Four Conclusions on BA2016

8 November 2016

 Now that the Standing Committee on Climate Finance (SCF) has presented its 2016 Biennial Assessment (BA2016) of climate finance, the report’s key findings and recommendations are meant to guide negotiators through the next two weeks’ worth of climate finance agenda items. ECO finds four items to be particularly noteworthy:

First, the SCF had the interesting recommendation (probably inspired by studying the chaotic jungle of past Biennial Reports) that Parties should be enabled to provide additional information on, you guessed it, how they have identified finance as being “climate-specific”. ECO reads this as a finely-worded, slightly ironic critique of what’s plain for everyone to see: the current, very lenient reporting system creates the temptation to overstate the climate-relevance of provided funds. Of course, ECO is quite sure this would never happen because anyone would seek to inflate their numbers. But to many it seems like a lot of work to track down what portion of funds was aiming specifically at climate action. That’s especially for flows where climate is one of many objectives. Clearly, tightening these reporting guidelines should be addressed in the SBSTA negotiations on accounting modalities.

Second, the BA2016 confirms what every other climate finance report has said: the continued existence of an ugly imbalance between adaptation and mitigation in climate finance (with the notable exception of the UNFCCC funds). The recent $100 billion roadmap released by developed countries highlighted that, in 2020, a mere one-fifth of the total is projected to target adaptation. The BA2016 confirms that observation. Parties should address this when negotiating their COP22 decision on long-term finance. Or perhaps developed countries have some announcement up their sleeves for next week to do away with that imbalance?

Thirdly, as ECO hears the SCF present its executive summary, ECO wonders how much the BA2016 will say about finance for loss and damage. The Biennial Assessment’s next iteration should study such flows, based on conclusions from the WIM and the SCF’s work on accounting for loss and damage separately from adaptation. This should be combined with a proper work plan of at least two years for the WIM, to understand–and scale up–loss and damage finance further.

Fourthly, ECO was pleased that yesterday’s panel discussing the BA2016 also mentioned the role of future iterations of the Biennial Assessment in understanding progress toward implementing Article 2 c) of the Paris Agreement: to make all flows–whether public or private–consistent with low-emissions, climate-resilient development.

After noting these points of direction, ECO wonders: why not reserve one chapter of the BA2018 to study fossil fuel subsidies, including an evaluation on actions taken by countries to remove them? Consider this something to chew on for those seriously planning to implement the Paris Agreement.

Four Conclusions on BA2016

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