Being Loquacious

26 June 2019

Do you remember that kid at school that was loquacious or an empty suit? 

Someone who talks a lot and always has something to say. Someone who thinks they have all the good arguments to save the world but when it’s time to deliver their words don’t mean anything. 

ECO has been paying attention to the discussions around the UNFCCC programme budget for 2020 – 2021. If you have enjoyed the time you”ve spend at the conference centre in Bonn, it is in great part thanks to the amazing and rigorous work of UNFCCC staff members, who help structure our work and help us achieve the objectives we set around the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Convention. Sometimes, it can be easy to forget that. Implementing the Paris Agreement in an inclusive and participatory manner also means providing sufficient resources to translate our words into climate action. 

The UNFCCC Secretariat has rigorously provided Parties with a proposed budget of ‚¬68.7 million. This represents an increase of ‚¬11.8 million from the previous budget of 2018 – 2019. And the increase is mainly due to three different aspects: 

  1. Correcting structural and programmatic imbalances that have existed in the Secretariat, for example, dedicating support to specific thematic areas (Loss and Damage, Gender and Action for Climate Empowerment); 
  2. New tasks mandated in Paris and Katowice,  such as a new body for Indigenous People and a new body for response measures and support to the preparation for the global stocktake; 
  3. Statutory staff cost increases of approximately 2.5%.

Now, ECO knows some countries don’t want to consider this increase of ‚¬11.8 million and are thinking scenarios where they would ask the Secretariat to “optimize” the resources of the UNFCCC. But when you go into the details of the budget proposed, there is no way around it. If the budget is not increased to appropriately fund the new mandates, activities around adaptation, mitigation, and means of implementation will be considerably underfunded. One of the areas that could be heavily impacted could be the intergovernmental engagements around transparency, which includes the development of the technical aspects of the Modalities, Procedures, and Guidelines (MPGs) for the Enhanced Transparency Framework. This even includes training of experts that will help structure this work. 

Now, ECO knows budget planning is always a question of prioritization. We want to encourage you to think about the bigger picture, what is outside of these walls and how the work we do here links to what happens in our countries. Let us give you three examples: 

  1. Properly funding the UNFCCC means helping countries enhance their NDCs, process over 100 national reports and inventories and an increasing number of national adaptation plans and long-term strategies. 
  2. It also means providing resources to thirteen technical bodies that implement work programmes on adaptation, loss and damage, mitigation, climate finance and technology. 
  3. Finally, think about the process of the global stocktake. The UNFCCC will support the review of the long-term global goals and how we collectively prepare for the design of the global stocktake. Such a process will require strong coordination among different bodies and processes. 

Now, at this moment of climate urgency, our focus should be on increasing support to help structures like the UNFCCC, that help countries enhance their NDCs. This is more than long speeches and great rhetoric. Implementing the Paris Agreement requires structures that are well funded and that have the capacity to deliver on the mandated goals and objectives. Let us avoid being loquacious and properly fund the UNFCCC.

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