22 May 2018
NGO Brief: NGOs Assess Progress Towards Climate Commitments to 2020 and Beyond
Photo by Patrick Hendry
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This NGO Brief highlights contributions from NGOs in the past months that are providing inputs to moving forward the SDGs and Paris Agreement on climate change, calling governments to account and pressuring them to act with their highest ambition.

Inputs include analysis from Oxfam International on progress towards the US$100 billion per year by 2020 climate finance goal and recommendations for finance accounting modalities and the six critical milestones needed to achieve a peaking of global emissions by 2020 as assessed by Mission 2020.

The Brief also highlights two working papers to guide technical negotiations under the Paris Agreement Work Programme, and NGO assessment of the progress made at the recent UNFCCC meeting in Bonn.

Non-state actors have a crucial role to play in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs, and the Paris Agreement on climate change, including through engaging in political advocacy, providing expertise and insights on potential policy choices, as well as being directly responsible for the implementation of many of these decisions.

This NGO Brief highlights a selection of contributions from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the past month that are providing inputs to moving these agendas forward, calling governments to account and pressuring them to act with their highest ambition.

Oxfam International has published an assessment of the state of play in public climate finance with regards to the developed countries’ commitment to jointly mobilize US$100 billion per year by 2020, first agreed in the Copenhagen Accord in 2009. The report titled, ‘Climate Finance Shadow Report 2018,’ comes ahead of the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) when Parties to the UNFCCC are expected to finalize the guidelines to implement the Paris Agreement, including how climate finance is accounted. The report assesses progress that donor countries have made towards the US$100 billion goal, seeking to show: how close the goal is to being met; where the money is coming from; where it is going; what it is being spent on; and how donors are counting the money they report.

The report finds that, while the face value of the money reported by donor countries demonstrates an increase from US$41 billion in 2013-2014 to US$48 billion in 2015-2016, the “net climate-specific assistance” amounts to only US$16-21 billion. Among others, the findings highlight two problems with the reporting approaches most donors currently use: they overvalue the net amount of money transferred to recipient countries since interest repayments and other administrative costs of loans are included; and they overestimate the “climate finance” element, since money for projects that only partially cover climate action are included. The authors recommend that donors count only “net climate-specific assistance” to accurately report on the net financial transfer developing countries receive in support of climate action. The report underscores that COP 24 must agree robust standards for accounting modalities, including to report climate finance on a “grant-equivalent” basis, noting that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has already agreed that official development assistance (ODA) figures will be reported using this standard from 2018.

Among other findings, the report also recommends that developed countries take urgent action to increase the level of adaptation finance, currently estimated at 20% of public climate finance contributions, to ensure it reaches a minimum of 50% by 2020.

A report from Mission 2020 underscores the need to peak global emissions by 2020 in order to stay within the 1.5ºC temperature limit, noting that while this remains a challenge, there are significant and unprecedented opportunities to be harnessed from this transformational change to enable a better and more prosperous future. The report titled, ‘2020 Climate Turning Point,’ outlines six milestones it defines as critical to enable global peaking of emissions by 2020: renewables outcompete fossil fuels as new electricity sources worldwide; zero-emissions transport becomes first choice for all new mobility in the world’s major cities and transport routes; large-scale deforestation is replaced with large-scale land restoration, and agriculture shifts to earth-friendly practices; heavy industry commits to being “Paris-compliant”; cities and states implement policies and regulations to fully decarbonize buildings and infrastructure by 2050; and investment in climate action surpasses US$1 trillion per year.

The report underscores that not only are these milestones necessary to tackle climate change, but they are also desirable from a broader socio-economic viewpoint as well as achievable.

The Project for Advancing Climate Transparency (PACT), a consortium of experts from developed and developing countries working to advance the design of transparency and accountability rules and processes for the Paris Agreement, has produced two working papers on key elements of the Paris Agreement. The first paper focuses on the design of the global stocktake (GST), highlighting key considerations for the development of a robust, effective and inclusive GST. Among other findings, the paper highlights the key nature of developing “fit-for-purpose modalities and procedures” and identifying relevant sources of input to establish a process that can deliver enhanced individual and collective action on climate change. It notes that Parties should consider how to ensure the inclusion and engagement of a broad range of stakeholders in all aspects of the design of the GST, underscoring the role non-Party stakeholders can play.

The second paper examines the mechanism to facilitate implementation and promote compliance under Article 15 of the Paris Agreement and presents options for developing the key elements of the relevant modalities and procedures. Key findings from the paper include the need to strike a balance between three central issues in order to establish a committee capable of fulfilling its intended role within the Paris Agreement, namely: how individual Parties can be referred to the committee; the measures the committee can employ; and appropriate overarching operational guidance to the committee to define the boundaries of its discretion and thereby provide comfort to Parties. The paper underscores that while modalities and procedures for the committee can draw from lessons learned in comparable regimes, they should be tailored to the specific features and complementary processes of the Paris Agreement.

Following the most recent negotiations between Parties to the UNFCCC at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, held from 30 April to 10 May 2018, Climate Action Network (CAN), a global network of over 1,200 NGOs, released a press statement at the close of the session, underscoring the need for a “laser focus” on advancing discussions towards a fair, robust and transparent Rulebook for the Paris Agreement by the end of 2018. The statement notes that this will be needed to inspire confidence among countries to step up and commit to enhanced national climate targets by 2020.

The statement outlines the need for meaningful progress and clear commitments on finance to unlock the ambition cycle embodied in the Paris Agreement, stating that while discussions in Bonn did not stand still, tangible progress on specific areas will require political intervention. Pointing to the “great responsibility” of the incoming Polish COP Presidency, the statement outlines the path towards COP 24, noting the importance of high-level ministerial meetings, including the G7 Leaders’ Summit, the Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA) and the Petersberg Dialogue to unblock political differences ahead of the additional meeting of the UNFCCC scheduled from 3-8 September 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The statement also highlights the Talanoa Dialogue as a “promising start towards fostering trust and breaking down boundaries,” calling for its translation into a clear political process, informed by the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SR15) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to drive the urgency of action needed to ramp up ambition by 2020 and deliver on finance.

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