Tag: AWG-LCA

Turning Opportunities Into Problems

The REDD+ Partnership has spent hours and days agonising on whether and how to involve stakeholders in the decision on how they should participate in the Partnership’s deliberations. This has proved far more controversial than one would expect in a voluntary partnership.

Originally an item to be discussed and resolved last Saturday and Sunday in meetings prior to the current UNFCCC session, under the inept chairing of Papua New Guinea and Japan this issue was held over to Monday and yet again to Tuesday.

Then, despite the fact that almost every partner in the room wanted to resolve the stakeholder participation question first, the co-chairs fell back on the excuse that the Partnership must operate by consensus, side-stepped the issue and pressed forward to other matters.

ECO has been observing this unfolding drama with fascination and growing alarm, and has a simple point to make.  Consensus is not the same as unanimity.  It doesn’t mean that everyone has to agree fully with everything; it means reaching a decision that everyone can live with. Under that definition there was a working consensus in the room, as indicated in statements by well more than a dozen partners, all voicing similar opinions on moving the agenda.

Many in civil society use the principle of consensus all the time and know how to do this stuff, just as with participation and consultation and representation and empowerment and capacity building and a whole host of other things that REDD needs. To which is added substantive expertise from decades of experience working on forest and land use issues. 

Civil society can be, and wants to be, an asset in the REDD+ Partnership process. Why are the co-chairs treating that as a problem not an opportunity?

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The Next Time the Water Rises

The El Nino/La Nina-related monsoon floods that have devastated Pakistan since July highlight the fast growing need for an international risk transfer mechanism for weather-related events.

With the sheer size and protracted duration of the disaster, as well as donor
fatigue, disaster response funding has fallen far short of the mark in Pakistan’s time of need.  UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon bemoaned the fact that too little aid is coming too late to help the estimated 21 million homeless and flood-affected people of Pakistan.

How could an international insurance mechanism within the UNFCCC process help in case of such events? The first step is to link serious risk reduction measures to wider climate risk management strategies.

The second is to ensure that an international insurance approach, supported by the international community, catalyses adaptation and risk management in countries facing rising climatological risks. The benefits
should include incentives focused on risk reduction, and advance planning for adequate
financial resources when and where they are needed.

Experience has shown that insurance mechanisms can make payouts rapidly. In the Caribbean, CCRIF insurance payouts were the first to reach Haiti after the calamitous earthquake – a month before humanitarian donations began flowing.

One challenge is the difficulty of guaranteeing that insurance payouts will be used
effectively and appropriately by participating governments. One way to address this concern is to establish national climate change funds to serve as the recipient of
international insurance payments. Bangladesh has such a fund, governed by a multistakeholder committee (rather than a government ministry).  In this approach, payment distribution modalities can be devised before disaster strikes. This also complements wider adaptation strategies by encouraging the coherence of risk management strategies and ex ante planning.

Chapter 2, paragraph 8 of the AWG-LCA text considers the establishment of international insurance coverage as one function of a broader mechanism to address loss and damage from climate change. Devastating events – the flooding in Pakistan is an exemplary case – underscore the urgency. This kind of mechanism should be one of the operational elements of the adaptation framework negotiated in the UNFCCC process and should be financed from a share of international funds provided for adaptation.

Finally, setting up regional pilot programs through fast-start finance could generate important lessons on the specific operational modalities of such a mechanism.  That will catalyse adaptation, promote more effective risk management, and support humanitarian efforts in vulnerable countries.

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Bunkers Has an Important Shipment to Deliver

The final report of the Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing (AGF) that was established by the UN Secretary General early in 2010 may be the most anticipated document in the climate negotiations these days. 

In November, the AGF panel is expected to deliver recommendation on the crucial question of how to generate, at a minimum, $100 billion per year by 2020, providing a crucial part of the groundwork needed for a new and dramatically scaled-up strategy for climate finance as a whole.

One thing is already clear for sure: no single source will serve as silver bullet to achieve that target. A combination of different instruments will have to be found.

As a result, attention is focusing on some of the major pieces.  And there is no question one of those top-tier sources should be revenues generated with regard to emissions from ‘bunker fuels’ (international aviation and maritime fuels). 

An international levy or auction revenues assessed on aviation and shipping would deliver predictable, consistent and additional public funding to support climate actions by non-Annex 1 countries.  If properly structured, this could eventually contribute as much as $40 billion per year.  Without that, it will be nearly impossible to collect the public funds that are needed in aggregate for climate finance.

In assessing various alternative methods, it is clear that in order to avoid carbon leakage it is imperative to take a global sectoral approach.  On the revenue side it is economically reasonable to include all countries.  But for fairness reasons it is crucial to ensure that the respective contributions of developing countries are fully refunded, and there are quite a few detailed proposals for doing so.

By increasing the resources for the new fund through stable contributions from the transport sector, developing countries would benefit from the increased support available for adaptation, REDD and other measures.

So delegates, as you land on your flights back home, remember to transmit this message to your capitals: now is the time to support the development of productive
instruments to generate climate finance from international transport.  It is essential for putting the necessary scale of financial support on the table.

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Building Blocks for a Cancún Package: Presentation by CAN International

Media Advisory
October 6, 2010
Building Blocks for a Cancún Package
Presentation by CAN International
 
[Tianjin, China] CAN International will propose and detail a package of achievable
and fair decisions for countries to adopt at the upcoming UNFCCC talks in Cancún,
Mexico, on Wednesday, October 6, 18:00 – 19:30, in room Yinchuan, Meijing
Conference Centre, Tianjin, China.
 
Parties to the talks currently underway in Tianjin, China, are increasingly calling
for adoption of a “balanced package” in Cancún.  The Building Blocks proposal
by CAN International details the components that could plug into such a feasible
yet fair package, one that would provide the foundation for final deal a year later
in South Africa.  The Cancún Building Blocks proposal also provides a yardstick
for measuring the fairness and environmental integrity of any deal reached in
Cancún.
 
The presentation will include formal response by respondents from several
country delegations.
 
CAN panel:
 
• David Turnbull, CAN-International
 
• Wendel Trio, Greenpeace International
 
• Sandra Guzman, Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA)
 
• Raju Pandit Chhetri, United Mission to Nepal (UMN)
 
• Niranjali Amerasinghe, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)  
 
What: Presentation of a fair, balanced and achievable package for Cancún  
 
Where: Room Yinchuan, Meijing Conference Centre, Tianjin
 
When: 18:00 – 19:30, Wednesday, Oct. 6
 
Who: CAN International representatives and respondents from country delegations
 
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 500 non-governmental
organizations working to limit climate change to sustainable levels.  For more
information go to: www.climatenetwork.org.
 
Contact:  Hunter Cutting: +1 415-420-7498
 
      ###
 

The Cancun Building Blocks

Whilst parties are coming to the realisation that we need to move on from ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’, there is not much movement yet toward ‘nothing is agreed until enough is agreed’.  For those who don’t yet have a firm grasp on what ‘enough’ is, have no fear. ECO is here to show the way.

‘Enough’ is a set of outcomes that doesn’t just harvest the low hanging fruit but also cracks some serious political nuts and builds essential trust, so that next year negotiations don’t go around in the same circles as this year . . . and the year before that, and . . .   

‘Enough’ clarifies the road ahead: what it is that Parties are negotiating towards (a Fair, Ambitious and legally Binding agreement), by when (COP 17 in South Africa) and through which milestones.

So here are some highlights from the Cancun Building Blocks which will be unveiled by the Climate Action Network at its side event today:

• Agree a shared vision that keeps below 1.5o C warming, links it to the short and long term actions of Parties, and outlines key principles for global cooperation.

• Establish a new climate fund along with a governance structure that is transparent, regionally balanced and ensures the COP decides policies, programme priorities and eligibility criteria. Agree on a process to secure sufficient scale and sources of finance.

• Establish an adaptation framework along with its institutions, goals and principles and a mandate to agree a mechanism on loss and damage.

• Put in place a technology executive committee and provide a mandate to agree measurable objectives and plans.

• Agree to stop deforestation and degradation of natural forests and related emissions completely by 2020, and ensure sufficient finance to meet this goal.

• Implement the roll-out of a capacity building program.

• Acknowledge the gigatonne gap between current pledges and science-based targets, and ensure the gap will be closed in the process going forward.

• Agree a mandate to negotiate by COP17 individual emission reduction commitments for industrialised countries that match an aggregate reduction target of more than 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.

• Agree that each developed country will produce a Zero Carbon Action Plan by 2012.

• Minimise loopholes by adopting LULUCF rules that deliver emission reductions from the forestry and land use sectors; market mechanism rules that prevent double counting of emission reductions or finance; and banking rules that minimise damage from ‘hot air’ (surplus AAUs).

• Agree on producing climate-resilient Low Carbon Action Plans for developing countries, and establish a mechanism to match NAMAs with support. Mandate SBI and SBSTA to develop MRV guidelines for adoption in COP17. 

• Commission at COP 16 a technical paper to explore the mitigation required to keep warming below 1.5° C, and outline a process to negotiate how that effort will be shared between countries.

• Agree a clear mandate that ensures that we get a full fair, ambitious and binding (FAB) deal at COP 17 in South Africa – one that includes the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.  It is this clear pathway forward, with an agreed destination and an agreed route, that will make agreement at Cancun possible. 

Meaningful progress in each area, agreement to work toward a legally binding deal, work plans agreed on each key area, and a long term vision for future negotiations, will deliver a successful and balanced package.

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Fast-Start Disclosure

ECO is in shock!  Are we really witnessing a race to the top for the transparency of fast start finance?

After months of pestering developed countries about fast-start disclosure, the United States – a country not known for its climate leadership – says it will disclose so much information that the Dutch fast start finance website will put up ‘under construction’ signs. 

Todd Stern stated at the finance meeting in Geneva that the US would undertake a ‘very detailed document’, much to the shock (and possibly horror) of its Umbrella Group colleagues. 

ECO understands the US will proudly announce that much of its fast-start finance is ‘new and additional’.  That’s easy to do when your previous climate finance contributions are close to zero.  On the other hand, this doesn’t help the comparison of additionality of different rich country contributions.  Only a fair common baseline across all contributing countries will allow that.  What’s actually additional gets even more complicated because the US seems ready to double-count funds for its G8 Food Security commitment towards its fast start package.

If the EU wants to call itself a climate finance leader, a common baseline to measure ‘new and additional’ is a real test of its conviction, and would pressure other rich countries to follow suit.  That’s the race to the top these talks actually need.   ECO would like to remind parties that disclosure and transparency is the first step towards creating accountability and confidence.

Whilst the EU worries about being put in the shade by the US report, they have an opportunity to reclaim their leadership on climate finance by agreeing internally a fair and common baseline for additionality and proposing it for adoption by all parties in Cancun.  ECO understands the EU has considered a common baseline proposal to be included in the EU Fast Start Finance report which could nudge the US to the same starting position.  We’ll know when that report is finalised by mid-November.

Finally, developed countries have no leg to stand on regarding MRV of actions if they cannot be transparent in their support.  We will know more in Cancun about US and EU commitment to transparency of both sources and uses of their fast start
finance, and that will be the time to check in on whether the Brollies have taken heed as well.  So stay tuned to your fast start finance channel right here in ECO!

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Another day in the corridors...

 

There is more than a touch of irony that on the same day the Secretariat released a compilation of Party submissions on ways to enhance the engagement of observer
organizations, those same groups were kept out of all AWG-LCA drafting groups. 

ECO hears the reasoning for closed sessions is that negotiators will speak more freely and make better progress without representatives of civil society in the room. This is not entirely convincing, but ECO will certainly be looking for demonstrable signs of progress the rest of this week in Tianjin.

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