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First round of mitigation workshops held in Bangkok

Workshop on assumptions and conditions related to the attainment of quantified economy-wide emission reduction
targets by developed country Parties


In Cancun last December, the Conference of the Parties requested the secretariat to organize workshops to clarify the assumptions and conditions related to the attainment of the economy-wide emission reduction targets communicated by developed country Parties, including the use of carbon credits from market-based mechanisms and land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities, as well as ways to increase their level of ambition.

The first workshop took place in conjunction with the 1st part of the 14th session of the AWG-LCA and the 16th session of the AWG-KP in Bangkok in April.

The open exchange of views triggered by the presentations made the workshop very productive, with many speakers noting its usefulness in identifying ways to move the negotiation process forward.  Most Parties emphasized the need to continue such discussions in the future workshops.

In addition to the substantive discussions, the workshop addressed issues relating to the workshop process and ways to advance it. These included: the focus and the need for such workshops in the future; the possible need for additional views from Parties on the framework for the future workshops; and how to feed the results of the workshop into the negotiating process under the ad-hoc working groups. 

There were specific suggestions for further consideration at the future workshop; for example, options and ways to increase the level of ambition, an issue which some Parties felt was not covered sufficiently in this workshop.

Workshop on nationally appropriate mitigation actions submitted by developing country Parties

The secretariat was requested by COP 16 to organize workshops to understand the diversity of nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) submitted by developing country Parties, underlying assumptions and any support needed for implementing these actions.

The first such workshop took place in conjunction with the 1st part of the 14th session of the AWG-LCA and the 16th session of the AWG-KP in Bangkok in April.

Many Parties noted that the workshop provided useful insights into the level of effort made by some developing country Parties in planning and implementing a wide range of NAMAs, reflecting their diverse national circumstances and diverse constraints and opportunities.

Parties also discussed the way forward, which included looking at the focus of future workshops and the usefulness of making the results of the workshops available to other relevant bodies and working groups within the UNFCCC process.

The full report of both workshops plus all presentations can be accessed here.

A second round of workshops will take place on 9 and 10 June, 2011, in Bonn. Information on these workshops can be found here.

Promoting mitigation actions
Image   A recent report by the UNFCCC secretariat synthesizes the views of Parties and observers on the role of various approaches, including opportunities for using markets, to help solve the global climate challenge.

Considerable attention was devoted to market-based mechanisms, which enable emission allowance or offset credits to be traded on the basis of supply and demand.

Submissions gave strong evidence that these can enhance the cost-effectiveness of mitigation actions by giving developed countries a powerful incentive to seek out and implement mitigation opportunities around the world. The phenomenal growth of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), with more than 3,000 registered projects and 600 million tons of emission reductions, suggests the success of these mechanisms.

Views were more varied when it came to saying how effective existing market-based mechanisms have been in promoting new mitigation action. Proponents of these mechanisms are clear, though, that they will need to be considerably scaled up if deep cuts in emissions are to be achieved. Many submissions were also clear that ambitious mitigation targets are needed in order to incentivize market players, in particular the private sector, into more mitigation activity.
For these reasons, many ideas for new mechanisms were raised. While maintaining and building upon existing mechanisms such as the CDM, these new mechanisms would assess mitigation on a broader scale than individual projects or programmes, covering instead entire policy areas, sub-sectors, sectors or countries. Such mechanisms could be operated directly by the UNFCCC or by individual countries in the context of a global framework.

Non-market-based mechanisms also received attention, with emphasis on the need to strengthen existing policies on increasing the production and consumption of renewable energy, toughening regulatory standards in manufacturing and transportation, and a range of other measures.

For further information, please refer to the “Synthesis report on information on various approaches in enhancing the cost-effectiveness of, and promoting, mitigation actions”.

CDM reaching out to  Africa
image     Planning is under way in earnest for the third Africa Carbon Forum (ACF), to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 4-6 July, which is designed to boost carbon market activity in Africa. It will also commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Marrakech Accords, which kicked off implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). 
The forum, which will bring together a broad range of stakeholders, will include match- and deal-making facilitation sessions that will allow potential CDM project participants and developers to showcase their projects to interested parties, including investors and carbon buyers.
The ACF is one of a number of initiatives of the Nairobi Framework, which was launched in November 2006 by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to help increase the number of CDM projects in underrepresented regions, particularly sub-Sahara Africa. Whle interest in the mechanism and the number of projects on the continent has grown, Africa still accounts for less than 2 percent of the more than 3000 CDM projects registered to date.

Under the CDM, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainable development can earn saleable credits called certified emission reductions (CERs), each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide. Countries with an emission reduction or limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol can use CERs to cover a part of that commitment.

Radio stations receive ready-made stories on CDM in Africa

As part of its effort to increase the number of CDM projects in underrepresented areas, the secretariat has produced five broadcast-ready radio stories for dissemination to radio stations in Africa, with a view to making the CDM understandable and accessible to a broad audience.

The stories include a general overview of the benefits of the CDM to countries on the African continent, and tell the story of some projects already under way that are reducing emissions and contributing to sustainable development, including highly efficient wood stoves being produced and used in Nigeria, and solar panels being used by township households in South Africa.

So far, around 14 radio stations in Africa have requested to run the stories. The communications team is also developing a “radio club” to encourage African broadcasters to carry CDM stories and to produce stories about CDM projects in their own locations.

You can listen to the radio stories here.

Changing Lives” Photo and Video Contest winners announced

The winners of the 2010 annual “Changing Lives” Photo and Video Contest have been announced. The contest, launched in 2008 to raise awareness about the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, saw an increase in the number and quality of submissions this year.

The winner of the photo competition was Boris Bronger for his photo Installing Energy Efficient Light Bulbs in India, which featured women taking part in a CDM project in Visakhapatnam.

The winner of the video competition - a category added to the “Changing Lives” contest in 2009 - was Olivier Diamant for his animated film called Landfil Project in Pasto, Colombia, which showed in a simple way how waste can become energy and was based on the Bionersis Landfill Project in Pasto, Colombia.

A full list of winners and their entries can be viewed  here.

REDD+ Partnership kicks off first 2011 meeting

.     The REDD+ Partnership kicked off its first meeting of the year in Bangkok on 10 April.  Discussions at the two-day meeting picked up on the main components of the work programme for 2011-2012, which was approved in December last year. The REDD+ Partnership serves as an interim platform for its partner countries to scale up actions and finance for initiatives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in developing countries.

With the promotion of transparency and the enhancement of information sharing being important goals for the Partnership, one of the main issues on the agenda on day one of the meeting was the further development and use of the REDD+ database.
The second day focused on sharing experiences on designing and implementing demonstration activities and flagship projects. Presentations were made on four projects currently being implemented by Indonesia/Australia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo and Japan.

The next meeting of the REDD+ Partnership will take place in Cologne on 12 June, followed by a workshop, also in Cologne, on 18 June.

Further details of the Bangkok meeting and the demonstration activity projects can be found here.
Further information on REDD+ can be accessed via the UNFCCC REDD Web Platform.

Republic of Congo to host heads of State climate summit for three major rainforest nations

The Republic of Congo is hosting a climate summit from 31 May to 3 June for the heads of State of 35 nations covering the three major rainforest regions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, in celebration of the 2011 International Year of Forests.

The summit, to be held in the Republic of Congo’s capital, Brazzaville, will bring together delegates from the world’s three largest tropical rainforest basins: the Congo Basin in Central Africa; the Amazon Basin of South America; and the Mekong-Borneo Basin in Southeast Asia. Heads of state from additional tropical countries have also been invited.

One of the main goals of the summit is to share information and promote cooperation among nations to improve management of the forest resources in the three basins.

Reporting under the Convention by developed and developing countries

Consultative Group of Experts Workshop


Antigua and Barbuda hosted a workshop held from 21-23 March 2011 by the Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (CGE).

The objective of the workshop, where fifty-five Parties were represented, was the exchange of views on possible elements to be considered in a future revision of the UNFCCC guidelines for the preparation of national communications from non-Annex I Parties, taking into account the difficulties encountered by these Parties in preparing their most recent national communications.

Parties exchanged views on possible elements to be considered in a future revision of the guidelines during group discussions on the following themes:
  • Measures to facilitate adaptation to climate change
  • National greenhouse gas inventories
  • Measures to mitigate climate change
  • Constraints and gaps, and related financial, technical and capacity needs
  • Education, training and public awareness, information and networking, research and systematic observation

The CGE will report  on the outcome of the workshop to the Subisidary Body for Implementation (SBI) at its thirty-fourth session in Bonn in June.

Revision of the UNFCCC Annex I reporting guidelines

Seventy participants attended the third workshop on the revision of the UNFCCC Annex I reporting guidelines held in Bonn on 24 and 25 March 2011. 

Based on Parties' submissions under the work programme of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the secretariat had prepared an annotated draft of the revised UNFCCC Annex I reporting guidelines. The document contains the suggested changes to the text of the guidelines and suggested changes to the common reporting format (CRF) tables.

It is expected that the workshop will facilitate negotiations on this topic during SBSTA 34 in Bonn in June, where the workshop report, as well as the annotated draft revised Annex I reporting guidelines - based on the outcome of the workshop - will be discussed.
Parties have agreed that the revised Annex I reporting guidelines should be adopted by COP 17.

GHG Submisisons

The  GHG Data Interface on the UNFCCC website was updated on 21 March 2011. This update includes the latest resubmissions of national GHG inventories for the period 1990-2008 from several Annex I Parties, as well as submissions of new national communications from eleven non-Annex I Parties.

The next update, scheduled for June 2011, will contain new GHG data reported by Annex I Parties for the period 1990-2009. Malta, which became an Annex I Party on 26 October 2010, this year reported its GHG inventory for the first time as an Annex I Party.

A complete list of 2011 inventory submissions from Annex I Parties can be found here.