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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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Least Developed Countries Group calls for COP23 to be a COP of Finance and Support

BONN–From 6-17 November 2017, the United Nations climate change negotiations will convene in Bonn, Germany, for COP23. Hosted by Fiji, the negotiations are a key milestone, with only one year remaining to finalise the rules that will govern implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, said: “COP23 is a vital step on our journey to setting out a clear rulebook that will fully implement the vision laid out at Paris. This is the last COP before the work programme of the Paris Agreement is to be finalised, so we hope to leave Bonn with a draft negotiating text, that can be fleshed out over the coming year.”

The impacts of rising global temperatures continue to worsen. In the lead up to COP23, we saw historic monsoon flooding, resulting in over a thousand lives lost and the displacement of over two million people in South Asia; the impact of consecutive seasons of drought in Africa; historic rainfall (with Hurricane Harvey setting a single-storm rainfall record in the United States, causing tens of billions of dollars in damage); and historic windspeeds laying waste to many Caribbean island territories (with Hurricane Irma recording the highest windspeed on record for the open Atlantic Ocean). The catastrophic impacts of these extreme weather events underlie the urgency of substantive progress and action here in Bonn at COP23. LDCs will be pushing to deliver a Paris rulebook that catalyses greater ambition to correct our current trajectory and put the world on track to keep warming below 1.5°C. This means robust frameworks for reporting, implementation and compliance, and gauging progress across all facets of the Paris Agreement and climate Convention.”

“COP23 is also an important opportunity to bridge the widening finance gap, a serious barrier to ambitious climate action worldwide. The Paris Agreement set a vision for an ambitious global response to climate change that will keep warming below 1.5°C, in a fair and equitable manner that promotes sustainable development. Not only do existing climate pledges fall far short of this goal, but the finance mobilised by developed countries is also inadequate to help developing countries meet their climate goals and adaptation needs while important sources of support such as the Least Developed Countries Fund sit empty. LDCs and other developing countries cannot take ambitious action to address climate change or protect themselves against its impacts unless all countries fulfil and outdo the pledges they have made.”

“As the 47 poorest countries in the world, the LDCs face the unique and unprecedented challenge of lifting our people out of poverty and achieving sustainable development without relying on fossil fuels. Global solidarity and the support of the international community is essential for LDCs to achieve our ambitious climate plans, and protect our people from the devastating impacts of climate change that are already taking their toll.”

“The LDCs are calling for COP23 to be a COP of finance and support.”

“At COP23 the LDC Group will call on developed countries to rapidly accelerate the delivery of climate finance, with a particular focus on public finance. Both the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Adaptation Fund need to be replenished continuously and as soon as possible”

“Clear guidelines and adequate technological and capacity building support is also vital to enable LDCs to carry out actions to adapt to climate change and cope with losses and damages that threaten the survival of poor and vulnerable LDC communities,” said Mr. Endalew.

The LDC Group convened in Bonn for preparatory meetings from 29-30 October, to consolidate LDC positions and strategies ahead of the upcoming negotiations.

For more information, please see the LDC Group Media Background Note below.

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 9.14.18 amMedia Background Note

The Least Developed Countries Group and the UN Climate Change Negotiations

From 6-17 November 2017, the United Nations climate change negotiations will convene in Bonn, Germany, for COP23.[i] The Conference represents a critical moment in the international climate change negotiations. It comes at a time when urgency of action on climate change has never been clearer. The world has experienced devastating events exacerbated by climate change over the past year, 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), who have contributed negligible emissions but feel the impacts of climate change acutely due to their low social and economic development and severe capacity constraints.

While international political progress in recent years 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. 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, implement the UN Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, and advance the interests and aspirations of poor and vulnerable countries and peoples.

In particular, at COP23 the LDCs will be driving parties towards greater commitments for climate finance and support. Through the Convention and the Paris Agreement, the vision for a a low-carbon, resilient future that safeguards the lives and prosperity of communities around the world has been set. At COP 22 in Marrakech, Parties set about creating the rules to translate the Paris vision into tangible action.

While this work is ongoing, a critical gap remains in the level of support for developing countries. This is why COP23 must be a COP of finance and support. The LDCs call on developed countries to accelerate delivery on their climate finance obligations and bridge the ever-widening finance gap before the distance becomes too great.

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 countries design a “rulebook” to implement the Paris Agreement that helps bring about fair and ambitious climate action?

The Least Developed Countries Group is committed to achieving fair and ambitious outcomes on all of the issues arising at COP23, not just those listed here. For further information, interviews, briefings or quotes on these topics or others from the LDC group during COP23 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?

A prominent issue at COP23 will be around 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 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.

More than US$4 trillion is needed to implement the current NDCs of developing countries, with US$200 billion needed only for LDC adaptation actions costed to date, recognising that some LDCs have only partially costed their needs or not costed them at all.

The support LDCs, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other developing countries currently receive falls far short of the $100 billion target. So far US$10.3 billion has been pledged to the Green Climate Fund, while 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 mobilized, so mechanisms for the disbursement of funds need to be improved to ensure support reaches those countries that need it so acutely.

Through initiatives such as the LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative (REEEI), LDCs have demonstrated that they are leading the way on ambitious climate action. Yet developing countries are also the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and many lack the capacity to adequately protect their populations from the severe storms, increased drought, sea level rise and spreading diseases that are already occurring. While most developing countries have also submitted plans to limit their emissions in their intended or final Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, many have also noted the need for support in order to carry out their mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage related plans.

This is why the LDCs call for COP23 to be a COP of finance and support – emphasizing the key role climate finance must play in empowering developing countries to protect their citizens, and pursue their ambitious climate actions.

With this imperative, key discussions in Bonn must be held around:

  • How to scale up from a floor of US$100 billion a year to meet actual finance needs;
  • The development of rules to ensure genuine climate finance is provided that is new and additional to Official Development Assistance, including through clear rules around the new mechanism for transparency of support;
  • Beginning to develop modalities on an increased finance goal to be decided before 2025;
  • Setting out modalities to ensure the Facilitative Dialogue to be held in 2018 takes stock of the widening finance gap and leads to recommendations of how to close the gap;
  • Increased funding for specific developing country initiatives, such as LDC REEEI;
  • Commitments to increase funding committed in replenishment of the Green Climate Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund, Adaptation Fund and others; and
  • Finalising arrangements for the Adaptation Fund to serve the Paris Agreement.

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.

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 projected 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,[ii] full implementation of current emissions reduction pledges made by countries in their NDCs, including conditional pledges,[iii] are projected to lead to a temperature rise of 2.7-3.2°C.[iv] Global temperatures have risen 1.2°C so far and this is already having a devastating effect.[v] Countries must take temperature goals seriously to prevent increased risks of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts. Taking action to reduce emissions now minimises the need to take costly efforts to adapt to climate change or deal with the aftermath of unavoidable loss and damage, both of which are often beyond the current capacity of LDCs.

LDC Ministers recently 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.”[vi] 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.[vii] This will include mechanisms to enhance accountability among countries such as reporting and review requirements, to enable the scrutiny of countries’ actions against the best available science.

The 2018 Facilitative Dialogue will play an important role in providing collective guidance on the global effort needed to put the world on a pathway to below 1.5°C of temperature increase by informing the ambition of NDCs, and countries must ensure the process for this dialogue is clearly laid out by the end of the Bonn conference.[viii]

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

Developing mechanisms that assist countries in adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change are imperative to an effective global response. These impacts are particularly acute in the LDCs, where climate change exacerbates existing challenges; significantly limiting efforts to reduce poverty and hunger, grow sustainable cities, build climate-resilient infrastructure, and make strides to promote health, education and prosperity for all. LDCs have already spent considerable time and effort developing National Adaptation Plans and it is important that these plans, as well as other forms of adaptation actions, are adequately supported so that countries can prepare their economies, infrastructure and social support structures for the impacts of climate change. How to achieve this will continue to be an important discussion at the Conference.

Not all of the negative impacts of climate change can be avoided through adaptation, and countries are also faced with unavoidable loss and damage unleashed by climate change. 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 history of entire populations. Thus, an important aspect of responding to climate change effectively is addressing impacts that communities are not able to cope with or adapt to. Recognition of loss and damage as a key action area in the international community’s response was a significant achievement under the Paris Agreement. However, the provision is still expressed in general terms and further work is required to fully elaborate the mechanism into a tool that delivers on the ground assistance to those suffering from climate impacts.[ix]  This will include the establishment of a clearinghouse for risk transfer to act as a repository for information to assist with the development of comprehensive risk management strategies, which will help developing countries 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.

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

The Conference will also be an important opportunity to advance tangible outcomes through providing a platform for collaborative efforts by 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.[x]

The Initiative aims to:

  • Deliver universal energy access through implementation of modern distributed renewable energy systems for all, planning for a 100% renewable energy future, and utilizing best practice energy use and efficiency standards;
  • Fulfil national aspirations within LDCs using the power of clean energy to drive change for sustainable development and create new jobs, delivering co-benefits for health, environment and climate, and delivering new sources of finance, technology and capacity; and
  • Contribute to global goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals on renewable energy (SDG7), nationally determined contributions (NDCs), the Paris Agreement long-term goals, and enabling LDCs to benefit from other regional and global cooperation.

Similar initiatives are being taken up by other country groups and COP23 is an opportunity to catalyse support towards this shared goal by bringing Parties together to share their experiences, further strengthen global cooperation and demonstrate that countries across the world are serious about tackling climate change with real action.

5.     How can countries design a “rulebook” to implement the Paris Agreement that helps bring about fair and ambitious climate action?

The 2018 deadline for completion of the UNFCCC’s “rulebook” to implement the Paris Agreement is fast approaching, and it is vital that this rulebook is completed in a timely manner and effectively addresses each pillar of the Agreement to facilitate ambitious climate action on all of the issues addressed above. There are a number of key areas under the Paris Agreement that require a set of clear, comprehensive and robust rules to ensure its effective implementation.

Parties must, therefore, allow sufficient time to conclude this work without a last-minute rush and an important question being considered is how to ensure tangible progress at the Conference. The momentum behind the Paris Agreement must be harnessed to propel Parties towards substantive progress on finalising decision texts on a number of key issues and confirm the outline of a skeletal decision text on other issues so that these can be properly fleshed out over 2018.

This could include decisions on issues such as the Adaptation Fund serving the Paris Agreement. It is important that the Adaptation Fund is clearly linked to the Paris Agreement to help mobilize finance to support adaptation plans and actions in LDCs and other developing countries. A decision can be taken at COP23 that the Adaptation Fund shall serve the Agreement, to enable important questions on how to fully integrate the Fund into the Paris Agreement architecture to be considered before the finalization of the “rulebook” in 2018.

Another vital area is how to develop an outline for the transparency framework that can effectively monitor countries’ progress and identify areas for improvement to ensure ongoing, ambitious efforts to implement the Paris Agreement. Parties must also develop guidelines and rules for NDC, the process for the global stocktake to enable a robust stocktaking of how countries implement the Paris Agreement, and mechanisms to support that implementation and promote compliance.

It is crucial that a balanced approach is taken to negotiations going forward that ensures all facets of the Paris Agreement are considered in a holistic manner.

In Bonn this November, 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, equitable and ambitious outcomes on all issues arising at the Conference.

___

[i] This is the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and will be hosted by Fiji.

i] Paris Agreement, Article 2(1)(a).

[iii] 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.

[iv] UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2016, page 16: http://www.unep.org/emissionsgap/download-emissions-gap-report-2016

[v] http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/overview

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

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

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

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

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

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Ministers from Least Developed Countries Commit to Ambitious Climate Action and Call for Global Community to Step Up Support at UN Climate Change Negotiations

Addis Ababa — On 5 October, Ministers and Heads of Delegation from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group met in Addis Ababa to discuss the priorities of the LDC group in preparation for the international climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany in November 2017.

Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC Group, said it had been a very successful meeting, with Ministers discussing all of the key issues of the negotiations and expressing their countries’ dedication to ambitious climate action. “Today Ministers from across the world’s 47 poorest countries have demonstrated how LDCs are continuing to take the lead on ambitious climate action, pursuing sustainable, low carbon and climate resilient pathways to protect our people and our planet.”

“It is clear that LDCs face unique and unprecedented challenges in working to lift our people out of poverty while achieving sustainable development.  Ministers here in Addis Ababa have identified the need for global solidarity and the support of the international community to help LDCs achieve our ambitious climate plans.  Ministers have also highlighted that the global response to climate change must be fair and equitable, with countries acting in a manner that is consistent with their responsibility for climate change and capacity to respond.”

“Under the Paris Agreement the world has laid out a vision for achieving a greener, healthier and brighter future for all – the LDCs hope that the upcoming negotiations will generate finance and other support to ensure all countries of the world can make this vision a reality.”

The LDC group are fully committed to supporting Fiji, the first island nation to hold the presidency of the Conference of the Parties, to reach successful outcomes this November.

 
 
ATTACHMENT:
 

Addis-Ababa LDC Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change

We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegation of the Least Developed Country Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), having met in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, on 5 October 2017 in preparation for the 23rd Session of Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC to be presided over by the Government of Fiji in November 2017 (COP23):

Affirm that the global response to climate change must be fair and equitable to advance the interests and aspirations of poor and vulnerable countries and peoples;

Note with serious concern that the adverse impacts of climate change continue to worsen, as experienced through severe droughts and unprecedented rainfalls, storms and flooding around the world this year, particularly in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, resulting in great loss of life and tens of billions of dollars in damage to economies and infrastructure;

Emphasise that scientific research increasingly attributes the occurrence of heat extremes, drought, flooding, sea level rise and other slow onset and extreme events to human-induced climate change;

 Further emphasise that this decade and the last four years have been the hottest in recorded history as global temperatures continue to rise year-on-year;

Note with continued concern the large gap between the level of ambition needed to reach the long-term goal of pursuing efforts to limit warming to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and the current low level of ambition that is projected to result in an increase of at least 2.8°C in global temperature by 2100, even with the full implementation of current emission reduction pledges and commitments;

Encouraged by the 170 Parties that have ratified the Paris Agreement and urge all countries that have not yet done so to ratify as soon as possible;

Appreciate the recent announcements by many countries of renewed political commitment to the Paris Agreement despite the challenging political context, and recognise the value of this leadership to the UNFCCC process;

Re-emphasise 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;

Affirm our commitment to continue to lead on ambitious climate action in our countries; accelerating the transition to low carbon, climate resilient development to protect our citizens and sustain our economies;

 Emphasise that as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) we face the unique and unprecedented challenge of lifting our people out of poverty while achieving sustainable development without relying on fossil fuels and therefore global solidarity and the support of the international community are critical for the achievement of our ambitious climate plans;

 Further emphasise that for an equitable and effective global transition to a zero-carbon society, the LDCs must be supported to deliver and implement the ambitious climate commitments in our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and other climate plans;

 Call on all Parties to the Paris Agreement to communicate new and updated NDCs before 2020 with a view to increasing their contributions and addressing the current ambition gap, and to be informed by the outputs of the facilitative dialogue to be convened in 2018;

Welcome the mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies communicated by some Parties, and call on all Parties to do the same by 2020;

Commit to developing long-term climate strategies and call for developed countries and international partners to support this process;

Reiterate that adaptation and loss and damage are crucial components of the global response to climate change, especially for LDCs which are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, and that there is a need to support developing countries in addressing current and future climate change impacts;

Stress that climate action enables the delivery of the full range of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that coherent integration of NDCs and SDGs into national economic planning is a priority for all Parties;

Urge all developed country Parties to support LDCs in implementing their national climate change policies, measures and strategies, by fully implementing commitments relating to financial, capacity building and technological support;

Note with concern that trillions of dollars in climate finance is required to implement the NDCs of developing countries. Over USD 200 billion is needed only for LDC adaptation actions costed to date, recognising that some LDCs have only partially costed their needs or not costed them at all;

Further note with serious concern the limited resources available under the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) for immediate climate adaptation actions and call for urgent contributions to the LDCF;

Stress the need for facilitating access to climate finance by further streamlining and simplifying the application, approval and disbursement processes of the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility;

Further stress that a decision must be taken at COP23 to fully integrate the Adaptation Fund into the Paris Agreement architecture;

Express the readiness of all LDCs to formulate National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) by 2020;

Call on developed country Parties and all international partners to provide support to the LDCs to formulate NAPs and implement their actions;

Note with concern the lack of progress in phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, particularly in those countries that have pledged to eliminate them in the context of the global transition to net zero emissions by mid-century required to achieve the long-term temperature goal;

Further urge all international partners to provide support to LDCs in the spirit of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries to ensure all LDCs engage effectively in low emission and climate resilient development that will protect the lives of our populations, economies and systems;

Reassert the urgent need for technology development and transfer to enable developing countries, and in particular the LDCs, to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change;

Stress the need for capacity building to enhance knowledge and awareness, and enable the LDCs to implement climate change actions;

Further stress that the LDC Group fully supports the adoption of a robust gender action plan at COP23;

Recognise that the global uptake of renewable energy and energy efficient technology needs to happen more rapidly and that developing countries need greater financial and technical support to reap the benefits of these technologies in the context of low emission sustainable development;

Welcome progress on, andremain committed to taking forward the LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative for Sustainable Development and urge the global community to support the LDCs in implementing this Initiative;

Remain committed to collective effort to progress the negotiations on the work programme of the Paris Agreement and full and active engagement for achieving successful outcomes at COP23;

Remain committed to completing the work programme and the adoption of the rules of the Paris Agreement at the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement in 2018 as agreed at COP21;

Further call on all Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to urgently ratify the Doha Amendment to bring the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period into force;

Encourage all countries to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol;

Endorse the key messages of the LDC Group in the context of COP23, as contained in the annex to this communiqué;

Thank the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for the great hospitality and facilitation of this important LDC ministerial meeting.

Issued this 05 October 2017 in Addis-Ababa, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

ANNEX
 
Key messages of the LDC Group for COP 23

General

  • The urgency of action on climate change has never been clearer. The world has experienced devastating events exacerbated by climate change over the past year, creating irreversible loss and damage.
  • The 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have contributed negligible emissions but feel the impacts of climate change acutely due to their low social and economic development and severe capacity constraints.
  • The full implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement by all Parties is vital to protect present and future generations in LDCs and across the world. This demands fair, equitable and ambitious action by all Parties that is proportionate to the scale of the challenge before us, including in the pre-2020 period.
  • The Paris Agreement was the culmination of a global effort and groundswell of momentum to effectively address climate change. Eighty-five percent of all countries have ratified the Paris Agreement and some LDCs have communicated ambitious climate plans beyond their fair share.
  • Any decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement or decrease ambition in communicated climate action plans will severely damage the global solidarity achieved.
  • An effective global response to climate change is inextricably linked to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as climate change creates new and additional costs that exacerbate existing development challenges. Achieving a low-emissions and resilient future can simultaneously lift vulnerable communities in LDCs and across the world out of poverty.

Mitigation

  • The current level of global ambition does not put us on a track to limit average global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Parties must commit to more ambitious emission reduction targets and urgently peak global emissions to close the mitigation gap and secure emission pathways consistent with limiting global temperature rise to below 1.5°C.
  • Parties should raise their ambition on action and support through revision of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) before 2020 in a manner that is consistent with their responsibility and capacity to respond.
  • Urgent emission reductions are vital to minimise adverse impacts on LDCs and vulnerable populations by reducing the future cost of for adaptation and minimising unavoidable loss and damage.
  • Accelerated financial, capacity building and technological support is urgently needed for developing countries, in particular for LDCs, to enhance mitigation action.
  • By the end of 23rd Session of Conference of the Parties, the process for the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue must be clearly laid out. The Facilitative Dialogue must provide collective guidance on the global effort needed to put the world on a pathway to below 1.5°C of temperature increase by informing the ambition of the Parties’ NDCs.
  • The use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes must ensure environmental integrity, must relate to emissions reductions included in NDCs that are quantified and measured against an absolute baseline or baseline scenario and must be in line with accounting guidance developed under Article 4 of the Paris Agreement.

Adaptation

  • Adaptation must be addressed in a balanced manner with mitigation, with respect to both action and support and with a view to achieving the global goal on adaptation.
  • LDCs need further financial, technological and capacity building support in planning, developing and implementing their national adaptation plans and other adaptation actions.
  • The Adaptation Fund has been a strong pillar in promoting and generating experience towards concrete adaptation actions in developing countries and needs to be fully integrated into the Paris Agreement architecture.

Loss and damage

  • Loss and damage is a crucial component of the global response to climate change and an important part of the Paris Agreement.
  • The LDCs have limited financial, technological, human and institutional capacities to deal with loss and damage arising from the impacts of climate change.
  • Scaled up financial support for loss and damage is urgently required, including a permanent source of finance and delivery mechanism.
  • Loss and damage needs to be incorporated into all relevant processes under the Paris Agreement, including the enhanced transparency framework and the global stocktake.
  • The Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage must be enabled to address broader loss and damage issues.

Climate finance

  • Climate finance is key to the implementation of the Convention, Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The Convention and the Paris Agreement clearly recognise the special circumstances and needs of the LDCs and this recognition must be adhered to in every delivery mechanism of the climate finance.
  • Developed countries must fully implement their commitment to mobilise USD 100 billion per year by 2020. Clear pathways to meeting the targets are missing and urgent scaling up of the funding is needed.
  • Accessible, adequate, predictable and sustainable climate finance for developing countries is essential and should be allocated between adaptation and mitigation in a balanced manner. This finance must also be new and additional to existing to Official Development Assistance, and should be filled primarily from public sources and be grant-based.
  • Funds such as the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility must simplify the application, approval and disbursement processes, particularly for LDCs.
  • The Least Developed Countries Fund is a dedicated source of funding for LDCs and needs to be adequately resourced. This fund remains severely under resourced.

Technology

  • Access to environmentally sound technology is indispensable to LDCs and other developing countries to enable emission reductions and adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
  • All LDCs must be supported to develop and implement technology related plans and strategies.
  • Increased funding that is earmarked for technology development and transfer is needed to access mitigation and adaptation technologies, and support innovation, the enhancement of endogenous technologies and collaborative approaches to research and development.
  • The Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility need to elaborate simplified procedures to enable LDCs to access financial support for technology development and transfer and build the capacity of LDCs to access these funds.
  • The bureaucratic procedure of the Climate Technology Centre and Network in handling requests from Parties should be reviewed and simplified to enable quick responses.

Capacity building

  • It is important to address the significant capacity gaps in LDCs for the effective implementation of climate actions, including for the elaboration, update and implementation of NDCs, formulation and implementation of National Adaptation Plans, mobilisation of climate finance and means of implementation.
  • The establishment of the Paris Committee on Capacity Building was a milestone in addressing gaps and needs in implementing capacity-building and further enhancing capacity-building efforts in a holistic and coherent manner.

Gender

  • Gender is a cross-cutting issue that needs to be mainstreamed across all areas of climate change responses and actions.
  • The empowerment of women will significantly enhance the effectiveness of adaptation and mitigation efforts at all levels and advance the SDGs and broader development objectives.

Transparency of action and support

  • The enhanced transparency framework is the backbone of the Paris Agreement’s architecture for raising ambition over time.
  • The framework must build trust and confidence among Parties, promote effective implementation and provide reliable information to take stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
  • The framework must provide an accurate and reliable picture of what each Party is doing to address climate change and its impacts through action and support.
  • Support is essential for enabling developing countries to meet their reporting obligations.
  • The framework should avoid placing undue reporting burdens on developing countries without compromising the reliability of the information or the integrity of the transparency system.

Global stocktake

  • The global stocktake is an important component of the Paris Agreement’s mechanism to scale up fair and ambitious actionthat is consistent with equity and the best available science.
  • The outcome of the global stocktake must lead to Parties taking the necessary actions to put the world on track to limit the increases in global average temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and address the adverse impacts of climate change.
  • To effectively take stock of implementation of the Paris Agreement, the global stocktake must be holistic – reviewing all elements of the Agreement, including loss and damage.

Facilitating implementation and promoting compliance

  • The mechanism for facilitating implementation and promoting compliance have a vital role to play in ensuring the effectiveness of the Agreement and the implementation of efforts to address climate change under the Agreement.
  • The mechanism should ensure the integrity of the Paris Agreement by helping Parties to implement the Agreement while encouraging compliance with their obligations.

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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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