Countries inch forward on Paris agreement implementation
The implementation guidelines have been under negotiation since 2016 and are set to be adopted at the annual climate change conference, COP24, to be held in Katowice, Poland in December.
“In Bangkok, there has been uneven progress on the elements of the climate change regime that countries are working towards,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change.
“This underlines the urgent need for continuing work in the coming weeks,” she added.
The Paris Agreement’s provisions that countries are working towards operationalizing include increased action to deal with the impacts of climate change and increased and transparent support for developing country action in the form of finance, technology cooperation and capacity-building.
Crucially, the provisions to be operationalized also include the goal of limiting global temperature increase this century to well below 2°C, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C through transparent and ambitious emission reductions.
“In preparation for COP24, it will be critical to achieve balance across all issues. This is important because all parts of the regime need to function together in an inter-connected manner,” Ms. Espinosa underlined.
Countries have been grappling with how to reflect the contributions and responsibilities of developed and developing countries given their different national circumstances.
Of key concern are items that relate to transparently and regularly communicating actions, as well as how to achieve full clarity on climate finance now and in the long-term.
“The Paris Agreement strikes a delicate balance to bring all countries together. We must recognize that countries have different realities at home. They have different levels of economic and social development that lead to different national situations,” said Ms. Espinosa.
“This needs to be reflected in the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement. This calls for a political solution, but time is running short. Leaders need to engage and help solve these issues well in advance of COP24,” she urged.
This year, the world has witnessed flood-related deaths, livelihoods wiped out by droughts and expensive infrastructure lost across large stretches of the developed and the developing world.
“Clearly, we need to increase climate action significantly. Clearly, fully implementing the Paris Agreement is the way to do this in a balanced, coordinated manner that leaves nobody behind. The secretariat stands ready to fully support countries towards this important outcome,” she added.
The officers presiding over the negotiations, as well as the current COP presidency held by Fiji and the in-coming Polish COP presidency have been working hard towards COP24.
“I want to express my sincere appreciation to the Presiding Officers, COP President Bainimarama and in-coming COP President Kurtyka for their strong commitment and hard work towards success at COP24,” Ms. Espinosa stated. ■