UN climate talks end with call to Trump to face up to climate change
Addressing the closing plenary at Marrakech in his capacity as the incoming President of the next session of the UN climate talks, the Prime Minister of Fiji, whose island state's very existence is threatened by climate change, called on incoming US President Donald Trump - a 'climate change denier' - to face up to his country's major responsibility for the global climate crisis.
IN the wake of the recent elections in the United States, the host of the 2017 climate talks made a plea to US president-elect Donald Trump to show leadership at the helm of the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.
Fiji, which in 2017 will become the first Pacific island state to head the annual climate talks, called upon the US president-elect to abandon his position that manmade climate change is a hoax and take responsibility in contributing to the collective response to a climate crisis which is real.
(According to most recent press reports, Trump has been cited as saying that he will keep an open mind about climate change.)
'We in the Pacific and the world look to the US to show leadership just as we looked to America during the dark days of World War II. You came to save us then ... it is time for you to help save us now. I renew my offer to Mr Trump to come to Fiji to see the effects of climate change himself and to meet face to face to discuss the crisis we are facing,' urged Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama to applause at the closing plenary of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the late evening of 18 November.
Bainimarama was addressing the plenary as the incoming president of COP 23, which will be held in Bonn, Germany, the seat of the UNFCCC secretariat, on 6-17 November 2017. In accordance with the principle of rotation among the five UN regional groups, the presidency for COP 23 is from the Asia-Pacific states.
Bainimarama said Fiji is humbled by the confidence placed by the community of nations on it to preside over COP 23, adding that it is acutely aware of the great responsibility as a region that bears the most brunt of the effects of climate change.
Bainimarama said the COP 23 presidency is a crucial platform for the region to place its case. He pledged to small island developing states and other low-lying nations that Fiji would do everything in its power to place climate change on the very top of the global agenda, including lobbying developed countries that are responsible to allocate funding for developing countries 'to adapt to the terrifying era'.
COP 22 was held between 7 and 18 November in Marrakech, Morocco, along with the 12th Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12), the 1st Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1), the 45th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 45) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 45), and the second part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1-2).
Decisions of COP 22 and CMP 12 were adopted over the last two days of the meeting, with the second part of the plenary session closing only in the early hours of 19 November. The closing plenaries were presided over by COP 22/CMP 12 President Salaheddine Mezouar, the Foreign Minister of Morocco.
Aside from the highly contentious agenda item 4 of the COP on 'preparations for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement and the first session of the CMA' (see the article 'First meeting of Paris Agreement signatories ends in controversy' in this issue), the COP and CMP adopted a number of other key decisions. Below are highlights of some of the decisions.
COP 22 decisions
Report of the Adaptation Committee
On 17 November, the COP adopted the draft decision titled 'Review and report of the Adaptation Committee'.
The decision 'notes with appreciation the ongoing and planned collaboration between the Adaptation Committee [AC] and other constituted bodies and institutional arrangements under the Convention . in order to enhance the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans and actions, the implementation of the relevant mandates contained in decision 1/CP.21 [the decision adopted in Paris in 2015] and access by developing country Parties to adaptation finance, in particular from the Green Climate Fund, as appropriate'.
The COP requested the AC to make use of additional modalities for responding to the relevant mandates contained in decision 1/CP.21, including engaging with the Nairobi work programme and its partner organisations, research institutions and other institutional arrangements outside the Convention.
It also welcomed the establishment of the AC's working group on the technical examination process on adaptation and requested the AC, in conducting the technical examination process on adaptation, to accelerate the preparations for the 2017 technical expert meetings on adaptation, including the selection of topics.
The decision also requested the AC to ensure that the technical examination process on adaptation meets its objective of identifying concrete opportunities for strengthening resilience, reducing vulnerabilities and increasing the understanding and implementation of adaptation action, including through technical papers.
It also requested the AC, as an outcome of this review, to continue with the implementation of its revised workplan, in particular by giving priority to the activities in support of the Paris Agreement, and to seek further ways to enhance its progress, effectiveness and performance. The COP decided to review the progress, effectiveness and performance of the AC again at COP 27 (which will take place in 2021), with a view to adopting an appropriate decision on the outcome of that review.
The decision noted with concern the shortfall in resources available to the AC, the need for supplementary financial resources and the estimated budgetary implications of the activities to be undertaken by the secretariat pursuant to decision 1/CP.21, and encouraged Parties to make available sufficient resources for the successful and timely implementation of the three-year workplan of the AC.
Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts
On 17 November, the COP adopted two decisions related to the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (WIM) and the review of the WIM.
On the WIM, the decision noted that while significant progress has been made in laying the foundation for work on loss and damage, owing to the late nomination of members, work remains to be carried out.
It welcomed the report of the Executive Committee (ExCom) of the WIM and progress made in implementing its initial two-year workplan, including in enhancing understanding, action and support, in particular the establishment of the expert group on non-economic losses, the technical expert group on comprehensive risk management and transformational approaches and the task force on displacement, and in outreach and information sharing.
The COP approved the indicative framework for the five-year rolling workplan of the ExCom as the basis for developing corresponding activities, starting at the first meeting of the ExCom in 2017, taking into account relevant inputs provided by Parties and relevant organisations.
It requested the ExCom to include in its five-year rolling workplan a strategic workstream to guide the implementation of the WIM's function of enhancing action and support, including finance, technology and capacity-building, to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, as provided for in decision 2/CP.19 (that was adopted in Warsaw).
It invited Parties and relevant organisations to submit views and relevant inputs on possible activities under each strategic workstream as contained in the indicative framework for the five-year rolling workplan of the ExCom by 28 February 2017.
It also invited constituted bodies under the Convention, as appropriate, as those bodies undertake their work, to continue or to initiate, as appropriate, the integration of efforts to avert, minimise and address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change in particularly vulnerable developing countries, vulnerable populations and the ecosystems that they depend on.
The decision also encouraged Parties to incorporate or continue to incorporate the consideration of extreme events and slow onset events, non-economic losses, displacement, migration and human mobility, and comprehensive risk management into relevant planning and action, as appropriate, and to encourage bilateral and multilateral entities to support such efforts.
It also invited the United Nations and other relevant institutions, specialised agencies and entities, the research community and the private sector, as appropriate, to strengthen cooperation and collaboration, including through partnerships, with the ExCom on topics relevant to addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme events and slow onset events.
The COP reiterated its encouragement to Parties to make available sufficient resources for the successful and timely implementation of the work of the ExCom.
On the review of the WIM, the COP adopted a decision which recommends that there be a process to periodically review the WIM and that reviews take place no more than five years apart with the next review to be held in 2019, and that the periodicity of future reviews be decided at that time.
The COP also agreed that future reviews of the WIM should consider, inter alia, progress on the implementation of the workplan of the ExCom of the WIM as well as its long-term vision that guides ways in which the WIM may be enhanced and strengthened, as appropriate; that the subsidiary bodies finalise terms of reference for each review of the WIM; that as an input to the review in 2019, a technical paper be prepared by the secretariat elaborating the sources of financial support, as provided through the Financial Mechanism, for addressing loss and damage as described in relevant decisions, as well as modalities for accessing such support; that the technical paper include an elaboration of finance available for addressing loss and damage as described in relevant decisions, outside the Financial Mechanism, as well as the modalities for accessing it.
The decision also recognised that the ExCom may enhance its effectiveness by prioritising activities in thematic areas for further work. It recommends that the following may advance the work of the ExCom:
(a) Enhancing collaboration, cooperation and partnerships with bodies, entities and work programmes, including the Paris Committee on Capacity-building, within and outside the Convention;
(b) Considering the establishment of, as appropriate, additional expert groups, subcommittees, panels, thematic advisory groups or focused working groups to assist it in conducting its work and supporting its efforts to enhance action and support for loss and damage;
(c) Improving access to, and interaction with, relevant scientific and technical panels, bodies and expertise available to the WIM, its ExCom and substructures over time to ensure that the best available science is highlighted in the work of the WIM;
(d) Inviting interested Parties to establish a loss and damage contact point through their respective UNFCCC national focal points, with a view to enhancing the implementation of approaches to address loss and damage associated with the adverse impacts of climate change at the national level.
The COP also invited the Paris Committee on Capacity-building, within the scope of its workplan, to consider a future theme on addressing loss and damage.
Development and transfer of technologies
Joint annual report of the Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology Centre and Network
In the first part of the closing plenary on 17 November, Parties adopted the draft decision forwarded jointly by SBI 45 and SBSTA 45 titled 'Enhancing climate technology development and transfer through the Technology Mechanism'.
On the activities and performance of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), the decision welcomed the rolling workplan of the TEC for 2016-18 and the progress made by the committee in advancing its implementation, including in the areas of adaptation; climate technology financing; emerging and cross-cutting issues; innovation and research, development and demonstration; mitigation; and technology needs assessments.
It also noted that strengthening linkages between the technology needs assessments, nationally determined contributions and national adaptation plan processes would enhance their effectiveness and responsiveness towards implementation in countries.
On the activities and performance of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), the decision underlined the importance of well-functioning and strengthened collaboration between the national designated authorities for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the focal points for the Global Environment Facility and the national designated entities for technology development and transfer.
It also welcomed the increased engagement between the GCF and the CTCN, particularly with respect to utilising the Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme and the Project Preparation Facility of the fund in order to respond to country-driven requests for technical assistance, and encouraged the advancement of the engagement including through the strengthening of collaboration between national designated authorities for the GCF and national designated entities for technology development and transfer.
Linkages between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism of the Convention
Parties also adopted the draft decision which welcomed the progress made by the TEC, the CTCN and the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism in further elaborating the linkages between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism, including through an in-session workshop.
It welcomed the decision of the Board of the GCF to hold annual meetings between the GCF and the constituted bodies under the Convention, including the TEC and the CTCN, and its invitation to the Chairs of those bodies to its 14th meeting.
It encouraged the Board of the GCF to continue to invite the Chairs of the TEC and the Advisory Board of the CTCN to future meetings of the Board of the GCF on issues of common interest in order to strengthen the existing linkages between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism.
The COP welcomed the increased engagement between the GCF and the CTCN, particularly with respect to utilising the Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme and the Project Preparation Facility of the fund, noting the potential of such engagement in supporting developing-country Parties to build their capacity for implementing technology projects and programmes.
It also noted with appreciation the progress made by the GCF in response to decision 13/CP.21 regarding support for facilitating access to environmentally sound technologies in developing-country Parties and for undertaking collaborative research and development for enabling developing-country Parties to enhance their mitigation and adaptation action.
It invited the GCF national designated authorities and focal points to use the support available to them under the Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme to, inter alia, conduct technology needs assessments and develop technology action plans.
It also invited developing-country Parties to develop and submit technology-related projects, including those resulting from technology needs assessments and from the technical assistance of the CTCN, to the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism for implementation, in accordance with their respective policies and processes.
Matters relating to finance
A total of six sub-items on finance were deliberated on during COP 22, resulting in decisions that were adopted in the early evening of 18 November.
The items were: long-term finance; report of the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) and review of the functions of the SCF; report of the GCF to the COP and guidance to the GCF; report of the Global Environment Facility to the COP and guidance to the Facility; 6th Review of the Financial Mechanism; and initiation of a process to identify the information to be provided by Parties in accordance with Article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement.
(For more on the COP 22 decisions on finance, see the article 'After protracted negotiations, a key decision on long-term finance' in this issue.)
Capacity-building under the Convention
In the first part of the closing plenary held on 17 November, Parties adopted the draft decision on the third comprehensive review of the implementation of the framework for capacity-building in developing countries under the Convention.
The decision reaffirmed that 'capacity-building should be a participatory, country-driven and continuous process consistent with national priorities and circumstances', and that 'capacity-building is an integral component of the means of implementation to enable developing country Parties to implement the Convention and the Paris Agreement'.
The decision recalled that 'the Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) aims to address both current and emerging gaps and needs in implementing capacity-building in developing country Parties and to further enhance capacity-building efforts, including with regard to coherence and coordination in capacity-building activities under the Convention'.
It invited the PCCB, in managing the 2016-20 workplan, to take into consideration cross-cutting issues such as gender responsiveness, human rights and indigenous peoples' knowledge; to take into consideration the outcomes of the third comprehensive review of the implementation of the framework for capacity-building in developing countries; to take into consideration previous work undertaken on indicators for capacity-building; to promote and explore linkages with other constituted bodies under the Convention and the Paris Agreement, as appropriate, that include capacity-building in their scopes; to promote and explore synergies for enhanced collaboration with institutions outside the Convention and the Paris Agreement engaged in implementing capacity-building activities; to take into consideration ways of enhancing reporting on capacity-building activities, taking into account all initiatives, actions and measures on capacity-building under the Convention and the Paris Agreement as well as existing reporting mandates, in order to achieve coherence and coordination.
It also invited the SBI to facilitate complementarity between the Durban Forum (on capacity-building) and the PCCB; and invited Parties to cooperate in order to enhance the capacity of developing-country Parties to implement the Convention and the Paris Agreement, and further invited developed-country Parties to enhance support for capacity-building actions in developing-country Parties.
The COP decided to conclude the third comprehensive review of the implementation of the framework for capacity-building in developing countries under the Convention and to initiate the fourth comprehensive review thereof at SBI 50 (June 2019), with a view to completing that review at COP 25 (November 2019).
Apart from the above decisions, the COP presidency conducted a number of informal consultations at the request of some Parties without arriving at any conclusion. The issues were as follows:
Parties whose special circumstances are recognised by the COP
At the opening of COP 22, Turkey had proposed to include as an agenda item the issue of access to support from the GCF and the CTCN under the Paris Agreement by Parties whose special circumstances are recognised by the COP. However, it was subsequently dealt with as a sub-item under 'other matters'.
(Turkey is an Annex I Party to the Convention; this annex includes developed countries that are not eligible for financial support under the Convention.)
The COP President's representative Ambassador Aziz Mekouar (Morocco) reported that consultations led by him could not reach a conclusion and that Parties would continue consultations on this item in the future.
Indigenous peoples' platform
Bolivia and Ecuador requested the COP to consider paragraph 135 of Decision 1/CP.21 and informal consultations were conducted by Hamza Tber on behalf of the COP presidency.
(Paragraph 135 reads: 'Recognises the need to strengthen knowledge, technologies, practices and efforts of local communities and indigenous peoples related to addressing and responding to climate change, and establishes a platform for the exchange of experiences and sharing of best practices on mitigation and adaptation in a holistic and integrated manner.')
Parties agreed to an incremental approach and that the SBSTA would undertake work on operationalisation of the platform.
Report of the Adaptation Fund Board
On 17 November, Parties adopted the draft decision related to the Adaptation Fund Board and decided to renew the interim institutional arrangements with the Global Environment Facility as the interim secretariat of the Board for an additional three years, from 30 May 2017 to 30 May 2020.
The CMP also decided to restate the terms and conditions of the services to be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank) as the interim trustee of the Adaptation Fund and to extend the term of the trustee's services for an additional three years, from 30 May 2017 to 30 May 2020.
The CMP noted with concern issues related to the sustainability, adequacy and predictability of funding for the Adaptation Fund based on the current uncertainty on the prices of certified emission reductions, assigned amount units and emission reduction units.
It also noted that the funding required for projects in the active pipeline is estimated to be of the scale of $233.5 million and that the current available funds for new projects amount to $230.5 million, resulting in a current funding gap of $3 million.
The CMP encouraged developed-country Parties to scale up financial resources for the implementation of adaptation projects in the active pipeline of the Adaptation Fund and encouraged the provision of voluntary support that is additional to the share of proceeds from clean development mechanism project activities in order to support the resource mobilisation efforts of the Adaptation Fund Board, with a view to strengthening the Adaptation Fund.
It further encouraged the Adaptation Fund Board, in implementing its resource mobilisation strategy, to further consider all potential sources of funding and to continue its consideration of linkages between the Adaptation Fund and other funds, including the GCF, and to report on its findings to CMP 13 (November 2017).
It also took note of the information provided by the Adaptation Fund Board on the added value of the Adaptation Fund for the operationalisation of the Paris Agreement, as contained in the addendum to Annex I to the report of the Adaptation Fund Board.
It invited the COP to bring the information to the attention of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement.
Ratification of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol
On 17 November, CMP President Mezouar stated that Australia had ratified the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol on 9 November, bringing the total number of ratifications to 73 out of the 144 required for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force. He called upon Parties to ratify the Doha Amendment as soon as possible.
Hilary Chiew is a senior researcher with the Third World Network.
*Third World Resurgence No. 316, Dec 2016, pp 10-14