9 November 2016
Paris Agreement Discussions Underway as Forest Action, Earth Information Days Convene
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

On 8 November, the second day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) held a joint session.

The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) met in a contact group, while several contact groups and informal consultations under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and informal consultations under the APA convened.

Forest Action Day and Earth Information Day commenced alongside the COP.

On 8 November, the second day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) held a joint session during which countries and major groups made statements. They highlighted, among other things, implementation and action during this conference and the role of non-state actors in implementation. Some supported suspension of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) until 2018.

The COP Presidency conducted informal consultations on preparing for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement and CMA 1. Parties discussed whether or not to suspend the CMA until 2017 or 2018. Those preferring 2017 emphasized the value of assessing progress and possibly taking substantive decisions that may be ready. Those preferring 2018 stated the development of a “package of rules” and the ratification processes in some countries require time. Informal consultations will continue on this issue.

In addition, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) met in a contact group. Several contact groups and informal consultations under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and informal consultations under the APA convened.

During the APA contact group, parties agreed, inter alia, that: the single contact group on all APA items would meet on Thursday, 10 November to discuss progress made in the informal consultations; formal substantive work will end on Monday, 14 November; and informal consultations would be open to observers. Informal consultations convened on: further guidance in relation to the mitigation section of Decision 1/CP.21 (Adoption of the Paris Agreement); modalities, procedures and guidelines for the transparency framework for action and support; global stocktake; modalities and procedures for the effective operation of the committee to facilitate implementation and promote compliance; and further matters related to implementation of the Paris Agreement, including the Adaptation Fund serving the Paris Agreement. Consultations will continue on all these issues.

Informal consultations under the SBSTA convened on matters related to the Paris Agreement, including on guidance on cooperative approaches referred to in Paris Agreement Article 6.2 (internationally transferred mitigation outcomes) and on the work programme under the framework for non-market approaches referred to in Paris Agreement Article 6.8 (non-market approaches). Also under SBSTA, an in-session workshop was held on modalities for the accounting of financial resources provided and mobilized through public interventions in accordance with Paris Agreement Article 9.7.

Under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), informal consultations discussed, among other things, the Poznan Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer, during which participants requested that the Global Environment Facility (GEF) consider piloting Technology Action Plans.

Joint SBI/SBSTA informal consultations on the report of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (WIM) garnered general agreement that the WIM review should address mandate, structure and effectiveness as mandated by COP 19. [IISD RS Coverage of COP 22]

Numerous side events took place throughout the day, including one on opportunities for Africa in carbon capture and storage (CCS), which considered progress towards CCS deployment on the continent and relevant global CCS onshore and offshore developments. Panelists discussed: the South African CCS Road Map; CCS pilot projects in Europe, including offshore of the Netherlands in the North Sea; and specific actions to get countries on the CCS path.

During an event on the challenges and prospects of Indigenous Peoples having direct access to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), panelists mentioned the establishment of advisory groups to help in this regard, and called on the GCF to more effectively engage with Indigenous Peoples’ to: develop relevant policies and frameworks; establish safeguards and grievance mechanisms; and create a dedicated grant for Indigenous Peoples. One panelist underscored serious threats to Indigenous Peoples posed by approved GCF projects, including a dam in Nepal.

Regarding the role of non-state actors in enhancing near-term ambition and promoting implementation of the Paris Agreement, panelists suggested: reporting by parties at both the global level and to their citizens in order to engage them in climate action; integrating non-state climate actions within Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); and measuring and reporting emissions from cities to share with and learn from one another.

Other events discussed: solutions to maximize adaptation efforts and interventions through integrating Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge; nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) as building blocks to drive NDC implementation; and equity, differentiation and ambition in the post-Paris regime. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Events]

During an event at the US Center on how Morocco is advancing clean energy and climate adaptation, Alexandra C.M. Hadzi-Vidanovic, Middle East Regional Platform, US Agency for International Development (USAID), presented a number of projects and partnerships USAID has initiated in North Africa and the Middle East. She highlighted: work on groundwater mapping to improve drought predictions and preparedness in Morocco; that extreme drought may have triggered the Syrian conflict; the Middle East Regional Drought Monitoring System as a partnership project in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia. The event also addressed, inter alia: wind power in Morocco; the USAID application process for projects in the region; and USAID project funding priorities in Morocco. [IISD RS Coverage of US Center Events] [Videos of USAID’s Work in the Region]

Forest Action Day included sessions on: forests in the implementation of the Paris Agreement; South-South cooperation, success stories and exchange of experiences; and major initiatives by stakeholders. A showcase segment presented initiatives that demonstrate momentum and progress towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and special attention was given to highlighting advances in Africa, including on adaptation. [IISD RS Coverage of Forest Action Day]

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) co-presented a number of events, including one on the valorization of hydrological and environmental services for integrated water resource management (IWRM) and climate change adaptation, which discussed, among other things: predicting climate change impacts on water resources; improving water management to enable adaptation; stress on water resources and agricultural productivity related to climate change; the stabilization of rainwater for agriculture in the Sahara; and complementary irrigation by small-scale crop farmers during periods of drought. During another event on accelerating implementation of the Paris Agreement through transitioning to evidence-based low carbon and climate-resilient development pathways, panelists shared experiences of African countries’ efforts to transition to such pathways, and emphasized that much of IDRC grantees’ work informs national climate adaptation policy and planning. [IISD RS Coverage of IDRC Events]

The Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) presented its Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows during a special event on 7 November, which aimed to: enhance understanding of the state of play regarding climate finance flows; highlight recent developments related to transparency and consistency of climate finance information and of support provided and received; and discuss how future biennial assessments can provide useful information on progress regarding the Paris Agreement’s goals, including information on consistency of climate finance flows with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. The SCF presented the key findings and recommendations of the assessment, focusing on, inter alia, finance flows for the period 2013-2014, areas for further improvements in climate finance tracking and reporting, and implications of these flows, including composition, purpose and emergent trends relevant to the UNFCCC objectives. [UNFCCC Press Release] [Agenda for Event] [Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows] [Biennial Assessment Website]

The Government of Morocco, in cooperation with the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the GEF, launched a bike-sharing scheme called “Medina Bike.” The scheme, the first of its kind at a COP, aims to promote sustainable transportation and encourage city inhabitants to use non-motorized vehicles via ten automatic bike rental stations around the city, including one at the conference venue. One such station was set up at the site of COP 22 to make bike sharing available to Conference participants. [UNIDO News Story on Bike-Sharing Scheme] [Medina Bike Website]

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report, titled ‘The Global Climate in 2011-2015,’ which describes the hottest five-year period on record, and details the increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events. The report, which was submitted to the COP in Marrakech, explains that: rising sea levels and declines in Arctic sea-ice extent, continental glaciers and northern hemisphere snow cover accompanied the record-setting temperatures; carbon dioxide surpassed 400 parts per million in the atmosphere for the first time; and five-year timescales enable a better understanding of multi-year warming trends and extreme events than annual reports. The WMO will release its provisional assessment of the state of the climate in 2016 on 14 November to inform the negotiations in Marrakech. [The Global Climate in 2011-2015] [WMO Press Release]

Organized by the UNFCCC Secretariat, ‘Earth Information Day: Linking Earth observation with the global response to climate change’ aimed to link the work of the science community, including systematic observation, to the implementation of the Paris Agreement’s goals, and inform the global stocktake of progress in 2018. It provided a view of the current state of the climate, including the global carbon budget, and an outlook on developments and opportunities to support decision making on risk assessment, adaptation and mitigation at the regional and national levels. The event also included discussions on: the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Implementation Plan 2016, which details the necessary climate variables, indicators and actions to support the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); new developments in the estimation of emissions from Earth observations to support national inventories; and Earth observation actions and services to support the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process and adaptation in Africa. [Earth Information Day Website] [UNFCCC Story on Earth Information Day]

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