LDCs CALL FOR G7 TO TAKE THE LEAD ON AMBITIOUS CLIMATE ACTION AT ANNUAL SUMMIT

(6 June 2018) As leaders from the world’s largest advanced economies prepare to meet in Charlevoix on 8-9 June for the annual G7 Summit, the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group is calling on the G7 to demonstrate that they are moving forward with ambitious climate action and stand in solidarity with the developing world.

A key focus area of Canada’s G7 Presidency is working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy. Addressing climate change is also essential to effective outcomes across the other themes of investing in growth that works for everyone; preparing for jobs of the future; advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment; and building a more peaceful and secure world.

Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC Group, said “G7 countries need to take the lead in driving ambitious action against climate change. The Earth’s carbon budget is rapidly dwindling, and the existing pledges made by the international community do not add up to the emission reductions necessary to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees and protect present and future generations. This is despite many LDCs and other developing countries committing to actions exceeding their fair share of the effort.”

“While the G7 continue to benefit from economies and infrastructure built on fossil fuels, climate change is having devastating impacts across the world. The G7 need to begin taking action consistent with their responsibility for the climate crisis and with their capability to respond. This includes fulfilling pre-2020 commitments on climate action and support, and moving forward with more ambitious nationally determined contributions that are in line with the long-term goals under the Paris Agreement and will enable the Sustainable Development Goals to be met.”

Mr. Endalew noted that climate finance remains well below the $100 billion that developed countries committed to providing annually by 2020, and explained “finance is key to enabling an effective global response to climate change so that all countries have the tools to limit greenhouse gas emissions and protect their citizens from its impacts. The G7 must honour their promises to scale up the financial, technology and capacity support they provide, and must also seriously consider how they can enhance transparency, reliability and predictability of that support.”

“The G7 should prioritise investing in a low carbon, climate resilient future, both domestically and abroad. This should include a commitment from the G7 to present a roadmap to phase out fossil fuel subsidies that are hindering efforts to combat climate change. The G7 should build and promote economies that support the needs of all and that do not impinge on the ability of others to live a safe and dignified life.”

Mr. Endalew reflected on the significant impact of severe weather events on economic development, food security, health and migration, and said “the LDCs are particularly vulnerable to climate change and increasingly suffer loss and damage from climate impacts. The G7 needs to step up and work constructively to establish a concrete plan to protect people and the planet.”

Mr. Endalew also welcomed the G7’s focus on advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, and said “the empowerment of women, youth, indigenous peoples and local communities is a catalyst for climate action, and should be at the forefront of the international community’s response.”

Looking forward in 2018, Mr. Endalew said “the LDC Group looks forward to constructive conversations in June at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue and the Ministerial on Climate Action. A great deal of work needs to be done in 2018 ahead of COP24, which will be the key moment to finalise the guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement. We need to see ambitious outcomes this year, with scaled up commitments by the G7 and other countries that are not shouldering their fair share of the international climate effort, informed by the outcomes of the IPCC special report on 1.5 degrees and the Talanoa Dialogue.”

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RUNNING OUT OF TIME: LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES CALL FOR URGENT ACTION AT UN CLIMATE TALKS

(10 May 2018) Today, the United Nations Climate Change Conference drew to a close in Bonn, Germany. A key focus of the negotiations has been the Paris Agreement Work Programme, under which countries are designing the guidelines that will implement the Paris Agreement.

At the conclusion of the session, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, Gebru Jember Endalew, said: “The LDC Group came to Bonn ready to shift gears and make concrete progress on the numerous issues that need to be addressed this year to translate the Paris Agreement from concepts to actions. The Group hoped that the negotiations would advance further at this meeting, and we are disappointed that many vital topics are still at conceptual stages. The Group is concerned by the lack of urgency we are seeing to move the negotiations forward. It is time to look at the bigger picture, see the severe impacts that climate change is having across the world, and rise to the challenge.”

“Finance is key to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. In the face of climate change, poor and vulnerable countries are forced to address loss and damage and adapt to a changing climate, all while striving to lift their people out of poverty without repeating the mistakes of an economy built on fossil fuels. This is not possible without predictable and sustainable support.”

“Countries have failed to deliver on pre-2020 commitments and global temperatures are dangerously close to 1.5 degrees. Countries need to shoulder their fair share of the effort to increase ambition and support in line with their responsibilities for this climate crisis and their capabilities to respond.”

On the Talanoa Dialogue, Mr. Endalew said, “The LDC group valued the opportunity to engage with governments and civil society to share our stories through the Talanoa Dialogue. To be meaningful, this Dialogue must deliver concrete outcomes that drive an increase in ambition and support to put us on track to achieving the 1.5 degree temperature goal set in Paris, guided by equity and science.”

“A robust, balanced and comprehensive package of guidelines to implement the Paris Agreement must be delivered at COP24. The LDCs will arrive in Bangkok prepared to engage in concrete, textual negotiations, and expect other countries to do the same. Steady progress needs to be made throughout 2018 on all issues so that poor and vulnerable countries can engage effectively. A last-minute rush at COP24 risks leaving developing countries behind.”

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LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES GROUP DEMAND CLIMATE ACTION THAT LEAVES NO COUNTRY BEHIND AT UN TALKS IN BONN

The Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group will hold a Media Briefing on Tuesday 1 May at the World Conference Center Bonn. For further details please contact ldcchair.media@gmail.com

From 30 April – 10 May 2018, the UN climate change negotiations will be held in Bonn, Germany. The negotiations come at a critical time as countries work to finalise the rules and processes to operationalise the Paris Agreement, while the impacts of climate change continue to intensify. We need to leave Bonn with a strong basis to begin textual negotiations and greater clarity around the Talanoa Dialogue process and outcome.

Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group, Gebru Jember Endalew, said:  “Climate change is a critical issue and an urgent, global response is required. Lives and livelihoods across the world are on the line, particularly in the LDCs. We have a very small window of time left to develop a set of clear, comprehensive, and robust rules to enable full and ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement before the December 2018 deadline. At this Bonn negotiation, and as a matter of urgency, countries need to build on the foundations laid in Paris and agree on a strong architecture to implement the Paris Agreement that catalyses fair and ambitious action to steer the world away from dangerous climate change.”

“Keeping global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius is a matter of survival. The LDCs look forward to the Talanoa Dialogue resulting in more ambitious action and support, as science tells us that even full implementation of current commitments under the Paris Agreement will not be enough to reach the 1.5 degree temperature goal. Countries must take immediate action to rapidly reduce emissions in line with their respective capacities and responsibilities for causing climate change and prepare for a sustainable future.”

“As LDCs, we are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and we also face the new challenge of developing to lift our people out of poverty sustainably by leapfrogging to renewables rather than relying on fossil fuels. LDCs and other developing countries cannot adequately protect our communities from the impacts of climate change or reduce our emissions without the appropriate tools and resources. There remains a vast gap between the support needed and support received. The LDCs call on developed countries to finally deliver on their longstanding promise to mobilise at least USD 100bn a year and bridge the ever-widening finance gap before the distance becomes too great.”

“The international community must act now to ensure our Paris goals do not slip out of reach. The world cannot afford to sit idle until the Paris Agreement’s 2020 implementation period kicks off. Action needs to be taken, support provided, and ambition increased without delay. The more countries do now, the less severe the impacts of climate change will be.”

“The international community needs to face up to the increasing loss and damage caused by climate change. Climate impacts are already all around us. The severity and frequency of floods, storms, droughts, sea level rise and other impacts is only increasing and hundreds of millions of people are at risk of being displaced. The LDCs look forward to sharing their experiences in the upcoming Suva Expert Dialogue, continuing to work towards a concrete finance plan for loss and damage, and establishing a permanent place for discussions around this important issue.”

“The LDC group was pleased to see the Gender Action Plan adopted at COP23 last year. We now need to see gender considerations incorporated into all elements of the Paris Agreement rulebook. Women and children are often the worst impacted by climate change, but despite this continue to be key agents of change, leading their communities and nations to a prosperous and sustainable future.

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

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Media Background Note: Bonn Climate Change Conference 2018

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LDC Group and the UN Climate Change Negotiations

From 30 April – 10 May 2018, the United Nations climate change negotiations will convene in Bonn, Germany. The Bonn Climate Change Conference comes at a time when the urgency of action on climate change has never been clearer. In 2017, the world experienced devastating events exacerbated by climate change, from deadly hurricanes and flooding, to severe droughts, wildfires and heatwaves, creating irreversible loss and damage. Spread across Africa, southern Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean, none know this better than the 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs). While the LDCs have contributed negligible emissions, they are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and many lack the capacity to adequately protect their populations.

While there has been significant international political progress in recent years, countries are still far off 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. The LDC group intend to use the upcoming Conference to chart a course towards fair and ambitious outcomes that curb the growing threat climate change poses to people and the planet, to implement the UN Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, and to advance the interests and aspirations of poor and vulnerable countries and peoples.

Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement, Parties set about creating the rules to translate the Paris vision into tangible action. This ruleset is due to be delivered this December at COP24, but much work remains to be done in developing a robust set of rules that will enable full and ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Detailed in this note are some of the key questions that will arise in Bonn, including:

  • How will support be secured for poor and vulnerable countries?
  • How will global temperature goals be met?
  • How will countries deal with the adverse impacts of climate change?
  • How will the world transition to a clean energy future?
  • How can we advance climate action in 2018?

The Least Developed Countries Group is committed to achieving fair and ambitious outcomes on all of the issues arising at the negotiations, 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 be secured for poor and vulnerable countries?

Climate finance issues proved particularly contentious at COP23 in November 2017, and these debates will continue in Bonn. A core issue is the fulfilment of the commitment made by developed countries to mobilise a minimum of US$100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 to support developing countries to both cope with the impacts of climate change and take actions to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Climate finance is key to the implementation of the Convention, Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement; empowering developing countries to protect their citizens, and pursue their ambitious climate actions.

The support LDCs and other developing countries currently receive falls far short of the US$100 billion agreed. So far, US$10.3 billion has been pledged to the Green Climate Fund, while targeted funds like the Least Developed Countries Fund sit almost empty with a backlog of approved projects. Many vulnerable countries also have difficulty accessing finance that has been mobilised, so mechanisms for the disbursement of funds need to be improved to ensure support reaches those countries that need it so acutely. One of the forums in which these issues will arise in Bonn will be the workshop on long-term finance, which is set to consider how to scale up climate finance for mitigation and adaptation.[i]

Climate finance discussions will also need to consider how to meet the actual needs of LDCs and other developing countries. More than US$4 trillion is needed to implement the current nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of developing countries, with US$200 billion needed for LDC adaptation actions costed to date alone (this figure is despite some LDCs having only partially costed their needs or not costed them at all).[ii] In this context, Parties need to decide a new collective goal on finance beyond the current ‘floor’ of $100 billion by 2025, as mandated at COP21, and the LDCs will be advocating for this discussion to begin to allow adequate time for deliberations. There is also an urgent need to agree to a definition of climate finance, so that when ‘climate finance’ is provided, parties can be confident that it is new and additional to Official Development Assistance and not double counted. This will enable the amount of money that is actually provided to support climate action to be assessed.

In Bonn, Parties will also reopen the issue of developed countries providing ex ante information on the provision of public financial resources, a topic that saw countries deliberating into the early hours of the morning at the conclusion of COP23. Such information gives developing countries the confidence to plan and implement climate actions and it is important this is addressed in 2018.

Without scaled up and predictable climate finance, as well as support in the form of technology and capacity building, the LDCs and other developing countries who have made ambitious pledges under the Paris Agreement will not have the means to implement them and contribute to global goals. There will be a number of forums in Bonn for discussion of technology and capacity building, both in the formal negotiations, as well as in sessions on Action for Climate Empowerment, the Durban Forum on Capacity-building, and the meeting of the Paris Committee on Capacity Building.[iii]

2.     How will global temperature goals be met?

In Bonn, key discussions will continue around action to curb emissions to remain within safe limits for communities and ecosystems across the world. Reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC – the UN’s climate science panel) highlight the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change. While 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,[iv] full implementation of current emissions reduction pledges made by countries in their NDCs, including conditional pledges,[v] are projected to lead to a temperature rise of 2.7-3.2°C.[vi] Global temperatures have risen 1.2°C so far and this is already having a devastating effect.[vii]

At the end of last year, LDC Ministers noted the large ambition gap with ongoing concern and reemphasised the need for higher climate ambition by all countries in a manner that is consistent with their responsibility for climate change and capacity to respond, in order to close the emissions gap to avoid further devastating climate change impacts.”[viii] The Paris Agreement provides that every five years countries will submit a new NDC that represents a ‘progression’ beyond their current commitments, and so important discussions will be had at the Conference around how to facilitate an upwards spiralling of commitments that is both fair and proportional to the task at hand – a task that the LDC group has emphasised should occur before 2020.[ix]

As was emphasised in the conclusions of COP23,[x] developed countries need to urgently follow through on their decades-old commitments under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions and all countries must ratify the Doha Amendment if they have not yet done so to bring the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol into force. Ambitious mitigation in the pre-2020 period is essential to achieving the global temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. The less mitigation that is undertaken now, the more devastating and costly the effects of climate change will be in the future.

  1. How will countries deal with the adverse impacts of climate change?

Developing mechanisms that assist countries to adapt the adverse impacts of climate change is imperative to an effective global response. The LDCs are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and in dire need of receiving support to build climate-resilient communities. Finance, technology, and capacity building needs to be provided to assist LDCs with the formulation and implementation of their National Adaptation Plans and other forms of adaptation planning, so that countries can prepare their economies, infrastructure and social support structures for the impacts of climate change. How to secure this support and what information on adaptation should be communicated by countries will continue to be an important discussion at the Conference.

Additionally, with a changing climate, communities who are reliant on agriculture can have their livelihoods wiped out during a single drought, while island states face the loss of homes, culture and history of entire populations. An unavoidable aspect of responding to climate change effectively is addressing impacts that communities are not able to cope with or adapt to. Recognition of the loss and damage that results from climate change as a key action area in the international community’s response was a significant achievement under the Paris Agreement.[xi]

At COP23 there were contentious debates around loss and damage. The push by LDCs and other developing countries for a permanent agenda item was opposed by developed countries, eventually compromising with a one-off expert dialogue – the Suva Expert Dialogue – that will be conducted in Bonn.[xii] This Dialogue will explore ways to provide expertise and enhance support for averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage. A concrete finance plan for loss and damage is lacking and the LDC Group will continue to push for progress on genuine support for loss and damage in 2018.

4.     How will the world transition to a clean energy future?

The Conference will also be an important opportunity to advance tangible outcomes by providing a platform for collaborative efforts between countries to act on climate change. Renewable energy is a key area in this regard, and has the power to place the world on a path to a cleaner, fairer and more prosperous future.

The LDCs are working hard to lift their people out of poverty and achieve sustainable development outcomes without relying on fossil fuels, and their Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative for Sustainable Development is an example of LDC leadership in this space. LDC Ministers recently welcomed progress and reaffirmed their commitment to the Initiative, while urging the global community to support its implementation.[xiii] The Initiative will empower LDCs to achieve universal energy access by implementing modern distributed renewable energy systems, planning for a 100% renewable energy future, and utilizing the best practice energy use and efficiency standards.

Similar initiatives are being taken up by other countries and groups of countries. The Bonn Conference is an opportunity for countries to share their experiences, catalyse support, and demonstrate they are serious about tackling climate change with real action.

  1. How can we advance climate action in 2018?

2018 is expected to be a busy year both inside and outside the UNFCCC negotiations. An additional negotiating session has been proposed for Bangkok in September in light of the many key issues that need to be resolved, and there are also a number of high-level events scheduled, such as the Talanoa Dialogue and a California Summit for non-Party stakeholders.

The 2018 deadline for completion of the UNFCCC’s “ruleset” to implement the Paris Agreement is fast approaching, and it is vital that this rulebook effectively addresses each pillar of the Agreement to facilitate fair and ambitious climate action on all of the issues outlined above. Parties will need to ensure tangible progress is made in Bonn to avoid a last-minute rush at COP24.

The Talanoa Dialogue, which will be ongoing throughout this year, will play an important role in providing collective guidance on how to put the world on a pathway to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. The Talanoa Dialogue must also take stock of the persistent gap in finance, technological and capacity building support and lead to recommendations on how to close that gap. At the Conference, Parties and non-Party stakeholders will have the opportunity to engage in ‘story telling with a purpose’ and reflect on where we are, where we want to be, and how we will get there. The Talanoa Dialogue will conclude with a political phase conducted by Ministers in Poland at COP24.

It is anticipated there will be a strong focus on pre-2020 action in Bonn. Pre-2020 action, support, and scaled up ambition over the next two years will be fundamental to achieving fair and equitable outcomes for all. In Bonn, the world will be watching for leaders across the globe to take serious action on climate change and the LDC group looks forward to working with all partners towards just, effective and ambitious outcomes on all issues arising at the Conference.

 

[i]Long-term climate finance workshop: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/conferences/bonn-climate-change-conference-april-2018/events-and-schedules/mandated-events/mandated-events-during-sb-48/long-term-climate-finance-lft-workshop-part-1.

[ii] Guardian, April 2016: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/22/climate-change-study-poor-countries-4tn-2030-avert-catastrophe-paris-agreement ; Addis-Ababa LDC Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change, page 2: https://ldcclimate.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/addis-ababa-ldc-ministerial-communique-on-climate-change.pdf.

[iii] Mandated events during SB 48https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/conferences/bonn-climate-change-conference-april-2018/events-and-schedules/mandated-events/mandated-events-during-sb-48.

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

[v] The NDCs of some countries are contingent on a range of possible conditions, such as the ability of national legislatures to enact the necessary laws, ambitious action from other countries, realisation of finance and technical support, or other factors.

[vi] UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2017, page 18: https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/emissions-gap-report

[vii] World Bank: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/overview

[viii] Addis-Ababa LDC Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change, page 1.

[ix] Addis-Ababa LDC Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change, Annex.

[x] Decision 1/CP.23, paragraph 12.

[xi] Paris Agreement Article 8.

[xii] Suva Expert Dialogue: https://unfccc.int/node/65509

[xiii] Addis-Ababa LDC Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change, page 3.

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Press Release: Strategy Meeting of the Least Developed Countries Group hosted in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa – From 21-23 March, members of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to assess the status of the UN climate change negotiations following COP23 and devise a strategy to bring the priorities and interests of LDCs to centre-stage in 2018.

Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC Group, said it had been a valuable meeting, with coordinators on key issues in the negotiations collaborating on how to ensure a holistic approach is taken to advance the positions of the LDC group on all fronts, particularly to develop and finalise the rules of the Paris Agreement by the end of 2018, as mandated. Priorities across all areas of the climate change negotiations were discussed, including, for example:

  • Continuing to push for enhanced global climate action and the provision of support;
  • Engaging in the Talanoa Dialogue to building momentum for greater mitigation ambition in NDCs to be communicated by 2020, in the context of putting the world on a 1.5°C pathway;
  • Maintaining focus on the global goal of limiting temperature increases to 1.5°C, noting that models and analysis must focus on achieving 1.5°C rather than 2°C to protect the lives and livelihoods of people in LDCs;
  • Advancing discussions on a new collective goal on climate finance to scale up existing support to meet actual needs in developing countries, and urgently agreeing a definition on what constitutes climate finance to address ongoing issues such as the double counting resources provided;
  • Ensuring an agenda item is devoted to the Paris Agreement’s article on loss and damage at the negotiations of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, reflecting the urgent need for concrete action to address loss and damage; and
  • Advocating for the entry into force of the Doha Amendments of the Kyoto Protocol in 2018.
  • Incorporating the Gender Action Plan into all elements of the Paris ruleset.

The importance of enhancing cooperation with negotiating groups sharing common interests was also highlighted. Mr. Mohamed Nasr, Chair of the African Group, joined the meeting and both Chairs emphasised the value of collaboration between the two groups, noting 34 African countries are LDCs.

The LDC group will next convene in Bonn, Germany for preparatory meetings from 24-25 April 2018, to consolidate LDC positions and strategies ahead of the upcoming Bonn Climate Change Conference.

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Key priorities of Least Developed Countries in 2018

2018 is a crucial year in the climate negotiations. The twenty third Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn was able to draw the sketch of the Road to Katowice, and now it is important that negotiators get to work to ensure that the journey in the coming months is successfully completed.

In November 2017, the LDC Group with members comprising 47 countries spread across Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean attended the ‘First Island COP’, held under a Fiji Presidency at the seat of the UNFCCC Secretariat. With the mandate to develop and finalise the rules of the Paris Agreement by the end of 2018, the determination shown by governments in Bonn to make substantive progress on the work remaining was very positive. However, there are many areas of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP), tasked with developing different parts of the rules, which are still seriously lagging behind schedule.

With much work therefore still to be done to finalise the rules by the end of this year, the LDC group will also be reminding other negotiating groups in the lead up to COP24 not to lose sight of the big picture – that all these efforts should ultimately lead to ramping up the next round of emission reduction pledges to put the world on a pathway to limit warming to 1.5°C.  This picture will be informed by the ‘Talanoa Dialogue’ that was launched in COP23, under Fiji’s leadership.

Other announcements and initiatives launched in Bonn and later in Paris during the ‘One Planet Summit’ demonstrated that the momentum for effective climate action – by governments and non-state actors alike – is growing stronger.  This momentum must keep building through 2018 and beyond.

With this context, here are the top priorities for the Least Developed Countries in 2018.

The Paris rulebook

Parties have agreed that the rules being developed under the PAWP will be in place by the end of this year. These rules will guide Parties in terms of implementation of the Paris Agreement, including the preparation of the next round of more ambitious nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to be communicated by 2020.

The different co-facilitated agenda items at COP23 produced a series of Informal Notes totaling 226 pages that summarise the views of Parties and discussions in Bonn. There is much work to be done to turn these Informal Notes, which currently have no formal status, into actual draft negotiating text for each of the elements of the PAWP – including NDC guidance; rules for reporting of adaptation efforts; modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPGs) for the transparency framework; guidelines for the global stocktake, and for how to monitor compliance with the Paris Agreement.

The next formal opportunity to advance work on the Informal Notes will be at the Bonn negotiating session from 30 April-10 May.  An extra negotiation session is also now being proposed for early September in Bangkok.

Across the elements of the PAWP, there are still a range of differences in understandings and views among Parties on some fundamental issues.  Some of these issues may need additional space for political-level discussions and resolution so that they do not hinder progress on the detailed technical work that is still required. For example, under APA agenda item 5 that is developing the MPGs for the transparency framework, some groups are maintaining that the rules should continue the bifurcated approach between developed and developing countries that exists in the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) rules under the Convention.  Other groups, including the LDC group, argue that the Paris Agreement is clear in its mandate that there should be a single set of common MPGs applicable to all Parties, with flexibility provided to developing country Parties that need it in light of their capacities.

Parties will need to work diligently in 2018 to meet the COP24 deadline and deliver a robust set of rules that will enable full and ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement. 

The Talanoa Dialogue

The launching of the ‘Talanoa Dialogue’, earlier known as Facilitative Dialogue, was an important milestone achieved in Bonn in November 2017. ‘Talanoa’ is the Fijian terminology for sharing experiences, respecting each other in the expression of different opinions, building relationships and settling difficulties and disputes.  The intent of the dialogue is to to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal and to inform the preparation of NDCs.  This will include providing  information and guidance on how to ramp up current, and the next round of, climate pledges (NDCs) in the context of putting the world on a 1.5°C pathway.

The latest science tells us that global emissions need to peak by 2020. Any delay in peaking of even 5 years will have serious consequences for climate impacts – like future sea level rise. As the world is currently heading towards more than a 3°C temperature rise with current policies, the effective organisation and outcomes of the Talanoa Dialogue will play a crucial role in driving more ambitious mitigation climate action globally. The outcomes of the dialogue must ultimately lead to a significant collective increase in emissions reductions before 2020 to put us on track to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on 1.5°C will be an important input to the Talanoa dialogue. However, since the report will only be published in early October, it will be important that formal space is made so that Parties can consider its findings and so that the report can feed into final stage of the dialogue during COP24.  Extra efforts will be needed to ensure that the governments of our countries can fully engage with its findings.

The Fijian Presidency has presented the “Outline of the Talanoa Dialogue” and “Approach to the organisation of the Dialogue in first half of 2018” in the web portal launched at the beginning of the year. Both of these documents provide a clear overview of actions to be taken in preparation to the final outputs of the dialogue.

The first deadline for inputs into the Talanoa Dialogue is 2 April 2018.  Parties, stakeholders and expert institutions are encouraged to prepare analytical and policy relevant inputs to inform the dialogue, which will inform discussions at the April/May session in Bonn. A workshop has been planned during the weekend at the April/May session to explore the three guiding questions of the Dialogue – Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?

The LDC Group looks forward to engaging in the Talanoa Dialogue and has high expectations on the Dialogue’s contribution to building momentum for greater mitigation ambition in NDCs to be communicated by 2020.

Loss and Damage

In 2017, countries around the world, including a number of LDCs, experienced unprecedented intense precipitation events causing heavy flooding and mudslides, devastating the lives of millions of people, and devastating the economies of many countries. There is mounting evidence that climate change is making these impacts more likely, and leading to greater loss and damage. Scientists have confirmed that many of these impacts fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable, further highlighting a need for urgent action to address loss and damage.

In contrast, the body set up to deal with Loss and Damage under the UNFCCC – the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) – has only had minimal achievements in promoting concrete actions and support for developing countries to address such impacts. During COP23, LDCs and other vulnerable countries requested to have a standing agenda item for the Subsidiary Bodies to consider the issue of Loss and Damage more holistically but this request was rejected.

The compromise agreement to continue such discussions through an expert dialogue (called the Suva Expert Dialogue) in April will be crucial in raising the profile of loss and damage and delivering concrete action and support for vulnerable developing countries. A technical paper to be prepared by the Secretariat, considering submissions and inputs through the expert dialogue, will help inform the review of the WIM in 2019. Much remains to be achieved in the upcoming session on loss and damage, including establishing an expert group on Action and Support.

Finance is key to unlocking ambition

We also saw commendable leadership from a number of developed countries, who announced financial pledges in support of climate action and building resilience of poor and vulnerable people in developing countries.

The Adaptation Fund, celebrating ten years of operations, received a record amount of new funding pledges by Germany, Sweden, Italy, Ireland and Wallonia region of Belgium, totalling US$ 93.3 million.

Likewise, the Least Developed Countries Fund received pledges totaling over US$ 110 million. The LDC Group thanks all the contributors for their generosity and leadership, and also calls on other donor countries to make financing more predictable. To date, the LDC Fund has supported over 250 projects in 51 countries and a number of projects are under approval process.

The COP23 decision for the Adaptation Fund to be part of the Paris Agreement was commendable. However, further work still remains to be done in 2018 to decide on “how” the Adaptation Fund shall serve the Paris Agreement, including governance, institutional arrangements, safeguards and operating modalities and sources of funding.

There exists a large and persistent gap between support needed and support provided in terms of finance, technology and capacity building. As it will be difficult for poor and vulnerable countries like LDCs to access private and other means of finance, public finance remains key. Understanding and predictability of public financial resources can be enhanced by adopting common definitions including clarity on climate finance (what is new and additional, methodologies on accounting). This will help to further clarify how much money is genuinely projected to be provided.

The lengthy negotiations during COP23 on climate finance and related ex-post and ex-ante information will continue to be an extremely important matter for the success of the APA work programme.

The specific barriers limiting LDCs access to funding need to be addressed and the LDC Fund that supports our countries for urgent and immediate needs must be adequately resourced.

The Doha amendment

The commitments under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol for developed countries to reduce emissions and to provide climate finance to developing countries before 2020 will play an important role in achieving climate ambition to transition swiftly towards the implementation phase post-2020.

2018 should be the year for the Doha Amendments of the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force and sufficient mobilisation of climate finance. The agreed approach in Bonn to organise a stocktake of pre-2020 implementation and ambition at COP24 and COP25, including two assessments of climate finance to be published in 2018 and 2020 should provide confidence to all countries to have concrete action in place.

We also look forward to a sufficient number of additional countries ratifying the Doha Amendments of the Kyoto Protocol so that it can enter into force before COP24. Only 35 more countries are required to fulfil the entry-into-force trigger of 144 countries.

Moving ahead

2018 is a crucial year in climate negotiations following the mandate from Paris and the additional work delegated from previous COP decisions.

Yet, negotiations are a slow, ongoing process and even if we resolve a number of these issues by the end of the year, there still will be many other issues to resolve. At the same time, as our countries are hit by ever more severe climate change induced disasters – such as droughts, floods, water scarcity, storms, melting of snow and glaciers – our people cannot be kept waiting because the diplomats are negotiating. We are responsible to bring solutions to the communities affected.

We need the Talanoa Dialogue and COP24 in Katowice to deliver rules for implementing the Paris Agreement but also to result in much more ambitious climate action and to rapidly translate the work done in the negotiating rooms into tangible action on the ground in countries most affected by climate change but with the least capacity to deal with it.

The measure for the success of COP24 is very clear. COP24 should be a turning point, from where we change the focus of our work more towards implementing actions on the ground.

Gebru Jember Endalew and Manjeet Dhakal

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PRESS RELEASE: Least Developed Countries Group at COP23

BONN—COP23, the international climate negotiations, draws to a close today in Bonn, Germany. Hosted by Fiji, the first ‘island COP’ shone a spotlight on the impacts of climate change on island states and particularly vulnerable countries.

Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group, Gebru Jember Endalew, said, “As an Ethiopian, I know intimately the pain caused by climate change. My country is in the grip of a severe drought that has put 13 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia at risk of increased food insecurity. At the same time, our friends in South Asia have been drenched by extraordinary monsoon flooding, friends in the Caribbean have been battered by devastating hurricanes, and island states in the pacific are watching their homes disappear before their eyes beneath the water.”

“As Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji put it, we are all in the same canoe. The impacts may vary, but no country can escape the damage of climate change. This is why we came to COP23 with high expectations for a COP of action and support, with substantive outcomes to achieve the goals set by the international community in Paris.”

“The LDCs welcome progress that has been made here at COP23, including the adoption of the Gender Action Plan and the Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Platform. It is essential that we amplify marginalised voices and recognise the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and indigenous communities around the world. This is crucial for achieving global climate justice and for addressing the multi-faceted threat of climate change.”

“Progress was also made on the design of the Talanoa Dialogue to be held in 2018. The Dialogue must lead to an increase in ambition by all countries to put us on track to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

“A key priority at COP23 was making significant progress on developing the ‘ruleset’ that will govern how countries implement their Paris Agreement commitments. While the LDC group welcomes the progress made, many areas of work are still lagging behind. This jeopardises our ability to complete the Paris ruleset by our agreed deadline at the end of 2018. We must urgently put pen to paper to properly finalise the ruleset in a thoughtful and considered manner, without a last-minute rush.”

“We also need to rapidly translate work done in the negotiating rooms into tangible action on the ground. This calls for ambitious climate action by all countries through strengthening and implementing national contributions, managing the decline of fossil fuels, and promoting renewable energy. The LDCs are committed to leading on ambitious climate action in our countries – a key example is the LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative, an LDC-owned and driven initiative to bring universal access to clean energy in the world’s poorest countries.”

“Tackling climate change also requires support for adaptation and loss and damage action in poor and particularly vulnerable countries. The LDC Group thanks Germany, Sweden and Belgium for the contributions to the Adaptation Fund and Least Developed Countries Fund. We hope to see other countries following suit and rapidly accelerating their finance pledges to meet the scale of support needed by developing countries to fill the ever-widening finance gap.”

“In particular, the need to adapt to, and address the irreversible loss and damage arising from, climate change is a matter of urgency for LDCs. The scale of loss and damage that LDCs are experiencing is already beyond our capacity to respond and it will only get worse, with more lives lost, more destruction to infrastructure and a bigger impact on our economies. We will not be able to raise our people out of poverty if we do not effectively address loss and damage and for that we need support.”

“The LDCs call for a global response to climate change that is fair and equitable, that advances the interests and aspirations of poor and vulnerable countries and peoples, and fulfils our Paris vision of limiting warming to below 1.5°C to ensure a safe and prosperous future for all.”

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

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