Facilitative dialogue on enhancing ambition and support provides key findings

In accordance with the consensus at the Paris conference 'to conduct a facilitative dialogue' to assess the implementation of certain provisions of the Paris Agreement, including the provision of financial resources, the Marrakech conference organised two such dialogue sessions. In the following two articles (see page 38 for the second article), Zhenyan Zhu reports on the discussions and exchanges that took place at these sessions.

THE UNFCCC's Conference of the Parties at its 22nd session (COP 22) in Marrakech convened the first part of the Facilitative Dialogue on Enhancing Ambition and Support on 11 November.

The dialogue was held in two parts, with the next part convened on 16 November involving the participation of ministers (see following article).

The first part of the dialogue assessed progress made with regard to the enhancement of pre-2020 ambition and the provision of means of implementation. It was of a technical nature and its findings were expected to serve as an important input to the ministerial deliberations in Marrakech.

Speakers from various agencies including the UNFCCC secretariat made useful presentations providing some facts and figures as regards the mitigation actions undertaken by Parties as well as on the provision of financial resources and technology transfer.

(Parties had agreed in Paris in 2015 'to conduct a facilitative dialogue' at COP 22 'to assess the progress in implementing decision 1/CP.19, paragraphs 3 and 4 and identify relevant opportunities to enhance the provision of financial resources, including for technology development and transfer and capacity building support, with a view to identifying ways to enhance the ambition of mitigation efforts by all Parties, including identifying relevant opportunities to enhance the provision and mobilisation of support and enabling environments'.

(In paragraphs 3 and 4 of decision 1/CP.19, which was adopted by COP 19 in Warsaw in 2013, Parties resolved to accelerate the full implementation of the decisions as agreed to under the Bali Action Plan and in relation to the provision of means of implementation, including technology, finance and capacity-building support for developing-country Parties, recognising that such implementation will enhance ambition in the pre-2020 period.)

The first part of the Facilitative Dialogue (FD) was moderated by Joydeep Gupta, a journalist. Part 1 consisted of discussions in seven panels:

(1) Introduction to pre-2020 action and ambition

(2) Quantified economy-wide targets by developed-country Parties

(3) Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) by developing-country Parties

(4) Means of implementation

(5) Finance

(6) Technology development and transfer

(7) Capacity-building.

In the panel on 'Introduction to pre-2020 action and ambition', Katia Simeonova from the UNFCCC secretariat referred to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)'s Emissions Gap Report 2016 and showed that the pledges under the Cancun Agreements and the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) submitted so far are insufficient to achieve the temperature goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

The secretariat presentation showed that all developed countries and many developing countries have submitted and are now implementing their pre-2020 emission reduction pledges. In relation to aggregate greenhouse gas (GHG) emission trends of developed countries during 1990-2020 (based on their biennial reports), GHG emissions of Annex I Parties are on a downward trend by 2020; Annex I Parties are implementing policies and making progress towards their 2020 targets and the Kyoto Protocol Parties reached their first commitment period targets.

Simeonova said that the ratification of the Doha Amendment (for the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol's second commitment period) is deemed as an essential part of momentum for global climate action. (Seventy-three Parties have ratified the Amendment. A total of 144 ratifications are needed for the second commitment period to come into effect for the period 2013-20.)

All regions are active in the preparation and implementation of NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions by developing countries), said Simeonova. The number of registered NAMAs has increased by 35% since 2015. The largest increase in NAMAs is from African countries and least developed countries (LDCs). Financial, technology development and capacity-building support at scale is urgently needed, she added.

Through the international consultation and analysis (ICA) process, developing countries have outlined their efforts to fulfil their mitigation pledges enshrined in their NAMAs, she said.

Simeonova pointed out the following as key messages:

The Paris Agreement not only provides a long-term direction and destination, but also adds momentum to the ongoing climate change action by all Parties contributing to achievement of their 2020 pledges.

All Parties are advancing their efforts in implementing their 2020 pledges; for developed countries, this is reflected in the downward emission trend as demonstrated through the MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) system.

Many Parties demonstrated through the MRV system and other means that they are increasingly introducing a plethora of national policies and related instruments for low-emission and climate-resilient development building on the 2020 Cancun pledges, but greater mitigation potential is yet to be utilised.

Financial support, technology development and capacity-building at scale are deemed essential for developing countries to attain the climate objectives for 2020 and beyond.

Asad Rehman from Friends of the Earth International cited the 2016 UNFCCC synthesis report on the aggregate effect of the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) and indicated that the carbon budget for 1.5C warming will be rapidly depleted, 'leaving us with only 550Gt [gigatonnes] CO2; by 2025 we will have hardly any budget left and by 2030 we will have exceeded it'. For the more dangerous 2C target, less than half of the current available budget would remain by 2025 and by 2030 a quarter will remain.

In 2010 in Cancun, he said, Parties committed to limiting temperature increases to below 2C, with industrialised countries taking the lead and providing the means of implementation (finance, technology transfer and capacity-building) to enable developing countries to also play their part.

According to a report just released by civil society organisations titled 'Setting the path towards 1.5C: A civil society equity review of pre-2020 ambition', developing-country pledges are twice those of developed countries. 'To be on track for 1.5C, we would need 2 to 3.5 times more than that and no matter how you measure fairness, developed countries should do more than developing countries,' Rehman stressed, sharing the findings of the report at the FD.

He also pointed to an examination by Oxfam of the 'Roadmap to US$100 billion' report produced by Australia and the United Kingdom, in which the analysis translated the $100 billion finance pledges into grant-equivalent terms amounting to approximately $14 billion in 2020 for climate-specific net assistance for emission reductions. Based on International Energy Agency information, it is estimated that this may result in an additional 240 metric tons of CO2 reductions in 2020, he said.

He stressed that this is a negligible contribution to the actual mitigation needed to be on track for 1.5C. 'By 2030 ambition will have needed to increase more than five-fold (from 3.3Gt CO2 to 18.5Gt CO2), and that's just for the 2C goal. This is a massive transformation for developed countries but also a huge transformation for developing countries.'

Solutions that can unlock the mitigation potential are possible and they do exist if the support needed to do so is available, but all are dependent on the necessary finance and technology transfers, he said further.

Rehman pointed out that in Doha in 2012, Parties agreed to an aggregate GHG reduction of 18% by 2014 for Annex I Parties, and for them to revisit those reductions to align them with the upper end of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 4th Assessment Report recommendation of 25-40% reductions on 1990 levels. However, that revisiting never happened and Parties have yet to ratify the Doha Amendment, he lamented.

With some Parties such as the European Union and Japan already having met their 2020 targets, and in light of recent political events, Parties should ensure that they align their pre-2020 mitigation efforts and the support needed to meet the goals agreed in Paris, he concluded.

In the panel on 'Means of implementation', Carlos Fuller, the Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), presented an overview of climate finance flows. Some $25.4 billion in 2013 and $26.6 billion in 2014 of climate-specific finance was reported in the second biennial reports of developed countries, of which $23.1 billion in 2013 and $23.9 billion in 2014 was channelled through bilateral, regional and other channels. This represented an increase of about 50% from public finance reported through the same channels in 2011-12.

Thirty-four biennial update reports (BURs) were submitted by developing countries as of 22 September 2016, of which 22 provide a summary of information on climate finance received during a certain period. The rest indicated climate finance received for a selective number of projects/activities, sectors or donors, or did not include quantitative financial information. The BUR guidelines do not require information on underlying assumptions, definitions and methodologies used in generating the information, said Fuller.

He said that the UNFCCC operating entities and other dedicated funds also provided enhanced support and stated the following:

The initial resource mobilisation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) hit $10.3 billion as at July 2016, with 27 projects and programmes approved as at 14 October 2016 amounting to $1.2 billion. The GCF is also active in engaging with the private sector.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has funded 836 projects on climate change mitigation, with over $5.2 billion GEF funding in more than 165 countries. The GEF funding leveraged over $45 billion from a variety of sources.

The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) received cumulative pledges amounting to $1.2 billion, of which $254 million was in 2016. It mobilised $4.0 billion in co-financing. Some $1 billion has been approved in grant funding, including financing the preparation of 51 national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs), of which 50 are completed, and the approval of 173 NAPA implementation projects, submitted by 49 countries.

The World Bank's Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) received cumulative pledges amounting to $351.3 million, of which $2.2 million was in 2016. SCCF-A provided $289.9 million for adaptation projects. Sixty-six projects were approved for funding, mobilising $2.3 billion in co-financing. SCCF-B provided $60.7 million for 12 projects that support technology transfer, mobilising $382.3 million in co-financing.

The Adaptation Fund has allocated $358 million to date to 55 adaptation projects and programmes in 48 countries. It received pledges amounting to almost $75 million in 2015.

Fuller also presented an overview of capacity-building support. In capacity-building for adaptation, agriculture and land use took up 20%, with 15% for water, 23% for science and observation, 18% for risk assessment and the remaining 24% for others. In capacity-building for mitigation, energy took up the biggest share of 54%, 13% for forestry, 16% for climate policy and the remaining 17% for others.

In the panel on NAMAs by developing-country Parties, Ash Sharma from the NAMA Facility said the Facility is to support developing countries and emerging economies in implementing ambitious actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. He said NAMAs are an important building block for implementing NDCs, themselves the building blocks of the Paris Agreement. Successful NAMAs need to incorporate a combination of policy, reform and improved institutional framework, and appropriate financial instruments to lower risks and improve returns, and to develop a pipeline of investment projects so as to make low-carbon investment the preferred development path.

In the panel on finance, Preety Bhandari from the Asian Development Bank pointed to multilateral development banks' total climate finance in 2015 of $25.096 billion, 20% of which is for adaptation ($5.024 billion) and 80% for mitigation ($20.072 billion), with an additional $56 billion in co-financing.

Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, the Chair of the Group of Least Developed Countries, said in his presentation that the cost of adaptation in developing countries is much higher than that of mitigation and is still underestimated, with the most recent adaptation cost being 2-3 times higher. He stressed that financial allocations for mitigation and adaptation should be balanced and that NDCs are for both adaptation and mitigation.

In the panel on 'Technology development and transfer', Chizuru Aoki from the Global Environment Facility secretariat outlined the GEF's support for technology transfer, which he said has been a key theme since the GEF was established. In its mitigation portfolio (1991-June 2016), the GEF supported a total of 836 projects on energy efficiency, renewables, urban transport, policy, capacity, etc. with $5.2 billion in GEF grants and $45.2 billion co-financing. In its adaptation portfolio (2001-June 2016), the GEF supported over 300 projects on resilience of rural livelihood, reducing vulnerability of physical assets and natural system with $1.5 billion from the LDCF and SCCF. The GEF provides support for technology needs assessment as well.

He added that since 2014, the GEF has supported policies, strategies and financial/institutional mechanisms to accelerate technology innovation. There have been 45 mitigation projects with technology transfer objectives supported by $401 million from the GEF Trust Fund and $10.9 billion co-financing, and 22 adaptation projects with technology transfer objectives with $230 million from the LDCF and SCCF with $1 billion co-financing.

*Third World Resurgence No. 316, Dec 2016, pp 35-37