The negotiations on the Global Stocktake (GST) represent a key opportunity to advance one of the most unfinished areas of the Paris Agreement — differentiation and equity in the new regime. It’s an opportunity that we better take seriously, because right now we’re in danger of sliding back into unhelpful old patterns; instead of exploring new ideas on how to take into account countries’ different stages of development, levels of capability and historical responsibility.
Equity, like science, is an overarching principle of the GST that needs to guide all of its workstreams. First though, ECO wants to remind everybody that equity in the context of Article 14 refers to equity between countries. Equity and differentiation allow us to consider how national actions contribute, at different scales and in different ways, to real collective progress.
Key inputs are already exist in the NDCs. Many Parties have already explained their views and perspectives of differentiation and equity in their NDCs and we suggest that one key task in the GST is to look at them. Likewise, civil society and research institutions are already developing approaches and methodologies for relevant analyses. The GST should allow them to be taken into account. By going through such exercises, the GST could thus offer differentiated guidelines that Parties can then apply when updating and enhancing their actions and support, in a nationally determined manner.
In mitigation, assessing conditional contributions that may depend on means of implementation (and/or mobilised private finance) could provide a key opportunity for further collaboration among Parties in an equitable way. Such assessment can only be done in the light of international equity, for the simple reason that Parties ought to be guided by equity when determining how large a part of their mitigation contributions they can reasonably expect others to support. Likewise, equity considerations inevitably play a large role when Parties determine how much international support they can justifiably be expected to provide.
In addition to considerations of international equity, the GST could look at distributional impacts of both mitigation and adaptation policies and measures, to ensure that they cause benefit, rather than hurt, to the most vulnerable. In practice, this is a sprawling challenge, that must recognize human rights €” the right to health; food security; the rights of indigenous peoples; local communities; migrants; children; persons with disabilities and people in all sorts of other precarious situations; as well as the right to development; gender equality; the empowerment of women; intergenerational equity and the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce; and the creation of decent work and quality jobs.
In the end, all this must be taken into account in national climate plans. But let us not lose focus. The climate regime cannot solve all the problems in the world, but it can offer the first set of insights to Parties to face them.