Monthly Forecast December 2018: All Eyes on Katowice
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

The annual UN Climate Change Conference is expected to illuminate the path to 2020 and beyond by agreeing on a set of implementation guidelines that would operationalize the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In addition, the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will convene for the final adoption of the Global Compact.

We are also watching for the outcomes from the GEF Council and meetings for two agreements under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

The month of December is a busy time for most. As the year draws to a close, there is a sense of urgency to get things done, tie up loose ends and prepare for a new start. The sustainable development scene is no exception, with some of the major climate meetings traditionally planned for the end-of-year crunch and expectations running high for positive solutions to the climate crisis.

A few days ago, the UN Biodiversity Conference concluded in Egypt where “the lion’s share of attention” was dedicated to the process for developing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The annual UN Climate Change Conference, taking place from 2-14 December in Katowice, Poland, is also expected to illuminate the path to 2020 and beyond by agreeing on a set of implementation guidelines that would operationalize the Paris Agreement on climate change, and catalyzing ambition necessary to curb global warming and keep the global average temperature rise to 2°C, and possibly 1.5°C, above preindustrial levels. It has been described as “the most important Conference of the Parties (COP) after Paris,” but the first days of the conference have been met with tempered enthusiasm as it is becoming clear that a major breakthrough that would unleash ambitious climate action might be difficult to reach.

A number of climate change and climate finance events are taking place in conjunction with COP 24, including a High-level Global Climate Action Event on 4 December, the ninth Sustainable Innovation Forum from 9-10 December and the third Biennial Ministerial High-Level Dialogue on Climate Finance on 10 December.

The 55th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council will convene after the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Washington, DC, US, to discuss a range of issues, including: improving operational efficiency, accountability and transparency; policy on access to information; updated policy on environmental and social safeguards; harmonizing the rules and requirements for all agencies; and the GEF Trust Fund work program. Delegates will also convene for the 25th meeting of the Council for the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund (LDCF/SCCF) on 20 December 2018.

Meetings for agreements under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) (which, coincidentally, will convene its next Conference of the Parties in 2020) will also take place during the first two weeks of the month: the 7th session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 7) to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) and the 3rd Meeting of the Signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks.

While the eyes of the sustainable development community are on Katowice, Marrakech, Morocco, will host an event that could be more symbolic for its reflection of international sentiment towards multilateral processes. The Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will convene for the final adoption of the Global Compact. Since negotiations on the Compact concluded in July 2018, supporters of this voluntary agreement, which provides a “360-degree vision of international migration” and aims to address all dimensions of migration in a comprehensive manner, have been disheartened by the announcements by a number of countries that they will not adopt the agreement. We will be watching this process for signals regarding multilateral efforts to address shared challenges, just as the Katowice Climate Change Conference moves into its second week of talks.

As the year draws to an end, the SDG Knowledge Hub team wishes you our very best for the holiday season. We look forward to helping you to track the events, recommendations and processes involved with SDG implementation in 2019.

Elena Kosolapova, Lynn Wagner


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