Wrap-up in Bangkok, See You Again in Katowice, We Wish for a Balanced Rulebook


#climate change #UNFCCC #Paris Agreement #sustainable development #SDGs

The Bangkok climate change conference wrapped up on September 9th. It is governments' last shot to advanced stalled talks in the run-up to UNFCCC COP24 in Katowice, Poland in December. The co-chairs produced informal tools for each agenda item which formed the basis of discussions at Bangkok. And Parties showed optimism and faith in the tools for focused work and organised informal consultations to produce revised tools or iterations on different agenda items.

However, it turned out to be that the negotiators have struggled. On the final day of Bangkok negotiations, it was clear that the progress on agenda items was extremely slow and lacked uniformity, for example:

- Global stocktake (GST), adaptation communications, compliance, transparency framework and technology mechanism: some progress were made, leading to streamlining of options related to modalities and guidelines, deletion of repetitions and identification of commonalities for compromises.

- However, there's deep division on climate finance particularly on ex-ante provision of financial information and launch of a process for new and additional finance by 2025.

- Transparency framework, the element implementing flexibility, reporting on loss and damage and upscaling of ambition of developed countries: met with sharp oppositions by developed countries.

- Article 6 under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) on New Market Mechanisms: uncertainty over section 6.8 and 6.9 related to non-market approaches.

- Inter-linkages of issues: emerged as several issues, including reporting, public registry, finance and global stocktake, are cross-cutting and there has been lack of joint meetings to consider progress on such issues. It turned out to be another critical challenge.

The latest version of compiled documents of the PAWP can be found here. "Even though the compilation text represents ownership of Parties and captures their views and stances on various topics under discussion, there is great deal of complexities and scale to be covered, partly also because of the time-consuming technical nature of the negotiations. At present, the text is bracketed and contains several options under each agenda item. Identifying and determining convergence zones would not be easy, especially considering the tough stance of Parties on various elements. Hence, the compilation text represents only the beginning of the process of negotiations in Katowice. Leaving the session with a mandate to develop the text further by October 15, there was agreement among all parties, the process lacks behind." According to DownToearth.

It will be a mammoth task to have a robust and balanced rulebook that will reflect fair and equitable progress on all issues across the PAWP to be adopted in the 2-week COP 24.

It also remains to be seen whether the upcoming climate events and dialogues, including the Global Climate Action Summit, One Planet Summit, the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 Degrees, and the Talanoa Dialogues are able to generate positive momentum in the run up to Katowice and make the work of co-chairs and Polish Presidency any easier.

For more details, please refer to the DownToEarth report and IISD-ENB report.