24 June 2021
Progress Reported in Transparency Talks Ahead of COP 26
Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash
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The UNFCCC's Subsidiary Body for Implementation and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice met online for three weeks in June 2021.

Transparency, markets, adaptation, and finance were among the issues delegates addressed as they prepared for the Glasgow Climate Change Conference.

The UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) met online for three weeks in June 2021. The two subsidiary bodies held plenaries as well as mandated and Presidency-led events. Delegates also convened informal consultations on a range of issues in the lead up to the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26), which is scheduled to take place in November 2021.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary of the meetings indicates that over 80 sessions of informal consultations took place from 31 May-17 June 2021 on a total of 22 draft provisional agenda items, with some issues being covered by both SBs. Informal notes were issued on all items. Elements outlined in the informal notes are not exhaustive and have no formal status, but are meant to inform further discussions. 

In her opening statement, COP 25 President Carolina Schmidt (Chile) called for “new levels of solidarity and commitment.” She highlighted transparency, markets, adaptation, and finance among the issues requiring work. Delegates also highlighted the need to discuss, inter alia: the long-term global goal on adaptation; initiating the process to set the post-2025 finance goal; support for developing countries to fulfil their obligations under the Enhanced Transparency Framework; bridging the gap on pre-2020 ambition; tracking progress towards nationally determined contributions (NDCs); and Article 6 (market and non-market mechanisms). 

Delegations’ and coalitions’ opening statements also addressed whether the outcomes from the online talks should have status, and whether there should be an in-person COP in November 2021, given the ongoing pandemic.

The ENB analysis of the meeting indicates that progress during the Subsidiary Bodies meetings “seems as patchy as it was in Madrid in 2019 and the same overarching divides remain.” It goes on to indicate that while “there was progress in the transparency consultations, with many welcoming the production of full draft tables and concrete examples, worries remain about the sheer volume of technical work remaining before decisions are possible.” 

The analysis concludes that “at the SBs, delegates seemed convinced that ambitious decisions on common time frames, transparency, Article 6, and finance, among other issues, would help unlock more ambitious NDCs.” [ENB summary of the 2021 sessions of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies]

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