Category: Current Issue Features

0.1% 

This week, ECO saw some developed countries and regions finally making pledges to the Adaptation Fund. This unique instrument has served an important niche function in the landscape of financing for climate adaptation efforts in vulnerable countries. In the context of some Parties hemming and hawing about whether the Adaptation Fund should be continued, these pledges confirm what ECO and others have known all along: the Adaptation Fund is relevant and necessary. So ECO extends kudos to Germany, Sweden, Italy, and the Walloon and Flemish Regions of Belgium.

While cheering the $80 million committed to the Adaptation Fund this week–reaching the Fund’s  fundraising goal for COP22 –it’s important not to lose track of the broader perspective. There is a growing gap between pledged adaptation finance and science-based estimates of adaptation finance needs. The recent United Nations Environmental Program Adaptation Finance Gap Report estimates that $56-73 billion are needed for adaptation in developing countries annually now, rising to $140-300 billion in just 13 years.

ECO reminds Parties here on the last day of the “Africa COP” that current pledges to the Adaptation Fund–although most welcome–will contribute to plugging a mere 0.1% of the adaptation finance gap. ECO urges developed country Parties to mind this gap by stepping up with pledges closer to the scale of the problem when planning future budgets for adaptation support.

The Great COP24 Swap

Hosting negotiators in Bonn in 2017 is a creative solution to facilitate Fiji’s COP23 Presidency. ECO is very much looking forward to the leadership it knows Fiji will bring to this role. While reduced capacity in Bonn might prove challenging, we trust that logistical hurdles will be leaped to ensure that civil society participation is not a casualty of the workaround.

Looking ahead, we see that an Eastern European country is scheduled to take over as President for COP24. Indeed, Poland, having hosted in Warsaw in 2013 and Poznań in 2008, has expressed interest in putting recent COP experience to use in 2018.

ECO notes that this would mean 4 of 6 COPs between 2013 and 2018 being hosted in Europe. We anticipate huge political momentum for increasing Paris Agreement ambition at the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue. Regional swaps have occurred for past COPs. COP24 might be the right moment for a country outside of Europe to take the Presidency and showcase its leadership abilities.

Dear Ministers, with Adapt-Love from Marrakech…

The charming, narrow streets of Marrakech’s Medina teach you to share and co-exist. Perhaps the COP’s large open venue has had the opposite effect on Parties. Yesterday the High Level Ministerials twice passed over or delayed the opportunity to listen to civil society, doubling down the exclusion of civil society from most of this COP.

In the spirit of co-existence, multiple civil society constituencies—youth, women, farmers and environmental NGOs—brought together their diverse perspectives to convey their priorities on adaptation finance in just a few minutes, though to no avail. So ECO steps forward to provide space to voice their concerns.

Adaptation, a pillar of Paris Agreement, needs urgent, ambitious, and transformative public climate finance for vulnerable and impacted communities. The recently released US$100 billion roadmap shows that adaptation finance flows by 2020 will double the current levels. Yet that will still fall far short of the parity with mitigation finance that the Paris Agreement asks for. That gap cannot be filled by profit-seeking private finance, which favours mitigation activities. As well, that will favour richer developing countries, because they are more capable of absorbing private investment. That’s why developed countries should prioritise adaptation to help protect development gains in developing countries.
... Read more ...

$23 Million for the CTCN… and Counting

It’s always nice to have money in your pocket, so the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) must be feeling cheerful. In a long anticipated announcement that was sprung as a surprise in Marrakech, the CTCN received the grand sum of… US$23 million!

While not as much money as expected, these voluntary contributions provide welcome assurance for the survival of the CTCN and its ability to deliver technical assistance to developing countries. Presented in an undramatic fashion, Canada, the EU, Korea, Switzerland, and the US hope to set an example for supporting ‘technology sharing’. These founding contributors hope to reemphasise the importance of the CTCN as a core mechanism for delivering technology for climate action.

To be clear, this is desperately needed. CTCN staff have spent an extraordinary amount of time securing funding. Of course, their time is better spent on delivering technology support—not having to carry a begging bowl to the capitals. A reliance on voluntary contributions impairs the sustainability and predictability of the CTCN budget and erodes its effectiveness and its mandate. Parties need to support a more regular process for replenishing CTCN funding, especially in the new Technology Framework.

ECO hopes the example set by these donor countries galvanises others to contribute and support developing countries in effectively developing and deploying technology to address mitigation and adaptation.

Adaptation Fund

ECO is concerned about the survival of the Adaptation Fund. Created in the old times of the Kyoto Protocol, it was given the chance for a new life through the Paris Agreement. However, the way developed countries are “revisiting” its existence has us really worried about all those issues we thought we had clarified in Paris.  

“We fully support adaptation finance”, they say. “But we don’t see how the Adaptation Fund itself is ‘technically and legally’ ready to serve the Paris Agreement. The Fund was created to be supported by Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) revenues. Since that has failed, we will have to rethink the Fund itself”.

Readers, can ECO remind our dear negotiators to re-read some old decisions they took right here in Marrakech back in 2001 when the Fund was established? 

Let’s remind each other that 15 years ago we decided to establish the Adaptation Fund, period! We also agreed that the CDM would fund it, along with other sources, including finance provided by Annex I Parties (developed nations).

We truly hope that these rhetorical battles will end soon and Parties acknowledge once and for all the importance of the Adaptation Fund serving the Paris Agreement. 

Financing Adaptation, the Struggle is Real! 

On Monday, while we were busy following the negotiations, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) announced that preliminary data shows that 2016’s global temperatures are approximately 1.2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. They warned that 2016 will very likely be the hottest year on record, with global temperatures even higher than the record-breaking temperatures of 2015.  

Many parts of the world are becoming less habitable due to the effects of a warming climate. As developing countries face the wrath of climate change at their doors, the need for adaptation finance to help people cope with floods, droughts, sea level rise and other climate extremes is urgent and growing.  This year’s El Niño has opened our eyes to the kinds of impacts that extreme weather events can have on vulnerable populations, leaving over 400 million people affected. El Nino has led to record droughts in a year that has also seen record levels of CO2 and the highest temperatures ever. In Africa alone, an additional 40 million people face hunger because of climate change and El Niño. The struggle to adapt is real, and financing solutions to build resilience and adapt is fundamental and urgent – and a lifeline for many of the world’s poorest countries and communities.
... Read more ...

Ministers Wanted

The Facilitative Dialogue on ambition and support will be held on Wednesday at 10am. ECO knows this should be obvious to all, but we would like to emphasise that the whole point of a high level “ministerial deliberations” is the presence of Ministers. This is particularly important when the topic is how to muster the political will needed to significantly ramp up Parties’ ambition and support!

ECO reminds Ministers that the planet is already suffering from a climate-induced high fever. Unless Ministers are able to present a note from their personal physicians justifying their absence, their countries will stand an excellent chance of receiving a Fossil of the Day.

Capacity Building Takes Off

ECO welcomes the capacity building decisions adopted yesterday.

Given the increased expectations that have been placed on developing countries by the Paris Agreement, capacity building—as well as other means of implementation—will be crucial to enable these Parties to successfully implement their commitments. This is especially true for those Parties with the least capacity, and for those most vulnerable to climate impacts.

Cooperation on matters related to capacity building represents, perhaps, one of the most promising avenues for accelerating implementation of the Paris Agreement. Working together can enable Parties to develop collective ambition, while simultaneously providing important benefits for participating countries. The adoption of the Paris Committee’s terms of reference will enable the Committee to become operational as early as next year, and to rapidly initiate its work.

The decisions adopted yesterday also invite the Paris Committee to take into consideration cross-cutting issues such as gender responsiveness, human rights and indigenous peoples’ knowledge. ECO welcomes this important mandate. It will enable the Committee to support Parties as they implement climate actions in a manner that is coherent with existing human rights obligations and related international principles, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.

ECO hopes this commitment to consider cross-cutting principles in climate action, as reiterated in Paris, will also be reflected in the negotiations under the APA more broadly.
... Read more ...

Muffling the Trump-et

Rumours are swirling that President-elect Trump may move swiftly to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, or even the UNFCCC. While withdrawal would certainly be a major setback, ECO reminds its readers that one of the great strengths of the Paris Agreement is that it was built to withstand such an isolated, short-term political setback, even by the world’s second largest emitter.

Indeed, the Agreement is already proving its resilience. No country has said that they would follow the US out of the Agreement. Quite the contrary, many countries and groups, including China, the EU, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the Least Developed Countries, the High Ambition Coalition and others have all reconfirmed their commitment to continue to take aggressive climate action under the Agreement. Others such as Australia, Pakistan and Italy have even joined the Agreement in the days since the US election results came in. In so doing, they have sent a resounding message that the countries of the world will forge on, with or without the US.

If the Trump administration does decide to cede leadership and credibility on an issue of such surpassing global importance, others are ready to take its place. China has said that it is prepared to have a stronger voice—and to reap the rewards in terms of international standing, goodwill and global influence that will surely accrue.
... Read more ...

Transparency is the New Black

ECO hopes that all negotiators had a chance to rest over the weekend and will be back to the conference venue with a renewed sense of common purpose. A good way to demonstrate this would be to ensure that no arbitrary and disproportionate restrictions are imposed on civil society presence in negotiating rooms. Last week ECO saw only 2 representatives allowed in each APA negotiating room to represent the whole range of views and expertise available among environmental and development NGOs.

Having been impressed by the hospitality of the people of Marrakech, ECO really has a hard time accepting these exclusionary rules enforced at the UN venue. Do the secretariat and the APA co-chairs really believe that only two badges allow for a good representation of four-billion women? Or two badges for those representing 1.8 billion of young people?

We call on the presidency, the APA co-chairs and the secretariat to ensure more inclusive arrangements for the second week. Unless they voice their opposition to these new practices, parties remain complicit in this situation.

The first CMA must open in an inclusive context and ECO looks forward to working with Parties to find adequate modalities ensuring a sufficient participation of civil society throughout the second week.