The 21st meeting of the Leaders' Representatives of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) brought together ministers and officials from 15 major economies, as well as from Maldives, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland and Turkey.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the UNFCCC Secretariat and the UN Secretary-General's office, as well as the Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).
21 April 2015: The 21st meeting of the Leaders’ Representatives of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) brought together ministers and officials from 15 major economies, as well as from Maldives, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland and Turkey. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the UNFCCC Secretariat and the UN Secretary-General’s office, as well as the Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).
During the meeting, which convened in Washington, DC, from 19-20 April 2015, US Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted: the potentially serious impacts of climate change on national and global security; the need to work pragmatically towards an agreement in Paris; and the opportunities presented by the clean energy market. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius outlined four pillars necessary for success in Paris: an agreement; ambitious intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs); finance and technology; and the role and contributions of non-state actors. Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales, Peru, summarized a recent informal meeting that took place in Lima, noting the discussions focused on, inter alia: components of the outcome envisioned for Paris; and treatment of adaptation and loss and damage.
A discussion was convened on INDCs, with countries already having submitted INDCs, including Mexico, Switzerland, the EU, Norway and the US, providing overviews of their contributions. Other participants discussed ongoing INDC preparations, with some highlighting robust domestic consultation processes and providing timeframes for their submissions.
Participants discussed “accountability” regarding the Paris agreement, emphasizing the need for it to build confidence and to promote ambition and participation by all. Many supported: early agreement on rules on accounting, including in relation to transparency, markets and land use; and a facilitative approach, rather than adversarial or punitive processes. On whether targets should be legally binding, some supported binding accountability features but urged against adopting an approach that would reduce participation in the agreement.
In terms of reflecting differentiation, participants generally agreed that least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), in particular, require flexibility. Many considered that the self-differentiation implicit in the “nationally determined” approach is appropriate, particularly if a “no backsliding” expectation is included.
Participants generally agreed that, inter alia: adaptation is “naturally differentiated” based on a diversity of national circumstances with respect to adaptation planning and building resilience; and that its profile should be raised in the agreement by, for example, including universal commitments related to national adaptation planning.
On loss and damage, a number of participants stated that the issue was not about compensation or liability, and others noted that the issue could be framed as one of “solidarity.” Some suggested continuing to advance the issue under the UNFCCC, while others supported its inclusion in the new agreement.
Participants generally supported a “long-lasting regime” and regular, harmonized updating of contributions (or “cycles”). A number of participants mentioned the importance of cycles in relation to adaptation and support. Participants diverged on the issue of assessments or “top-down” reviews following the submission of future INDCs. Some participants emphasized that a long-term goal would help drive technological change, while others said the Paris agreement should recognize the important role played by non-state actors.
Participants discussed how to most effectively use the time remaining before Paris, with suggestions including a focus on the major contentious issues.
The MEF was launched on 28 March 2009 and aims to: facilitate dialogue among major developed and developing economies; help generate political leadership to ensure a successful outcome at annual UN climate conferences; and advance concrete initiatives and joint ventures that increase the supply of clean energy and reduce emissions. [MEF Website] [Chair’s Summary of the 21st Meeting of the MEF][Climate Change Policy & Practice news posts on the MEF]