By Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko* | IDN-InDepthNews Viewpoint
PARIS (IDN) – Warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased and as a result the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the impacts are being felt in particular by developing countries. According to the latest science, the emissions gap with respect to the 2 degree or 1.5 degree goal is not closing.
Although developing countries have the least responsibility for climate change, they are the hardest hit and least able to respond.
The implementation of existing commitments under the Convention is of crucial importance. The COP provides an opportunity every year for the Parties to assess the progress made in the implementation of the Convention. In this regard, we need to use the COP to do introspection on the lessons learnt, as we are at the threshold of adopting a new universal agreement under the Convention that is set to catalyse the achievement of its objective.
Very important work on implementation is undertaken in the subsidiary bodies of the Convention and these should not be overshadowed by our focus on future commitments that will only take effect from 2020. We cannot lose the five years between now and 2020 by shifting our focus away from the urgent work that needs to progress in the subsidiary bodies to implement existing commitments.
Developed countries must take the lead
Developed countries must take the lead in the lead up to the post-2020 era by honouring and accelerating the implementation and increase the ambition of their existing commitments on mitigation and provision of finance, technology development and transfer and capacity building support to developing country Parties.
The fact is that many commitments by developed countries, related to the pre-2020 period still, remain unrealised, including the nearly three-year delay in ratifying the Doha Amendment and increasing the emission reduction targets to at least 25-40% by 2020. There is also, as yet, no clarity on how the six-year old commitment by developed countries of providing the US$100 billion per year by 2020 to developing countries will be achieved.
We take note on the progress of the work on adaptation, particularly the Nairobi Work Programme, National Adaptation Plans and the Adaptation Committee. While we continue to assess the climate change impacts and vulnerabilities to various regions, it is important to take into account the need for planning processes and implementation of adaptation action, as well as commensurate support that is responsive to adaptation needs, and which transcend beyond planning levels and realise enhanced adaptation action at all levels.
Greater focus on priorities and needs of adaptation enables a coherent and comprehensive response to climate change, not only in terms of mitigation, but also by tackling its impacts as a key variable to be considered in the Paris agreement and in national development agendas.
We welcome the report of the Adaptation Committee and the effort to make balanced progress in all its work areas. We take note of the future workplan of the Committee and look forward to discussing it in the Contact Group. We also welcome the work completed on means of implementation for adaptation and we hope that its outcome translates into something that can expedite support for developing countries. We are prepared to engage with partners in reviewing the recommendations to the COP contained in the report.
The G77 welcomes the report of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts. The work of the WIM and on loss and damage under this Convention is of critical importance to the Group.
In order for this mechanism to be meaningful, it must address the needs and challenges faced by developing countries emerging from extreme and slow-onset events. We urge developed country Parties to make available resources in view of the ambitious nature of the initial two-year workplan of the Executive Committee.
Finance and technology
On finance, we reiterate that nothing under this Convention will be achieved without the provision of means of implementation to enable developing country Parties to address climate change. Finance, including for the transfer of technology and capacity building is a crucial and key element of the Paris outcome.
The outcome regarding finance must provide clarity on the level of financial support that will be provided by developed country Parties to developing country Parties to allow for enhanced implementation of the Convention in the post-2020 period, as well as existing commitment on pre-2020 finance.
We require a substantial scaling up of finance from the 2020 base level of US$100 billion and Annex I country Parties and other developed countries included in Annex II have the principal responsibility in providing support.
This includes setting short-term collective goals for the post-2020 period that go beyond this floor, and are revised upwards every 5 years, while ensuring that the finance is new, additional, predictable and sustainable with an equal allocation between adaptation and mitigation.
The financial mechanism of the Convention must serve as the financial mechanism of the legal agreement. The related funds established under the Kyoto Protocol and under the financial mechanism of the Convention must also serve as instruments of the new legal agreement.
On long-term finance, we need a decision that sets a clear pathway towards achieving the US$100 billion goal by 2020 and flows of finance, in particular for adaptation, under the financial mechanism of the Convention and the specialised funds.
These should scale up, particularly in the context of increasing climate risks faced by developing countries. The decision in Paris must lay the foundations for the Long-Term Finance Ministerial session on the agreed thematic cluster of issues to be held at COP22 in Morocco.
Furthermore, in the work on transparency, it is important that progress is made on both transparency of action, as well as transparency of support, as an opportunity to improve our collective understanding of the different elements that encompass the response to climate change.
Various aspects of finance are discussed in a fragmented way across the Convention bodies. We believe that it will help the process if the linkages between all matters related to finance, whether it is under the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol or under the ADP can be discussed in a more comprehensive and coherent manner.
Technology transfer is a key component for developing countries to be able to effectively address climate change. Effective mitigation and adaptation actions will depend on access to technology, including the development of endogenous technologies by developing countries. The Technology Mechanism has an important role to play in order to support the rapid transfer of technologies to developing countries, helping them innovate and develop their own technologies.
We would like to see concrete enhanced actions on technology development and transfer, accelerated and scaled up by the technology mechanism. In this regard, we believe it is crucial for the technology mechanism to strengthen its effective coordination with the financial mechanism, as well as to strengthen the linkages with relevant organizations.
We reaffirm that the process and outcome of the ADP should be faithful to the Durban mandate focusing on the pre-2020 ambition gap, as well as the conclusion of the Paris agreement, which must be guided by and be in full accordance with all principles and provisions of the Convention, in particular the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.
The Paris agreement must address the core elements mandated by the Durban decision (mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity-building and transparency of action and support), as well as loss and damage and response measures in a comprehensive and balanced manner.
Urgent action on the pre-2020 period is essential to build trust and create a platform for the post-2020 agreement. A long-term goal and an ambition mechanism are essential for the post-2020 period.
*This viewpoint contains excerpts from Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko from South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China at the opening plenary of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). [IDN-InDepthNews – 02 December 2015]
Photo: Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko | Credit: IISD Reporting Services