The COP 21 ministerial week opened in Paris, France, beginning with the joint COP/CMP high-level segment, a contact group on JI meeting under the CMP, minister-led informal consultations under the Paris Committee on "support: MOI (finance, technology and capacity building),” as well as a meeting of the Committee itself, and bilaterals conducted by co-facilitators on: acceleration of pre-2020 action; ambition, including long-term goals and periodic review; differentiation, in particular with regard to mitigation, finance and transparency; and “support: MOI (finance, technology and capacity building).”
7 December 2015: The COP 21 ministerial week opened in Paris, France, beginning with the joint COP/CMP high-level segment, a contact group on JI meeting under the CMP, minister-led informal consultations under the Paris Committee on “support: MOI (finance, technology and capacity building),” as well as a meeting of the Committee itself, and bilaterals conducted by co-facilitators on: acceleration of pre-2020 action; ambition, including long-term goals and periodic review; differentiation, in particular with regard to mitigation, finance and transparency; and “support: MOI (finance, technology and capacity building).”
During the COP/CMP high-level segment, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the Paris Climate Change Conference the “opportunity to define destiny,” and said the new agreement should send a signal to the private sector that a low-emission transition is imminent, and include adaptation and mitigation support. UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Mogens Lykketoft underlined that the Paris meeting needs to, and can, deliver a political agreement with equity and ambition at its core. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres called on ministers to exercise political leadership to craft an agreement that meets national and local needs, lives up to scientific integrity, safeguards the vulnerable and promotes sustainable prosperity for all.
During the Paris Committee, co-facilitators reported on their consultations on 6-7 December. On support/MOI, consultations on climate finance made progress towards possible common ground on provision of support and mobilization of climate finance. The co-facilitators reported reassurances with regard to the fulfillment of existing commitments and continued leadership of developed countries. On technology development and transfer, co-facilitators noted convergence on cooperative action, a long-term vision, a technology framework and the Technology Mechanism. On capacity building, Parties reached convergence on work to be undertaken pre-2020 and the establishment of a “Paris Committee on Capacity Building.”
On differentiation in the sections on transparency and finance, co-facilitators reported on assurances that developed countries will continue to take the lead without backsliding, and on general convergence that differentiation will be operationalized through flexibility for developing countries. On finance, several Parties underscored there is no intention to create new legal obligations for developing countries, but an encouragement to voluntarily contribute.
On ambition, the co-facilitators said that, while several developed and developing country parties indicated willingness to refer to a 1.5°C limit on global temperature rise over pre-industrial levels, others reaffirmed the temperature limit in the Cancun Agreements. Co-facilitators noted general interest to express a collective long-term goal for mitigation, which could be expressed in quantitative or qualitative terms, such as a transformation to carbon neutrality or decarbonization. They also reported convergence on a common “global moment” every five years to take stock and review aggregate progress, and provide an opportunity to confirm or raise targets, but without an obligation to do so. [IISD RS Coverage of COP 21]
The Rio Convention Pavilion addressed issues regarding forest and landscape restoration in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+). Five panel sessions addressed country approaches to safeguards and safeguard information systems (SIS), the economic rationale of REDD+, where and how REDD+ can deliver the most benefits, and innovations in private finance for REDD+. [IISD RS Coverage of Rio Conventions Pavilion]
At an event on ‘Climate Change in Africa: Financing Sustainable Pathways for Development,’ organized by the Africa Pavilion, panelists outlined that the world can go carbon neutral or carbon negative by the second half of this century through carbon capture and storage (CCS) with biomass and through protecting and increasing soil carbon storage, reducing deforestation and increasing reforestation. During the event ‘The Effective Deployment of Mitigation Finance: Lessons from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF),’ Sweden announced that it will add US$2.5 million to the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) in 2016, while Norway announced a contribution of US$1.1 million bringing the country’s total contribution to Climate Investment Funds (CIF) to more than US$100 million.
The event ‘Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance: Agriculture and Climate Change’ stressed the need to address key issues for women such as: access to land; lack of credit; lack of support by extension services for women; and post-harvest loss from lack of market access due to poor roads and a dearth of storage facilities. At ‘Low Carbon Ethiopia: Vision and Action,’ panelists expressed determination to make Ethiopia a middle-income country (MIC) by 2025, and noted that Ethiopia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) is one of only two in the world that is compatible with the 2°C goal. During an event on ‘Africa and Agriculture: Increasing Land Use Efficiency for Food Security and Mitigation,’ participants addressed: low-quality soils in Africa and how to improve them in working with the private sector; organic farming’s role in increasing yield and development in Africa; and the lack of involvement of national-level agricultural departments in COP 21. [IISD RS Coverage of Africa Pavilion]
Numerous other events took place around the COP 21 venue on 7 December. ‘Compact of Mayors: the World´s Largest Coalition on Local Climate Action and Towards SDGs/HABITAT3′ highlighted the achievements of the Compact of Mayors, a common platform that builds upon a number of other initiatives, aiming to capture the impact of cities’ collective actions through standardized measurement of emissions and climate risk, and consistent, public reporting of their efforts. The event ‘Building Island Resilience Through Innovative Financing and Biodiversity Solutions’ announced the world’s first Debt Swap for Marine Conservation and Climate Adaptation, recently finalized between the government of Seychelles and the Paris Club of Creditors, with support from The Nature Conservancy, and indicated the potential of a debt swap model to integrate island resilience, climate financing and biodiversity in some of the most vulnerable small island developing States (SIDS). ‘The Pivotal Role of Water in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation’ addressed: coherence and inter-institutional cooperation around water; the role of legislation and awareness-raising; adaptation finance; and multi-level water governance.
At an event on ‘Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Climate Change,’ panelists noted that only 3% of FFS reaches the poorest 20% of households, thus supporting poor families and improving energy access are not substantiated reasons for FFS. They called for addressing the political issues that perpetuate FFS, such as pressure from the electorate to not increase the prices of electricity and fuel. The event ‘Energy Efficiency Improvements with Mitigation Co-Benefits through Economic Diversification’ presented the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries’ energy efficiency initiatives and technologies. At an event on ‘Strategic Climate Change Partnerships: Opportunities and Actions in Developing Countries – Lessons from Kenya,’ participants addressed need for accurate data for the verification of emissions, the need to address the communication gap between civil society and the government, and the need to engage local communities in addressing climate change. The event ‘East Asia Low Carbon Growth Dialogue’ discussed concrete steps to realize low-carbon development through the promotion of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the introduction of environmental technologies in the East Asia Summit region. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events] [IISD RS Coverage of Paris Climate Change Conference]