18 June 2019
UNFCCC Secretariat Reviews 2018 and Work Going Forward
UN Photo/Manuel Elias
story highlights

The 2018 annual report underscores the need to capitalize on the linkage between climate action and the SDGs.

It also notes that in 2019, the Paris Agreement's guidelines must be finalized, particularly in relation to Article 6 on using market mechanisms to help meet domestic mitigation goals.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa is leading the mitigation ambition workstream in preparation for the UN's Climate Action Summit in September 2019.

7 June 2019: The UNFCCC Secretariat has launched its annual report for 2018, highlighting progress made on confronting climate change and the ways in which the international community can increase ambition and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The ‘UN Climate Change Annual Report 2018′ was published in advance of the Bonn Climate Change Conference, which is convening at the end of June 2019. The report reviews achievements made under the UNFCCC intergovernmental process and the activities of the Secretariat, particularly those that support the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. Such achievements include Parties’ December 2018 agreement to the majority of the operational guidelines for the Paris Agreement through the Katowice Climate Package.

The UNFCCC Secretariat increased efforts to engage new partners and non-State actors.

Throughout the year, the UNFCCC Secretariat reports that it continued to: help establish the mechanisms for managing ambition, assessing data, progress and support, and building institutions; measure and analyze commitments to build transparency and trust; increase developing country capacity to adapt to climate change through support, training and access to the latest information; and communicate scientific evidence to Parties. The Secretariat also increased efforts to engage new partners and galvanize action by non-State actors; and raise awareness among through communications and outreach.

The annual report also looks at future work. The Secretariat reports that it will continue to support existing transparency arrangements, begin building the infrastructure for the enhanced transparency framework, and develop work programmes on adaptation, loss and damage, climate finance and climate technology. The report notes that:

  • In 2019, the Paris Agreement’s guidelines need to be finalized, particularly in relation to Article 6 on using market mechanisms to help meet domestic mitigation goals;
  • Countries must revise their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); and
  • Governments, organizations, businesses, investors and individuals must reflect climate change in their decisions.

Key events in 2019 include regional climate weeks and dialogues, capacity-building sessions and meetings, the Santiago Climate Change Conference in Chile in December, and the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on 23 September, in New York, US. The report highlights that at this Summit, all stakeholders will have the opportunity to put forward new commitments, raise ambition in policies, plans, actions and investments, and create transformative partnerships. The authors explain that UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, as a member of the Summit’s Steering Committee, has been working closely with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Summit, Luis Alfonso de Alba, and his team. In addition, Espinosa is leading the Summit’s mitigation ambition workstream, along with support from the Administrator of the UN Development Program (UNDP), the CEO of Unilever, and representatives of the Government of Chile.

According to the report, 2019 must be a “turning point” for providing financial, technological and capacity-building support to developing countries and the most vulnerable populations. The report also underscores the need to capitalize on the linkage between climate action and the SDGs, and anticipates that the review of SDG 13 (climate action) at the July 2019 session of the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will increase the focus on integrated action.

Also in 2019, the next periodic review of the Convention’s long-term global goal and of progress towards achieving it will be launched, taking into account the work of the global stocktake (GST), the Talanoa Dialogue and the technical examination processes (TEPs). The GST will begin in 2021 and conclude in 2023 with decisions informing the next round of NDC updates. Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are expected to help fulfill the “best available science” requirement of the GST.

Finally, the annual report draws attention to pre-2020 action, and the need to secure 16 more ratifications of the Doha Amendment so the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol can enter into force. [UNFCCC News Story] [Publication: UN Climate Change Annual Report 2018]

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