PRESS RELEASE: Least Developed Countries Group Push for Decisive Climate Action at United Nations General Assembly

New York, 21 September – As the UN General Assembly convenes in New York, the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group calls on heads of state and government to reaffirm their pledge to tackle climate change by committing to fair and concrete climate solutions that will protect all people and the planet. The theme of this year’s UN General Assembly debate – ‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet’ – is a timely and vital reminder of the importance of safeguarding a liveable world for ourselves and future generations.

Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC Group, said: “the urgent need for serious climate action has never been clearer. Over the past months we have seen devastating events exacerbated by climate change, from deadly hurricanes and flooding, to wildfires and heatwaves. No corner of our planet is safe from climate impacts. Global temperatures have already risen 1.1°C and the frequency and severity of these events will only worsen with further warming.”

“Collective commitments by the global community to date are woefully inadequate in the face of our shared challenge of climate change. Current pledges under the Paris Agreement put the world on course for 3.5°C of warming by the end of the century. This is a death sentence for many communities across the world, particularly in poor and vulnerable countries. Humanity cannot afford to delay.”

“There is a widening gulf between the climate finance that is provided and mobilised and the reality of finance received and needed. Without adequate climate finance and support to developing countries, mainly LDCs and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are left without a lifeline. Many trillions of dollars are required to implement the Paris Agreement.”

“The LDCs are committed to being at the frontline of the clean energy revolution. The LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative will deliver sustainable climate action and lift communities out of poverty. If we are truly to set the planet on a safe course, all countries, and particularly those who contribute the most to climate change, must follow suit. Renewable energy has the power to place us on a path to a cleaner, fairer and more prosperous world for all.”

“Spread across Africa, southern Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean, the 47 LDCs all face immense challenges in adapting to climate change and addressing the loss and damage it unleashes. LDCs are taking ambitious domestic action to lead by example, and call on the rest of the world to do the same in line with their capability to respond and responsibility for the problem. State, city and business leaders from around the world have just met in New York for climate week, and the LDC Group urges leaders at the UN General Assembly to carry the conversation forward and inspire real action from all nations across the globe.”

The LDC Group will convene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 2-6 October for a Ministerial and Strategy Meeting to progress climate and sustainable development priorities, guided by justice, equity and ambition.

Contact: Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew

Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group

ldcchair.media@gmail.com

 

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OPINION: LDCs approach Fiji COP with high expectations

Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC Group in the UN climate change negotiations, reflects on the forthcoming UNFCCC negotiations in Bonn, in November 2017.

LDCs in the spotlight in Bonn

With the 2018 deadline for the completion of the Paris Agreement “rulebook” negotiations around the corner, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have been very busy this year.

In advance of the UN climate change negotiations in Bonn this May, the LDCs made submissions on all the key issues in the rulebook negotiations. We worked with other Parties to advance a shared understanding on the rulebook based on these submissions and worked with other progressive countries to ensure a balanced approach to the negotiations going forward.

But although we need a balanced approach to these delicate negotiations, we need to start making tangible progress that Parties and the rest of the world outside the negotiations can see and build on. On this point the LDCs were among the most vocal countries in Bonn on the need for substantive progress this year – capturing progress, cashing in on the good will of all Parties and banking easy (or easier) wins.

One of the main outcomes from the Bonn intersessional that’ll help us make this progress was the hard-won agreement on a suite of roundtables to be held just before and at the start of the Fiji COP in November. This outcome wasn’t a sure thing with the closing plenary of the Ad hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) on the verge of derailing on the last day of the Bonn intersessional. But a collective spirit of compromise and focus on the urgency of the work prevailed with LDCs at the heart of the huddles and side negotiations.

So, six roundtables on key aspects of the Paris Agreement will be held from 4-6 November on APA agenda items 3-7 which cover issues related to mitigation, adaptation communications, transparency, the global stocktake and the mechanism for facilitating implementation and promoting compliance. These roundtables are in addition to the next round of APA submissions to be prepared before COP23 so there is no shortage of work for the next few months.

There are also various other submissions and roundtables not under the APA. Roundtables under SBSTA on the Article 6 mitigation and sustainable development trading mechanism, cooperative approaches, and non-market approaches as well as workshops on response measures will also be held on 4-5 November.

The LDCs began preparing for all these submissions, roundtables and workshops since the end of the May intersessional and will continue to do so as part of our preparation for COP23.

Reflections on APA discussions during the Bonn intersessional
The rulebook negotiations are fraught with complexity because many issues are deeply interconnected and there’s a lot at stake with the rulebook negotiations as a whole. Some issues are also more complex than others. For example, most Parties agree that transparency negotiations are the densest and most complicated. On the other hand, negotiators working on the global stocktake are developing an essentially new process under the UN climate regime so it’s more likely that those discussions take longer to move from a conceptual phase.

In Bonn, some issues were taken forward much more than others while on the topic of the global stocktake some Parties wanted to effectively press the reset button on discussions on that issue. Due to the informal and dynamic nature of the negotiations at this stage all views are of course valid but it’s still very difficult to see how a restart of negotiations on any issue could be acceptable to other Parties – what about all the work done since the Paris Agreement was adopted, including the multiple submissions and sessions? No doubt there are different Parties who’d like to reset negotiations on different issues for different reasons, but that’s clearly an untenable option if we’re to have any chance of finishing the rulebook negotiations by next year.

One thing that did become very clear during the Bonn intersessional is that a balanced treatment of issues includes the need to progress issues in a balanced manner. This raises important questions for us as LDCs and all Parties: how do we reconcile the need to devote time and energy to all the issues in a balanced manner while avoiding letting some issues fall far behind others – especially when some issues are more complex or novel than others? Should we devote more time and energy to issues that are lagging behind and would that still be an option if it means parking issues that have progressed more to date? There are no easy answers.

On the substantive issues themselves, the LDCs made significant contributions in all the thematic discussions during the Bonn intersessional. In particular, our views on the committee under the mechanism for facilitating implementation and promoting compliance feature prominently in the co-Facilitators’ notes capturing discussions and submissions to date. On adaptation communications, LDCs have spent considerable time and effort developing National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) so our position has been that Parties need to have the option to submit NAPs as their adaptation communication. Because LDCs have a lot of experience and a solid understanding of adaptation-related issues we also have an important role in shaping adaptation-related discussions going forward. In Bonn, the APA tasked the secretariat with preparing a technical paper synthesising adaptation-related information from different types of communications which will be useful to LDCs as we build on our current thinking on adaptation communications.

One issue LDCs hoped would be clarified is that of having the Adaptation Fund (AF) definitively serve the Paris Agreement. From Paris to Marrakech, Parties took only incremental steps to decide that the AF “should” and then “will” serve the Paris Agreement but haven’t yet put this issue to rest by deciding that the AF “shall” definitively serve the Agreement. In Bonn, we pushed for this decision to be taken during the Fiji COP so that we can focus on the important question of how the AF can best serve the Paris Agreement and give LDCs access to the financial support we need for our adaptation plans and actions.

LDCs focus on COP23
One of the things the LDCs have been working hard on is improving our internal coordination so we can be more effective in developing our positions and strategy to negotiate outcomes that reflect our priorities.

In early October, I’ll be convening LDC Ministers, UNFCCC Focal points and lead coordinators in the negotiations in Addis Ababa for important high-level and strategy meetings. We’ll meet to discuss the implementation of the Paris Agreement and strategise how to take forward our climate change and sustainable development priorities.

Based on those priorities we’ll be further developing our LDC positions which we’ve already begun to update to reflect developments from this year.

Our lead coordinators have also begun preparing the LDC Group submissions that we’ll submit in the fall. The APA submissions in particular will be very important in preparing for the pre- and intersessional roundtables since they’ll inform roundtable discussions.

The LDCs aren’t sitting still though. The LDCs will be represented at key meetings over the next few months, including meetings during climate week in New York, a gender workshop being organised in Montreal, a workshop on transparency in Georgia and a number of other technical and high-level meetings. By engaging in these various fora LDCs have opportunities to strengthen progressive alliances and find common ground with partners in the negotiations. We can also use these different platforms to push our messages and priorities to wider audiences inside and outside the negotiations.

Between developing positions, preparing submissions, elaborating strategies and participating in meetings there’s a lot to do over the next few months and our work is certainly cut out for us but the LDCs are up to the task and eager to continue to advocate for the poorest and most vulnerable.

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Powering up the LDCs: meeting of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative in Addis Ababa, August 2017

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ADDIS ABABA—From 21-23 August representatives from LDC countries, along with partners and experts met to further develop the LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative (REEEI), launched in Marrakech at COP22.

Over 1 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity and half of these live in LDCs. However, LDCs often fall through the gaps in accessing funding and support from existing initiatives, and only a fraction of finance allocated to decentralised energy access finds its way to LDCs.

The LDC initiative aims to equip LDCs with the capacity and support needed to work towards universal access to electricity, develop ambitious renewable energy plans and ensure efficient use of energy through energy efficiency measures. With adequate support LDCs can leapfrog directly to clean, modern energy access, paving the way to sustainable development and demonstrating LDC leadership in pursuing renewable energy solutions.

The Addis Ababa meeting was an opportunity to further solidify the initiative by building on existing experiences and expertise, recognising the particular challenges faced by LDCs, identifying different actions suitable to the needs and characteristics of different LDCs and setting out a concrete path with a timeline of key steps to move the Initiative forward.

LDC REEEI would like to thank HIVOS and GGGI for their kind support in making this meeting possible, participants who sponsored their own attendance and the Government of Ethiopia for kindly hosting the meeting.

 

 

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PRESS RELEASE: Least Developed Countries Group Call for Ambitious Action and Commitments from G20 leaders

As G20 leaders prepare to meet in Hamburg on 7-8 July 2017, the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group calls on heads of state and government to reaffirm their commitments to tackling climate change by committing to ambitious climate action and support for the most vulnerable countries. The theme of Germany’s G20 presidency is ‘Shaping an Interconnected World’. This is extremely relevant to the issue of climate change: a truly global problem requiring a global, collaborative solution.

Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC Group, called on the G20 to:

  1. Commit to scaling up climate finance and support

The LDC group represents the 47 poorest countries in the world. LDCs bear negligible responsibility for the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change but are some of the most vulnerable to its impacts, with a limited capacity to adapt to those impacts or address the resulting loss and damage.

Climate change is a reality that we are already witnessing the impacts of. However, there is no doubt that leadership and ambitious climate action by the world’s largest economies can deliver prosperity, productivity and stability for all. The Hamburg G20 Summit is an opportunity for G20 countries to demonstrate their leadership in meeting the commitments set out in the Paris Agreement. As the leaders of some of the wealthiest countries, G20 countries also have the greatest capacity to support vulnerable countries in taking action to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

  1. Develop a comprehensive Joint Action Plan

The Paris Agreement manifests global momentum to tackle the greatest challenge humanity has faced and the Hamburg summit provides an opportunity for G20 countries to rally around this momentous agreement. The LDC Group urges the G20 to reaffirm their Paris Agreement commitments through an ambitious G20 Joint Action Plan on Climate and Energy for Growth. We hope that this action plan will be the most comprehensive to-do list on climate action that the G20 has agreed to date.

  1. Ensure ambitious climate action with a focus on clean energy

The LDC Group urges G20 countries to adopt sustainable and renewable energy solutions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Coal, including ‘clean coal’ cannot be considered a legitimate source of energy for mitigation action, or counted as part of climate finance support to developing countries.

Access to energy is vital to boost social welfare and productivity in developing nations. The last decade has demonstrated that renewables more than any other source of energy provide fast, efficient and cheap access to energy for many across the world. LDCs are already pursuing sustainable development through renewable energy projects, including a bottom-up, LDC-driven Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative for Sustainable Development (REEEI). Support for these efforts and scaling up universal access to affordable, clean, renewable energy is vital to address poverty eradication, climate change, sustainable development objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals. We also encourage G20 countries to protect our collective clean energy efforts by pursuing energy options that affirm the ‘clean and sustainable’ nature of access to energy both in developed and developing countries.

  1. Join the transition to a clean, green economy

After a strong, positive signal at the G7 summit, we call on G20 countries to rally around defending, implementing and advancing the Paris Agreement, despite the US announcing its intention to withdraw. It is clear that transformations in technology, consumption patterns and demand for clean, sustainable, green innovations are charging ahead around the world. Embracing these opportunities and joining the transition to a green economy means business opportunities that are beneficial for all. Some of the world’s leading businesses and sub-national governments, even within the US, have already recognised this and have begun to take strong actions on climate.

LDCs are leading the way

The LDCs reaffirm our commitment to the Paris Agreement. We are already leading the way through ambitious NDCs capturing mitigation and adaptation action beyond our fair shares, and the LDC-owned and -driven REEEI designed to meet our sustainable development objectives. We invite the G20 to join us and work alongside us as we pave the way for the sustainable economy of tomorrow.

Contact: Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group, ldcchair.media@gmail.com 

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Press Release: Least Developed Countries group responds to United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

Following President Trump’s announcement of his intention to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group, representing nearly one billion people in the 48 poorest countries in the world, expressed disappointment in the decision but emphasised that global climate momentum will continue with or without the US.

Chair of the LDC group, Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, said: “It is deeply disappointing to see the US shirking its responsibilities as a member of the global community. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change with record droughts, flooding and heat waves recently faced around the world. For LDCs the impacts are especially devastating; as the poorest countries in the world we are highly vulnerable but the least capable to respond to the threat of climate change. By refusing to commit to ambitious action on climate change President Trump is showing disregard for the lives of millions around the world.”

“In Paris the world united with a call for climate action and the wave of momentum now behind the Agreement cannot be slowed by one country deciding to sit on the sidelines. Many countries have taken up the mantle of global climate leadership through ambitious climate policies and innovation, and the US has lost a seat at this table.”

“The international community won’t wait for the US to catch up. Transformations in technology, consumption patterns and demand for clean, green innovations are charging ahead of political will around the world. Countries are learning that taking advantage of these innovations is not only smart for the climate, but smart for the economy. Joining the transition to a green economy means embracing business opportunities that are beneficial for all.”

“The US is only one country. I urge global leaders not to let President Trump’s decision to distract us from the important work we need to do to achieve the vital goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. I also invite President Trump to reconsider his decision. Let us continue to work together to build a safe world for present and future generations.”

Contact: Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew

Chair of the Least Developed Countries group

 ldcchair.media@gmail.com

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PRESS RELEASE: Least Developed Countries Group

18 May 2017, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany concluded. At the conclusion of the session, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group, Gebru Jember Endalew, said “The LDC emphasise that the global response to climate change must be consistent with the best available science. We must limit warming to 1.5˚C to protect lives and livelihoods, and this means peaking global emissions in 2020. Less than three years remain to bend the emissions curve down.”

“Climate change impacts are already striking all corners of the world, and are anticipated to grow substantially over the next few decades. The longer we wait, the more costly adaptation, loss and damage, and mitigation will become. We risk undermining our efforts to eradicate poverty and keep in line with our sustainable development goals.”

“The LDCs are concerned that we are still far from addressing actual finance needs of developing countries, whose Nationally Determined Contributions tell us that we need to find trillions not billions. Mobilising climate finance is crucial for LDCs and other developing countries to implement the Paris Agreement.”

“The LDCs are pleased that some valuable progress was made during this conference but we are not moving fast enough. This November at COP23 we must make considerable progress towards finalising the ‘rulebook’ that will implement the Paris Agreement without a last minute rush. The LDCs look forward to continuing our work to produce concrete outcomes.”

“The LDCs call on all Parties to redouble their efforts to tackle climate change with the urgency the climate crisis demands. The livelihoods of present and future generations hang in the balance and depend on all countries taking fair and ambitious action.”

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PRESS RELEASE: Least Developed Countries Group

 

Pursuing progress at the Bonn climate negotiations

From 8-18 May 2017, the United Nations climate change negotiations will be held in Bonn, Germany. It is important that substantive progress is made on the rules and processes that will fully operationalise the Paris Agreement. This session marks the half-way point to the finalisation of this process by 2018.

Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, Gebru Jember Endalew, said “climate change is costing lives and livelihoods, particularly in poor and vulnerable countries so there is a need for urgent action by all countries. The LDC Group will continue to push for fair and ambitious action by all.”

“For many of our countries, keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius is a matter of survival. Therefore, we all have to work towards a cleaner, greener, low-carbon global society as soon as possible.”

“Protecting people, livelihoods and economies also requires adapting to the impacts of climate change that are already devastating communities, erasing hard-won development gains and forcing mass migration. In this regard, I am deeply concerned about the lack of available support for adaptation, leaving the poorest and most vulnerable in society to weather the worst impacts of climate change with the least means to cope. Meanwhile the Least Developed Countries Fund, a key source of support for adaptation planning and implementation, sits empty.”

“Many LDCs have made ambitious commitments under the Paris Agreement. However, these commitments cannot be implemented without substantial support, including technological and financial support. Many estimates suggest that more than $100 trillion is needed to transition to a global low-carbon society. The financial support committed by developed countries to date falls far short of this figure and is therefore woefully inadequate. The little that has nominally been made available through various funds and institutions continues to be inaccessible for our countries that the lack individual and institutional capacity to readily access those funds. In short, climate finance must begin to actually flow to the countries that need it and be scaled up drastically if we are to limit global warming to safe levels and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change across the globe.”

“Despite the challenges LDCs face, we are leading through action, for example by building on the successful launch of the LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative at COP22. Through this initiative, LDCs are taking charge of their energy future and security and empowering our poorest communities to pursue sustainable development through equitable access to clean, sustainable and low-carbon energy.”

The LDC Group has already convened in Bonn for preparatory meetings from 1-2 May, to consolidate our positions and strategies ahead of the upcoming negotiations.

Further details on these topics, as well as other prominent issues arising at the Bonn conference can be found in the LDC group’s Media Background Note (below).

 

 

Media Background Note

The Least Developed Countries Group and the Bonn Climate Change Conference

From 8-18 May 2017, the United Nations climate change negotiations will convene in Bonn, Germany.[1] This session marks the half-way point to the finalisation of the UNFCCC’s ‘rule book’ to implement the Paris Agreement in 2018, so it is vitally important that substantive progress is made.

The negotiations follow more than a year of growing political momentum within the international community to address climate change. In December 2015 the Paris Agreement was adopted and on 4 November 2016 it entered into force – an achievement that came far sooner than expected.

While international political progress over the past year has been significant, countries are still far from implementing actions on the scale required to steer the planet away from dangerous climate change and achieve the goals that have been set under international agreements. For developing countries, and particularly the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the Bonn conference is an important opportunity to continue working towards a strong and fair international response to climate change, to protect poor and vulnerable communities across the world and safeguard the planet for future generations.

With work under the Paris Agreement now underway, the focus of the climate change negotiations must be firmly on action and implementation. At COP22[2] in Marrakech, Parties began negotiating how the UNFCCC’s ‘rule book’ will be elaborated to ensure the commitments Parties made in Paris are translated into tangible actions to address climate change. However, progress in Marrakech was slower than the LDC group had hoped. In Bonn, the international community must work productively to make the decisions needed to implement the Paris Agreement.

Detailed in this note are some of the key questions arising in Bonn, including:

  • How will support be secured for poor and vulnerable countries?
  • How will global temperature goals be met?
  • How will countries adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change?
  • How will countries cope with the unavoidable impacts of climate change?
  • How will countries assess progress and adjust actions to successfully implement the Paris Agreement?

Progress of the “LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative (REEEI) for Sustainable Development” is also outlined; an initiative reflecting LDC’s commitment to taking real action on climate change.

The LDC group is committed to achieving fair and ambitious outcomes on all of the issues arising at the Bonn conference, not just those listed here. For further information, interviews, briefings or quotes on these topics or others from the LDC group please email  ldcchair.media@gmail.com to be put in touch with Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC group.

1.     How will support to poor and vulnerable countries be secured?

A prominent issue in Bonn will take place around the commitment made by developed countries to mobilise a minimum of $100bn a year in climate finance to support developing countries to adapt to climate change and take actions to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Developing countries are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and yet many lack the capacity to adequately protect their populations from the severe storms, increased drought, sea level rise and spreading disease that is already starting to occur. While most developing countries have submitted plans to limit their emissions in their intended or final Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, many have also noted the need for support to carry out these commitments.

Over the next two decades more than $100tn USD will be needed to finance the necessary infrastructure for the transition to a global low carbon economy.[3] Preliminary estimates of the total amount of finance required for developing countries to implement their NDCs over a similar period are small in comparison, exceeding $4tn USD, however the finance to meet these commitments is lacking. Currently only $35.3bn USD has been pledged to climate finance across multiple different funds, falling far short of any of these measures.[4] Only 8% of this ($2.6bn) has been disbursed, and of this very little finds its way to the poorest countries. With the election of Donald Trump, $2bn of the US’ pledged $3bn to the Green Climate Fund is unlikely to materialise. Greater action therefore needs to be taken in mobilising public finance and stimulating private finance, particularly in the poorest countries which are slipping through the gaps.

A key issue with respect to climate finance is also how it is tracked and accounted for. Climate change is a challenge which is both additional to and exacerbates existing development challenges, so to ensure all countries have the tools and resources to reduce their emissions and protect their communities it is important that the finance counted towards the $100bn minimum target represents new and additional finance that goes beyond Official Development Assistance.

LDC ministers have emphasised the importance of developing country ownership over finance provided, urging the Financial Mechanism of the Paris Agreement “to ensure country ownership, facilitate direct access and provide support while prioritizing the most vulnerable countries, particularly LDCs, to develop quality projects.”[5] However, many vulnerable countries still have difficulty accessing finance that has been pledged, so there is a need to make access to, and disbursement, of funds more straightforward. Many of these issues will arise during the in-session workshop on long-term climate finance on 15 May 2017 in Bonn.

Capacity building is another prominent issue, and the first meeting of the Paris Committee on Capacity-building will take place in Bonn from 11-13 May. The outcomes of the Committee’s work are of particular importance to LDCs, with capacity constraints forming a serious impediment to the pursuit of low-carbon development. Strengthening the abilities of LDCs and other developing countries to take climate action and have a voice in the international arena is vital to a truly global response to climate change. Recognising the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women and the significant role they have to play in climate solutions is one important consideration in this regard

2.    How will global temperature goals be met?

In Bonn, key discussions will continue around action to curb greenhouse gas emissions to safe limits for communities and ecosystems across the world. Reports by the IPCC (the UN’s climate science panel) highlight the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the most catastrophic of projected impacts. The Paris Agreement sets a goal of keeping average global temperatures well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.[6] This goal must be taken seriously as many vulnerable countries face devastating impacts even with 1.5°C of warming, including small island states, some of which could disappear due to rising sea-levels at warming above these levels. Higher levels of warming increase the risks of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.[7]

If countries continue emitting in a business as usual scenario the world will experience warming of 2.6-4.8°C above preindustrial levels by the end of the century.[8] Current targets set by countries under their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally are also not enough, and are projected to lead to temperatures 3-3.5 degrees above preindustrial levels (this is also assuming full implementation of developing country commitments which are conditional on the provision of support from developed countries).[9]

The Paris Agreement provides that every five years countries will submit a new NDC that represents a ‘progression’ beyond their current commitments.[10] Thus, important discussions will be had in Bonn around how the Paris Agreement will facilitate an upwards spiralling of commitments that is both fair and proportional to the task at hand. This will include mechanisms to enhance accountability among countries such as reporting and review requirements, to enable the scrutinization of countries’ actions against the best available science (further discussed in part 4 below).

3.     How will countries adapt to climate change?

Ongoing discussions around how countries will adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change are imperative to an effective global response, with communities across the world at risk. These impacts are particularly acute in the LDCs, as extreme weather events, increased drought and floods, and the spread of tropical diseases threaten public health, food security and water supplies. LDC ministers have emphasised the need to “raise the profile of adaptation by insisting on recognition of adaptation efforts”.[11] Recognition of adaptation as a component of the commitments made by countries under their NDCs was an important achievement in Paris.[12]

The Paris Agreement provides for countries to submit ‘adaptation communications’, including their priorities, implementation and support needs, plans and actions. Parties began to develop specific modalities for the adaptation communications in Marrakech in 2016, and these negotiations will continue in Bonn.[13] Many LDCs have spent considerable time and effort developing National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and for these countries it is important that they are able to submit their NAPs as their Adaptation Communication.

LDCs have consistently expressed their concern at the lack of support given to developing countries for adaptation actions. The LDC Fund, designed to help LDCs formulate NAPs, currently lies empty. Important discussions in Bonn will therefore also centre around how developed countries will provide support to ensure all countries can meet their adaptation commitments. LDC ministers have called for the “mobilization of adequate and effective support for adaptation”,[14] to enable communities to prepare their economies, infrastructure and social support structures for the impacts of climate change. An important point for the negotiation room is to ensure that the Adaptation Fund is clearly linked to the Paris Agreement to help mobilise finance to support adaptation in developing countries.

4.     How will countries cope with unavoidable climate impacts?

Not all of the negative effects of climate change can be avoided through adaptation. With a changing climate, communities who are reliant on agriculture can have their livelihoods wiped out during a single bad drought, while island states face the loss of homes, culture and historic ties to their land. Thus, an important aspect of responding to climate change effectively is addressing impacts that communities are not able to cope with or adapt to. In the UNFCCC process this is referred to as ‘loss and damage’.

A significant achievement in Paris was the recognition of loss and damage as a key action area in the international community’s response to climate change, with a standalone provision in the Paris Agreement. However, as with adaptation, the loss and damage provision is expressed in general terms and further work will be required to fully elaborate a mechanism to “enhance understanding, action and support” with respect to loss and damage.[15]

A central component of the framework for loss and damage negotiated in Paris is strengthening the existing Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts.  Countries agreed that this will include establishing a clearinghouse for risk transfer to act as a repository for information to assist with the development of comprehensive risk management strategies.[16] This will help developing countries to gain greater understanding of and access to risk management tools such as insurance and contingency funds that can be used to address loss and damage. A task force to assist people displaced by the impacts of climate change will also be developed.[17]

5.    How will countries assess progress and adjust actions to successfully implement the Paris Agreement?

Important discussions will continue in Bonn around how to develop the mechanisms to enhance transparency, take stock of progress, and promote compliance with the Paris Agreement. Each of these components are key to ratchetting up climate action to put the world on track to meet the goals set in Paris.

Key to ensuring ambitious, upscaled action on all aspects of the Paris Agreement is a transparency framework setting out clear guidelines for reporting, reviewing and assessing progress. A strong transparency framework allows for all countries, civil society organisations and the public generally to understand what action is being taken to mitigate and adapt to climate change and mobilise support, and where individual countries are falling short of their climate targets.

The Paris Agreement also establishes a new global stocktake which will take stock of progress globally towards implementing the Paris Agreement. The global stocktake is an important process to ensure the world remains on the right trajectory and further negotiations about the design of the global stocktake will occur in Bonn.

For those countries which are failing to meet their targets or having difficulty in doing so, a new compliance mechanism is also being negotiated which will help facilitate effective implementation of the Agreement. A comprehensive compliance mechanism where parties can be referred from a variety of sources (including self-referral, referral by other parties and referral from the transparency mechanism) will ensure all countries receive the advice and expert guidance needed to help them stay on track.

6.     The LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative for Sustainable Development

The Bonn conference will provide a platform for the advancing collaborative efforts by countries to act on climate change. Of particular significance to the LDCs is the “LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative (REEEI) for Sustainable Development”, which was successfully launched in Marrakech last November.

The LDC REEEI empowers LDCs to take charge of their sustainable development pathways, improving livelihoods across the LDCs by facilitating access to modern, clean, resilient energy systems for millions of energy-starved people. Through improved energy access and the creation of jobs, the Initiative will simultaneously contribute to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative aims to ensure no LDC will be left behind by supporting African LDCs to participate effectively in the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, while developing similar opportunities for Asian and other LDCs. The initiative also offers an opportunity for developed countries to fulfil their commitments to provide financial, technological and capacity building support under UNFCCC agreements.

The LDC REEEI forms a pillar of the Marrakech Global Partnership on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, which will foster access to energy and sustainable development across the LDCs, African countries and small island and other developing states.

 

[1] The conference will include the third part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1-3), the forty-sixth sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 46) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 46).

[2] The 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016.

[3] Rounded up from an estimated $93tn over the next 15 years. http://www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/publications/publication-pdfs/financing-the-global-low-carbon-transition.pdf

[4] Neha Rai, Sara Best and Marek Soanes, ‘Unlocking climate finance for decentralised energy access’, Working Paper, June 2016, IIED: http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/16621IIED.pdf

[5] Communiqué from the LDC Pre-Marrakech ministerial meeting, hosted in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 28 September 2016, Annex: thematic priorities: https://ldcclimate.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/ldc-pre-marrakech-ministerial-meeting-kinshasa-democratic-republic-of-congo-28-september-2016/.

[6] Paris Agreement, Article 2(1)(a).

[7] UNFCCC 2013-2015 Review and Structured Expert Dialogue http://unfccc.int/files/science/workstreams/the_2013-2015_review/application/pdf/sed_final_report_presentation_a__fischlin__zou_ji.pdf

[8] IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, summary for policy makers, page 10: https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf

[9] UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2015, pages 21-22. http://uneplive.unep.org/media/docs/theme/13/EGR_2015_301115_lores.pdf

[10] Paris Agreement, Article 3.

[11] Communiqué from the LDC Pre-Marrakech ministerial meeting, hosted in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 28 September 2016, Annex: thematic priorities: https://ldcclimate.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/ldc-pre-marrakech-ministerial-meeting-kinshasa-democratic-republic-of-congo-28-september-2016/ .

[12] Paris Agreement, Article 3.

[13] Paris Agreement, Articles 3 and 7.

[14] Communiqué from the LDC Pre-Marrakech ministerial meeting, hosted in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 28 September 2016, Annex: thematic priorities: https://ldcclimate.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/ldc-pre-marrakech-ministerial-meeting-kinshasa-democratic-republic-of-congo-28-september-2016/ .

[15] Paris Agreement, Article 8(3).

[16] Decision 1/CP.21 Article 49

[17] Decision 1/CP.21 Article 50.

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