A Future Empowered? What ACE Needs from SB50

22 June 2019

Education, training, public awareness, public access to information, public participation, and international cooperation – collectively the six elements of Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) – form a crucial pillar for successful implementation of the Paris Agreement. ACE is vital for young people, who not only fought on behalf of Article 12, but also have a great need for empowerment in order to tackle the challenges of climate change. 

The ACE negotiations at SB50 centre around the preparation of the Terms of Reference for the final review of the Doha Work Program (DWP) on Article 6 of the Convention, which will conclude its mandate and be evaluated in 2020 at SB52. Looming beyond this review is the question of what the framework will be for ACE action following the DWP. 

Parties so far lack consensus on the scope of the final review of the DWP to consider possibilities for this post-2020 framework. It is a cause of significant concern for many, including young people, that some Parties seem reluctant to address this topic. This reluctance takes place under the guise of not wanting to prejudge future decisions under the process. Yet, there is no question that we must have a new ACE framework to succeed the DWP, and this should constitute a framework that is even more robust. 

Therefore, Parties would do well to include a forward-looking perspective into the final review of Doha itself, rather than delaying this to a subsequent consideration for the sake of taking just one painstakingly small procedural step at a time. 

Young people are demanding urgent action on climate change. In the context of ACE, this means making the most of the Doha review in order to quickly advance toward a new and enhanced ACE framework. By showing reluctance in this effort, Parties send a discouraging signal; whereas a strong, future-oriented outcome on ACE from SB50 will demonstrate that the cries of the youth are not only heard, but inspiring ambitious action.

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