have an increase in crop yield and a good harvest in the next rainy season.
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance is today (Monday, November 27, 17) marking the end of the inception phase of the Angaza project in a workshop at Ngong Hills Hotel in Nairobi.
The Angaza Project, also known as Strengthening Civil Society Advocacy for Improved Climate Change Governance in Kenya, is facilitated by PACJA through support from the DFID Deepening Democracy Programme managed by DAI.
The project is proposed for implementation by the Momentum Committee to strengthen and transform the committee into a vibrant and effective CSO platform for climate governance in Kenya through achievement of its goals and objectives.
The project broadly aims to catalyze and facilitate civil society and broader citizen participation in the implementation of the National Climate Change Act, 2016, review of the National Climate Change Action Plan (2018-2022), Implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions and Influence the National Climate Council.
During the workshop, PACJA aims to discuss and validate rules of engagement for participation or membership in the Momentum Committee as well as discuss and finalize the decision on new membership requests.
The meeting will also facilitate discussions on membership and roles of thematic working groups, including validation of thematic working groups’ terms of reference.
Participants will further discuss and validate the simplified tool for tracking national climate change funds as well as validate reports.
The meeting is attended by various stakeholders involved in the project's implementation.
BONN Germany (PAMACC News) Non-state actors following negotiations at the Bonn climate talks also known as COP 23 have deplored the resort to empty words on climate change by global leaders during the high-level segment of the two-week conference.
Fijian Prime Minister and COP 23 President Frank Bainimarama at the high-level segment called on the country representatives to remain focused to ensure a successful outcome to the conference. “Future generations are counting on us. Let us act now”, he said.
Sequel to Bainimarama’s speech, a young boy from Fiji recounted the story of how his home was destroyed in a recent natural disaster, asking government representatives in the room “What can you do?” to protect the climate. “Climate change is here to stay, unless you do something about it”, he told the delegates.
Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that recent extreme weather events have shown that time was pressing. “I have no doubt that this urgency warns us to make haste and act decisively”, he said.
The “historic climate agreement” reached in Paris in 2015 and “the path we have taken since” must remain irreversible. “Paris can only be called a breakthrough if we follow up on the agreement with actions”, said Steinmeier.
Hopes for a strong statement on Germany’s climate goals and the future role of coal were dashed as Chancellor Angela Merkel disappointed only called on the world to walk the talk on climate at the global conference in Bonn.
“This conference must send out the serious signal that the Paris Agreement was a starting point, but the work has only begun.” Today’s pledges in the nationally-determined contributions were not enough to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, she said. “Now it’s about walking the talk.”
Speaking after the chancellor, French President Emmanuel Macron, said that the summit should send the message that “we can all come together” to mobilise the necessary public and private funds to act on climate.
To guarantee quality science needed to make climate policy decisions, Macron proposed that the EU should fill the financing gap for the IPCC left open by the US administration’s decision to reduce funding.
“France will meet that challenge, and I would like to see the largest number of European countries by our side,” said Macron. “All together, we can compensate for the loss of US funding.”
Reacting almost immediately after the high-level segment, civil society groups from across the world described their statements as empty words with no concrete plan of action.
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, (PACJA) accused the leaders of “playing hide and seek” with the lives of Africans who according to them are being cut short daily due to historic and ongoing actions of the developed world against the climate.
What we need, according to John Bideri, co-Chair of the Alliance, are “enhanced actions on the provision of $100 billion per year up to 2020 and a new finance goal which should reflect the scientific requirements and needs of African countries.”
“Advocacy-tainted speeches by leaders of polluter countries will not keep global temperatures from unprecedented levels, what is important now is a finance goal that will first and foremost help African countries to adapt, mitigate and cover loss and damage arising from climate change impacts,” Mithika Mwenda, PACJA’s Secretary General added
“This message from the host of a world climate conference must sound cruel to the poorest countries most strongly affected by climate change”, commented Oxfam Germany’s climate expert Jan Kowalzig.
Germany ran the risk of missing its climate goals, while in Berlin “three out of four parties to a potential Jamaica coalition’ block the measures needed to prevent such an embarrassing failure”.
Greenpeace Germany’s Managing Director Sweelin Heuss said that Merkel “avoided to give the only answer she had to give in Bonn: When will Germany fully exit coal?” Without a coal exit, Germany could not meet the pledge it made in Paris. “That's a disastrous signal coming out of this climate conference”, said Heuss.
Representatives from science, climate activists, and small island states appealed to Merkel to meet the country’s 2020 CO2 reduction target ahead of her much-anticipated speech.
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), said Germany had the ability to quit coal use but instead there was the “perverse” situation where it generated power from coal, which then was exported.
“Angela Merkel has been a great climate champion but her credibility is hanging in the balance,” Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, said.
President Hilda Heine, of the Marshall Islands, added: “We are just two metres above sea level. For Germany to phase-out coal and follow a 1.5°C pathway would be a signal of hope to us and all other nations in danger from climate change.”
As the COP winds to a close Friday, speculations are rife that the conference will end without substantially addressing relevant concerns on temperature limits, finance and other means of implementation for the Paris Agreement.
Civil Societies in Turkana County under the auspices of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance have submitted a raft of recommendations to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources aimed at helping the local community to cope with the effects of climate change.
During the roundtable meeting that was organized by PACJA, the CSOs recommended that the county government designate an area for herding, adding that there was a need for a holistic approach to pasture management. They further urged that the county government introduces the practice of growing fodder in the county to boost their ability to feed their cattle.
They urged the county government to gazette more forest areas such as Lochoko to increase forest reserves and called for a tree planting component to be included in the county integrated development plan.
The local CSOs further called for the improvement of cooking stoves to make them more efficient thus reducing the felling of trees for firewood, adding that the initiative should be extended to the refugee camps as they too contribute to the felling of trees for firewood in the country.
The members noted the there was a need for the county government to control wetlands, water catchment areas and unsustainable tapping of water by small-scale farmers along River Turkwel.
On pollution, the CSOs noted that the county government would be required to ensure that Tullow Oil disposes of its waste safely so as not to affect the people and livestock in the surroundings.
They called on the county government to develop the county climate change policy and fast track the implementation of policies and Bills that have been put in place to safeguard the environment.
Saying that capacity building was important, the local civil society organisations urged the county government to conduct training through public platforms to teach the community about the importance of conserving their environment. They further called for the re-introduction of 4K clubs in schools to introduce the younger generation to issues of environmental management early.
The noted that the greening programme should be undertaken by all county departments and the communities, adding that there was a need to monitor the tree nurseries to ensure the growth of tree cover.
The members recommended that the county set up a climate change fund to help in mitigation actions, adding that the county should prioritize issues to do with the environment during the budget process.
They highlighted the need for research in generating evidence on best practices in environmental conservation, adding that the county government should support community activities by providing resources and working with other partners to ensure the success of projects.
The meeting that took place on Thursday, November 16, 2017, was attended by 12 CSOs working within Turkana County.
The roundtable meeting was organized under the project “Improving Civil Society Engagements in Mainstreaming Climate Change at National and county level sectoral policies and programmes” that is currently being implemented by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in Baringo and Turkana.
To realize its objectives, PACJA is working in collaboration with relevant government ministries including the ministry of Environment & Natural Resources, Ministry of Water, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Energy and Private sector, as well as other civil society organisations both at the national and county level.
Members of the African Civil Society in conjunction with the Pan African Parliament have called for the urgent conclusion of the Paris Agreement negotiation process saying the time for negotiations is over.
Speaking during the second Press Conference organized by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, Roger Nkodo Dang, Pan African Parliament President said it was impossible for parties from Africa to go back to the negotiation process for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, noting that for over 21 years Africa has been suffering the effects of climate change.
“We as MPs are trying to use all the legal instruments according to the climate change agreement and implementing them on the ground such as banning the killing of wild animals for game meat and cutting down trees for wood, but we are not getting compensation for these,” he said.
He reprimanded developed country parties for failing to take the responsibility for climate change, adding that it is Africa that bears the brunt of the effects of climate change.
The PAP president noted that Africa is not asking for a favour, adding that the money being sought is a compensation for their actions.
“They want to make us like the industrialised countries who have depleted their carbon-based natural resources and are now looking at renewable sources, but we still have our oil reserves and coal, and they’re telling us to use solar” he quipped.
He remarked that it was time for developed countries to give compensation to African countries so that they can develop as well.
BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Regional and local leaders attending COP23 in Bonn have made it very clear that global warming is worsening, and that its consequences are upon humanity.
At a moment of escalating environmental crisis on land, air and sea, leaders including those from Africa signed the Bonn-Fiji Commitment on Sunday November 12,2017 at COP23 in Bonn, to take further, faster action to deliver the Paris Agreement at all levels of government.
“The truth is undeniable,” said Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace international director. “The escalating environmental crisis again expose the dire threat to people on the frontlines of climate change.”
But the African civil society groups are wary of the multiplicity of commitments, calling on the Global community to instead take a common stand against Trump and his allies.
" We are tired of signing commitment after commitment. It is time to classify the global community into two: those for the people and planet, and those for Trump and Profit," says the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.
"Unless we see accelerated action on the implementation of the Paris Agreement pursuant to Marrakech Action Plan by industrialised countries, signing commitments for faster climate action without kicking Trump and his allies from climate negotiations turns logic on its head," PACJA's Mithika Mwenda said.
Humans themselves, through a combination of deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation, are almost entirely at fault exposing human habitat to climate threats, thus the need for a critical self examination, the leaders emphasized.
With more than half the global population living in cities and expected to approach two thirds by 2050, the Bonn-Fiji Commitment of Local and Regional Leaders to deliver the Paris Agreement pushes forward efforts to advance sustainable urban development as an integral part of urgent global climate action and the inter-linked goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“This is particularly focused around Sustainable Development Goal 11 – to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” the commitment stated.
It notes that urgent action is needed as extreme weather events and disasters are undercutting food security for millions around the world, especially among poor developing nations in Africa and South America, adding that 23.5 million people were displaced in 2016 by weather-related disaster, creating a flood of climate refugees throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
Worse as this is, the commitment believes it is "merely a harbinger of things to come,”
The leaders commit to build resilient, low carbon communities to permit urban areas play an influential role in the course of global development.
“City and regional governments are pushing ahead, with an acute sense of their role in building a resilient, low carbon society,” said Ashok Sridharan, Lord Mayor of Bonn, Germany;
“Urban areas will play an influential role in the course of global development. By making urban sustainability a core part of national climate action, countries will be in a better position to meet and exceed their national climate goals,” he noted.
The commitment encompasses 19 initiatives, including creation of the African Sub-national Climate Fund to bridge the gap between infrastructure demands and the low number of bankable projects reaching investors, by providing ready-to-invest projects and funds to support the implementation of at least 100 infrastructure projects by 2020.
It also include the creation of Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy - the largest coalition of over 7,400 cities from six continents and 121 countries to reduce emissions and make societies and economies resilient to climate change.
Cities are responsible for as much as 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels used for energy and transport, and 13 percent of the global urban population lives in vulnerable low-elevation coastal areas, the commitment initiative stated.
The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA), a regional body of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, is opening the door for more Sub-Saharan cities to join efforts to expand access to sustainable and efficient energy services.
The Urban Climate Change research network says an estimated 80 percent of the costs of adapting to climate change are needed in urban areas. But much of the estimated $80 to 100 billion financing needed per year remains inaccessible to city governments and there is also a lack of bankable local projects reaching investors.
It is against this backdrop that the leaders have called on Planners for Climate Action, from UN-Habitat, to help ensure urban and regional planners play a strong role in advancing global climate and sustainability goals. To this end, this initiative will improve urban and regional planning practice and planning education.
BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - A special initiative to protect people living in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from the heath impacts of climate change was today launched at the ongoing Bonn climate talks.
The initiative is an effort by World Health Organization, in collaboration with the UN Climate Change secretariat and in partnership with the Fijian Presidency of the twenty-third Conference of the Parties (COP23).
By 2030, the initiate wants all Small Island Developing States to have climate-resilient health systems.
It also envisions drastic global reduction of carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries.
With four main goals, the initiative seeks to amplify the voices of health leaders in Small Island Developing States, so they have more impact at home and internationally; and to gather the evidence to support the business case for investment in climate change and health.
It further seeks to promote policies that improve preparedness and prevention, including "climate proof" health systems and the multiplication of international financial support levels to climate and health in small island developing states.
"People living in Small Island Developing States are on the frontline of extreme weather events, rising sea levels and increased risk of infectious disease," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. "We owe it to these people to do everything we can to help them prepare for the future that is already washing up on their shores."
"We in Fiji know all too well that climate change poses a serious threat to the health of our people. I'm delighted that we are launching this initiative - in partnership with the WHO and UNFCCC - to better equip small island states like ours with the knowledge, resources and technology to increase the resilience of their health systems, as part of larger efforts to adapt to climate change," said Fijian Prime Minister and COP23 President Frank Bainimarama.
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change believes “climate change will increasingly impact the health and well-being of people everywhere unless nations fully implement the Paris Agreement”.
“Small islands are in the frontline from extreme weather events that can contaminate drinking water to health-hazardous heatwaves and the spread of infectious diseases. This initiative can strengthen the response of small islands to the rising risks as the world works to ensure that together we keep a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C and better, no higher than 1.5 degrees, “ she said.
Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Mithika Mwenda described the initiative as symbolic coming at a time island states have suffered serious health challenges enormously due to climate-related hurricanes and tornadoes.
"As this initiative comes under the Fijian Presidency of the COP, we believe Fiji knows where the shoe pinches most, and we urge them to lead the COP23 into concrete outcomes that will shine light on the increasingly gloomy picture we are witnessing on the path towards the 2018 global stock-take," Mithika added.
SIDS and climate change
Small Island Developing States have long been recognized as especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Their situation is highlighted in the UNFCCC, by Ministers of Health at the 2008 World Health Assembly, and in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
They have also pioneered innovative approaches to improve the resilience of their health systems to climate change. As well as emitting a small proportion of the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change, many are further reducing their already low carbon emissions.
"Small Island Developing States are ready to take leadership towards green, resilient and health-promoting national development – but the support of the international community is essential,” said Dr Joy St John, recently appointed Assistant Director-General for Climate and Other Determinants of Health at WHO.
"Less than 1.5% of international finance for climate change adaptation is allocated to projects which ensure that the health of all people is preserved, and only a fraction of this supports small island developing states. The recent severe weather events in the Caribbean demonstrate that targeted interventions are important. We need to do much more and we need to act very quickly."
Country ownership is a central principle of this initiative. Ministers of health from some of the most affected countries have already started to provide input through consultation with WHO's Director-General and at WHO Regional Committee meetings, and this process will continue.
Since 2015, WHO has been working with the UNFCCC secretariat to develop detailed country profiles to assess risks, and provide tailored advice on how these countries can adapt to, and mitigate, the health effects of climate change. More than 45 country profiles have already been completed and, as part of this initiative, WHO commits to publishing a country profile for all small island developing states by the end of 2018.
Many national health actors, development and United Nations agencies are already making important contributions to protect health in small island developing states. WHO’s initiative aims to bring together existing and new efforts and scale them up so they achieve maximum impact.
“The vision is that, by 2030, all health systems in small island developing states will be able to withstand climate variability and change,” adds Dr St John. “And, of course, that countries around the world will have substantially reduced carbon emissions.”
Bonn, Germany - A top priority for the Fiji Presidency at COP23 is preparing the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement. These guidelines help put the Paris Agreement into practice and establish how each government will implement its requirements. That’s why the implementation guidelines are sometimes referred to as the Paris rulebook.
While the guidelines will be finalized next year, progress negotiating their terms is essential to this climate summit’s success.
The role of the implementation guidelines is complex. the guidelines must enable Parties to communicate, report, review and strengthen climate action to the fullest of their capabilities, and do so in a way that is transparent and accountable to the international community. Clear guidelines will enable a more predictable transformation to a low-carbon and climate-resilient world, while enhancing international cooperation and support for countries and communities in need.
What Are the Main Components in the Paris Agreement Implementation Guidelines?
At COP22 in Morocco, negotiators confirmed 2018 as the deadline to finalize the guidelines for several processes and requirements, including:
Reporting and review of countries’ individual actions and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt to climate change, and of support received or provided. These two processes of the transparency framework will help track progress every two years with respect to the implementation and achievement of countries’ climate plans and associated targets, and contribute to understanding any gaps and relevant needs that countries may have.
Accounting rules that provide a basis for understanding the total global impact of countries’ targets/goals, and to compare them. This facilitates the use of international market mechanisms, supported by tracking systems and an understanding of the role that land use changes and forestry play in countries’ efforts.
Communication of countries’ climate plans (nationally determined contributions, or NDCs), to share updates on their efforts and possibly signal strengthened actions every five years.
The mechanism countries will use to regularly take stock of progress (called the global stocktake) over five years, and identify ways countries can go further and faster.
Establishing a committee to facilitate implementation and promotion of compliance.
What Are the Main Sticking Points?
Parties will need to find common ground between a range of interests and perspectives on key issues. Some technical provisions are particularly sensitive and will require a careful balancing act to reach agreement. These include:
Providing flexibility for Parties that need it without reverting to a bifurcated approach (that is, different sets of guidelines for developed and developing countries). Striking this balance is especially necessary for the communication, reporting and review of countries’ actions and support.
Clarifying the functions of the various processes established in Paris and identifying the most appropriate platforms to advance specific issues (for example, when the limits to adaptation in impacted countries are breached and communities face permanent loss and damage). It will be important to find a compromise on the scope of these process (for example, the global stocktake), without renegotiating the Paris Agreement.
Designing the transparency and accountability regime under the Paris Agreement in a coherent, effective and mutually reinforcing manner. This was explored in WRI’s research paper Mapping the Linkages between the Transparency Framework and other Provisions of the Paris Agreement.
Other issues also pose important challenges, such as designing rules that ensure all countries measure their emissions, financial support and other activities consistently. And some issues are less mature than others, such as measuring adaptation progress or tracking climate finance. Similarly, negotiators are still figuring out how they can best cooperate through new market or non-market mechanisms that would contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting sustainable development. Finally, the lack of capacity for many developing countries to collect, manage and use data exacerbates these difficulties also presents a challenge.
What to Expect at COP23
COP23 is about coming together to tackle this complex set of issues, at both the technical and political levels, and to pave the way for finalizing and adopting the Paris Agreement implementation guidelines at the 2018 climate negotiations in Poland. To help make that happen, we will need innovative, creative thinking about how to sequence and cluster negotiations on the many inter-related elements of the Agreement and the implementation guidelines.
To facilitate the negotiations next year, negotiators must leave COP23 with a document that conveys key decision points on the guidelines, along with options for how to resolve the most sensitive remaining issues. And this document should be accompanied with a plan for how these issues will be taken forward over the course of 2018 (such as workshops, additional negotiation sessions and requests for countries’ views on outstanding issues).
To undertake this process this effectively, negotiators should recall that they are not starting from scratch. They will be building on 20 years of experience on these issues as they seek to craft effective rules for the Paris Agreement that build trust, incentivize action and ultimately guide the transformation to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future.
Yamide Dagnet is the Project Director - UNFCCC, Climate Program - World Resources Institute