Conference Update Thursday 12 June
On 12 June, a stock-taking plenary was held to assess overall progress made at the climate change talks which conclude on 15 June. Updates were provided on all areas of work at the conference, including ongoing technical work, as well as work towards a new agreement in Paris in 2015.
Regarding ongoing technical work, good progress was achieved in a number of important areas, including technology cooperation, adaptation, forests and current mitigation.
In 2013, the Technology Mechanism was made fully operational. The Technology Mechanism consists of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). The TEC engages various stakeholders from the public and private sector and observer organizations in the work of its taskforces to mobilize their technical expertise and experiences to advance its work. The CTCN is tasked with stimulating technology cooperation, transfer and development, especially to developing countries. The Technology Mechanism has begun receiving concrete requests for assistance from developing countries which shows the rapid progress in the implementation of the mechanism.
Countries continue to strengthen the means of adapting to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to boost the effectiveness of adaptation action on the ground by providing the necessary tools and resources for it and by sharing lessons learnt. Additionally, the process of planning for adaptation through national adaptation plans was also strengthened.
In order to strengthen the implementation of the Warsaw Framework for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, countries made progress towards completing the consideration of non-carbon benefits and non-market-based approaches. This work will ensure the long-term sustainability of REDD plus implementation.
In terms of current mitigation, countries reiterated the urgent need to increase ambition in the years before the new agreement enters into force in 2020. To this end, there was much support to continue a technical examination process on mitigation opportunities and to deepen and widen this process into tangible mitigation action in the form of both new policies and projects.
Other work on current mitigation focussed on reporting-related issues. The frameworks to measure, report and verify mitigation actions by both developed and developing countries were further strengthened and include provisions for technical assistance to developing countries.
Many Parties noted that their collective work needed to change gear and intensify towards the Paris agreement in 2015. The next session of the ADP is planned for October 2014.
In-session workshop on long-term climate finance parts 1 and II
The first in-session workshop on long-term climate finance was organized in two parts and took place on 11 and 12 June in conjunction with the Bonn Climate Change Conference. Part I focused on developed country Parties' 2013 submission on strategies and approaches to scale up climate finance.
Parties exchanged views on the information provided in 2013 and discussions held are expected to inform the preparation of the updated submissions in 2014. Part II looked at how to meet the needs of developing countries more effectively; climate finance effectiveness based on lessons learned from the past, such as from the fast-start finance period; and ongoing readiness activities across the Convention.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres gave opening remarks to the workshop, stressing the importance of mobilizing trillions of scaled-up climate finance to fight combat adverse impacts of climate change.
UNDP presented an overview of the landscape of climate finance, insights that have emerged from public interventions in mitigation and adaptation programmes/projects in developing countries, and the role of international support in achieving scale and predictability of flows.
ODI presented an overview of the experiences in assessing the financial needs of developing countries, and lessons that can be drawn from country experiences on how to build conducive enabling environments for scaling up financial resources from various sources.
Following the presentations, 3-4 panelists from governments and think tanks shared their views based on their expertise and regional/country experiences. There were interactive discussions between rotating breakout groups with different guiding questions ("carousel approach") involving all participants, after which the discussion leads rounded up the main points and reported back to the plenary.
Presentations at the workshop can be viewed on the dedicated webpage on long-term climate finance.
Conference Update Wednesday 11 June
Countries continued to work constructively towards the new universal agreement to be adopted in Paris in 2015. They also continued to advance ongoing technical work. Additionally, countries actively participated in a technical expert meeting on land use.
In the context of the new agreement, countries had detailed discussions on what each would contribute to the new agreement and what these contributions need to entail. Countries engaged in a conceptual discussion on intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) in order to determine their scope and nature. All countries agreed that INDCs need to include mitigation, and many shared the view that contributions should include mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity-building and transparency. The comparability of efforts by countries was cited as an important factor by many. To this end, many countries are of the view that existing provisions to measure, report and verify actions are an important starting point to work towards such comparability. Countries will present their contributions in March 2015.
On ongoing technical work, countries continued to refine work on national adaptation plans, a key tool to identify medium- and long-term adaptation needs and to develop and implement strategies and programmes to address those needs. They also had exchanges on climate finance and how to improve financial reporting. Furthermore, rich discussions were had on reporting guidelines, how to finalize issues related to the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and how to address loss and damage from climate change impacts.
The 2nd Dialogue on Article 6 of the Convention wrapped up on Wednesday with a session on public access to information on climate change. This session featured presentations on good practices and lessons learned from enabling public access to climate change information and a lively discussion on how public input leads to informed decision-making and effective climate action.
The session opened with brief remarks from Ms. Renilde Ndayishimiye, Co-facilitator of the Dialogue and UNFCCC National Focal Point for Burundi, highlighting the importance of public access to information.
Four presentations were given. First, the Philippines presented lessons learned from enhancing public access to information on climate change in the Philippines, including the role of information in preparation and response to Typhoon Haiyan. The Philippines uses a diverse set of communication avenues to enhance resilience in natural systems and communities. This has led to collaborative sharing of information, systematic use of climate risk info, gender responsive communication, and high levels of involvement by civil society and private sector.
Then the Lord Mayor of Bonn presented the perspective of a local government. Since 2008, the City of Bonn has used web-based resources to communicate climate goals and other climate information. Bonn has ambitious municipal emission reduction goals, with an eye on cutting emissions 20% by 2020 and in half by 2030 from 1990 levels. Citizens play a key role, and the Bonn website connects residents with consulting services that enable them.
This was followed by a Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) presentation on how carbon footprint disclosure information is a useful instrument for investors, governments and cities. The CDP has been collecting data since 2003. They have compiled a large data set using 140 data points from 81% of the world's largest companies in 81 countries. They also collect similar data from cities through partnerships with C40 and ICLEI. The CDP seeks to enhance research, empower citizens in systemic change, and shift capital towards low-carbon corporations and cities.
The final presentation was given by the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions and provided insight into using mobile phone technology to connect with farmers and provide climate information. Cellular phones, with the fastest uptake of technology in history, can create a multipurpose platform to roll out climate-smart agriculture. This is still in development, but early results are positive. Farmers served by cellular service can access early warning systems, extension services and the organizational structure needed to make their farming climate friendly. Even with challenges, cellular technology is changing the game for South African farmers.
Presentations were followed by a moderated discussion. Questions were posed to representatives from the Government of Sweden, the International Trade Unions Confederation, the Casino Group, the Access Initiative and the World Resources Institute. These questions touched on:
The ensuing discussion was far-reaching with highlights that included:
The floor was then opened to Parties and the audience. Parties from France, the Unites States, Sudan, the EU and Ghana made statements regarding outreach and information experiences. The audience was an active participant throughout this discussion and the moderated discussion.
The 2nd Dialogue on Article 6 of the Convention closed with remarks from Mr. Amena Yauvoli, Chair of the SBI and Chair of the Dialogue, who reiterated the need to connect global processes with grassroots interests in inclusive, transparent and participatory ways. All aspects under Article 6 converge to create a platform that enables engagement and plays a critical role in the broad public understanding and support that moves the climate talks forward.
Conference Update Tuesday 10 June
On 10 June, a special Forum on experiences and best practices of cities and subnational authorities took place.
Speaking at the opening of the Forum, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said that it would be impossible to address global climate change without addressing the key role of cities, which are responsible for more than 70% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
“We need a 40 – 70% global greenhouse gas reduction by 2050, and we need to get to carbon neutrality in the second half of the century. This also means that we have to be on a path to carbon neutral cities,” she said.
Cities have many opportunities to act and many are seizing these opportunities, both in adaptation and in mitigation. Based on the clear identification of local needs, cities have innovated action on transport, waste management and buildings.
Meanwhile, the ADP, the body tasked with collectively constructing the 2015 agreement and raising ambition to address climate change in the near-term, held its further contact group meetings with a focus on adequate finance, technology and capacity-building support for developing countries to build their own low-emission, climate-resilient futures. The Co-Chairs stressed that at this stage they were looking in particular for Parties to give their views on how the various parts of the agreement could be constructed, structured, and implemented in concrete ways as well as what should be in the agreement. To this end, for the finance discussions they provided a visual roadmap (below) of the elements of building blocks as a tool to help countries in their discussions and this was generally well received.
Many Parties also called for a swift capitalization of the new Green Climate Fund.
Many Parties also called for a swift capitalization of the new Green Climate Fund.
Later, the ADP contact group on technology development and transfer had its first meeting. All Parties reiterated the view not to create new institutions, but rather to make full and effective use of the Technology Mechanism, and its two insitutional components (TEC and CTCN – links here), and to strengthen the mechanism, among other ways by adequate funding and resources and additional mandates
Furthermore, the two Subsidiary Bodies (SBI and SBSTA) continued work on discussing and constructing draft text on the many important technical aspects which will provide substantive foundations of the 2015 agreement.
Launch of the UNFCCC Capacity-building Portal
The long-awaited UNFCCC Capacity-building Portal was launched on 10 June during a side event at the Bonn Climate Change Conference.
Visually captivating, easy to understand and to operate, the Capacity-building Portal is an innovative tool designed to help Parties, international financial institutions, bilateral and multilateral assistance agencies and other stakeholders to monitor capacity-building activities in developing countries. Visitors to the Portal can customize search criteria, visualize data through interactive maps, bubbles and multi-coloured pie charts, line up results in tables, print and export them.
Conference Update Sunday 8 June
On 8 June, countries continued working on key items including issues regarding the implementation of existing work on adaptation, technology and forests. Additionally, important work towards the universal agreement to be adopted in Paris in 2015 continued.
On adaptation, countries had constructive discussions on the scope of the work to be carried out under the Nairobi work programme on Adaptation, which aims to facilitate and catalyze the development and dissemination of information and knowledge that will inform and support adaptation policies and practices.
On technology, countries assessed progress of the technology mechanism by discussing the annual report of the mechanism. The technology mechanism aims to facilitate the implementation of enhanced action on technology development and transfer in order to support action on mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
Regarding the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), countries continued to assess the role of 'non-carbon benefits' in the context of the existing REDD+ mechanism. Non-carbon benefits are positive outcomes resulting from REDD+ activities beyond those associated with carbon storage and/or sequestration.
Countries also continued work towards a new climate change agreement by clarifying their views on how the reduction of emissions should best be handled under the deal. The agreement needs to ambitiously tackle greenhouse gas concentrations in order to limit global average temperature increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Other issues discussed included guidelines for reporting actions already undertaken, the status of finance as well as how best to include the latest scientific findings into current and on-going work.
The 2nd Dialogue on Article 6 of the Convention continued on Sunday with a session on raising public awareness and mobilizing climate action. The session opened with remarks from Paul Watkinson, Co-facilitator of the Dialogue and Chief Negotiator for France, who challenged the room to avoid jargon and remember that climate change is about people, how they deal with climate change and what it means to them. This set the tone for the session.
The subsequent panel discussion saw a lively exchange on effectively changing attitudes and behaviors. Throughout the discussion, which included Twitter users following the #ART6Dialogue, facilitator Paul Watkinson highlighted the importance of an open conversation that involves and benefits people.
Conference Update Saturday 7 June
Countries working towards the new universal climate change agreement, which is set to be adopted in Paris in 2015, continued their work and focused on the critically important issue of adaptation.
Conference Update Friday 6 June
High-level ministerial dialogue on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action
The ministerial roundtable on 6 June focused on issues related to mitigation before 2020, as well as on key issues related to the universal climate agreement, which is set to be agreed in Paris in 2015.
Throughout the day, Ministers and senior Party representatives had a rich exchange and made interventions that aimed to guide work on increasing ambition before 2020 and next steps on the road to Paris.
In that context, Ministers stressed the need to take the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change into account, which confirm the need for high global mitigation ambition. Many expressed that the level of ambition before 2020 urgently needs to be increased. Countries also concurred that a new agreement in Paris must follow scientific findings to ensure adequacy of global action.
Many Ministers and high-level officials stated that the Paris agreement needs to be applicable to all countries, be based on ambitious nationally determined contributions, and cover adaptation, finance, technology and capacity-building. Many suggested that contributions should cover diverse actions, including mitigation as well as adaptation and financial actions.
Other points made during the exchange include:
Conference Update Thursday 5 June
High-level ministerial roundtable under the Kyoto Protocol
The ministerial roundtable on June 5 focused on high-level political issues under the Kyoto Protocol (KP), including issues related to raising the ambition of developed countries before 2020 and ratification of the Doha Amendment to the KP so that it can come into force.
Ministers and senior Party representatives made a series of interventions which included both recognition of achievements made and concerns that more is required to meet the immediate needs identified by science. It was also noted repeatedly that ratification of the KP by countries needs to speed up. There were also calls on developed countries to take the opportunity to announce increased reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol at Secretary-General BAN's climate summit in September 2014.
Other points made during the detailed discussions included:
Special Press Conference by UNFCCC Executive Secretary and SIDS to mark World Environment Day 5 June
Christiana Figueres gave the first UNFCCC press conference on World Environment Day (WED) which this year focuses on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and climate change. She was joined by three Ministers from SIDS: Mr. Roland Bhola of Grenada, Mr. Tony De Brum from the Marshall Islands and Mr. Abdullahi Majeed of the Marshall Islands.
Mr. Bhola underlined the immediacy of the problem, saying “it’s not about preparing for the effects of climate change, it’s about dealing with them, while Mr. de Brum spoke poignantly about one of the Marshall Islands which existed 20 years ago but has now gone.
Ms. Figueres said these small nations stand as a living reminder that the UN climate change talks must deliver a lastingly successful Paris agreement and highlighted UNEP’s latest Foresight Report on SIDS released today.
The report underlines the urgency to act given the particular vulnerability of SIDS to extreme climate events, but also stresses the opportunity that can be seized by SIDS, which are well ositioned to benefit in major ways from renewable energy. To download the SIDS Foresight Report, please visit: www.unep.org
2nd Dialogue on Article 6 of the Convention
The 2nd Dialogue on Article 6 of the Convention kicked off on Thursday with a session on public participation in climate change policy decision-making and action. This Dialogue is another step in the ongoing process to bring the public into discussions and decisions regarding why and how the world must move to a low-emission future.
Following the opening of the session, insightful presentations were delivered by civil society representatives on gender dimensions of public participation, the importance of building capacity of local communities to effectively participate in decision-making processes, and lessons learned from indigenous peoples on effective participation processes. Parties also shared their own stakeholder engagement successes. Furthermore, the UN Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness highlighted public participation aspects of draft guidelines for National Focal Points for Article 6 of the Convention that the Alliance is developing in response to an invitation by the COP.
During the subsequent panel discussion, Peru highlighted civil society as a ‘positive force’ that will be fully engaged in COP 20/CMP 10, in particular indigenous peoples. France reaffirmed its commitment to work closely with youth and other stakeholder groups in the run-up to COP 21/CMP 11 and is designing a conference venue that ‘brings the blue fence down’ and makes it a meeting ‘for the people’. UNITAR highlighted that Article 6 has moved from a ‘nice to have’ to the heart of the development agenda and that the new climate change regime should reflect this by ensuring effective public participation mechanisms.
Session II of the Dialogue will focus on raising public awareness and will be held on Sunday, 8 June, 11:00-13:00.
Conference Update Wednesday 4 June
June Conference gets underway in Bonn on 4 June
The fortieth sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 40) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 40) opened in Bonn on 4 June 2014. Additionally, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), tasked with increasing climate action before 2020, as well as negotiating a new agreement by 2015 which will enter into force in 2020, resumed its work.
Some 1500 delegates from 194 countries will work together in view of strengthening the response to climate change. In the SBI, delegates will discuss ways to increase adaptation and how to secure the needed finance, how to build capacity in developing countries and how to better assist Least Developed countries. In the SBSTA, delegates will focus on progress made by the Technology Mechanism, which aims to strengthen international technology cooperation, technical guidelines for the reporting of climate actions, as well as issues related to the Kyoto Protocol.
The ADP will continue technical examinations of untapped mitigation opportunities as an urgent measure to increase climate action before 2020. Additionally, delegates will continue to collectively construct the structure and content of the 2015 agreement. The climate change conference will for the first time see the participation of Ministers on 5 and 6 June. As a result, work at the conference is likely to benefit from additional positive momentum.