Breaking the ice in the Global Stocktake

9 May 2018

ECO has mixed feelings about the outcome of this session on Global Stocktake.

On one hand it was encouraging to see progress on the “informal note” but on the other it was also disappointing that Parties didn’t seem ready to get to the fundamental discussion.

For example, when co-facilitators presented their “tool” to illustrate a possible model of a GST timeline, there was a sense of hesitation on Parties’ side to engage. ECO understands negotiators’ need to “clarify” some things first, but we really need to break the ice and move forward.

Since ECO doesn’t have to concern itself with such sensitivities, let us put forward one illustrative timeline, inspired by the co-facilitators’ tool. Of course, it doesn’t do justice to the complexity of the GST but that’s not the point here.

The point here is that looking at specific requirements, e.g. with regards to sequencing of important milestones to ensure that they all can actually be fulfilled, allows fundamental decisions to be made.

Dear delegate, do you see your important issues in the figure? No? Then tell us where it should sit in the figure.  In that way, we (you, Parties) can start a real conversation to create a draft text for COP24 decisions.

The figure already provided us with some realizations. A few examples:

  • the duration has to be at least 2 years (and half of a CMA) if we want to give ample time for discussion – assuming we don’t create a permanent body for the GST;
  • If we follow the example of the Structured Expert Dialogue, as some Parties suggested, the technical phase probably has to conclude with some sort of negotiated outcome (conclusions of whatever body carries out the GST) to make it relevant to the politicians during Activity C, which would take up at least one session;
  • A body (e.g. joint working group under SBs) for GST will have to be established by a CMA meeting.

And with these realizations come some questions that need to be addressed. For example:

  • Where do we want to put Loss and Damage? Some would say it should be a crosscutting theme, others would say it should be a standalone workstream. It must receive a proper treatment, but how?
  • What is the deadline for inputs? Should there be cut-off points in the continued receipt of inputs, e.g. prior to each session, and if so, how often?
  • To what extent do we need to define how the GST meetings should be conducted? How much can we leave it to the body to implement the GST?