October started with a real bustle of activity! This month, the Paris Agreement became one of the most swiftly ratified international treaties in history as it crossed the second of two thresholds required to enter into force, which will now occur on 4 November 2016. Expedited action by the European Union and seven of its member states (Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia) as well as Bolivia, Canada and Nepal ensured that the global community sailed past the Agreement’s emissions threshold.
Since the Paris Agreement opened for signature on 22 April, ratification has occurred at a breakneck speed. In just 5 short months, 73 countries representing nearly 57% of global emissions have joined the Paris Agreement, signalling their intent to continue the spirit of Paris and work together to address climate change.
The Agreement further provides that the first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement referred to as CMA1—we can never get enough acronyms—will be held in conjunction with the next COP, next month in Marrakech.
This will be a significant for a number of reasons. CMA1 will be the first meeting of the governing body, which has authority over all substantive, procedural, administrative and operational matters. The Agreement and accompanying decisions anticipate a number of core decisions—including accounting guidelines, rules to elaborate the transparency framework and modalities for the global stocktake—to be adopted at CMA1. Due to the unanticipated speed of entry into force, Parties still need time to finalise these decisions.
Therefore it is very important that CMA1 to agree a process to ensure adequate time to negotiate these important technical details and be inclusive for those countries that have not yet had the opportunity to join the Agreement. ECO doesn’t believe that this time period should continue indefinitely though. If the closure of CMA1 is suspended during COP22, Parties should decide to have all rules developed by 2018.